How to Buy the Best Android Auto Head Units for 2018

Looking for a quick way to upgrade your car in the absence of having to spend a lot? One thing that you can do is to consider the installation of an Android auto head unit. This is a perfect replacement for your factory-installed stereo. You can connect it to an Android-compatible smartphone and do several things, such as play music and access maps.

Clueless on which brand and model will make the right choice? Read the rest of this post and we’ll help you to choose the best Android auto head units that you can find on the market. To help you decide, we’ll also tackle some of their noteworthy features, as well as some factors to consider as you try to narrow down the possibilities.

Best Android Auto Head Units

What is an Android Auto Head Unit? 

In case you do not know, an Android Auto is an aftermarket device that can be used as a replacement for the infotainment system that is originally developed by the manufacturer of your vehicle. It is made by Google and compatible with a number of Android phones, but not all models.

In a nutshell, Android Auto is an innovation that will change your overall driving experience. More than safety, it is also going to provide entertainment while you are on the road. By connecting your Android phone, you can access contents like music and your contacts. You can make hands-free calls and use the screen to assist in navigation.

With Android Auto, you can also connect to a number of third-party applications, which will allow you to do more while in your car. The model that will be chosen will have an effect on what apps can be accessed by the device.

As per the manufacturer, the Android Auto is marketed as the perfect driving companion, allowing you to stay focused, connected, and entertained while on the road. 

Top 8 Picks for the Best Android Auto Head Units on the Market

In this section, we’ll identify five of the products that should be included in your list of choices and the features that make them worth considering.

Android Auto Head Units Quick Comparison Table

Product NameWeightSizeOut RatingCurrent Price
best truck gps
Kenwood Excelon DNX694S
In-Dash Navigation
4.41 pounds6.8 in5/5
best truck gps
Pioneer AVH4200NEX 2-DIN
Receiver
6.42 pounds7 in4.8/5
best truck gps
Sony XAV-AX200 Android
Auto Head Unit
5 pounds6 in4.7/5
best truck gps
JVC KW-M730BT In-Dash
Car Bluetooth Receiver
3.75 pounds6.8 in4.5/5
best truck gps
Pioneer AVH-290BT
Multimedia DVD Receiver
4.21 pounds6.2 in4.5/5
best truck gps
Alpine ILX-107 In-Dash
Receiver
4.9 pounds7 in4.3/5
best truck gps
Pioneer AVIC-8200NEX
Navigation Receiver
5 pounds6.2 in4.1/5
best truck gps
Pyle Car Stereo System
Double Din Android
Head Unit Receiver
5 pounds5 in3.9/5

Short Reviews on the Best Android Auto Head Units

1. Kenwood Excelon DNX694S In-Dash Navigation

Kenwood Excelon DNX694S In-Dash Navigation

 

The steep price of this product may instantly discourage some people from having it chosen, but do not let such be the case. It is expensive, but the cost can be justified by its premium features.

Among others, one thing that we loved the most is the 6.8-inch touchscreen display, which is intuitive and responsive. No need to double press or press hard. The buttons on the side are illuminated, making them easy to see at night.

In terms of features, it is also packed. For instance, it has a built-in amplifier and HD radio tuner. Meanwhile, with the Bluetooth technology, it will allow you to make hands-free calls, which will make driving safer and more convenient.

It is not only Android Auto Play compatible, but you can also use it for Apple Car Play. There are built-in controls for your smartphone.

The built-in Garmin navigation is one more thing that makes this an impressive product. There are pre-loaded maps of the United States, Canada, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. There is also a text-to-speech feature, as well as more than 6 million places of interest.

As for the audio and video features, it can play CD and DVD, as well as files from your USB. It has high and low pass filters, 13-band EQ, and Drive EQ, all of which will be instrumental in improving your audio listening experience.

Pros:

  • Highly responsive touchscreen display
  • Comes with a built-in amplifier
  • Illuminated keys

Cons:

  • A bit of glare on the screen
  • Some buttons may be hard to press

2. Pioneer AVH4200NEX 2-DIN Receiver  

Pioneer AVH4200NEX 2-DIN Receiver

 

Among others, one thing that makes this a great option is the 7-inch motorized display. It is a touchscreen that is intuitive, one of the reasons why it also ranks well in terms of being user-friendly. The screen can also be adjusted so that you can customize its angle based on what is easiest for you to see.

Another reason to choose this is the Network Entertainment Experience, an innovative feature that has been developed exclusively by Pioneer. It has cloud-based services that will allow you to access services online, as well as other apps. You can connect it to both Android and IOS devices.

The display is also bright and easy to see, whether it is day or night. The colors can be customized in five different colors.

There is also a built-in Bluetooth for hands-free calling and it can support up to two smartphones at a time.

Lastly, it also features SiriusXM satellite radio, which will provide you with access to 140 channels, including those that do not have any commercial. 

Pros:

  • Supports not only Android, but also IOS
  • Bright and easy to see the display
  • Can support up to four amplifiers

Cons:

  • Software can be prone to bugs
  • Does not include built-in navigation

3. Sony XAV-AX200 Android Auto Head Unit

Sony XAV-AX200 Android Auto Head Unit

 

The 4×55 watts of amplification produced by the unit can be attributed as one of its best assets. The latter will provide customizable options on how you would like the sound to be. Plus, it also makes sure that the sound that you will hear is ultra-clear, even if the music is played at a high volume.

Through Android Auto, you can enjoy a number of hands-free functions for a safer driving experience. Whether it is dictating text messages or accessing Google Maps, you can use your voice for controlling its various functions.

There are also many features to enhance the sound quality. For instance, it has Dynamic Stage Organizer for adjusting the signal and improving the positioning of the unit. It also comes with 10-band equalizer to tailor your sound experience based on your liking. Lastly, there is Dynamic Reality Amp 2 for the removal of interference and improvement of overall sound quality.

Lastly, there is also a dial for controlling various functions, such as the volume. This will make the operation distraction-free.

Pros:

  • Tacky physical interface
  • User-friendly
  • Sound is high-powered and has extra bass

Cons:

  • Screen resolution can be better
  • There is only one sub-output

4. JVC KW-M730BT In-Dash Car Bluetooth Receiver

JVC KW-M730BT In-Dash Car Bluetooth Receiver

 

The Android Auto capability of this unit is impressive. All that you have to do is to plug it into your phone and take advantage of the many things that you can do, such as access maps and messages. For versatility, it is also compatible with Apple Car Play.

It will also never disappoint when it comes to sound optimization, making it a perfect choice even for audiophiles. Even high-resolution audio files can be played. You will have the opportunity to fine-tune the acoustics through the adjustments that are available. With this, you will be able to play your music the way you want to hear it.

To add, it also has the revolutionary K2 technology. It is an original technology that is responsible for the premium reproduction of sound from its source. It also comes with a technology known as Sound Lift, which will allow you to adjust the position of the speaker without the need to physically touch them. This can be done virtually!

With the Bluetooth Wireless technology, meanwhile, you will be able to link two phones at a time. A push of a button on the unit will allow you to quickly take a call. It also has Bluetooth voice recognition.

As for the display, it has a 6.8-inch resistive touch panel with intuitive controls. It has the El Kameleon stealth design, which makes the entire unit turn black when the ignition is off. This provides the dash a seamless and elegant look.

Pros:

  • Can connect two smartphones at a time
  • Impressive display
  • Excellent music quality

Cons:

  • No capacity to play videos
  • Few inputs

5. Pioneer AVH-290BT Multimedia DVD Receiver

Pioneer AVH-290BT Multimedia DVD Receiver

 

This is one option that can prove to be perfect for people who are on the lookout for budget-friendly alternatives. It is an economical product, yet it can deliver decent performance, which makes it an option that is worth considering.

The unit comes with a 6.2-inch WVGA display. Its resolution is not as clear and bright as the more expensive options, yet it won’t disappoint. It is also touchscreen, which makes it easy to control its different features.

In terms of expandability, it is also great. It can connect not only to Android devices, but also IOS. If you are installing a back-up camera, it is also ready for such.

There is also a Multilanguage Display, which includes English, Chinese, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.

It is also a good thing that there is a wired USB connection, which means that you can also use the unit for charging your gadget.

Lastly, the product comes with a one-year warranty from the manufacturer, which is pretty much the basic within the product category.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Easy to install and operate
  • Ready for a back-up camera

Cons:

  • Can have delays in connecting via Bluetooth
  • Reception can be bad

6. Alpine ILX-107 In-Dash Receiver

Alpine ILX-107 In-Dash Receiver

 

This is another high-end model that is worth considering if money is not an issue. It has a 7-inch VGA capacitive touchscreen display, which will make it almost effortless to control. The display remains bright whether it is day or night.

With Apple Car Play support, you can easily use your Apple devices with this in-dash receiver. This will work whether you have an iPhone, iPod, or iPad. You will also be able to use Siri when you are driving. This means that you will be able to send texts and make calls without having to touch your phone at all!

Since you can use it with Apple Car Play, you can also take advantage of Apple maps, your trusted navigation companion. You will never get lost again on the way to your destination. You will hear turn-by-turn directions as if you have a friend providing you with reliable directions as you drive.

For the audio and video features, the unit has a 9-band parametric equalizer, digital time correction, and high and low pass filters. To add, it also comes with the Alpine Tune It app, a user-friendly application that will allow you to easily adjust the sound settings.

You will also enjoy the versatility of this in-dash receiver because of the various expandability options that are available. There is a rear port for accessing files from your USB. There is also a rear input for a camera. It is also steering wheel control ready.

Pros:

  • Has a camera input
  • Intuitive user interface
  • Excellent display

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • No support for CDs and DVDs

7. Pioneer AVIC-8200NEX Navigation Receiver  

Pioneer AVIC-8200NEX Navigation Receiver

 

This is one of the most expensive of the five products that are mentioned in this post, but it will be totally worth your money. From the display to the sound quality, this is a product that is made for serious audiophiles who have discerning preferences.

The unit comes with a 7-inch capacitive screen for easy-to-see display whether it is day or night. It is also touchscreen and can provide you with access to everything that is stored on your phone, such as music and your list of contacts.

In terms of music playback, the quality is also exceptional. It can play even FLAC files with lossless playback. Plus, it has 13-band EQ, providing you with the opportunity to control the quality of the music based on your preferences.

With the built-in amplifier, the sound quality is also significantly improved. There is a maximum power output of 50 watts per channel. More so, it has clear mids and highs, as well as low bass.

Lastly, there is also built-in navigation to provide you with turn-by-turn directions to easily reach the destination that you will input. 

Pros:

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Can be quite complicated for beginners

8. Pyle Car Stereo System Double Din Android Head Unit Receiver

Pyle Car Stereo System Double Din Android Head Unit Receiver

 

For a budget-friendly alternative, this is one product that you might want to include on your list of choices. The universal compatibility of this product is one thing that you will love, making it multifunctional.

Looking at its features, one that you will find impressive is the tablet-style functionality, which is great considering its price point. It has a multi-touch capacitive touchscreen, one of the reasons why it is user-friendly. This will give your car a truly innovative dashboard.

Connectivity will not be an issue with this product. There is an input for connecting a backup camera. For external devices, there are three USB connectors. There is even a Wi-Fi antenna, as well as an output for a subwoofer.

The built-in Android computer is one more thing that gives it a positive reputation. It is designed with simplicity in mind in the absence of compromising performance and functionality. You can also customize the settings based on your personal preferences.

For handsfree audio, it has Bluetooth. You can stream your favorite music wirelessly. Plus, you can also take calls from your phone without the need to hold it when you are driving.

With the built-in Wi-Fi compatibility, you can easily stay connected while you are on the road. You can access different websites and use the receiver much like a tablet. You can also access Google Maps to provide you with navigation guidance while on the road.

Pros:

  • Bright screen
  • User-friendly radio app
  • Easy to install

Cons:

  • Sound levels can be inconsistent
  • May take quite a while to power up

Essential Factors to Consider  

Best Android Auto Head Units

To make it easier for you to narrow down the possibilities, here are some of the most important things that you need to take into account:

Reviews: One of the first things that need to be done is to go online and look for reviews from past users. A lot of them are sharing real-life experiences, which will make it easy to weigh the pros and cons of the different choices. Pay attention to what they are saying about overall quality and features, among other things.

Display: It is also important that it comes with a large screen that will fit your car. Its resolution must be bright and crisp, which will make it easy for you to see what is on the screen, whether it is day or night. More so, it will also be good if there is a touchscreen functionality to simplify its operation.

Ease of Use: The Android auto head unit must also exhibit features that will be reflective of being user-friendly. From installation to operation, it must be simple. There should be an intuitive interface and tacky controls. The manufacturer must also provide comprehensive instructions on how it is used.

Customization: This is important because it will provide you with complete control on how the unit will be used. The unit must have features that can be personalized, such as an equalizer so that you can adjust the sound output.

Navigation: There are some Android auto head units, especially the cheap ones, that do not come with a built-in navigation. Choose one that has this feature, which will make it easy to reach your destination as you will be provided with a detailed guide on the route that you should take.

Compatibility: You also have to consider the model of the Android phone that you have, making sure that it will be compatible with the head unit that will be purchased. Android Auto is compatible Android 5.0 Lollipop or any newer version of the software.

Aesthetics: You should also consider the overall look of the head unit and see if it can have a seamless integration with your car. The design should blend well with how the dashboard looks like.

Power: When it comes to the technical specifications that you need to check, one of the most important is the power rating, which will have an influence on the sound quality that will be produced by the unit. Pay attention o the max power and continuous power output as you try to assess your choices.

Expandability: This is important if you want a unit that can deliver multiple functions. Aside from connectivity with a smartphone, you must be able to connect it with other devices as well, such as front and back camera. Many of the models can also be integrated with Apple phones.

Price: A lot of you may be tempted to choose a product with the cheapest price, but I suggest that you put more emphasis on quality. If you are on a tight budget, choose one with basic features as it will surely be cheaper.

Warranty: This is important since this is going to provide you with peace of mind. What happens if the unit encounters any problem that you cannot fix? You must be able to return it to the manufacturer and they must provide you with free repair or replacement of damaged parts. For the warranty to be valid, make sure to follow their terms and conditions.

Conclusion

From the best Android auto head units that have been mentioned above, I hope that it is easier for you to make a decision now. You will have countless choices, but it does not mean that they are all great. From the quality of the display to the sound output, there are several things that should be taken into account for you to make a decision that will not bring regrets in the future.

Leave a Comment