Best Android Auto Head Unit & Car Stereos 2018 – Buyer’s Guide

2 Best Android Auto Head Unit car stereosIt is no longer interesting and safe to have the old-fashioned car radio or stereo. It’s time to have a stylish, smart, hands free, and map-enabled android car stereo with a good sound quality. Entertainment, safety, and comfort  while driving are paramount. This is why you need the best android auto head unit for the money to install or replace your old car radio.

The visionary Google saw the need for an Android Auto which is completely voice enabled in June 2014.  This le the birth of Android Auto head units. Currently, most cars are being sold with in-built Android Auto, unlike older models which do not have the devices. However, that can be changed by replacing your old radio in your vehicle with an Android Auto.

We set out to do a research and testing to determine the best android car stereos this year. This was followed by creating this unbiased review to advise our readers accordingly without fear or favor.Keep calm and let us show you the best android auto head units based on such factors as performance, sound quality, reliability, and build quality among others.

Best Android Auto Head Unit / Car Stereos 2018

We discovered that the majority of the car stereos available in the market act as both Android Auto and CarPlay Auto Head units. They can thus be classified as  Android CarPlay Auto. This means they are compatible with both Android devices such as Samsung and Apple devices such a Iphone. The head unit detects the type of phone automatically when attached.

One thing you have to careful about in your selection of the best android auto head unit is the dash opening of your vehicle. Thisis to ensure the head unit you select will fit. The three major standard sizes are single DIN (2-1/8”  by 7-1/8”) mostly used in cars in South America, Europe, and Australasia. The other size is double-DIN whose height is twice (4″) that of 1 DIN but the same width. This means that 1 DIN can fit in a 2 DIN opening with some additional attachments but not vice versa. 2 DIN are common in North America, the UK, and Japan.

The 3rd type of slot is 1.5 DIN usually fitted on Chrysler and GM vehicles. This needs adapter kits during installation to compensate for shallow dash openings.

Our Top Pick

If your vehicle has a 2 DIN dash opening  and you are looking for the very best android auto head unit, we recommend the Pioneer AVIC-8200NEX navigation receiver.  Also compatible with Apple CarPlay and can connect 2 phones simultaneously. Has a 7” touchscreen (best android auto head unit car stereo apple carplayresolution of 800*480 pixels).  Got USB, HDMI and 3.5mm stereo jack port. Comes with embedded maps of USA, Puerto Rico, and Canada with about 7.9 million points of interest. Has 16 GB of storage and SiriusXM Satellite radio with voice control.  Pioneer wraps together all the best Android features in one setting, adjusting display, key, other colors and of course an audio receiver with a good sound quality. You can make calls and text people using your voice wile driving. The shortcoming is that it is quite costly and at the time of publishing this review it was retailing at $699. Check its current price on Amazon. See the full review of this best android car stereo below.

If your car has a 2-DIN dash opening and you are looking a for an extremely good quality android head unit  but less costly, we recommend the Sony XAV-AX100 Android Auto/CarPlay best android auto head unit car stereo apple carplaymedia receiver. It is a powerful Dynamic Reality Amplifier (4 x 55 W) with good sound quality. You can have virtual speakers on the dashboard  using Dynamic Stage Organizer. Has a 6.4″ touch screen. Voice control when used with both Android and Apple devices. Has an extra rotary dial which you can operate without being distracted.  Compatible with backup camera. One of its cons is a resistive touchscreen.It was retailing at $399 at the time of publishing this reviewbut you can check its current price on Amazon. See the full review below.

If you are looking for the cheapest android auto head unit that will not disappoint you, we recommend the JVC KW –M730BT In-Dash Car Bluetooth Receiver. Comes with dual USB, Bluetooth,best android auto head unit car stereo apple carplay JVC double din and EQ. Its body is smaller but with a bigger body to touchscreen ratio  (6.8-inch , 800*480 pixels). Has a high-resolution audio, Apple sharply and iDatalink. This device works pretty well with Android phones and is also accompanied by a wired microphone. The JVC is cheaper compared to others and at the time of publishing this review it was selling at $ 296. You can check its latest price on Amazon. See the full review below.

If your vehicle has a single DIN dash opening and you really need to have an Android Auto head unit, we recommend the Pioneer AVH-3300NEX. This is one of the few 1-DIN  Android Autos.  It comes with a slide-out 7″ touchscreen which enable it to fit in the tight space. Its best android auto head unit car stereo apple carplay pioneer single dinresolution is comparable to the double-DIN models. It sis quite expensive as it retails around $448 which can be attributed to the complexity and expertise  used to make it. You can check its current price on Amazon.

Why You Ought to Trust Us

The SnippingTech is run by a group of highly qualified personnel in technical research and testing. The team leader (Amos Denis) is a graduate mechatronics engineer from a leading university in the US.  He comes with a team of 4 people who are specialists in carrying out unbiased researches in gadgets and gizmos especially vehicle accessories and electronics. We are here to ensure the visitors to our site only get nothing else but the best. We are not paid to give positive opinion about certain gadgets. You can also read our review of the best wireless backup cameras for your vehicle.

Comparison Table for the Best Android Auto Head Unit

Android Auto Head UnitImageScreen Size (inches)ResolutionDINBluetoothPrice
Pioneer AVIC -8200NEX
pioneer avic-8200nex review best android auto head unit
Pioneer AVIC-8200NEX
7800 × 480DoubleYes$$$$
Check Price on Amazon
Sony XAV-AX100
Sony XAV-AX100 review best android auto head unit
Sony XAV-AX100
6.4800 × 480DoubleYes$$
Check Price on Amazon
Kenwood DDX9703S
Kenwood DDX9703S review Best android auto head unit
Kenwood DDX9703S Head Unit
6.95800 × 480DoubleYes$$
Check Price on Amazon
Kenwood eXcelon DDX9902S
Kenwood eXcelon DDX9902S best android auto head unit
Kenwood eXcelon DDX9902S Auto Head Unit
6.95800 × 480DoubleYes$$$
Check Price on Amazon
JVC KW-M730BT
JVC KW-M730BT review Best Android Auto Head Unit
JVC KW-M730BT Auto Head Unit
6.8800 × 480DoubleYes$
Check Price on Amazon
Pioneer AVH-3300NEX
best android auto head unit single DIN
Pioneer AVH-3300NEX Auto Head Unit
7800 × 480SingleYes$$$
Check Price on Amazon

We have learnt that  selecting the best android auto head unit is not an easy task . This is due to the many types of head units. We took about 35 hours to dig through 4500 customer reviews on various models of android car stereos. We then acquired 23 of top models android head units and tested them in our vehicles.

Key considerations in ranking the Android Auto head units

  • The quality which carries with it effective Android features
  • Navigation capabilities
  • Touchscreen usability
  • Safety
  • Durability
  • Affordability

This helped us narrow to the top 5 best android auto head units. Here they are.

1. Pioneer AVIC-8200NEX – Best Android Auto Head Unit

We found this to be the overall best android auto head unit. This 2-DIN android car stereo has the best sound quality. It has an impressive 7-inch  touchscreen display with a high-resolution of 800*480 pixels. The touchscreen is highly responsive and fingerprints do not stick easily. This device is safer, smarter and fun to use with your smartphone in the car since it provides  both the Android Auto app and Apple Car Play.

best android auto head unit car stereo apple carplay pioneer AVIC-8200NEX review This Pioneer android auto provides on board US, Canada, and Puerto Rico maps which are accompanied by points of interest ranging around 8 million. It also easy to press and zoom different maps on your screen. It obviously supports Bluetooth which connects two smartphones at the same time. This high-end unit has16 GB of storage and SiriusXM Satellite radio. IDatalink Maestro integration which helps to maintain your steering wheels.

This pioneer AVIC-8200NEX review revealed that the device has a variety of custom options for adjusting display, key,and other colors. This device wraps together all the best Android features in one setting, adjusting display, key and other colors. This is the best devices for those users looking for a bare-bone effective audio receiver. It is quite expensive though worth it. This is without doubt the very best android auto unit money can buy.

Pros

  • Availability of AM/FM tuner
  • Dash openings fit double-DIN which is 4 inches tall
  • Compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
  • Availability of in – built iPad, iPhone and iPod controls
  • Instant warnings on speed limits
  • Offers traffic updates which are free especially in major metropolitan areas
  • HDMI 2 rear A/V, dual rear USB and dual camera inputs

Cons

  •  Slow software updates because of many inbuilt features increasing chances of functioning freeze up
  • Relatively expensive

2. Sony XAV-AX100 – Best android car stereo double din

This is 2nd best Android Auto Head Unit which made it to the list . This is the best-rated product by Sony Company in the car audio category. It is among the rare offerings in that industry. The device is a bit smaller compared to other units. Some of the  Sony XAV-AX100 specs include a moderate display of 6.4-inch, the rotary dial on the side and a few physical buttons. Spinning helps in adjusting volume, alternatively one can also use the voice control option by pressing and holding consecutively.best android auto head unit car stereo apple carplay Sony XAV-AX100 review

This Sony XAV-AX100 review also revealed that it also provides simple voice commands which allows one to know directions, call and send messages. Definitely, Sony XAV-AX100 is an android auto that offers only those features which are the most important. But that is not a major drawback because this device does the job well especially in cases where all you need is an Android Auto for your car.

Sony XAV – AX100 has an added advantage of a sleek volume knob which helps in triggering Siri, accessing the home menu, and skipping tracks. This comes in handy for hands free operation.The device looks sleek which does take away. Sony user interface is easy to use and less distracting for both Android and IOS users. The Sony XAV-AX100 on Amazon is rated at  4.2-stars for verified purchases.

It has a deeper installation unit which is not compatible with tight installation areas. However, it fits perfectly on 2-DIN dash openings and relatively easy to install for a person with minimal know-how. Its superb features including an ergonomic multipurpose button, good finish and user-ability is what earns this unit the position of the second best android auto head unit.

Pros

  • Wireless remote availability  
  • Seamless button
  • Allows for iPod compatibility
  • Tuner features FM sensitivity
  • Guarantees one-year parts warranty

Cons

  • Smaller navigation screen
  • Resistive touchscreen

3. Kenwood DDX9703S – Best car sound system brand

This was found to be the third best android auto head unit. This profound device is from Kenwood which has been dominating the car sound system for a long time. This is a full-featured device which supports both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay accordingly. This model includes HD radio which is SiriusXM and iDatalink ready.

best android auto head unit apple carplay KenwoodThis device might turn out to be the one you are looking for especially in cases where you are interested only in Kenwood devices. Kenwood DDX9703S features 640*480 pixels resolution with a display of 6.95 inches and a few buttons in the bottom which are physical which eases accessibility to the menu and specific Android functions.

Stand out features in this device includes three sets of pre-outs, dual camera input, and outstanding rear video output. However, it has downsized too; dull screen, cumbersome menus, and audio quality are not as good as it is expected to be. GPS is also inbuilt in the unit and many other significant apps such as Spotify and Pandora.

The installed USB charger in this device charges much faster than GPS. The unit also provides, same time connectivity between two smartphones. Satellite radio and Bluetooth connectivity with HI Res Streaming are also present in this unit. This device is rated at 4.1-stars on all purchases on Amazon. This fantastic device  from Kenwood deserves to be the third best android auto head unit.

Pros                                                                         

  • Mini rear AUXI input
  • Availability of USB memory card slot
  • Tuner allows for radio data system
  • Availability of an inbuilt HD radio                           
  • A one year warranty on year parts   

Cons

  • Outdated extensive DVD capabilities which are not useful, because we are likely to use only mobile devices
  • The menus are somehow bulk

4. Kenwood eXcelon DDX9902S – First in wireless android auto

This is the fourth best android auto head unit. Kenwood eXcelon DDX9902S has an Android Aut, in-Dash Bluetooth receiver, Apple CarPlay, HDMI/MHL, and disc player . General features include DVD/CD receiver with AM/FM receiver, touchscreen supporting varying illumination, fits double-DIN dash openings and in-built internal amp.

Kbest android auto head unit apple car play kenwood eXcelon DDX9902SThe smartphone features entail a compatible Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Siri voice control and USB control for playback music. The eXcelon DDX9902S features a 6.95-inch that has a resolution of 800*480 pixels. It connects two smartphones at the same time through Bluetooth with Hi streaming. It enables Android phone mirroring through MHL and HDMI mirroring. Pandora, iHeartRadio, and other internet radio apps also blend well with the device.

This Kenwood device also carries with it subwoofers controls and high and low pass filters. HD Radio tuner is also inbuilt in this android head unit. This device is somehow outdated, given the fact that it has been in the industry a couple of years. Android Auto functions do not function precisely and screen clarity is quiet crispy. This device requires a Smartphone to accomplish navigation purposes. The Kenwood eXcelon DDX9902S is rated as 3.0-star by verified customers on Amazon.com. Take a look at the pros and con of this device and you will realize why we think it is the fourth best android auto head unit in the industry.

Pros

  • Availability of an in-built compatible Bluetooth
  • Supports both Android Auto Apple and CarPlay
  • Classic full size iPod compatibility
  • Video screen supports 5 preamp voltage
  • Availability of SiriusXM 3.0 satellite radio

Cons                                                                                       

  • This device has been on the market for many years, therefore its technology might be a little bit outdated
  •  It requires a Smartphone for navigation purposes
  • Screen efficiency is quite crispy compared to other devices.
  • Android operation is not always effective and does not meet functionality expectations

5. JVC KW-M730BT– Cheapest Android Auto Head Unit

best android auto head unit car stereo apple carplay JVC double din JVC KW-M730BT reviewThis is the fifth  best Android auto head unit on this list. JVC KW –M730BThas a dual USB, compatible Bluetooth, EQ, CarPlay and in-built Android receiver. JVC KW-M730BT is a little bit smaller compared to other devices with a few physical buttons on the top for changing volume and several other uses. This device has a digital media receiver which features resistive touch monitor, Android Auto, high-resolution audio, Apple sharply and iDatalink.

This unit features a display of 6.8-inch accompanied by 800*480 pixels resolution. JVC KW –M730BT supports automatic pre-setting which carries with it strong station sequential memory. Just like other devices it also allows connection between smartphones using Bluetooth.

High-resolution audio is also available in this device. It is SiriusXM ready and works with Pandora and Spotify. This is one of the cheapest android auto head units. As expected, the gadget is not the fanciest you can purchase but it works well if all you want is an Android Auto compatible within your car.

This device has sound adjustment buttons, count on JVC KW –M730 to deliver the audio clearly into your ears. This device works pretty well with Android phones and is also accompanied by the wired microphone. This Android device is quite cheap based on strikethrough price according to retail sales. Despite the JVC being quite cheap compared to its close competitors, we realized its unique features and performance award it the fifth best android auto head unit.

Pros                                                                            

  • Availability of dual USB
  • It features compliant amplifier CEA – 2006
  • Ready steering wheel control
  • Supports Apple devices in the Auto pairing.
  • Manufacturer guarantees 2 years warranty         

Cons

  • Disgusting glare
  • Warning placements in back up camera are quite terrible             
  • It does not provide options for adjusting brightness  

6. Pioneer AVH-3300NEX – Best single DIN Head Unit

best android auto head unit car stereo apple car playPioneer AVH-3300NEX reviewFor those people whose vehicles are single -DIN they are not very lucky with Android Auto Head units or Apple CarPlay. This is becase the majority of these require large (at least 4) dash openings for the unit and its large touchscreen display. However, all hope is not lost since we have a few  good 1-DIN android auto units such as Pioneer AVH-3300NEX.

The Pioneer AVH-3300NEX does not require extensive work tofit in a single DIN dash opening like the majority of aftermarket head units. This is because this device by Pioneer comes with a 7″ resistive touchscreen  that slides out of the body without the need of a large space. The advanced skills used to manufacture this android head unit make it quite expensive and at the time of writing this review it was retailing at $448.

Before purchasing and installing this auto head unit you should confirm there is enough space for its 7-inch display to avoid blocking other controls in your vehicle sch as climate controls in the 1996 Impala SS. Fortunately, it offers angle controls which helps in solving blockage issues. But the best idea is to evaluate how much room you have before buying.

Its touchscreen  has a good resolution like top models (800 by 480 pixels) having 5 different types of display colors, automatic dim options, 13 varying backgrounds. It also has a source or volume knob controlled by buttons for radio tuning or track navigation buttons.

Pros

  • Large 7 inch touchscreen
  • Slide out mechanism for display
  • Microphone for hands-free calling and voice commands

Cons

  • Screen takes time to come out
  • It does not have  iDataLink Maestro like double DIN units
  1. This is the only single DIN android head unit that made it to our series due to its unique design, reliability,and safety features and thus deserves to be  the sixth best android auto head unit.

About Android Auto Head Units

Android Auto head units are devices which serve the purpose of integrating your vehicles’ audio systems to your phone. This device benefits the user by ensuring safety and convenience while driving, by making sure that you keep your hands off your phone. Android Auto app was officially announced by Google in June 2014 which brought limelight to vehicle accessories.

Across the years Android Auto head unit industry proceeded to go wireless. This impressive Android Auto launch facilitated the compatible connection between your car system and your Android phone. This facilitates easy access to all your ideal Apps immediately you plug in your Smartphone into your car Audio system. All Smartphone users should take advantage of these devices. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are integrated to satisfy general public heavy reliance on mobile devices.

Our Take

There are plenty of Android Auto head unit in the industry. But the ones shown above are our best picks for now. Normally we usually advise our customers to consider budget and features when deciding on which Android Auto to buy. But for now, we would like to recommend Pioneer AVIC-8200NEX as the very best android auto head unit which will specifically offer you an incredible experience. Pioneer AVIC8200NEX  is the most capable device out of all the options  in this grocery. Spending a dough on purchasing one of this device is quiet cheap compared to the quality of services offered by this Android Auto head Unit. We believe that you are satisfied with our choices on this list and you have finally found your dream Android Auto head unit.

You may also be Interested in other Unbiased Reviews by Us

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3 Comments on “Best Android Auto Head Unit & Car Stereos 2018 – Buyer’s Guide”

    1. You are welcome. It’s a calling to us to offer high quality information which is meant to help or readers make good decisions. Thanks too for taking your time to read this.

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