Apple, Google, and plenty of auto companies are engaged in a relentless tug-of-war when it comes to refining car dashboards. While car manufacturers prefer that the original car infotainment software to remain intact, rivalling giants are inclined to provide better alternatives that come with advanced features. One particular infotainment software that has caught the attention of many is Google’s Android Auto.
Android has enjoyed massive success in the mobile platform industry. It is therefore not surprising that the Android operating system has made its way to a range of other gadgets including car stereos. The best Android car stereos give you the kind of functionality, which used to be reserved for luxury cars. Some of the features this car stereo provides are an on-board navigation, hands-free calling among others.
What are the Best Android Car Stereos?
A majority of cars are now being equipped with Android car stereos. There are some basic features that you wouldn’t miss in any of these stereos such as touchscreen and Bluetooth app connectivity. Still, there are more advanced Android car stereos with additional features so it’s crucial that you examine the specifications and functionality of each before buying.
If you prefer a car stereo that offers the latest Android version, the Pumpkin Android 8.0 is your best option. This car stereo has so much to offer; from excellent speed with the Octa Core CPU to ample storage for accommodating applications thanks to the 32 GB ROM.
Another aspect you’ll like in this car stereo is its capability to boot the system incredibly fast. This way, you don’t have to wait too long for the stereo to start playing your favorite music or videos. What’s more, you get to enjoy hands-free conversations with the built-in calls and audio streaming feature. Being an android car stereo double din car stereo, the Pumpkin Android 8.0 is compatible with most autos. However, you should compare the dimensions of the space available in your car with those of the stereo before purchasing.
Are you looking for a large screen that can keep your toddlers amused and quiet during those long road trips? Then the Eonon car stereo with a 10.1-inch screen display is an excellent choice. And, although some users are not pleased with how it looks, it fits snugly in double-pin stereo slots.
Eonon GA2168 also boasts Android 7.1 operating system, Octa-Core processor, 2GB RAM and 32GB ROM. We also like that this stereo offers a powerful performance. For one, it comes fitted with a rotating joint to facilitate adjustable viewing angles. You can rotate the screen display with so much ease. What’s more, it has split screen design, allowing you to launch two apps side by side.
Another plus of this car stereo is its wireless Bluetooth technology. With this, you can stream music from your phone, receive and make calls, all while your hands are on the steering wheel and your eyes focused on the road.
This Android cat stereo measures 178mm wide by 128 mm in depth and 100mm high. Another thing to note before purchasing this car stereo is the fact that it does not support CD/DVD player function.
For those whose primary concern in the Android car stereo is infotainment, the Pioneer AVH-X490BS makes a strong contender. It boasts the best sound quality and gives you complete control of the Pandora experience directly from the touchscreen display of the receiver. You can rate tunes with a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down”, bookmark them for purchasing later on and switch easily between stations.
Some of the features that make the stereo audio feature unique are the built-in Auto EQ and time alignment, the high/low pass crossover and a 13-band graphic equalizer, which has touch panel swipe settings.
Pioneer AVH-X490BS has other incredible tools like the Alphabet search and Link search that ease the task of finding content. Furthermore, the system’s wired USB connection gives you a direct signal transfer from your device to guarantee crystal clear sound.
If you are purchasing an Android car stereo specifically for navigation purposes, ATOTO A6 2DIN is your best bet. The head unit comes equipped with a GPS receiver module alongside an external GPS antenna. Google maps has already been set as the default map but you can always download an offline map for a particular area.
More to this, ATOTO car stereo runs on the Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system. And the best part is, this OS supports an array of languages including English, French, Portuguese, Russian, German, Arabic and Spanish. The car stereo also utilizes the most recent 178-degree full-viewing angle touchscreen. Other admirable features of the Android car stereo are a radio tuner, phone mirroring and Wi-Fi support.
Getting a new Android car stereo added to your automobile doesn’t have to be a pricey affair. There are cheap Android car stereo systems that perform just as well as the high-end types. If you have a limited budget, EinCar Android 7.1 car stereo will fit your bill.
In addition to the decent pricing, this car stereo runs on one of the most recent Android versions namely, Nougat- the seventh major version that was launched in April 2017. EinCar Android 7.1 is a multifunctional system offering GPS navigation, Bluetooth technology for hands-free conversations and steering wheel control. The Steering wheel control comes in handy when you want to change the song or adjust volume. This car stereo also offers built-in Wi-Fi. But you can always use internet with sim card.
What is an Android Car Stereo?
In its simplest version, Android car stereo is exactly what it sounds like, that is, an Android software integrated in your auto. Contrary to what many think, the Android auto is not a blown-up iteration of the mobile phone interface. It provides most of the functions that you’d find on an Android smartphone such as a home screen, integrated Google maps, and a couple of audio applications.
All of the aforementioned features respond to the user’s voice commands. You can ask it to play a certain tune or launch a particular application. Heck, you could even ask it to explain what Android Auto is. This way, you can keep your eyes on the road while still navigating the software.
The Android Auto, which is Android’s main car stereo system, is available in three forms. You can purchase a car with the software already integrated; quite a number of 2017 car models already have this. The second alternative is to buy an aftermarket head unit and install it in your current car. The final option is to use the Android app on your smartphone. Ultimately, the first alternative is the best. But if you were not planning to purchase a new automobile, then it might be an impractical solution. This is where the second option comes into play. The good thing is that there are tons of car stereo manufacturers who have ventured in the Android platform, with firms such as JBL, Kenwood and Pioneer leading the pack.
What Apps Are Supported By This Type Of Stereo?
The range of applications supported will depend on the specific Android car stereo that you go for. Some are designed to support all apps which offer Android compatibility. But, others can only support a few apps. Overall, the apps supported deal with aspects such as music, navigation and search. The most common apps that you’re likely to find integrated in the Android car stereo are Google Maps, Google Play Music, Skype and Google Search.
The Advantages of Having a Touchscreen Receiver in Your Car
A majority of car owners choose to install big screen receivers on their dashboard. Even though they don’t look magnificent, there’s so much more that you can accomplish with a double-sized car stereo. For one, it will be much easier to steal a glance and view all the essential information displayed on the screen. This way, you don’t have to take your eyes off the road for too long. What’s more, double-sized stereos come with extras like navigation and rear-view cameras.
Add a rear-view camera for safety
Also known as a backup camera, this is one of the greatest benefits of having a double-sized stereo. Thanks to this camera, you can navigate better since you’ll know exactly what’s behind your car; be it a pet, a cyclist or a wall. And the best part is the way it offers a wider field of view than the one you’d get using the car mirrors. Plus, you won’t have to keep turning your head when reversing your car.
Get alerts for sudden dangers
A perfect example of this is the Alphine HCE-C305R camera, equipped with Active View to provide additional safety. The way this camera works is that it alerts you if there are objects moving behind or on the side of your car. As soon as these objects start moving, you’ll be able to see them on your screen. If they are moving too close to your car, the alert feature increases its volume.
Nice big display
The good thing with a bigger screen display is that you’re able to read the 2 or 3 lines pretty easily in case you’re driving. Another plus is that a bigger screen displays more information at once. If you want to listen to music, the screen will show a longer playlist, allowing you to choose from a number of tunes. Overall, every function of the receiver can be performed so much better on a bigger display.
If you are always getting calls from your colleagues, family or friends, you will appreciate the convenience offered by Bluetooth. To put it simply; you can engage in hands-free conversations once you synchronize it to your phone. It means that you don’t have to stop on the road side just so you can answer an urgent call. And thanks to the large screen display, you’ll be able to steal a glance and see who is calling.
The GPS navigation offers one of the best map views when you compare it to pones and other portable navigators. Even if your receiver doesn’t come with this built-in navigation software, you can add guidance by installing an onboard unit. Alternatively, you can sync it to an iPhone application such as MotionX-GPS, which works using 3G signals.
User-friendly HD Radio™
HD radio broadcasts provide one of the best music or audio experience. Furthermore, a double-sized stereo is designed to provide a wider range of information than ordinary stereos. With a double-sized stereo, you’ll have a chance to see album art as well as the station logos from designated broadcasters. In fact, this stereo displays the song, artist, and album information. You can even tag songs that you like and purchase them later on from iTunes.
Convenient stereo controls
Another benefit of investing in a big screen receiver is the ability to navigate the menus easily. Whether you want to choose your favorite tune, a preferred satellite radio station or the equalizer settings, a large and colorful display makes it easy to find these functions.
If you’re going for a road trip with your family, the dual-zone listening is a handy feature. Although it’s only available on some receivers, it gives you the opportunity to separate the front seat entertainment from the rear one. This way, your kids can watch thriller movies while you listen to your favorite songs.
Worth a look
If you’re planning to purchase a car stereo, you should consider the benefits that come with a touchscreen, navigation receiver. But if it’s not within your budget limit, you can forgo the built-in GPS and opt for the cheaper DVD receivers. Regardless of what you decide to go for, just ensure that it has a touchscreen control to ease its operation.
Features to Look for in an Android Car Stereo
Music Browsing and Playback
Different people have different preferences when it comes to playing music in their cars. Based on what you like, some features will be important to you. For instance, if you have a ton of tracks on your mobile phone or tablet, then you should go for an Android car stereo with playback and music browsing features.
This is one of the key benefits that the Apple enthusiasts get to enjoy when they install CarPlay, which is another user-friendly infotainment software. With music-browsing feature, you won’t have to queue up and wait for your favorite track to be played. You simply browse and choose that specific song you want through the head unit.
Android App Control
There are very few individuals, if any, who are still inclined to use physical media storage platforms. Most people now prefer live streaming services like Sportify and Pandora. For the latter group of people, the best Android car stereos are ones that support app control. Ideally, all a user needs to do is to connect the head unit to a phone and he will have direct control of to stream radio apps. This feature also eliminates the hassle of having to fiddle around with your smartphone in case you want to skip certain songs.
USB vs. Bluetooth
Although there are a couple of car stereos that provide USB connections, these units are not entirely compatible. Pioneer is a perfect case in point; it highlights a list of certain phones that can work with its AppRadio line. Although there are quite a number of phones that AppRadio is compatible with, some require the use of an adapter.
A better alternative to USB connectivity is Bluetooth. If you prefer Bluetooth to USB connections, you’ll need to find an Android car stereo with A2DP Bluetooth protocol.
Android Car Stereos
Overall, the term “android car stereo” is associated with head units that are Android compatible. However, it’s also used to refer to car stereos that operate on the Android operating system. Car makers keep changing the technologies they integrate into the cars they manufacture. But even then, several Android car stereos seem to be lagging way behind the technologies used in handsets and tablets.
A great example of this would be Clarion’s Mirage, which was the first ever Android-driven head unit. It was released in the first quarter of 2012, and operated on Android 2.2 Froyo. But, Froyo was two years old by that point. So, before rushing to purchase just any Android car stereo, confirm the Android version that it’s running on.
This is the primary interactive feature of any car stereo, so you should pay a lot of attention to it. It is where all the information is displayed: your contacts, playlist, navigation maps and more. For convenience, most car stereos have touchscreens although this is not always the case.
Another factor you should look into is the size of the screen. You should always look for car stereos with bigger screens. This way, you can steal a quick glance to view your playlist. A small-sized screen makes it difficult to read the information being displayed. This in turn, causes you to get distracted since you have to take your eyes off the road for a prolonged period. The rule of thumb is to go for a 6 or 7-inch screen display.
Another aspect that comes into play when shopping for Android car stereos is the interface. The last thing you want is to end up with a head unit that you can’t navigate. This will not only be frustrating but it will also hinder you from accessing certain features.
Ideally, the interface ought to be user-friendly or as identical as the one used in smartphones and tablets.
AM/FM Radio and Satellite Radio
Almost every car stereo available on the market has an AM/FM radio tuner. However, most of these systems only have the basic radio tuner package. If you want a better experience, go for advanced options like HD radio decoders, which improve on the audio quality. For travelers who like playing their favorite tunes or listen to their preferred stations on the go, a satellite radio is your best option.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of investing in big screens on your Android car stereos is the convenience of viewing navigation maps. This way, you don’t have to install your phone on the windshield for GPS purposes.
And the good thing is that the navigation feature in these stereos can be updated using SD cards or the Internet.
The aforementioned features are the most essential to look for when getting a car stereo. Nonetheless, you can always opt for a car stereo with the specific aspects that you want. For instance, if your automobile has steering wheel control, you’ll need a stereo that is well-suited for use with these settings.
The Bottom Line
Car stereos have evolved a great deal since the arrival of smartphones and tablets. With and Android car stereo, you can enjoy all the features in your smartphone right inside your car. You can navigate more easily, play songs, adjust the volume as well as receive and make phone calls.
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