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Best Android Car Stereos of 2018 – Buyer’s Guide and Reviews

Almost every new car today is equipped with modern features including an in-dash car stereo, especially the one that runs on Android. But unfortunately, the industry is not so quick to integrate the new technology and those who are still driving older cars may not benefit from the vast functionalities offered by these Android car stereos. Or, you may have one but are looking to upgrade it with something that packs a little more oomph!

The good news is there are lots of suppliers that create all kinds of fancy third-party in-dash devices that are capable of directly interfacing with your Android phone. With these advanced car stereos, you can do some cool stuff such as play your own music and videos, navigate using Google Maps or similar software, enjoy hands-free calling, and more. So it’s definitely a must-have accessory for your car.

Top 6 Android Car Stereos in 2018 Reviews

We’ve put together a list of best Android car stereos that have proved their worth both in terms of quality and cost-effectiveness. Whether you’re aiming for playback and features, design, clear radio signaling, or want something with multi-functionality, there’s a car stereo system for everybody. Check them out and choose the one which suits you the most.

Best Overall

Best Overall

Sony XAV-AX100

Best User Interface CarPlay Stereo

With its smaller profile, the Sony XAV-AX100 can fit into the smallest of dashboards. Plus, the convenient manual controls on this car stereo make a real difference.

The Sony XAV-AX100 offers all the features you want in a stereo system. Amazon reviewers have been over the moon for this model, and they especially love its highly reliable Android Auto voice control. For this price, you will be hard pressed to find something just as good.

Best Budget

Best Budget

Panlelo PA-09YZ16

Fast, Smooth and Easy to Use

This is a multifunctional car stereo with GPS navigation, radio, video/audio receiver and sound system, at a reasonable price.

The Panlelo PA-09YZ16 is a very capable stereo system with generally positive reviews from consumers. It has a decent set of features and delivers a solid level of sound quality. If you’re a budget-conscious shopper, PA-09YZ16 is definitely worth considering.

1. Sony XAV-AX100 – Best Overall Android Car Stereo

Sony XAV-AX100 car stereo

Sony XAV-AX100 is a powerful, feature-packed car stereo that likely does a heck of a lot more than the one that came with your car, truck or SUV. The feature highlights include 6.4″ Media receiver with Bluetooth, Android Auto to let you get directions, communicate with your contacts, and control audio playback using voice commands. It also features 4 x 55 W amplification to make music sound crisp and dynamic, even at high volumes.

Android Auto makes driving smarter and safer. Connect your Android phone and you’ll be able to take calls, check voice mails and text messages, or bring up maps through the simple interface. It also includes best in-class voice-recognition technology, so you can control audio playback through voice commands.

The 6.4″ responsive touch screen is designed for clarity and helps you control everything with just a quick tap. A special ergonomic rotary dial gives you easy access to many handy functions when driving. You can use it to adjust volume, go through sound control menus, or simply hold the button to use voice control commands.

Another great feature is its ability to help you park if you’ve got a rear camera installed. You can instantly bring the video feed up on screen by tapping the rear camera icon. It also activates automatically whenever you put your vehicle in reverse.

The XAV-AX100 also features the Dynamic Stage Organizer (DSO) to further enhance your listening experience. It basically re-calibrates the frequency output of the speakers in your doors, making the sound as if it is coming from speakers on your dashboard. Further, there’s also a built-in graphics equalizer that allows you to cut and boost ten different frequencies for unlimited sound sculpting options.

Product Highlights:

  • 6.4″ (16.3-cm) touch screen with Bluetooth
  • Powerful sound with the 4 x 55 W Dynamic Reality Amp
  • Voice control with Apple Car Play and Android Auto
  • 4 x 55 W Dynamic Reality Amp
  • Rear camera ready for easy reversing

Pros

  • Dynamic Stage Organizer
  • Ergonomic rotary dial
  • 10-band equalizer

Cons

  • Not an enthusiast product

2. Panlelo PA-09YZ16 – Best Budget Android Car Stereo

Panlelo PA09AM In Dash Car Stereo

For those who don’t want to spend a fortune, the Panlelo PA-09YZ16 is a fantastic choice as it offers a slew of options and power at a reasonable price. It is a universal 2 DIN car stereo that is equipped Android 5.1 OS which is still a decent version when it comes to providing a solid user experience. It also sports a 1.6GHz quad-core CPU coupled with 1GB of RAM to ensure quick response and smooth operation.

The PA-09YZ16 offers you multiple ways to play and watch music. It comes with the the included 16GB SD card to store and play all your media. You can stream music wirelessly via Bluetooth as well as use a WiFi connection to fulfill your online entertainment needs. Furthermore, there is an option for Mirror link that allows you to watch videos on the head unit from your smartphone with ease.

The unit also supports offline GPS navigation which means you can download map data even when Internet is not available. The steering wheel control is another great feature that helps you adjust volume and other settings without taking your eyes off the road.

The package also includes a 120-degree wide angle waterproof HD rear view camera that helps your parking. You’ll see two reverse leading lines on the screen whenever you engage reverse gear.

Product Highlights:

  • Universal 2 DIN Car Stereo with the size of 178x102mm
  • 1.6GHz Quad Core CPU, 16GB DDR3 RAM
  • Android 5.1 OS for more available apps
  • Preset Multi EQ Settings
  • Mirror Link Support

Pros

  • Offline GPS navigation
  • Waterproof HD rear view camera
  • 16GB SD card included

Cons

  • Not a high-end device

3. Pioneer AVHX5800BHS – Best Android Car Stereo for Playback and Features

Pioneer AVHX5800BHS 2-DIN Receiver

Next on our list is a powerful, high-performance car stereo system from Pioneer. The AVH-X5800BHS is a double DIN unit with 7″ responsive display that provides brighter and more vibrant colors. Its NEX user interface is intuitive, easy to navigate and highly customizable, delivering a best-in-class customer experience.

This car stereo works with the latest iPhone and Android models and lets you use Pioneer’s AppRadio One that provides you ability to view and control some of your phone’s apps on the receiver’s touchscreen display. Android users can connect this app to the receiver using the Pioneer CD-MU200 USB to micro USB cable or the micro USB cable that comes with the phone.

The AVH-X5800BHS has a well-design Bluetooth built-in for hands-free calling and audio streaming. In addition, it includes the new Wideband Speech Handsfree Profile 1.6 which nearly doubles the bandwidth of the frequency allowing for quality similar to FM reception.

The unit also features a built-in HD Radio tuner, so you can listen to the radio in the same crystal-clear fidelity as your digital music. If you are the one who enjoy listening to radio all along the road, then this one is what you should invest on. Pioneer has also equipped this car stereo with their innovation Mixtrax technology which creates a virtual DJ inside the receiver while playing music from your Android device.

I could go on with other positive points such as voice recognition engine, audio video quality and more, but I think you already get it. The Pioneer AVH-X5800BHS is an outstanding model for an even better price. The device is currently sitting in with an average of 4.5/5 stars on Amazon. So if you’re browsing for an Android car stereo with the top-rated quality, then I suggest you can pick it up.

Product Highlights:

  • 7″ Motorized Display
  • NEX user interface
  • Supports 2 phones simultaneously
  • Hands-free calling and Audio Streaming
  • Variety of display with color customization option

Pros

  • Works with SiriusXM Sxv300 tuner
  • Spotify App Control
  • HD Radio tuner

Cons

  • Two phones may experience issues with Bluetooth

4. PUMPKIN Android 7.1 Double Din Car Stereo – Best for Android OS

PUMPKIN Android 8.0 Car Stereo Double Din

Pumpkin is one of the reputed brands in the market known for manufacturing quality Android car stereos and this 7-inch double DIN is no exception. The unit runs the latest Android 8.0 Oreo OS right out of the box. It is powered by an Octa Core CPU coupled with 4GB DDR3 RAM for faster operating speed. It has an amazing quick boot performance of 1 second.

The GPS on this stereo comes with pre-loaded Google map. You also get precise directions using distraction-free voice guidance feature. For further freedom, there’s a built-in microphone combined with Bluetooth capabilities that allows for hands-free calling.

Pumpkin has equipped this Android car stereo with steering wheel control, so that you can change the track, volume and other functions conveniently without getting distracted from the road. It also has an on-board memory of 16GB which is enough to store thousands of songs without ever connecting a smartphone.

The unit supports an RCA type reverse camera input which automatically activates when reversing the car. Furthermore, there is PUMPKIN OBD2 designed to retrieve real-time data and trouble codes from vehicle’s computer.

Other features include a built-in WiFi modem for limitless web surfing, and mirror & control to watch videos via a USB cable. In terms of connecting options, this unit comes with a built-in micro SD slot, USB port and subwoofer audio output with separate control.

The PUMPKIN Android 8.0 Car Stereo supports fastboot, the user interface is clean and elegant, the GPS works accurate, and the sound and video quality is on spot. Without a doubt, you get a tremendous value and so it is a strongly recommended purchase.

Product Highlights:

  • 7-inch 1024×600 Touch Screen
  • Octa-Core CPU, 4GB DDR3 RAM, 32GB ROM
  • Android Auto with voice commands
  • GPS navigation
  • Steering Wheel Control
  • Mirror Link Support

Pros

  • Wide 7” display
  • Newest Android OS
  • Special modem Wi-Fi

Cons

  • May be expensive for some people

5. JOYING JY-UL135N2 – Best Android Car Stereo for Navigation

JOYING JY-UL135N2 Car Stereo

The JOYING JY-UL135N2 is a fairly priced Android car stereo with decent functionality inside. It runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow and is powered by a solid Quad-Core Intel CPU coupled with an impressive 2GB RAM. There’s also 32GB of internal storage which is larger than other brands for more and faster applications installation.

The unit comes with a standard double DIN size which I guess can fit very well to your car. It features a 7″ multi-point capacitive touch screen with support for full HD video playback. The GPS on this car stereo supports online/offline maps. It comes with Google Maps pre-installed, but also works with an array of other map software.

The JY-UL135N2 boasts the Bluetooth 4.0 for fluent hands-free calling and high-quality streaming music. An NFC sensing chip is also included in the package for Bluetooth quick connection and disconnection. Another great feature of this unit is Easy Connect that enabled mirroring of the image and sound from your smartphone directly to the head unit.

Speaking of entertainment, the car stereo also features an EQ equalizer that supports subwoofer audio output and sound adjustment. Searching and surfing the Internet is made quick and easy thanks to the built-in WiFi module. The device also offers the picture-in-picture function that allows for playing videos while keeping other windows on the screen.

The JOYING JY-UL135N2 is a potential replacement for your old car stereo. It comes with a number of car-specific features and with an easy to install process. The functions work flawlessly and the user interaction is also very smooth. The amount of value you get is simply amazing, so definitely a good investment.

Product Highlights:

  • Quad-Core Intel CPU, 2GB RAM, 32GB internal storage
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • Bluetooth 4.0 and Built-in WiFi module
  • 7-inch HD Touch Screen with support for 1920×1080 pixels videos
  • Steering Wheel Control
  • Backup Camera

Pros

  • 2GB RAM for faster response time
  • Audio input supports subwoofer
  • Sleep Mode

Cons

  • Lacks CD/DVD Player

6. Pyle PLTDAND72 – Best Android Car Stereo for Touchscreen

Pyle PLTDAND72 Single DIN In Dash Android Car Stereo

The Pyle PLTDAND72 offers a lot for the money and for that reason it managed to make it to this list. The unit comes with a user-friendly interface that can be accessed using the 7-inch touchscreen display. It’s a fold-out display monitor featuring 1080p resolution with full touchscreen control operation.

This single DIN receiver runs on Android 4.4 OS with a fairly strong Quad-Core 1.8GHz Cortex CPU. It also features Bluetooth and WiFi streaming, allowing you to play music and videos, as well as surf the Internet. You can further expand your entertainment options using the included DVD/CD player.

The in-dash stereo features USB and Micro SD ports along with Aux input/output jacks allowing you to connect various devices with ease. There’s also a built-in microphone designed to offer hands-free call answering.

Pyle has equipped this car stereo with the built-in GPS that enables you to reliably navigate everywhere. The device also offers turn-by-turn voice direction assistance so that you don’t get distracted from the road.

The Pyle PLTDAND72 does more than you ask for at this price. It’s simple, shiny and functional with multiple features such as the robust navigation system, Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity, and the versatile digital media file support. It comes with a bit old version of Android but, overall, this is a very balanced option.

Product Highlights:

  • Quad Core 1.8GHz Cortex CPU, 16GB built-in memory
  • Android 4.4 KitKat
  • Hi-Res 7-inch Flip Out Touch Screen Monitor
  • Motorized Fold-out Monitor
  • Mirror Link Support
  • Chassis Mounting Case Frame

Pros

  • Customizable EQ Audio Controls
  • Integrated Bluetooth
  • CD/DVD Player

Cons

  • GPS doesn’t work well offline

Best Android Car Stereos - Buyers' Guide

    The screen is how you interact with the head unit, so it’s one of the integral aspects of any Android car stereo. The ideal screen size for a model is in the range of 6-7 inches. Anything smaller may be difficult to interact with. Especially the lettering on the screen is preferred to be larger as it helps take less time to look at it and control everything.

    If you’re the one who listen to the music all along the road, then the best Android car stereo for you is going to be the one that supports music browsing and playback through the head unit. It will make things much easier for you. You don’t have to fiddle with your phone to queue up and play songs, but can just browse and select music through the head unit itself.

    Of course, there are people who don’t rely on physical storage media for their digital music, but prefer streaming services like Pandora and Spotify. For those, a head unit that supports app control will be of great help. Such units connect to your device and take direct control of streaming radio apps, so again saving you the trouble of having to fiddle around your phone.

    Some car stereos are starting to feature USB connections for Android devices, but they don’t offer 100% compatibility. For instance, Pioneer supports a number of phones to work with their AppRadio One app, but you may still require an additional adapter in some cases. If you find Bluetooth to be a better option, then the best Android car stereo is going to be the one that comes with the A2DP Bluetooth protocol.

    Some other features you should keep in mind while purchasing a car stereo system are whether or not it has built-in GPS and HD capabilities, built-in CD player, and what size external memory cards it can support. In addition, there are a handful of car stereos that actually run on Android. If you’re looking for something like that, then make sure to check into what Android OS version it’s running.

    Why should you get a new car stereo?
    Aftermarket car stereos typically excel in two areas: sound and features. They come with more powerful amplifiers than factory stereos, as well as pack lots of other features, like GPS navigation, Bluetooth, touchscreen controls, and much more.

    What is the difference between Android Auto and Android Automotive?
    Android Auto is powered by a smartphone using an application. You plug your phone into an Android Auto compatible head unit and then be able to access the maps, phone calls, audio playback etc.

    Android Automotive, on the other hand, doesn’t require a smartphone to be plugged but runs on a computer in the vehicle. It offers a full Android OS experience, and can control HVAC and some other car systems depending on the implementation by the car’s manufacturer.

    Which smartphones work with Android Auto?
    Any phone running Android 5.0 Lollipop or later should be compatible with Android Auto. You can check your phone’s OS version in the About Device section under Settings.

    How to know if a stereo will fit your car?
    One of the easiest ways to learn if a particular stereo will fit your car is to go visit the Crutchfield website. There, you can enter the year, make, and model of your vehicle and find the stereo of your choice. Additionally, the site shows any extra installation gear you need.

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