Although more vehicles come with support for Android Car and Apple CarPlay built in, you don't have to buy a new car to get this excellent in-dash systems. There are some great aftermarket units available ̵
Important features of an aftermarket car radio
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have revolutionized car radios in recent years. When car manufacturers build a new car, the car stereo functions are generally set in stone. But Apple CarPlay and Android Auto always offer support for new and updated applications. With iOS 13, for example, Apple has added a new layout with split screen that significantly improves usability. Every car radio with Apple CarPlay received this change for free!
Various car manufacturers now offer support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. But if yours doesn't, you can get this technology by replacing your factory stereo with an aftermarket stereo. But before you choose that new head unit, you need to look at these important functions:
- Wireless support : Apple CarPlay and Android Auto were initially a wired issue, but the wireless variant of these two technologies becomes the new standard. In combination with wireless charging pads in the car, connecting to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can be as easy as getting into the car and knocking down your phone!
- Speaker Amplification : Most aftermarket stereos have much more amplification power than your factory main unit. If you want a decent volume from your speakers, you want a minimum of 20 watts (RMS). Unless you intend to add a speaker amplifier such as a Kicker Key 180.4 or an Alpine KTP-445U to your installation, you should pay attention to the available amplifier power.
- Support for HD Radio / Sirius XM : Nowadays, most aftermarket stereos support Sirius XM. HD radio is a bit rarer. That's a shame, because HD radio is a great way to get free high-definition digital music over the air.
- Capacitive touch screen : Older and less sophisticated receivers use resistive touch screens, which means you have to push long and hard on the screen to make something happen. Capacitive touch screens (such as on your phone) are much better than resistive touch screens, making this nowadays a non-optional requirement for a good car radio.
- Support for backup camera / dashcam : Support for front, side, rear camera & # 39; s or dash camera & # 39; s growing in the car radio segment. Most aftermarket receivers now support two or even three camera inputs. If your existing car radio shows you a backup camera when you reverse, this is the minimum required functionality for your replacement unit.
- Extensive equalizer / crossover support : The ability to dial in audio frequencies to achieve what you would like to hear cannot be emphasized enough. It is not good enough to adjust only the bass and treble. Fine tuning of crossover frequencies for each set of speakers (front, rear, and subwoofer) will also result in an overall cleaner sound and also extend the life of your speakers by instructing each speaker to play the frequencies for which it is designed.  Line-out preamp connections : Three pairs (6 channels) of pre-amplifier line-outs (front, rear and subwoofer) are now also a basic requirement. All good recipients have them. You must question the purchase if the recipient you are evaluating does not, or you just know how to avoid it altogether.
- Support on steering wheel controls : Most modern cars are supplied with steering wheel controls. days. You lose convenience if your aftermarket receiver has no way of having these controls manage the functions of the stereo. The most common interface solution includes the iDatalink Maestro device. You look for iDatalink support in every receiver that could replace your factory head unit.
- Bluetooth dual-phone pairing : Virtually every modern car radio can be paired with a mobile phone via Bluetooth. Some of the better stereo & # 39; s can be paired simultaneously with two cell phones, allowing both phones to make or receive calls while the stereo seamlessly switches between the two phones.
Best general: Kenwood Excelon DMX906S  Kenwood Excelon DMX906S ” width=”1200″ height=”645″ src=”/pagespeed_static/1.JiBnMqyl6S.gif” onload=”pagespeed.lazyLoadImages.loadIfVisibleAndMaybeBeacon(this);” onerror=”this.onerror=null;pagespeed.lazyLoadImages.loadIfVisibleAndMaybeBeacon(this);”/>
The Kenwood Excelon series of car radios is known for high-quality features such as stronger amplification, better quality pre-amplifier lineouts and an extensive list of modern functions. The DMX906 delivers this paradigm with striking features such as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an customizable, widget-based user interface, extensive 13-band EQ and three-way crossover controls, HD radio and support for dual Bluetooth phones.
Kenwood offers standard functions such as SiriusXM radio support and three pairs of preamp line outputs. It also offers extensive support for iDatalink Maestro, including the ability to view additional vehicle diagnostics, such as engine speed and tire pressure. The DMX906S has a 6.95-inch capacitive touchscreen and offers 22 watts (RMS) x 4 channels, which is sufficient to control almost any set of front and rear speakers without extra gain.
Kenwood DMX906S 6.95 "Digital Media Touchscreen Receiver
The Kenwood DMX906S features an incredible list of features, including wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, customizable user interface and dual phone Bluetooth support to support our choice for determine the best overall car radio receiver.
The Budget Choice: Alpine ILX-W650
The Alpine ILX-W650 has a capacitive 7-inch touchscreen and support for Apple CarPlay and Android Car with cable in a package that is less than three centimeters deep and for an extremely low price! This is the go-to unit for replacing extremely shallow factory heads.The ILX-W650 also offers a standard function list with support for iDatalink Maestro, 6-channel el preamp outputs, support for SiriusXM radio, as well as custom EQ control.
If you have a factory unit with shallow mount does not replace the age, the ILX-W650 practically begs you for a Alpine KTA-450 [19459005tebouten] mini-amplifier on the back (a supported configuration) for a total depth of less than 5 inches while 50 watts (RMS) ) is pushed per channel x 4 channels. The KTA-450 even comes with the bracket that you need to make this possible. Better yet, if this is your desired configuration, you can purchase an ILX-W650 / KTA-450 combination that will save you a few dollars.
Best DVD receiver: Pioneer AVH-2550NEX
If you need the ability to pop a DVD and video to the kids in the back seat, look no further than the Pioneer AVH-2550NEX. This device boasts a highly responsive 6.8-inch capacitive touchscreen, an adjustable display and button colors and an external remote control.
Although DVD playback is the eye-catching feature on this device, the AVH-2550NEX also impresses Apple Carpay, Android Auto, HD Radio, SiriusXM support, improved iDatalink Maestro support with vehicle diagnostics, a 13-band graphic equalizer , support for high and low pass filter and 6-channel preamp outputs. However, this device only pushes 14 watts RMS x 4 channels, so you may need an additional amplifier to control the front and rear speakers if you also try to improve the volume or reduce distortion.
Best single DIN / 9-inch screen receiver: Alpine Halo9 ILX-F309
We are starting a paradigm shift to larger displays on premium vehicles. to experience. If you are looking for something bigger than a standard Double-DIN touchscreen, the Alpine Halo9 ILX-F309 is for you! The receiver chassis uses only a single DIN space, but has a large 9-inch capacitive touchscreen that seems to float right in front of your dashboard. The screen is permanently attached to the receiver, but has flexible options for up, down and tilt.
In addition to the beautiful touchscreen, the Halo9 ILX-F309 supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, HD Radio, and offers support for SiriusXM. It also features a 9-band parametric EQ, high and low-pass filters, 6-channel preamp line-outs and support for improved iDatalink Maestro that includes vehicle diagnostics. This device has an additional eye-catching feature in that it is compatible with an optional accessory controller that manages up to eight additional devices, such as winches, LED lighting, suspension sets, and powered bed covers. Amplification is a bit light at 18 watts (RMS) x 4 channels, so an extra amplifier can be useful if you need a bit more sound.