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There’s almost nothing worse than a bad-sounding car stereo. No matter what you do, you can’t drive your car from the outside, and being stuck inside with awful sound is less than ideal. You can fiddle with a worn-out sound system and never hit the sweet spot, but for most cars, it’s possible to replace the head unit to get better sound and connectivity features old systems don’t have.
It’s easy to find dozens of generic head units, but it’s best to find a trusted brand from a well-known seller. The touchscreen car stereo purchase is just your first step in the process, so you’ll want to have the option to get support, repairs, and a replacement if needed.
BOSS Audio Systems BV9358B Car Multifunctional Stereo Receiver
This easy-to-use touch screen stereo is also a DVD, CD, USB, and MP3 player with Bluetooth calling capability. It can also connect to a backup camera for added versatility..
- Display is large and easy to read
- Produces good sound quality with your car’s stock speaker system
- Volume control seems lagging
- Installation instructions are very confusing
- Hands-free microphone needs to be stronger
aboutBit Bluetooth 7 inch HD Touchscreen Car Audio Receiver
It features a sizable 7-inch HD 1024 x 600 LCD display and a responsive, smart touch screen that puts all your controls at the tip of your fingers. This unit supports both iOS and Android smartphones.
- Super affordable
- Offers a clear, customizable display that’s easy to read
- Comes with an HD rearview camera included with HD night vision and 170-degree wide-angle lens
- This unit doesn’t come with a CD or a DVD player
- Not two-way compatible with your iPhone
- Requires you to plug it in with your USB charging cable
Corehan Double DIN Stereo Car Audio Receiver
This model is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, allowing you to use your smartphone to make calls, get directions, send and receive messages, and listen to music, all hands-free
- Able to play music, audiobooks, and podcasts from multiple formats
- Offers a clear and easy-to-read display
- Allows for customizable graphics for certain makes of vehicles
- Not compatible with all vehicle makes
- Graphics customization only works on certain vehicles
- Android Auto doesn’t automatically resume after ending a Bluetooth call.
To select the best touchscreen car stereos, I reviewed pricing, functionality, customer reviews, and quality ratings. I selected head units with the best reviews possible, but I also looked at ease of installation and longevity. Paying someone to install a stereo can add up to big bucks, so it’s good to have the option to install it yourself. I also selected screens that fit in the largest number of vehicles, as a big screen can be a big pain in older cars.
I also kept entertainment in mind, because that’s the primary purpose of a car stereo. I selected head units that offer the broadest possible feature set, including things like Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, and SiriusXM tuner compatibility. You can be confident that these touchscreen car stereos are packed with the most desirable features.
Best Touchscreen Stereo Reviews & Recommendations
Responsive, easily visible screen
Single-DIN size makes for an easy fit
Wireless smartphone connectivity
Powerful and packed with features
Needs an adapter to mount in a space other than Single-DIN
Single USB output
Wireless smartphone integration
Brightness settings hard to dial in
Screen angle adjustments make it easily viewable
Single-DIN installation fits large range of vehicles
Screen washes out in direct sunlight
Some report finicky Apple CarPlay connectivity
Huge, vibrant screen
Five-band EQ and expansive features
Large screen can block parts of dash
Additional equipment required for SiriusXM
Not the largest screen
Touch-swipe menus can be confusing at times
Smartphone music streaming and calls
SiriusXM connection can be spotty with aftermarket tuner
Lacks Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
I picked the Pioneer DMH-WT7600NEX as the best overall touchscreen car stereo system because it offers an excellent mix of screen size, features, ease of installation, and quality. I chose the Boss BE950WCPA for value because it gives up very little in the pursuit of a good price.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Touchscreen Stereo
The most important thing to consider before buying a stereo is the size. The best touchscreen car stereo system in the world won’t do you any good if it doesn’t fit your car. It’s also good to check for overall fit, meaning the space the screen takes up on your dash. Air vents and physical buttons can be obstructed by a giant screen, which will be annoying even if you love the display. That said, it’s possible to buy adapters and brackets that allow you to install single-DIN head units in larger spaces, but that’s an added cost you’ll have to pay on top of the purchase and installation price.
It’s also good to research the things you need to install an aftermarket unit. The product itself might be just one of several components you’ll need for installation. Depending on your vehicle, you may need separate adapters to enable steering wheel controls, and you’ll have to think about wiring a backup camera if that’s on your to-do list.
Finally, consider the rest of your stereo. If you’re upgrading an old unit, it might be time to spring for new speakers and wiring as well. Connecting a brand-new head unit to a bunch of tired old speakers probably won’t yield the results you were hoping for.
You have a couple of options when it comes to choosing a touchscreen head unit. The lower-cost option is to prioritize the touchscreen and price over all other functionality. On average, expect to pay $300 or less for a budget touchscreen stereo.The second option is to prioritize features and functionality. Most touchscreen car stereo systems with robust feature sets start for around $500, but it’s possible to spend more than $1,500.
You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.
Q: Are CD players being phased out?
A: While it’s common to find touchscreen car stereo systems without a CD player, we’re not yet in a place where they can be phased out completely. Many people have older cars with old stereos that play CDs and many companies still make them, so we’re likely to have them around for some time to come.
Q: Are touchscreens best?
A: “Best” depends on your needs and wants when it comes to car audio. If you prioritize a display and want the graphical component that they bring, a touchscreen may be best, but if you want a simpler experience, there are dozens of straightforward head units on the market.
Q: Can you put a touchscreen in any car?
A: The stereos in many newer cars are integrated with several vehicle functions, like climate and safety systems. Even if a replacement fits, which in many cases it won’t, you’ll lose all of the functionality benefits that a tightly wound in-vehicle ecosystem brings.
Q: Can I install a backup camera?
A: You can install a backup camera with a standalone display, so you’re not required to buy a new stereo to get a camera. If you want an all-in-one solution, many touchscreen car stereos offer connections for backup cameras, but it’s an extra cost.
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