LAST UPDATED: April 10, 2021
Best Touch Screen Car Stereos: Upgrade Your Audio System
The best touch screen car stereos to amp up your audio system.
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PUBLISHED ON April 10, 2021
When it comes to putting together a banging sound system for your ride, most people focus on speakers and subwoofers. Those components are definitely key in creating an envious, crisp, high-quality sound, don’t get us wrong. But, let’s not overlook another high-tech must-have: the touch screen stereo receiver.
A good-quality touch screen stereo will take your car’s sound system to the next level. Not to mention they’re super versatile, allowing you to control numerous car systems from the same screen. Some even come with rearview cameras and DVD players. Thanks to rapid advances in technology, touch screen stereos are becoming more and more affordable and multifunctional. However, you don’t need to buy or lease a high-end foreign automobile to be able to have a touch screen stereo. Check out our extensive product review and buyer’s guide to find the perfect touch screen stereo for you.
It features built-in Bluetooth for hands-free calling and audio streaming, and it supports three Bluetooth devices. It works with SiriusXM and has a DVD/CD receiver with an internal amp.
- Quick and easy to install
- Screen resolution is clear and crisp
- Simple to connect various Bluetooth devices, adjust sound, and use the interface
- Bluetooth may not work if your device is not in close proximity
- Doesn't come with a harness for installation
- AppRadio may not function correctly
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
This 7-inch LCD touchscreen is a well-rounded multimedia device that features Bluetooth audio and calling, a DVD/CD player, AM/FM radio, and an AUX jack.
- Vibrant, customizable display
- Bluetooth connects to your car’s speakers for clear, loud sound
- Impressive three-year warranty
- Installation can be confusing
- Touch screen can lag somewhat in response time
- You may need to install a separate amplifier for optimal function
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Touch Screen Car Stereos
- Stream music and play movies. You can control various aspects of your entertainment system with just your fingertips, such as changing a CD or playing a DVD or MP3 player. You can also stream music from a USB drive.
- Use Bluetooth. In addition to using your fingers to access the controls, many of the best touch screen radios have Bluetooth capability. This enables you to play music from digital devices, make phone calls, and perform other tasks.
- Operate it hands-free. If you frequently talk on your phone while driving, a touch screen stereo will enable you to do so hands-free. It's much safer to make or take phone calls without fumbling for the buttons on your electronic device.
- Appease all passengers. The best touch screen stereo will allow you to play one type of media or program in the front of your vehicle and another type in the back. For example, you may prefer to listen to classic rock while your kids watch a Disney movie. A touch screen car radio with dual-zone listening will enable you to do both.
- See a big and bright display. Many older model stereos feature small digital numbers on a dimly lit screen. They are much harder to read compared to a modern touch screen car stereo. The best touch screen car stereo has a bright and colorful display that easily allows you to see and use the controls.
- Drive safely. Touch screens are the safest and easiest way to operate a car stereo. Dials and push-button controls take a bit more concentration to operate, forcing your eyes off the road. Using a touch screen is much less distracting. Some brands even feature backup cameras.
Listen to HD radio. A touch screen radio will enable you to connect to local HD radio stations. These channels have better signals and better sound quality compared to regular radio stations.
- Get more power. An aftermarket touch screen car radio usually packs more power than the stereo that comes standard with your vehicle. You don't need to change your entire audio system to get a better sound.
- Control your phone. The best touch screen stereo will allow you to download an app so you can control your phone through the stereo's touch screen. The apps vary according to the manufacturer.
Types of Touch Screen Car Stereos
Single vs. Double DIN
The German standards body Deutsches Institut für Normung created the term DIN. It refers to the height and width of a vehicle's stereo head unit. This standard is used by most automakers and manufacturers, which makes it easy for you to replace an OEM stereo with an aftermarket unit. Radios that are around 2 inches tall are typically single DIN, while devices that are twice as tall are double DIN. Touch screen stereos are usually double DIN; however, there are some single DIN head units with slide-out touch screens.
JVC & Kenwood
Kenwood Corporation was founded in Japan in 1946. Following a merger with JVC, the Tokyo-based company further cemented its role as a leader in consumer electronics. It manufactures both car audio and home audio products. One popular product is the Kenwood 6.2" 2-Din Receiver.
Pioneer started as an audio products manufacturer in 1938 when Nozomu Matsumoto made speakers in his garage. The multinational corporation has since designed and distributed various digital entertainment products in addition to car audio equipment. One top product is the Pioneer AVH-X390BS Double Din Bluetooth in-Dash DVD/CD/AM/FM Car Stereo Receiver.
BOSS Audio has been manufacturing audio and video products for over 30 years. Based in Oxnard, Calif., with offices in Shenzhen, China, the company sells hundreds of car, marine, and Powersports products in 130 countries. One recommended product is the BOSS Audio Systems BV9976B Car DVD Player.
Touch Screen Car Stereo Pricing
- Under $100: It is possible to find a touch screen car stereo in this price range. However, keep in mind that a cheap touch screen car stereo will likely be less durable and have fewer features.
- $100-$300: Many good-quality touch screen stereos are available at this price point. They offer a wide range of options, so it's important you choose the key options you require to find the right unit for your vehicle.
- $300 and up: Premium touch screen car stereos can cost several hundred dollars. They generally have larger displays, numerous features, and may be geared towards specific makes and models.
Choose a touch screen stereo that's good in quality and has a decent-sized display. If you don't want to strain your eyes to see the screen, consider a bigger display with larger icons and easy-to-read graphics. Displays with information such as an album's name, artist, and song are helpful, as are those with split-screen capability. On the flip side, be mindful of the amount of space you have in your vehicle to accommodate a display Don’t get one that will be distracting or overly large.
A touch screen stereo will typically have several connection options. This may include Bluetooth receivers, CD/DVD readers, USB ports, flash card readers, and AUX jacks. Decide which of these features are most important. For example, you may want a USB port to play music but also to recharge a device.
- Compatibility. Make sure your iPhone and/or Android devices are compatible with a touch screen car deck before you make a purchase. Don't forget to consider the types of devices other members in your household use. The best touch screen head unit should function with both types of operating systems, but some are only compatible with one or the other.
- Voice Activation. The best touch screen car radio will allow you to control the system using voice commands. This hands-free feature allows you to keep your eyes on the road yet still take a phone call, change a CD, or carry out other functions. It's a convenient and safe option.
- Steering Wheel Controls. Many new cars feature controls on the steering wheel to operate the audio system. This allows you to quickly and easily turn up or down the volume, change the station, or take a call without taking your hands off the wheel. Note: make sure you select a touch screen stereo that is capable of connecting to the steering wheel controls before making a purchase.
- Backup Camera. A rearview camera is a great addition to any touch screen car deck. It is particularly helpful when you're parking. Some brands have sensors that alert you to obstacles that are in close proximity to your bumper. Others feature tips to help you park. These cameras are useful and have dropped in price in recent years.
- Equalizer. If you are an audiophile, you may want to purchase a touch screen car stereo that has a built-in equalizer. This allows you to control various frequencies to get the best sound out of your audio system. For example, if you want more bass and less treble on a song, an equalizer will help you make the right adjustments.
- Wi-Fi Antenna. A touch screen car audio system with a Wi-Fi antenna will help you locate Wi-Fi connections. This will allow you to do many things, such as download maps for GPS or download apps. It is a convenient feature that can be particularly useful if you don't want to drain your data usage.
- Storage. Some touch screen car stereos have more storage capability than others, so it's important to check how much expandable storage a particular model contains. The more storage it has, the more music and videos you can keep directly on the stereo. This is useful if you don't want to pair a device with the unit and just want to play audio and video files directly from it.
- Wireless Remote. This feature is convenient if you want a system that can play DVDs and other videos. Passengers can watch a movie without having to touch the screen in order to control features such as volume. A wireless remote can be used to control other functions as well.
Best Touch Screen Car Stereos Reviews & Recommendations 2021
This stereo features built-in Bluetooth for hands-free calling and audio streaming, and it supports three Bluetooth devices at once. It works with a SiriusXM Sxv300 satellite radio tuner and supports new tune mix, traffic & weather now, and sports flash features. It has a DVD/CD receiver with an internal amp, and it's Siri Eyes Free with compatible devices. A built-in iPod, iPhone, and iPad control-optional adapter are required for viewing video content.
Installation is quick and easy, and the sound and picture quality are great. The screen resolution is clear and crisp, and the unit looks lean and elegant. It also pairs nicely with both iPhone and Android devices. There’s no lag in the touch screen, and the display is nice and bright. You can also customize the colors to your preferences, and there is an option to install a rearview camera. Overall, it's simple to connect various Bluetooth devices, adjust sound, and use the interface.
One problem is the Bluetooth microphone may sound a little fuzzy during calls, and the Bluetooth may not work at all if your device is not in close proximity to the stereo. Also, the App Radio may not function correctly. The stereo does not come with a harness for installation, and the video screen does not work unless the car is stopped and the parking brake is applied.
Just because you’re a budget-savvy buyer doesn’t mean you can’t get a high-quality, user-friendly touch screen car audio system, and the aboutBit Bluetooth 7 inch HD Touchscreen Car Audio Receiver is an excellent example. It features a sizable 7-inch HD 1024 x 600 LCD display and a responsive smart touch screen that puts all your controls at your fingertips. This unit supports both iOS and Android smartphones. However, it only links to your iPhone via a one-way control, which requires the use of your USB charging cable. It does connect wirelessly with two-way control to Android devices, though.
This model is compatible with Bluetooth 5.0 for hands-free calling and audio streaming. Unlike most models, this touch screen stereo also comes equipped with an included waterproof HD rearview camera. You get HD night vision and 170 degrees of ultra-wide viewing range with that. You also get AM/FM radio with 30-station programmable memory, as well as SD/USB/AUX support.
The biggest drawback to this ultra budget-friendly touch screen stereo is that you don’t get a CD or a DVD player with it. We can understand not getting a DVD player, but a CD player seems pretty standard nowadays. However, with the capability to stream all your favorite music apps, many people don’t miss it at all.
The BOSS Audio Systems BV9986BI Car DVD Player gets a shout out for being a well-priced, high-tech unit that delivers top-notch sound and graphics. Not just an audio system, you can connect this receiver to your Bluetooth to be able to make and answer calls hands-free while driving. The Bluetooth connects directly to your car’s speakers, so you don’t need to use a separate, substandard, tinny speaker with poor sound quality.
This unit is also a multimedia player, so you and your passengers can enjoy movies and shows on DVD. You can also listen to music via AM/FM radio, CD, or Bluetooth. You can also use the USB and SD ports for even greater options. It includes an AUX jack so you can plug in your smartphone or MP3 player directly.
This unit gives you 85 watts of power, although the manufacturer does recommend installing an additional amplifier to get the best sound possible. The 7-inch display features an impressive multi-color illumination that provides a clear, vibrant picture. With a three-year warranty, we are hard-pressed to find much that we don’t like about this stereo, except that it can be difficult to wire up yourself. Oh, and while it’s capable of supporting a backup camera, it doesn’t come with the unit and you have to purchase it separately.
JVC's 6.2-inch double-DIN car receiver features a resistive touch monitor, 13-band graphic equalizer, SiriusXM, AM/FM tuner, an anti-theft detachable faceplate, and a peak power output of 50 watts x 4 channels. It plays CDs, DVDs, and MP3s and is compatible with both iOS and Android devices. The stereo also features Pandora, iHeartRadio, and Spotify apps.
This JVC receiver has a lot of great features and is very easy to install. The Bluetooth works well and produces crystal clear calls. The touchscreen is very responsive, and it looks good. The interface is excellent; you don't need to scroll through multiple screens to adjust the volume. If you want to skip a track, you simply swipe the screen instead of hitting a button. The system sounds great, and the radio reception is strong.
One downside to this receiver is that there's a delayed response when transitioning between certain screens, such as the folders on a USB drive. The screen is also very difficult to see in bright sunlight, and it lacks color button combinations.
One of the few touch screen stereos on our list with built-in navigation is the Jensen CMN86 6.8 inch LED Multimedia Touch Screen Car Stereo. It features a decent-sized 6.8-inch LED high resolution screen that makes it easy to see where you’re going and what your options are. The maps are large and you get 11 million points of interest with voice prompted directions.
This model also comes equipped with Siri and Google voice assist capabilities so you can speak commands to play music, podcasts, pull up navigation, and more. The Bluetooth pairs directly with your car’s speakers to provide a high-quality, easy-to-hear sound that’s great for making and receiving calls. This unit also comes equipped with a front and a rear back-up camera. The front camera is video only, while the rear camera is equipped with video and sound.
This unit doesn’t come with CD or DVD capabilities, but you do get AM/FM radio with up to 30 preset stations, as well as the ability to stream music through your USB port or Bluetooth. A one-year warranty is a nice touch.
Pioneer again gets high marks for its AVH-X390BS Bluetooth in-Dash Car Stereo Receiver. A 6.2-inch WVGA clear resistive touch screen is uber responsive and crystal clear. It features 13 background display customization options with 112 key colors, brightness control, an illumination timer, and customizable home screen shortcuts as a few of its key functions.
This model offers four channels with 50 watts of peak power output with a cool Mixtrax function that lets you blend songs together DJ-style. It offers not one, but two Bluetooth connections simultaneously. It’s compatible with Apple and Android systems and lets you preset Sirius XM, Pandora, and Spotify stations.
The DVD video playback is crystal clear, as is the MP3, CD, and all other audio playback. This unit is also back-up camera ready, although you have to purchase the back-up camera separately.
Our biggest beef with this high-end touch screen stereo is that it’s a little on the pricey side. It can also be tough to install on your own if you’re not tech savvy.
The Planet Audio P9640B Touch Screen Car Stereo deserves a shout out for being a comprehensive, user-friendly, well-priced touch screen car stereo. Like most others, it’s Bluetooth compatible so you can make and take calls hands-free, as well as stream all your favorite music apps, like Pandora, Spotify, Amazon Music, and more. You can also play your choice of videos or movies through the Bluetooth connection.
Other options for listening to music include CD, USB and SD ports, AUX, and an AM/FM tuner. This stereo also comes ready to connect to a rearview camera, which you have to purchase separately. There’s also an optional (and separately sold) steering wheel interface that gives you even more user versatility.
With this unit, you can get an impressive 80 watts x 4 max power, but you’re likely going to need to purchase an external amplifier to make sure your speakers are capable. An impressive three-year warranty protects you from any unforeseen manufacturer’s defects.
One thing to note, though, is that you need to measure the dimensions of your space prior to purchasing this stereo so it fits properly.
This stereo features an AM/FM radio, built-in GPS navigation module, aux audio/video input, Bluetooth, steering wheel audio control, a Toshiba pre-amplifier, and a nine-band equalizer. It has a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen with a 1000cd/m2 TFT-LCD display screen that's designed for optimal viewing in the daytime. It also has Wi-Fi connectivity and a hands gesture recognition sensor.
The sound quality is great, and it features standalone subwoofer control. The stereo boots up quickly, and the screen is clear and bright even on sunny days. Overall, the user interface is fast and smooth, the touchscreen is very responsive, and you can transition from screen to screen rather quickly. Installation is fast and easy, and the company provides good customer support.
One problem is that the receiver doesn't always automatically connect with your smartphone or Bluetooth-enabled device. Also, you need a separate adapter for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and the user manual is poorly written.
- Before purchasing a touch screen car stereo, measure your vehicle's head unit to determine if it is a single- or double-DIN unit. Single-DIN units will require a new dash kit.
- When changing your dash kit to install a touch screen stereo, be careful not to scratch the original one or the new one during installation. Consider consulting a professional if you are not confident in installing it by yourself.
- The best touch screen stereo will produce good-quality audio. Consider one with EQ presets, adaptable fine-tuning, enhanced processors, and amplifiers to get the best sound out of your system.
- If you have problems with Bluetooth connectivity, the firmware may need an update. Check the manufacturer's website to fix connection issues. The update process is usually simple and shouldn't take much time to complete.
Q: Do touch screen car stereos come with GPS?
Some touch screen stereos come equipped with GPS, although many users are increasingly relying on their smartphones for GPS navigation, as opposed to their car stereo.
Q: What other items do I need to install a touch screen car stereo in my vehicle?
If your vehicle currently has a single-DIN unit, you will require a double-DIN dash installation kit. You may also need a wiring harness during installation and aux cables for connectivity. Depending on the strength and capability of your car’s speakers, you may also need an external amplifier.
Q: Can you use the DVD player in a touch screen car stereo while the car is in motion?
Many aftermarket touch screen stereos will only work if the parking brake is applied. There are ways to work around this function, but it's not recommended due to safety concerns.
Our pick for the best touch screen car stereo is the Pioneer In-Dash DVD Receiver with 6.2" Display, Bluetooth, SiriusXM-Ready. It's easy to install, the display is nice and bright, and there's no lag on the touch screen. It's also customizable and has an input for a rearview camera.
For a less expensive option, consider the aboutBit Bluetooth 7 inch HD Touchscreen Car Audio Receiver. It has a high-quality, easy-to-read display and includes an HD rearview camera.