Best Android Auto Head Units: Increase Your Car’s Audio Capabilities
Enhance your listening experience with these best-rated Android Auto head units.
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BY Andra DelMonico / LAST UPDATED ON July 28, 2019
Adding an Android auto head unit to your car gives you more options when it comes to choosing tunes, directions, and style. Many cars come with a boring head unit that’s only capable of playing music. Choosing your own Android head unit gives you much more customization. You can connect it to your phone, have it guide you with GPS, and listen to a larger selection of songs through Spotify, Pandora, etc. Here are the best Android auto head units you should consider if you’re looking to upgrade.
This 7-inch touchscreen comes outfitted with Android 10.0. It has a modern-looking user interface and sleek design.
- Android phone Easy-connect
- Steering wheel control
- Doesn't come with a network dongle
- Lacks speaker system ports
Affordable and effective, this stereo features a 10-inch touchscreen. Equipped with GPS, this model is Wi-Fi compatible and includes 18 preset stations.
- Features both mirror link and USB connection
- Impressive single gig RAM
- Powerful and not prone to overloading
- Intuitive display
- Only works with FM radio stations
- Not compatible with dedicated wire harnesses
- May require small-scale modifications to the car
A high-end addition to your sound system, this powerful 10-inch auto head unit is compatible with any ride that features a double-DIN setup.
- 64-gigabyte ROM
- 4 gigabytes of RAM
- Capable of multitasking effectively
- Features GPS navigation and impressive memory
- Comes at a fairly high price point
- Compatible only with double-DIN setups
- Screen size may block airflow
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Benefits of Android Auto Head Units
- Wireless connectivity. Having an Android Auto head unit gives you the freedom to connect your smartphone or any other Bluetooth-enabled device wirelessly. This allows you to listen to your personal library of songs, audiobooks, and more.
- Improved sound functionality. The best Android Auto head unit will let you customize the sound of your audio system. While you can adjust settings with regular car head units, you’ll find more advanced features included with an aftermarket Android unit.
- Multiple connection options. While you get the wireless Bluetooth connection feature, many Android head units also include several other ways to connect devices. These options are USB and AUX cables that allow you to plug in MP3 players, iPods, iPads, and any other device that can connect with these cables.
- Personal style. A new, aftermarket head unit is one way to add your own personal style to your vehicle. Some even allow you to customize the colors to match your vehicle’s interior or exterior.
- Easy control. When compared to an OEM head unit, a new Android Auto head unit will make accessing your music and phone easier and safer. The screen of an aftermarket unit will be much larger, making it simpler to comprehend. Some even let you go completely hands-free and speak commands to access information.
Types of Android Auto Head Units
A single-DIN head unit can typically fit into the dash of most standard vehicles and is generally 7 by 2 inches. These head units are more common due to their easy-to-use controls, functionality, and price.
The major difference between a single-DIN and double-DIN head unit is its size; double-DIN head units are twice the size of their counterparts. Other than that, they have more advanced features and controls.
A dedicated manufacturer of Android electronics, this company has a wide range of auto head units for all types of vehicles. Based out of Guangzhou, China, this company is fairly new to the market, but is quickly gaining merit for its high-quality gear. Among its selections for Android are equipment fitted with GPS and double-DIN models built for universal compatibility. Of its most popular, the Dasaita Rotatable Android Car Stereo stands out for its advanced tech.
With headquarters in Yokohama, Japan, JVC Kenwood is an internationally known name in the electronics industry. Having merged with Kenwood in 2008, the pair gained an even more substantial market share. Traded on under the ticker name JYP, this company continues to innovate and manufacture a whole host of consumer electronics. One of its most popular double-DIN head units is the JVC Digital Media Receiver for Android.
Based in China, Ankeway began through domestic distribution, quickly expanding onto the international market. Known for its vehicle electronics, this brand is highly reviewed by consumers. Reputed as a line of products at cost-effective prices, it focuses on simple, straightforward designs on a budget. Among its both budget- and user-friendly auto head unit selections is the Ankeway Android Car Stereo Multimedia Player.
Boss Audio is an international company that manufactures audio devices, such as marine audio electronics, car stereos, and Powersports products. BOSS Audio has been in operation for over 30 years and is headquartered in Oxnard, Calif. BOSS products are sold in more than 130 countries worldwide, in storefront retail centers, and on online shops. The Boss Audio Systems Hands-Free Receiver is one of its top-rated units.
ATOTO is a car electronics company with a special focus on car multimedia devices, headrests, and OEM equipment. The company was established in 2008 by Jay Yang. The company’s manufacturing base is in Dongguan, China, but its products are sold worldwide through online shops. This company has some apex head units in the market, such as the ATOTO A6 Double-DIN Android Stereo.
Android Auto Head Unit Pricing
- Under $100: In this price range, you will find mostly single-DIN players. They may come with Bluetooth and a few other features like Pandora, Spotify, and a GPS device. You can also find a few double-DIN head units, but they won’t have as many features.
- $100 to $300: In this price range, you will find models that have more extensive features, such as CD and DVD players plus USB capabilities. You’ll also find double-DIN head units with advanced features and high-definition touch screens.
- Over $300: Here, you will find more high-quality and premium Android head units. They will have all the benefits of the previous choices but can also include Wi-Fi options and more interactive features with your smartphone.
With an upgraded Android head unit, you will get a wider selection of touchscreen sizes and colors. The display size depends on whether you get a single-DIN or a double-DIN unit. The screen size of a double-DIN system will be larger and offer more options and features to control your music, answer your smartphone, or control the GPS. You can also opt to get a folding display screen to stow away when not in use or hide the screen if you don’t want to be bothered by the light it emits.
You want to make sure the Android Auto head unit is compatible with both your phone and your car. While many Android phones will be able to connect easily with the system, many older phones may not be able to. Check the guide to see what phones it operates with before you purchase the unit. You will also want to check the compatibility with your vehicle; not every unit is equipped to fit in every car.
For cars that are not fit with an onboard amplifier, the unit’s stereo provides power to the car’s speaker system. To make sure you are getting the proper amount of sound from your speakers, check the deck’s RMS rating and watts per channel. The RMS power rating is the amount of power the head unit gives at a constant rate. More watts equals more power for the speakers.
- Playback Options. This includes the different apps you can download through the display unit and the added features, such as USB cable connections. More examples include DVD player, CD player, Radio, MP3 player, Auxiliary ports, Bluetooth, Pandora, Spotify, and Wi-Fi. There is a wide range of playback options and connectivity features to play music and videos.
- Anti-Theft Protection. While units may be larger and easy to see through car windows, many can easily be stored away out of sight. You can buy a head unit with a face that can be detached and locked up in the glove compartment or the trunk when you leave the vehicle.
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Tips for Android Auto Head Units
- Make sure to download the highest-quality audio and video before streaming from your smartphone. This ensures you hear the best version of the song or movie and can unleash the full potential of the device.
- You should disconnect the battery when installing a new head unit in your car. This way, you don’t risk exposing yourself to a live wire or blowing a fuse. If the car battery is activated during installation, you risk damaging the car stereo.
- You can avoid paying for a GPS navigation system if you have access to Android Auto and a touchscreen display. You can simply access your location straight from Google Maps or Apple Maps through your smartphone.
- An upgraded head unit is not a solution to making the speakers in your car perform better. To achieve this, consider completely overhauling the speaker system. A head unit may allow you to get a better sounding system but cannot fix terrible OEM speakers.
Q: Does a new system work without an antenna?
The radio reception will be weaker without the antenna. However, if you’re connecting to the radio through the internet, your car stereo will still stream radio. Alternatively, you can switch on your smartphone radio and connect it to the car stereo via Bluetooth.
Q: What Android device is supported by Android Auto?
If your Android smartphone or device is running on Android 5.0 Lollipop or above, you should be able to access Android Auto. Those who have the latest update, Android 6.0 Marshmallow, will be able to connect without issue. You can check to see if your device is compatible by seeing what version of Android you have.
Q: How do I pair my Android device?
This depends on what type of system your new unit comes with. For those with Android Auto, all you have to do is download the Android Auto app and connect through it. Other units come with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and can be accessed through your device’s settings.
Ready to pick out the best Android Auto head for your ride? The EinCar Android 10 Touch Screen Stereo is sure to impress with Android Phone Easy Connect, Bluetooth, and a sleek design.
If you want savings, though, the PengXUSS Android Car Stereo holds up well and is extremely affordable. Equipped with one of these units, you’ll be singing along to your road trip soundtrack in no time.