Reviews

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 Mike Knott , Scott Roepel / 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.

Best Overall
EinCar Android 10 Touch Screen Stereo
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Summary
Summary

This seven-inch touchscreen comes outfitted with Android 10.0. It has a modern-looking user interface and sleek design.

Pros
Pros
  • Bluetooth
  • Android phone Easy-connect 
  • Steering wheel control
Cons
Cons
  • Doesn't come with a network dongle
  • Lacks speaker system ports
Best Overall
EinCar Android 10 Touch Screen Stereo
Best Value
PengXUSS Android Car Stereo
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Summary
Summary

Affordable and effective, this stereo features a 10-inch touchscreen. Equipped with GPS, this model is Wi-Fi compatible and includes 18 preset stations.

Pros
Pros
  • Features both mirror link and USB connection
  • Impressive single gig RAM
  • Powerful and not prone to overloading
  • Intuitive display
Cons
Cons
  • Only works with FM radio stations
  • Not compatible with dedicated wire harnesses
  • May require small-scale modifications to the car
Best Value
PengXUSS Android Car Stereo
Honorable Mention
Dasaita Rotatable Android Car Stereo
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Summary
Summary

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.

Pros
Pros
  • 64-gigabyte ROM
  • 4 gigabytes of RAM
  • Capable of multitasking effectively
  • Features GPS navigation and impressive memory
Cons
Cons
  • Comes at a fairly high price point
  • Compatible only with double-DIN setups
  • Screen size may block airflow
Honorable Mention
Dasaita Rotatable Android Car Stereo

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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 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

Single-DIN

A single-DIN head unit can typically fit into the dash of most standard vehicles and is generally seven by two inches. These head units are more common due to their easy-to-use controls, functionality, and price.

Double-DIN

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.

Top Brands

Dasaita 

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 two-din models built for universal compatibility. Of its most popular, the  Dasaita Rotatable Android Car Stereo stands out for its advanced tech. 

JVC Kenwood

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.

Ankeway

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

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

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.

Key Features

Display Size

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.

Compatibility

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.

Power Output

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.

Other Considerations

  • 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.

Best Android Auto Head Unit Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
EinCar Android 10 Touch Screen Stereo

Enjoy the latest in head unit technology with this double-DIN stereo unit. It comes with Android 10.0 and Android Easy Connect. The screen is nicely sized at seven inches. You’ll appreciate how responsive the screen is with moveable icons, long press, open, and fold. A unique feature of this stereo is that you can customize the screen with your own wallpaper. You’ll also appreciate the built-in instruction manual, making it easier to use the system. This system can support steering wheel controls, reverse camera display, and mirror link. You will have full functionality of your phone and apps with this stereo and its built-in Google Play Store, Twitter, Facebook, Gtalk, and Gmail. 


The downside of this unit is that it lacks stereo system features. This includes things like equalizer settings and audio ports for connecting speakers. The buttons on the side are also small and can be hard to select. You also need a separate dongle for Wi-Fi connectivity. 

Best Value
PengXUSS Android Car Stereo

Getting the benefits of modern tech in your vehicle shouldn’t break the bank. If you’re looking for something on the budget-friendly end, the PengXUSS Android Car Stereo is a fantastic choice. It features a 10-inch screen that runs on an Android 9.1 system. Incorporating GPS and a built-in FM radio, you can go high-tech and old school in the same drive. It’s easy to set your designation and connect your smartphone via either Wi-Fi or USB connection. Preloaded with maps of North America, you can use it both online and offline. The powerful 1-gigabyte RAM and 16-gigabyte ROM enable this model to handle multiple tasks simultaneously without freezing. Paired with the large screen and intuitive function, this model is a quality pick at a cost-effective price point. 


Though its large screen and smart function are desirable, this model isn’t without some downsides. For one thing, it can’t work with a dedicated wiring harness, so installation might be a bit tricky. That said, for the savings, the extra step of getting it hooked up may be worth it.

Premium Pick
Dasaita Rotatable Android Car Stereo

If you’re looking to overhaul your driving experience, the Dasaita Rotatable Android Car Stereo is a worthy candidate by all measures. Compatible with any double-DIN setup, it lets you connect through Wi-Fi. Supporting hands-free calling and music controls, this model features a sleek design that integrates into the surroundings. The touchscreen is highly responsive; and, since it has built-in maps, navigation systems work both on and offline. With video and audio output, it supports radio well. Working like a tablet, this setup incorporates three USB ports for use as a charger. It’s efficient, not prone to overheating, and the 64-gigabyte ROM keeps it working powerfully, without stalling or freezing. It might come at a higher price point than others, but given its advanced circuitry and computing power, it’s a solid investment.  


This auto head unit’s only real downsides are nominal. The large screen means you might end up blocking an air vent, but provided you have the room, it shouldn’t obstruct your movement. The other drawback is that with fancy tech comes heavy setup processes. It takes some doing to wire it into place (and you need access to an iPhone), but after it’s set up, this system will last.

Most Versatile
Ankeway Android Car Stereo Multimedia Player

Some Android auto head units are designed for navigation and voice controls. Sure, the Ankeway Android Car Stereo Multimedia Player does both, but it stands out for the crisp screen and responsiveness. It features a large, 10-inch screen with voice command compatibility. Working with both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, this system includes 18 FM stations (but it also connects to YouTube and Spotify apps). Effective on hands-free calling, you can mirror link this model or connect it via steering wheel control. Unlike other options, you can connect this model using only Android technology. It has strong processing power and 16 gigs of memory, standing out for its ability to play multimedia files without a glitch. 


A noteworthy downside is that the structure of the auto head unit is somewhat bulky and not vented well enough to withstand heat from air vents. Make sure you have sufficient room to install it, lest the heat from your car’s vents damage the system.

Honorable Mention
Jensen CAR1000 10.1

This head unit from Jensen is compatible with your Android phone. You can use the capacitive touchscreen or voice commands to control the functions of your phone. The screen is 10.1 inches and features an LCD display pixel resolution of 1024 x 600. There are three pairs of 4V RCA pre-amp outlets, two USB outlets, a backup camera input, and a microSD card input. 


The screen on this unit is significantly larger than other options on this list. You can also adjust it to get the perfect angle so you can easily see it in any lighting condition. 


Unfortunately, the large size of this screen means that it may be too large to comfortably fit on your car’s dash. It also doesn’t fit flush in your dash, so the screen sits out in front of it. This makes it more noticeable and bulkier, which creates a greater risk of theft.

Honorable Mention
Hikity Android Car Stereo with GPS

Featuring a double-DIN compatible setup, the Hikity Android Car Stereo with GPS is definitely worth a look if you’re comfortable with the wiring. It has a 10-inch screen with impressive resolution, backed by a single-gigabyte RAM and 16-gigabyte memory. The core technology uses the latest Android system to work efficiently. Compatible with Wi-Fi or data, this stereo lets you connect to the WeGo app, letting you download maps for offline navigation. It works with Bluetooth technology, so you can use it for everything from controlling a soundtrack to making calls safely. 


It comes with all the wiring you need to install it, including the camera power and input cables, RCA input and output, as well as the GPS antenna. You can hook it into the steering wheel wiring to enable easier use while you’re on the road. With a mirroring ability, you can set it up with any Android system that’s 5.1 or higher. Alternatively, you can connect via USB to control the head unit. Capable and durable, this is a worthy pick for any double-DIN setup. 


It’s worth a mention that, though this model is powerful, if you plan to use it for extended periods of time, the 16 gigs of memory may run out faster than you think. Be sure to have a backup data storage plan in order to prevent it from lagging.

Honorable Mention
Ankeway Car Stereo Double Din Stereo

Upgrade your car’s stereo with this touch screen double-DIN stereo. The screen measures seven inches and comes loaded with Android 9.1. You’ll have FM radio, GPS navigation, Bluetooth, hands-free calling, and Wi-Fi. You can attach a rearview camera to the system. A standout feature is the dual USB ports. Use the mirror link function to connect your smartphone for full functionality. You can also connect this unit to your steering wheel controls for full integration into your vehicle. The sleek design of this unit will give the interior of your car a modern look. 


Unfortunately, the buttons on the left side are quite small and can be hard to press accurately. You’ll also need to purchase additional wiring harnesses for plug-and-play integration into your vehicle. You can avoid this by splicing wires, but it won't be a clean install.

Honorable Mention
Corehan Double Din Android Car Stereo

This double DIN stereo is based on Android 9. It features a seven-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, GPS, and an AM/FM radio. It supports SWC, a rear camera, and apps from the Google Play Store. The unit also has video output for headrest monitors and supports Mirror link, so you can display an Android or iOS screen on the display.


The stereo is compatible with most navigation apps as well as offline maps, so you can get to your destination in areas where there's no signal. The company provides installation instructions as well as video tutorials and 24/7 technical support if you need assistance during setup. The system comes with a harness, RCA cables, USB cables, a GPS antenna, Bluetooth antenna, and other hardware.


One problem is that the built-in WiFi has limited range, and the GPS signal is not very strong. Also, you can't cast Netflix, YouTube TV, etc. to the display from your phone. It can also take a while for the screen to load.

Honorable Mention
Boss Audio Systems Hands-Free Receiver

Falling in the mid-range on the pricing spectrum, the Boss Audio Systems Hands-Free Receiver is compatible with both Android and Apple. It’s fairly unique in that this model has a DVD player built-in. Of course, it also connects via Bluetooth to your Google Assistant. Able to download multiple apps, including entertainment and navigation, this model also includes multiple camera ports. It works to add safety by reducing blind spots, while giving you the benefit of easier entertainment. All it takes is a shout out to Google and you can quickly access details on your area and get alerts.Compatible with radio Google Play Music and good old-fashioned CD-ROMs, this is an interesting Boss model. It works to check your calls and send out text messages, read audiobooks, and play music, making it fully functional as a modern auto head unit and a good pick for many. 


Now, truth be told, there are a lot more powerful and versatile models on the market. But do they take CDs and DVDs? This option is a terrific choice for those who still have sleeves of music in the truck and want to improve things without changing them.

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. 

FAQs

Q: Does a new system work without an antenna?

A: 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?

A: 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?

A: 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. 

Final Thoughts

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 auto head units, you’ll be singing along to your road trip soundtrack in no time.