LAST UPDATED: July 28, 2019
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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PUBLISHED 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.
Here’s a diverse double-DIN car navigation stereo with versatile connectivity, including a reverse camera, AUX audio, and USB connections.
- System boots up quickly
- Includes AUX inputs
- User-friendly interface
- Easy access to apps and GPS
- Features responsive HD, 7-inch touchscreen
- Not as effective with AM radio frequencies
- Small issues when launching the system
- Incompatible with certain steering setups
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 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 seven by two 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 two-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.
Best Android Auto Head Unit Reviews & Recommendations 2021
The ATOTO A6 is a double-DIN system and is made specifically with Android devices in mind. It is developed with the popular Android Marshmallow operating system. The addition of a quick booting system allows users to start the car and access the device and all its apps within two seconds.
Another feature we like is the additional brightness levels on the display screen. ATOTO enhanced the brightness capabilities found in Android phones and made them 14-percent brighter than the average car stereo. This allows you to see the screen better and not have to worry about blocking direct sunlight. The device supports USB devices with up to 256 gigabytes of storage and comes with three USB interfaces, one micro SD card slot, and a backup camera.
A downside to this model is it may not pick up some AM radio stations, and if it does, you may get a bit of static. Also, the apps may either freeze up upon first opening or take around 30 seconds to properly launch. You may also get some incompatibility issues with some steering wheel controls and need an adapter to connect it.
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 is 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 getting it hooked up may be worth it.
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.
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 handsfree 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.
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.
Featuring a double-DIN compatible setup, the Hikity Android Car Stereo with GPS is definitely worth a look if you’re comfortable with 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.
It might come with a higher price tag, but the Kenwood Excelon Capacitive Touch Multimedia Receiver is one of the most technologically advanced models out there. It was built with a focus on safety, aiming to optimize voice control without sacrificing its abilities as a touchscreen. Equipped with both Google Maps and Waze, this model has four camera inputs to enhance its safety features by virtually eliminating your blind spots. At just under 7 inches, this LCD panel has an impressive resolution. What’s even better? It has a streamlined fit so that you don’t have to work around your air vents. Compatible with Apple tech as well, this Android Auto model was built to improve both your driving and listening experience.
Now, it’s worth mentioning that if you want safety, this is a great pick, but if you want entertainment, it doesn’t hold up. This model isn’t meant for perusing TikTok—rather it’s built to prioritize safety and keeps music and video in the background.
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.
Hitting the nail on the head in terms of design and function, the Podofo Double DIN Android Car Stereo checks all the right boxes. For starters, it’s built to be compatible with both Android and iOS mirror link. It features a large touchscreen that sits well in the dash. With an FM radio and Wi-Fi capacity, it keeps you connected efficiently. Compatible with steering wheel connections, this includes a backup camera for extra security. You can hook it up via USB or opt for the mirroring feature, that gives you from-phone commands. Either way, it connects to a voice assistant, letting you make calls and adjust the sound system without running a safety risk on the road. The screen’s resolution is crisp and the 16-gigabyte memory makes it effective for entertainment. Safe and easy to install, this is a popular model for good reason.
One issue worth mentioning is that this model is only 7 inches. Sure, it’s a nice screen you can see clearly, but it is a good 3 inches smaller than a lot of other options. If screen size isn’t a concern (or you’re concerned about obstructions, this is a good way to go.
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.
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.
Ready to pick out the best android auto head for your ride? The ATOTO A6 Double-DIN Android Stereo is an easy choice, with its high functionality and easy setup. 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.