When I was a teenager the coolest tech you could have in your car was a CD player—and this things skipped half the time. Nowadays, of course, things are very different. Many cars sold today come with in-dash touchscreen units that can interface with your smartphone. These in-dash units allow you to not only play your music from your Android smartphone, but many also give you access to news, maps, social media, and more.
Currently car manufacturers that make one or more models that support Android Auto include Abarth, Acura, Alfa Romeo, Audi, Bentley, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Ford, GMC, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar Land Rover, Jeep, Kia, Lamborghini, Lexus, Lincoln, Mahindra and Mahindra, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Opel, RAM, Renault, SEAT, Škoda, Subaru, Suzuki, Tata Motors Cars, Volkswagen, and Volvo.
Yeah, that’s a lot! But what if you don’t want to splash the cash on a new car just so you can use your smartphone with it (that would be the most expensive smartphone accessory ever)? Thankfully there are a number of suppliers that make third-party in-dash units that let you interface with your Android. Here are five units we love.
Sony XAV-AX100 6.4in Media Receiver (THE MOST FANCY OPTION)
The Sony XAV-AX100 is one of the most expensive receivers on our list, but it’s also the most full-featured. It supports Android Auto, which enables you to completely interact with your smartphone via the touchscreen display.
Features include taking calls, checking voicemails and text messages, or bringing up maps. It also supports numerous other Android Auto-compatible apps, such as those from streaming music services.
And it’s got a beautiful 6.4in screen. The Sony XAV-AX100 6.4 is around £360 on Amazon.
The Pioneer AVH-X3800DAB is another great choice. Just a hair cheaper than the Sony at around £350 on Amazon, the Pioneer AVH-X3800DAB features Android Auto support via a 6.2in touchscreen interface.
You can control your contacts, calendar, maps and more directly on your dash via a Bluetooth connection. It also comes with a DAB tuner so you can listen to your favorite radio stations in digital sound quality without distortion.
Kenwood’s DDX-4016BT is a great choice for those who are looking for a quality in-dash unit at a more affordable price point.
At £225 on Amazon, the Kenwood DDX-4016BT includes a 6.2in touchscreen, a DAB Tuner, an FM/AM radio, built-in CD and DVD player, and even USB and AUX inputs for music playback and charging.
It pairs with your Android smartphone via Bluetooth as well.
Pumpkin 7in Media Receiver (BEST VALUE FOR MONEY)
Less well known that Pioneer, Sony, and Kenwood, the Pumpkin in-dash unit is still a great choice. First, it’s much cheaper than the rest at £179 on Amazon. But it also has a much larger touchscreen display at a whopping 7 inches.
It supports both online and offline navigation apps, such as Google Maps; the ability to mirror your Android via a USB connection; and best of all even has a built-in Wi-Fi modem so you can use a 3G dongle to share your 3G connection with everyone in the car.
The most affordable on the list, the ATOTA is only £159 from Amazon. It’s compatible with most Android apps including Tomtom, Waze, iGO, Google Maps, Here, Spotify, Pandora, Play Music, Amazon, and more and it also features built-in radio tuners, a backup camera, a dash camera, Bluetooth hands-free capabilities, steering wheel key control, and more! Oh, and that 7-inch touchscreen is beautiful.