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636 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 240126 22-Aug-2018 08:24
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Looking to get a new head unit for car.

Lots of brands available but I want suggestions for best user interface.

Has someone done research or know the best options out there?
And where is the best to buy from?

I can do single or double din.


Voice gives context

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  Reply # 2077215 22-Aug-2018 08:26
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Asking someone else what they find a good UI isn't going to be useful without some context on what you find "good". 


I think pick a reputable brand, with local support and go and take a play with it. 



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 2077250 22-Aug-2018 09:36
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I would say that Android is the way to go - mostly because of the apps. For example, you can get an ODB dongle for your car's diagnostic port and then run an ODB app on the radio. That's just one example, there are lots more and you get the flexibility to choose what suits you.


Beyond that, consider the controls. A cheap unit will do everything off the touch screen. That is OK for things like selecting the radio app and choosing a channel but for setting the volume, you cannot beat a proper rotary knob. That is much easier, faster and above all safer to use than trying to hit and hold a tiny spot on the touch screen. If you car has steering wheel controls available then you need to make sure that your chosen unit supports those. Many do, even the cheap ones.


Next, you need to decide how you want to play your own music on the system. Bluetooth from you phone, an aux in connector, an iPod port, a memory card slot or a port for a USB stick? Choose what you want and make sure that you get it. Take care that the unit that you select can really do what you want. I have seen some that support bluetooth and GPS but not both at once.


Finally, there is the issue of a phone interface. Do you want one or not?


The above may be more than you thought of as UI issues but they are all important to get right.


As for where to get the unit, if you are not confident about DIY you should ask your mechanic to recommend a good local specialist. Otherwise, have a look on AliX. You can get some good stuff there and you can also get bezels etc specific to individual cars.



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  Reply # 2077251 22-Aug-2018 09:37
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And are you meaning Apple vs Android, or just a "standard" headunit ? 


Personally, we put a JVC into our Mazda a while back, double DIN, USB/MP3, CD, Aux in etc, was around $230 fully installed. I wanted the BT version but SWMBO refused :-p


Had no issues with it, and does what we want. Plays music.



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  Reply # 2077259 22-Aug-2018 10:18
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My vote = Alpine. Their car radios are awesome.

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  Reply # 2077266 22-Aug-2018 10:40
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What phone do you have? Personally I'd get something that supports Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. iOS12 will support 3rd party Map apps, using Apple Maps for Nav was my main issue with it before. 




Personally looking at a Sony AX100. Very few others seem to have a rotary volume knob now days. 

Mr Snotty
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  Reply # 2077270 22-Aug-2018 11:04
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The UI doesn't matter as much on the Android Auto / Apple Carplay supported head units as this part is driven from your phone. I would strongly recommend going towards one of those.


Features - either Pioneer or Alpine (however $$$ for the Alpine).
Speed + UI - Sony but doesn't have as much audio controls if you've got a complex setup.


I went with a Pioneer head unit with Android Auto + Carplay support and really like it. The general UI is not the nicest or fastest but it doesn't bother me as I am always in Carplay anyway.

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  Reply # 2077703 22-Aug-2018 21:24
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The only thing I use mine for is a volume control. Everything else is done on the phone itself.


Bluetooth for the odd time I have to call somewhere. I prefer to do that in the car when driving somewhere since its otherwise dead time, and 3.5mm for music playback because for some reason most handsets to stereos use a pretty trash bluetooth codec.


One thing I hate is a volume knob that does something when you push it. When reaching for it I inevitably end up pushing it and that goes into some stupid menu of crap I dont need like setting the clock or changing the button colours.


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