Double din head units

Submitted: Friday, Jul 17, 2020 at 17:31
ThreadID: 140246 Views:7283 Replies:4 FollowUps:9
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Hi everyone,
Looking at upgrading the head stereo unit in my Pathfinder and curious to know anyones pros/cons for certain brands or anything to look out for. Only 'must have' is reversing camera ready. Dont care much for CD capability or navigation. And I run an android phone and tablet in the vehicle - so android auto would be nice. cheers
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Reply By: Genny - Friday, Jul 17, 2020 at 20:57

Friday, Jul 17, 2020 at 20:57
All I can say is do your research. I knew nothing about the damn things when I leapt in and got a Sony put in. I can't recall the model, but cost about $500 at SuperCheap.
The one thing it does do well is the reversing camera.
It only comes with one USB slot, so plugging your phone in whilst listening to music off a USB stick isn't really on the cards. You CAN use a USB hub, but it is fussy which order tasks are started for them to keep going.
Android Auto is highly overrated, in my view. The only navigators you can use are Google Maps and Waze, neither of which particularly excite me. Every time you stop for a break, you have to remember to allow the damn phone to communicate with the headunit when restarting to continue your route if using features off the phone.

The bluetooth connection with the phone is extremely problematic, to the point where hands-free phone is not viable. My wife and I both have Huawei GR7 2017's, and I don't know if the fault is the headunit, or the phones.

Now there are Android units that are fully Android, with the apps running on the headunit, not the attached phone. I strongly suspect that would have been more suitable for me.
AnswerID: 632558

Reply By: RMD - Friday, Jul 17, 2020 at 23:06

Friday, Jul 17, 2020 at 23:06
Everyone calls removal of the OE head unit and replacement with something else, an Upgrade. What is wrong with the original unit? Sometimes they are better in some functions but sometimes it is a downgrade in what they do. No CD and no nav means to me, why bother.
Yes, look at what you really need but I prefer to have a unit which doesn't rely on a phone or tablet for anything, maybe calls.
Do you tow anything? If so a dedicated screen, and reverse camera can be on vehicle rear and also able to switch to van rear camera, that is essential for me.

I replaced my unit, now JVC not too costly, because the CD player failed and it didn't have a USB input for any music, other than that the performance was adequate.

What budget is acceptable? because there is a multitude of offerings which will do your head in if really searching for the pinnacle at lowest cost.
Radio reception if important to you, the specs must be understood and especially looked at for sensitivity of receiver , both AM and FM. Many modern units are not much good, whereas a radio from earlier vehicles were far better in that regard. Fujitsu Ten for instance in my old Landcruiser far exceeds modern radios. Just not built like they used to be because people want connectivity over radio performance in a modern world. Features and reception sensitivity might be the decider for you, brands are brands to me. Most are designed for LH Drive vehicles anyway with vitals on the wrong side of the screen/facia, some centralized though. If short arms then that may be an issue.
AnswerID: 632562

Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Saturday, Jul 18, 2020 at 12:00

Saturday, Jul 18, 2020 at 12:00
IMHO, most of the problem with car radios and poor reception these days is not necessarily the fault of the radio itself, but more likely due to a poor aerial. With a lot of cars having radio aerials attached to windows or windscreen, they do not always get good reception. Digital radios are even worse for reception over long distance.


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Follow Up By: stoooge - Saturday, Jul 18, 2020 at 12:52

Saturday, Jul 18, 2020 at 12:52
Thanks RMD and McLaren3030.
Some great info there. Why upgrade? Because I have recently installed a reversing camera and I want to have headunit integration, without the need for a second screen just when towing. While I'm at it, might as well upgrade the sound quality. A couple of the speakers are on their last legs and need an upgrade too.
Budget wise, I wont be spending anymore than $500 for the headunit, obviously more for speakers and upgrading wire etc. Nowadays, most of my music is on either phone or SSD, CDs are becoming cumbersome and sound quality isnt the greatest - but thats a very finicky point.
I dont need all the gadgets like navigation, DAB or access messaging from the drivers seat. Currently looking at the ALPINE ILX-W650E, I can get it fairly cheap on sale locally near me. If i install myself, I can go even cheaper.
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Follow Up By: RMD - Saturday, Jul 18, 2020 at 13:50

Saturday, Jul 18, 2020 at 13:50
If you want to use the camera for reversing via the units screen, ok, but if required for use while towing and using a second camera on a van, that changes the way connections are made because it will be ON while driving. Many units will function on a particular mode in the background AND have the screen alive for camera use at the same time. Best to ask that question to the seller if that is your requirement.
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Reply By: Member - bbuzz (NSW) - Saturday, Jul 18, 2020 at 09:47

Saturday, Jul 18, 2020 at 09:47
Look up Digoptions.

They do a variety of models to suit a range of vehicles.

My Prado's unit is terrific.

Bill B

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Follow Up By: stoooge - Saturday, Jul 18, 2020 at 12:52

Saturday, Jul 18, 2020 at 12:52
Thanks, Ill have a look.
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Follow Up By: Member - Bigred13 - Saturday, Jul 18, 2020 at 12:53

Saturday, Jul 18, 2020 at 12:53
Ditto for me too Bill B ,I fitted a dig options unit myself in the cruiser and it does all that is needed
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Follow Up By: George_M - Saturday, Jul 18, 2020 at 14:36

Saturday, Jul 18, 2020 at 14:36
What mapping application, and maps, do you run on your unit, Bill?

Come any closer and I'll rip your throat out!

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Follow Up By: Member - bbuzz (NSW) - Saturday, Jul 18, 2020 at 17:53

Saturday, Jul 18, 2020 at 17:53
Whatever came with it. They have free updates too.

There are off road tracks too. You know, follow the snail's trail home.

Bill B

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Follow Up By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Saturday, Jul 18, 2020 at 20:27

Saturday, Jul 18, 2020 at 20:27
think twice with that mob....once purchased they never answered my email with a technical issue....
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Follow Up By: JoshHill - Wednesday, Jul 22, 2020 at 11:39

Wednesday, Jul 22, 2020 at 11:39
Gonna check out Digoptions as well soon right after we finished installing the parts from buyauto and 4Wheelonline on the truck.
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Reply By: stoooge - Thursday, Jul 23, 2020 at 21:51

Thursday, Jul 23, 2020 at 21:51
Thanks everyone for the replies.
I have settled on the Alpine ILX-W650E head unit and alpine speakers throughout. Installed it myself and included a module to keep the steering wheel controls. Took a full day to run new cables and clean everything up. Pretty happy with the end result.
I have managed to wire up the camera so that it comes on during reversing AND on preference whilst towing. Just so happens to have android auto - I dont rate it that much and would only be good whilst in phone reception of the metro areas or larger towns.
It still surprises me how much a new head unit and new speakers makes for a better crisper sound.
Thanks everyone for your input.
AnswerID: 632665

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