Looking for the best double din car stereo head unit for your car?

Every customer is unique and their needs are all very different. My customers come into my shop looking for double din head units for a variety of reasons. They often feel that double din car stereos:

  • Have a cleaner look, fit and finish
  • Are easier to use thanks to a nice large touch screen
  • Have attractive features like Bluetooth handsfree, Bluetooth audio streaming, USB, Aux, Nav capabilities, DVD playback, App integration, easy iPod integration, large bright controls, customizable displays and more.

Update – To read about the best double din head unit for 2014 – Click Here

So what makes one double din head unit better than another?

Simply put, the answer is features. For the purposes of familiarity, I will focus on the models that I sell in my store so that I can give you honest, tried and true information as if you were with me in my showroom. First up, Pioneer.

The Pioneer AVH-P2400BT is a nice entry level, but full featured, double din head unit.
The Pioneer AVH-P2400BT is a nice entry level, but full featured, double din head unit.


So what do you get for your money with the Pioneer AVH-P2400BT? Quite a bit actually.

This head unit is a great option for people looking for a nice large touch screen that will make it easy to access the music in their iPod/iPhone or other USB based MP3 player. It also has Bluetooth Audio streaming. So if you have an Android, Blackberry, iPhone or other smart phone you can pair your phone to the stereo and wirelessly stream music from your cell phone to the stereo. This is a great feature if you like to listen to a lot of music apps.

I often suggest to customers to use their cell phone apps for things like their favorite radio stations that may not come in clear in the area that they drive in. Using a cell phone app, you can listen to virtually any radio station in the world! As long as you have cell coverage, you will have 100 percent clear sound quality. Imagine that. No static on your favorite AM talk radio station. Of course you would need a smart phone, a pretty good data plan and good cell service for this to work.

With Pioneer’sย CD-IU51Vย  iPod cable, you can use your iPhone for advanced apps. Enjoy Pandora radio on your iPhone? Simply use this optional cable and connect it to the front USB/Aux on the stereo and connect your iPhone. Then launch Pandora from your iPhone. Your stations and all artist and song title information will appear on screen along with a thumbs up and thumbs down icon. Full Pandora radio control from your iPhone on screen! How cool is that?

Additional cool features include a backup camera input, it’s satellite radio ready (although who really needs that if you have a smart phone), an 8 Band equalizer and 3 preouts (2 volt). This stereo also has a wired remote input for steering wheel control integration and a wireless remote control.

One additional cost to be aware of with all Pioneer double din head units is that they do not come with a mounting sleeve or trim ring. Most installation kits will not require this, but some cars will and this is an additional cost. If your vehicle requires a mounting sleeve and trim ring, you will need to buy the ADT-VA133 in addition to any installation kit, wiring harness or antenna adapter.

Who is this stereo NOT for?

For anyone looking to build a high fidelity audio system. The low voltage on the RCA preouts will effect your sound quality should you ever decide to add additional amplifiers. If you are planning on upgrading speakers, adding and amplifier and/or subwoofer. Check out the Pioneer AVH-P4400BH or the Kenwood DDX419.

Pioneer's AVH-P4400BH gives you a nice large easy to use touch screen
Pioneer’s AVH-P4400BH gives you a nice large easy to use touch screen


So what does the Pioneer AVH-P4400BH offer?

Additional features over the AVH-P2400BT include:

  • A larger touch screen 7″ vs 5.8″
  • The screen is also motorized and offers 5 different viewing angles.
  • Higher voltage preouts 4 Volt over 2 Volt
  • Build in HD Radio
  • Rear USB (cleaner look, no cables dangling from the front of the stereo)

Not a fan of Pioneer? Check out Kenwood’s DDX419 for a nice double din car stereo head unit.


Kenwood's DDX419 is a great option for a Double Din Car Stereo
Kenwood’s DDX419 is a great option for a Double Din Car Stereo


So what does the Kenwood DDX419 have to offer?

For one, they look awesome in European cars. Check out the matte black finish. The Pioneer’s have a shiny black. The illumination options also really capture the Red, Blue and Amber lighting of the European cars very well.

  • 6.1″ touch screen (entry level Pioneer had a 5.8″)
  • Bluetooth handsfree and audio streaming
  • 4 Volt preouts (good for aftermarket amps!)
  • Front USB/Aux
  • App mode with Pandora control for iPhone, launch any audio/video app from your iPhone and hear and view playback with the including Garmin Stree Pilot App with optional KCA-ip22F
  • SiriusXM Ready
  • Back up camera input
  • Wired remote input for steering wheel remote integration
  • Multicolor illumination
  • Volume Knob (as opposed to Volume Rocker with Pioneer)
  • Comes with mounting sleeve and trim ring
  • 3 Band EQ (Pioneer had an 8 band)

So for the cash this will set you back (if you were to also purchase the app integration iPhone cable), you get a LOT of features for the money. Remember, this head unit comes with the mounting sleeve and trim ring. The entry level Pioneer had a more advanced EQ, but a lower voltage preout. When you add in the trim ring, mounting sleeve and App cable with the entry level Pioneer, you’d be spending about the same amount of money.

So the DDX419 gives you a few features over the AVH-P2400BT

  • Higher voltage preouts
  • A volume knob
  • Larger screen

Going for the latest and greatest in cool features? Then you have to check out Pioneer’s AVH-P8400BH.


Pioneer's AVH-P8400BH offers Mixtrax and Advanced App Mode
Pioneer’s AVH-P8400BH offers MIXTRAX and Advanced App Mode


MIXTRAX was all the rave at the Pioneer booth during CES2012. What the hell is MIXTRAX? Besides being a great excuse for Pioneer’s CES organizers to hire a hot girl in short shorts and give her her very own DJ stage to entertain CES attendees and Pioneer employees, I’m not really sure who MIXTRAX would appeal to and why they would want it. You don’t get the cute girl in the short shorts when you buy the AVH-P8400BH and I certainly don’t think it will attract any cute girls in short shorts volunteering to be your own personal DJ while you drive around town listening to your car stereo.

It’s kind of like Pandora in that you tell it that you like what it’s playing and it will continue to search your music to play music with similar beats per minute. I think you can even select the beats per minute and it will find songs that match. It’s definitely geared towards customers that are into the club scene. According to Pioneer’s website:

“MIXTRAX is an innovative Pioneer technology that creates a non-stop mix of your music library complete with a range of DJ-inspired effects. Drawing from Pioneerโ€™s rich DJ heritage with our passion for music, MIXTRAX delivers a unique DJ infused listening experience to listeners in the car. MIXTRAX takes the music from an iPod, iPhone, or USB device and plays it back with added transitions and effects, creating a virtual DJ inside the AVH-P8400BH.

MIXTRAX works by first having the MIXTRAX PC software automatically analyze a trackโ€™s BPM, bar, beat position, vocal position and mood, then adds the analyzed data to the music file. The AVH-P8400BH reads the embedded MIXTRAX data from your audio device as you enjoy precise, full featured non-stop mixes in your vehicle complete with album art that dances to the beat! You can also experience MIXTRAX as an app for the iPhone 4/4S or iPod Touch (4th Gen) and using Advanced App Mode to control the MIXTRAX app through the receiver’s touchscreen display.”

So, yeah, it’s a cool feature. Worth the additional cost? Probably not. The advanced app mode however probably is worth it.

Advanced app mode on the Pioneer AVH-P8400BH

Using the optional CD-IU201S iPod/iPhone cable you can essentially turn your double din head unit into a double din navigation unit. The advanced app mode is advanced control over select apps like MotionX GPS Drive, INRIX traffic, Rdio, and hopefully many more as developers turn out more apps.

The major difference with the preceding models app mode is the control feature. With the AVH-P4400 and the AVH-P2400BT you are launching the app from your iPhone and still controlling and entering information on your iPhone. Whatever your iPhone is doing is then reflected on screen and the audio is heard throughout the speakers in your car. Advanced mode means you’ll actually be able to control the navigation (using a specific app such as Motion X GPS).

Once you add in the additional cost of the advanced app mode cable (and don’t forget your mounting sleeve and trim ring if you need it), this stereo ends up costing quite a bit more for just a few features. That’s just my opinion anyways. I don’t ever go anywhere where I really need GPS and I don’t listen to the type of music you would hear playing in a club. For customers that own an iPhone and can appreciate the GPS app feature (or for those that listen to a lot of dance, dub step, house, etc.) it’s probably well worth it to spend the extra dough.

Now that you know what your choices are and what each model has to offer, it’s up to you to weigh what features are most important and decide what is the best double din car stereo for YOU.

Need more help making your decision? Please make a comment or email me with any questions. I’ll do my best to guide you in the exact same personalized manner that I do with my customers at my shop every day.

Thinking about getting a double din with navigation? Check out the Best Double Din Navigation section here.

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  1. Hi,

    I’m looking for a replacement for my Scion tC 2012 factory Pioneer unit (which sucks in every aspect). I’m an audio enthusiast and looking for hi-fi audio with a possibility to add amps and a sub (looking @ Alipne’s MRX-V70 or PDX-V9). Need 4v preouts. I’ve spent the last few days comparing models from Alpine, Kenwood, Pioneer and JVC. I’m personally a huge fan of Alpine (I have Alpine head unit and amps in my winter car).

    I’m looking for a unit I can use a GPS on it, I don’t mind running the GPS from the phone. I need high quality audio, bluetooth (handsfree) and HD radio. I don’t care about front or rear AUX/USB. I want a fast interface (no lag while scanning USB devices).

    Looking to pay 300$-500$ (maybe a few bucks more if it’s really worth it).

    Models I was looking at:

    Alpine IVE-W535HD
    JVC KW-AV60
    Pioneer AVH-P4400BH
    Pioneer AVH-P6300BT
    Pioneer AVH-P8400BH
    Pioneer AVIC-X940BT
    Kennwood DDX419


    • Hi Kevin,
      The PDX-V9 is definitely a sweeter sounding amp and I would recommend splurging on the INE-S920HD due to the sound quality alone – similar equalization to the DNX9990HD and similar sound quality. It has a slightly smaller screen but also easier to use and a few hundred less than the DNX9990HD.

  2. Hi, I currently have a DEH -P7900BT with the SIR-PNR2 Sirius adapter. I’m looking to upgrade to the AVH-P2400BT and want to know if the same Sirius adapter will work, or if I have to buy another one… Thanks

    • Hi Kevin, looks like standard Pioneer P-Bus connector so should be no problem.

  3. Hi,
    I’m just starting to do my research for a double din
    stereo for my 2007 Honda accord. So far I really like
    the pioneer p8400. But I’m not sure if my new
    iPhone 5 will work w/the apps & nav through
    my new iphone 5? If u have any info if this stereo will
    work w/my iPhone 5 or any other double din please
    let me know.
    And lastly what’s ur opinion of the pioneer double dins?
    Do u think they operate good compared to their

    Thank you,


    • Hi Chris,
      As of right now, as far as I’m aware, the iPhone 5 will not work with the apps and is even kind of quirky for things like Bluetooth audio. I know Pioneer is working on something. So far Alpine is probably your best bet for iPhone 5. You don’t need any special cable (just the one that comes with the iPhone), but they don’t really have an app capability (aside from Pandora). The INE-S920HD is not much more than the 8400 and offers built in navigation and a fantastic sound processor (I need to update my review, the 920 sounds great and it’s easy to use).

      Otherwise, I do really like Pioneer for straight up double din touch screen non navigation units. The AVH-P4400bh is the best selling double din in our store for it’s mix of features and value. The 8400 is a bit more money for only a few more features so at that point a lot of people make the jump to something with navigation built in. Especially if you don’t have unlimited data.

  4. I use to have a JVC-avx720 and loved it. I like the rear USB cable so everything is clean and hidden u can use a flash drive for audio or iPhone and not have to have a bypass thing to watch videos going down the road just ground the parking brake wire and it works. I also want a double den with a 7″ screen good quality for audio system. I want my apps to show up on the screen maybe an app for navigation on my iPhone so it will show up on tw screen . Don’t need backup camera. Dont want big buttons on the front . Don’t want anything over 300 bucks .. What should I get?

    • Yeah, I don’t know that what you’re describing exists on the market (yet anyways). So far the only thing I’ve seen close to doing what you’ve described is the Pioneer App radio or the AVH-P8400BT but both bust the budget and require a little more work than grounding the parking brake wire.

  5. Does anyone know if there are any other gps receivers compatible with the avh4400 pioneer stereo? I shopped around for a while and found these had everything I wanted for entertainment for the price but missed that they “may be upgraded ” to gps if you purchase a $300 avic220 receiver from them! Just wondering if theres something a bit cheaper that will work.

    • Hi Mike,
      You could always use a GPS app from your iPhone using the app mode ๐Ÿ™‚ You just have to control it from the phone. But otherwise, no, the only true GPS add on for any current Pioneer add-on is the AVICU220.

  6. Does anyone know if the Pioneer P8400BH would allow me to run and control my iPhones Telenav navigation? I can’t seem to find an answer anywhere or maybe I overlooked it. Thanks

    • Hi Nick,
      The only way to really know is you’d have to try it out on a working display model in a store. It really depends on how the software is written for the app and Pioneer really doesn’t have a way of confirming the compatibility of the thousands of apps that are on the market. When my customers ask me this, I usually ask them to come down to the shop, plug in their phone and try it out. Motion X GPS seems to be the most popular for App integration and offers advanced on screen control over the app.

  7. Hi,

    I am interested in changing my double din to the Pioneer 8400, i would just like to know if this will be compatible with my android HTC sensation XE. In terms of navivagation would this work? Also i am from the UK and it seems to be working out cheaper getting one shipped from the US, how much would you sell one of these for and can you advise me of the different cable i will need for my android and any other extras i will need.


    • Hi Parish,
      The AVH-P8400 will not do apps for Android, just iPhone.

      You can do the Apps with select Android using the App Radio which is an AM/FM radio with iPhone cable and optional Android cable.

      Here is a detailed compatibility guide, it does look like your phone is compatible. In the US those parts run about $500. The prices on Pioneer’s site are full retail. The 1st link will show you the select GPS apps that are compatible.

  8. What reverse camera do you recommend? I know this a little left of field, but I cannot decide.

    • Hi Tyler! Sorry for the delay, been crazy at the shop! I like Vission back up cameras. They’re way less money than Alpine, Kenwood, Pioneer, etc. Better quality, and better warranty (2 year). There’s a few different ones I use, I like this style for under handle mounts in certain applications. I’m pretty sure this model also comes with park assist lines (straight lines). They also work pretty well in off center mounting scenarios.

  9. Oh ok, so you can use maps on the 4400 but you cant control it from the headunit, is that right?


    • You got it! And not every map or app is compatible. I usually have customers try their desired app in store before committing to a purchase. I know Motion X GPS works.

  10. Hey I’m wanting to upgrade to a touchscreen but I’m obsessed with sound quality an power I run two amps always for subs an component I have two 15”’ kickers and 6 component speakers lots of power I want something that will keep up I don’t really care about the nav an sat radio bc I have a I phone do u recommend a stereo for me ??? Need advice

    • Hi Bryan,
      If you’re running aftermarket amps for your subs and interiors, you just want something with a 4 volt pre out section. As far as getting “something that will keep up” goes, I’m not sure what you’re referring to by that. Like longevity of the unit? Reliability and longevity is great among all the brands I carry, Kenwood, Pioneer or Alpine. The only issues anyone will ever run into is abuse. Spilling drinks on their head unit, dirt/dust getting into motorized gearing/mechanisms, pushing on the motorized face, kinking/crushing USB cables causing shorts, etc.

      I do sell a bunch of the Pioneer AVH-P4400’s, I think it’s a great mix of features, sound quality and great screen size.

  11. Hi – I’m trying to decide among the Pioneer 2400BT, the Kenwood DDX419 and the Pioneer 4400BH for a 2004 Saab 9-5. My local install shop recommends the Kenwood over the Pioneer, but it seems like most Saab people online recommend Pioneers. I’ve read some mixed reviews on the Kenwood, primarily around bluetooth sound quality and lag of responsiveness when using an iPod/iPhone. I also don’t love the front cable input either (I’d prefer rear that can go into my glovebox). Can you comment on any of these issues? I’m basically looking for something that will give me integrated iPod use, Sirius and Bluetooth. I’m not a big audiophile, but as I’m spending money on this, I want it to do the job.

    Thanks – this blog is awesome!

    • Hi Kristina,
      I think the Pioneer 4400 is the better buy among the 3. I agree, I don’t like front USB/Aux personally. I prefer cables hidden, I like the larger screen and I like the app integration features of the 4400bh. I think bluetooth sound quality is going to be about the same among those 3 as they all have limited bluetooth audio adjustments for handsfree calling. Here’s a picture of a Pioneer we recently installed in a Saab 9-3.
      The only thing you may need is to purchase the Pioneer sleeve/trim ring, ADT-VA133.

      I’m glad you enjoy the blog!

  12. Hi Annie! my name is drew. i was wondering what do you prefer the pioneer 4400 or the 8400? and which one do you think has better in system navigation? I have a 2006 pontiac torrent. where could i run the aux cable from the back of the unit, like where will it come out at? the glove box? also i have a android, the galaxy s2. what would i have to use to get that to work through the radio? and is the 8400 the app radio? if my android works through it what apps could i use with the radio? Do you know any good back-up cameras that work good with the 8400? i really want a back up camera but don’t want to spend a fortune so will any camera work? 2nd to last question. what are some of the best door / component 6.5 inch speakers out? last question what are some of the best if not the best subwoofers around. i would like to maybe be in competitions or just be able to super flex my roof and show off to my friends. if you could get back to me i would really appreciate it. I’m not very familiar and have a lot of questions and know your are a genius when it comes to car audio. thanks so much annie look for ward to be hearing from you soon. thanks a lot. if you want to you can email me personally at [email protected]

    • Hi Drew. That’s a lot of questions! okay, here we go. I hope all of my links work.

      1) I like the value of the 4400. For the extra $150 with the 8400 you get a nicer display, detachable face, advanced app integration for iPhone. If you’re using an iPhone, you have better control over the navigation app with the 8400.
      2) No app mode for your phone with either stereo, you’d have to connect via bluetooth or aux jack. You can stream musically wirelessly through bluetooth audio in either model. You can possibly connect your android to the App Radio shown here. This is an AM/FM/App radio (no CD/DVD Drive) and you need an additional $120 interface.
      3) Off the top of my head, I don’t know where you’d want to run the aux cable in that car, but in many vehicles I like to use this flush mount aux jack kit and just look for a nice blank panel on the dash that would be convenient to plug into.
      4) I like Vission back up cameras, VERY reasonably priced, but high quality.
      5) I like Morel and JL Audio car speakers.
      6) Some of the best subwoofers are made by JL Audio. I really like their W6 model.

  13. My actual question is how do you use google maps without the iphone cable, you mention that you can navigate using the phone?

    • Hi Tyler,
      You need the CD-IU201S and you know I haven’t actually tried it with google maps. There are select compatible navigation apps that will work in app mode, one of which is in the US is Motion X GPS. But in order to use navigation, you have to use app mode, must be plugged into the CD-IU201S and it must be an iPhone. The 8450BT is the equivalent of the 8400 (although twice the price, import taxes are crazy over there on electronics, huh?). Here’s a link to compatible apps for your model and it looks like google maps is one of them.

      I’m not sure what will happen when iPhone 5 released, there are rumors apple is changing the 30 pin cable, so that’s not a bad idea to wait and see what happens.

  14. Yeah I think I am gonna have to wait for the iphone 5 to come out before I can get a cable or a cradle. I actually live in australia and am getting the 8450BT, which is hopefully the australian version. So I dont expect you to know the dynamics of that car. Cheers though.

  15. is there any double din out that will let u stream video from a android phone to it besides the pionner app radio?

    • Not that I’m aware of yet. We’ll have to see who comes out with mirror link first and who will be the first one to interface with android.

  16. Hello ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for all this informations!

    I have one question about 2400BH (BT) – so if i understand, this model are not so good with sound quality, becouse have only 2 volt? This is 4×50 W? but sound quality is good?

    What you mean with this, that model 4400BH have Higher voltage preouts 4 Volt over 2 Volt?

    Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi Danijel,
      The voltage will make a difference if you are using aftermarket amplifiers. The higher the voltage on the pre-outs, the more sensitive they will be to your amps and the more kick you will get without having to crank the gain on the amps. So if you plan on using a 4 channel or mono amplifier (or both), you want the higher voltage preouts.

  17. Everything seems to be in order, I just have one last question. How have you mounted your phone and where did you run the cable from? Im not too keen to run it through the glove box as it would have to be constantly open.


    • Hi Tyler,
      What kind of car is it? Depending on the vehicle, there may be a pocket below the stereo or center console. Another cool option is a vehicle specific bracket from a company like Panavise and attaching to that bracket a Dice iPhone/iPod cradle.

  18. Also with the appearance of the 8400 compared to the 4400, with the silver buttons. Do you get over that?

    • Hi Tyler,
      I haven’t had any experiences with freezing, and I forgot about the silver button until you mentioned it, so I don’t think it’s really that big of a deal. The only hiccup any customer will run into with ANY app capable stereo (Alpine, Kenwood or Pioneer) is this. If you are paired up with your iPhone via Bluetooth and also connected to the dock connector, the radio will always start up connecting via Bluetooth Audio. You have to select from your iPhone to use the dock connector OR disconnect and reconnect your iPhone. This will only be the case if you leave your phone in your car connected to the cable upon start up. If you start the car, let the radio power up, THEN connect your phone to the cable it will connect via the dock connector. If you’re interested in buying from me, you can buy direct and receive a free advanced app cable (worth $70). I also have the 4400 for sale as well. Let me know.

  19. Have you had bad experiences with freezing, this is probably the only thing that is holding me back from buying the 8400

  20. Hello!

    Firstly, Ive found this blog to be really helpful so I thankyou for writing it! That sounded really posh, anyway, I was wondering whether you prefer the appearance of the AVH P4400BH compared to the AVH P8400BH, because I kinda do. The black finish of the 4400 looks a lot better than the silver of the middle buttons. This is one of the reasons why I dont really want to go with the 8400BH but then thats really superficial hey. Im just trying to justify the 8400BH purchase….taking into account the removeable face and all that.

    • Hi Tyler,
      I’m so happy you enjoyed the post. I personally couldn’t really justify the additional cost unless:
      a) I saw myself using the navigation iPhone feature all the time (advanced app mode advanced control is nice on the navigation app)
      b ) owned a Wrangler or other easy stereo rip-off car (detach face would be helpful)
      c) frequently parked my vehicle at airports or on the streets of major cities/questionable neighborhoods (again detach face would be helpful, stereos are still stolen)
      d) was really pissed off about stereos always having small clock displays (the 8400 has a nice huge clock display option)
      I hope that helps.

  21. Also forgot to ask….how are the eq controls?

    • Hi Mike,
      The DDX419 is front only USB, but many of my customers are really utilizing this deck for bluetooth audio. The audio controls are basic, Bass, Mid and Treble, X-over adjustments, sub level. It’s actually one of the easier to use Kenwood decks out there and many customers like the graphics and menu system, iPod control is easy, you get album art, nice Pandora control on iPhone (Bluetooth audio control nice too, lots of information and pause/play, track forward controls). If you wanted something with rear USB, you could take a look at the DDX719 which will also give you a full 7″ screen.

  22. Hey!

    Im looking at the ddx419….

    Does it have rear usb so i can plug my ipod in and through my glovebox.
    And how is the ipod interface? Easy to navigate through? Etc…


  23. Hey Annie,

    Do you think the differences between the P4400 and P8400 are worth the price difference? Like is the screen THAT much better while watching DVDs or videos for example? Also, can the P4400 still link the gps from my iPhone onto the screen, I just won’t be able to use the touch screen on the head unit to control it?


    • Hi Aaron,
      If I was using the deck with navigation all the time with my iPhone, I would go with the 8400 for the advanced control (you are correct about the 4400, you can still link it, you just have to control it from your phone). Also if I was installing it in a jeep wrangler or in a car that I drive to the airport or leave parked in the streets of a major city (stereos are still stolen all the time), I think it would be worth it to have the detachable face. The screen is nicer too, but I wouldn’t jump for it on that feature alone. Hope that helps.

  24. Annie,

    Thanks for the information. I have been teetering between the Pioneer 2400 and the Kenwood 419. I like how the Kenwood plays the Garmin on screen, versus the Pioneer. Its great to get some real world information.

  25. Hi, Annie. I lost track of this posting and comments. Saw your response about Kenwood. Problem I had with Kenwood was that it was flakey trying to get a consistent Bluetooth connection for both audio and handsfree phone. So I dumped that option. The Sony XAV-62BT seemed to offer the best Bluetooth consistency, but the user experience was poor.

    I’m on hold right now in anticipation of the Alpine units that are due (overdue?) this summer. Everything I’ve read sounds like they’ve got their Bluetooth working well and with the full set of features for audio and phone integration. Proof will be in the pudding!

    • Hi Terry,
      Sorry to hear you had issues with the Kenwood. A lot of Bluetooth issues usually have to do with the phone/carrier/software.

      Last I spoke with my Alpine Rep, the IVE-W535HD was delayed until Fall ๐Ÿ™ A word about Bluetooth flakiness/quirkiness with many stereos. Not sure what phone you have, but I know this is true of the iPhone. When you have a unit that does both Bluetooth audio and Bluetooth handsfree and you also have the option to dock or plug in the device, you can run into issues where your device defaults to connecting via Bluetooth audio. This can be irritating as you have to disconnect and re-connect the device to get back to the dock connection.

      And Bluetooth in general is completely quirky with ALL phones and I kind of think people expect too much out of it (have you ever seen comedian Louis C.K. on cell phones and the technology that is making us impatient?). And I don’t this has to do with research and development/product testing among brands or Aftermarket vs OEM. Even my OEM BMW Bluetooth connected to my iPhone has its moments when it won’t connect or see my phone and I have to disconnect/reconnect or turn my phone off and back on to reset. There are just TOO many different variations of phones, carriers, software, etc that these manufacturer’s can’t guarantee perfect connection/consistency with anyone really.

      I can tell you from experience that LG and Samsung seem to be the quirkiest phones, many Droid phones are funky because sometimes when pairing they get hung up in this sequence where the Droid is waiting for a command from the radio, but the radio can’t do anything more until it receives the command from the Droid. As a Parrot tech support agent once told me, “They get hung up in this stupid Windows command loop where neither device knows what to do”.

      Best bet? Maybe try it in the store before you buy it? I do that a lot of times with customers to check compatibility. Good luck! I hope you found the video as funny and entertaining as I did ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. Annie, youre the best! I love your website. Can we just order straight from you and not an online source or local dealer here? Will you ship to Alabama or other states?
    Just wanted to know if I/we could give support back to you and your shop.


    • Hi Lu,
      I really appreciate that. And yes I’m working on an online store. The one I have right now is through my brick and mortar store, Sounds Incredible Mobile, but I am working on a legit, comprehensive, Car Stereo Chick online store. You can always call us at the shop and do mail order (that term sounds so ancient, doesn’t it?). We’re open Tuesday – Friday 10-7 and Saturdays 10-5 EST. Thanks for the support!

  27. Hey Annie I was just wondering if there was a way to stream the GPS app telenav from the android phones with the android cable for pioneer 4400 head unit thank you

    • Hi Fil,
      You could stream the audio, but I don’t know of a way to get the visual up on the screen. One of my employees has this model and he has an android. He has a mount for his phone right above his head unit and he mostly streams bluetooth audio. This way if he’s using his phone for navigation, he can see the map on his phone, still listen to his music through the stereo and he still gets the navigation prompts through his car stereo since he’s listening to his phone via bluetooth.

  28. Is there any stereo out there that has DVD & has the functions that are offered for IPhone but for Android?

    • Not that I’ve seen yet.

  29. Just wanting to help out. Only the latest 2012 android phones are compatible with the pioneer headunits. While the iphones are compatible to the 4and 4s.
    Pioneer won’t make the broad statement of calling it compatible because some minor functions may actually not be compatible. Here’s the list of compatible head units from pioneers website.


    Most people I know with these new pioneeer radios can do almost everything the iphone can on brand spankin new androids.

  30. Hi Annie pioneer says android cable won’t work with the AVH 8400

    • Hi Ted,
      Okay, I’m lost. Can you please tell me, where did I say that it would??? For real, I can’t find it on the blog, but it sounds like a mistake I might have made.

      All references to app control for any AVH series should all be for iPhone. Any audio apps from other devices can be streamed via Bluetooth audio with limited control from the stereo like some text info and track advance/pause, etc.

      My Android app cables just came in today actually and they are specifically for the App radio. Haven’t had a chance to try it yet.

  31. Hi Annie,

    Will either of these head units work with Android based phones? I want to have one put into a 2000 Chevy Suburban. I need it to be able to do the following:

    1. Bluetooth hands free for phone calls.
    2. Bluetooth preferably but wired is ok for audio streaming from
    Android device.
    3. Navigation display using Android device navigation function.

    Does any double din head unit that you know offer this stuff?

    Thanks so much, you’re very knowledgable!!!


    • Hi John,
      I’m happy to help! All of these units will do Bluetooth hands free calling and bluetooth audio for the Android. You do have some control over audio streaming and will see things like the artist name, song title and be able to advance tracks or pause. If you were to plug in your device through the USB you would be able to access music stored on the device, but you wouldn’t be able to access or control music from any apps.

      For Android navigation you will need something like Pioneer’s app radio and the Android cable. I have not sold/tried it yet with the Android.

      I didn’t have great experiences with the 1st App radio, it was very glitchy. My feeling is Pioneer has made this with the hopes that software developers will continue to write more and more compatible apps for it making it more enticing.

  32. Besides the MixTrax & Advanced App control thing, are there any other differences between the P4400BH & P8400BH?

    • Excellent question Gabe! I’m sure I missed something:

      Detachable face on the 8400 which is cool.
      Better resolution screen, a little bit nicer display.
      H.264/WMV Video Playback on SD card
      Oh yeah, it has an SD Card Slot
      Dual USB
      Dual Zone for Audio and Video (Good for loading up DVD’s to be piped to a rear monitor with an IR output for kids in the back seat that can listen via headphones while you can control and listen to another audio source like iPod or HD radio through the car speakers)

  33. I am looking for the best double din out there for my 2011 Dodge Ram 1500 with Hemi. I would prefer that it has navi, and Bluetooth , also ease of operation. I need/want it so that if my elderly grandmother were to drive my truck, she could work the radio.

    • That’s tough. If you go with Kenwood, she’ll easily be able to operate the navigation. It’s Garmin. So if she can operate a portable GPS she should be able to operate the Garmin on the head unit. The stereo side? I think she’d have trouble (depending on how old we’re talking here, can she still see? ๐Ÿ™‚

      If sliding or scrolling touch screens is something you don’t want to know anything about, you may want to wait and see what Alpine comes up with in the next two months. They say their new double din navigation will be shipping in June, which means I’ll see it in July if I’m lucky. It is easy to use though. It’s an entirely different operating platform from previous models. We’ll see how smooth it operates once they’re actually out there. If it’s like the prototypes we saw at CES, it should be more reliable than previous models from Alpine and have the easiest to operate system compared to our other competitors. Something your Grandmother would be able to decipher.

  34. One thing I noticed about the Pioneer decks when I checked out Bluetooth functionality – it doesn’t allow voice calling (at least not the models listed above). If I connect my phone, and want to call (say) “555-1212”, can’t do it without punching in the number manually. And using a contact in your phone is worse – you need to look up the contact info.

    Other decks I’ve seen lets the head unit do voice calling through the cell phone – handsfree.

    • Hi Terry,
      Speaking of Pioneer and Bluetooth, Kenwood wins bluetooth sound quality and functionality hands down. They’ve always had more bluetooth control and adjustments than any other company I carry, even in their most basic bluetooth head units they give you things like mic gain adjustment, noise cancellation adjustment, echo cancellation adjustment, etc. These options are often adjustable on a scale of -5 to +5 or more. Other head units give you echo cancellation “on/off”. Not much control there. I will see if you can do voice dialing with the new Kenwood double dins and check out how well they actually work. I’m pretty sure you can do voice dialing, but you may have to record your own voice tags onto the head unit for your contacts, but that is something I will check before I write a post. Thanks for the comment!

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