It seems like every other week at our shop, we have a Jeep in the garage getting a full stereo system upgrade. Recently, one of these upgrades involved the Stinger HEIGH10 Jeep stereo featuring a 10″ touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The stock stereos in these vehicles are really quite awful which thankfully provides us some job security. For stereo upgrades in the Jeep Wrangler JL or Gladiator we are typically usually using the PAC Audio AP4-CH41R2 and interfacing with the stock head unit. This adapter conveniently provides a flat and clean front, rear and subwoofer RCA pre-amp connection so we can easily upgrade speakers and install aftermarket amps. It’s great for upgrading the sound in a Jeep while retaining the stock look and features.
What if you have the base stock 5″ radio and you want better sound quality and better technology like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto? Read on as I review the Stinger HEIGH10 Jeep Wrangler stereo UN1810 using the Wrangler JL/Gladiator install kit SRK-JW18EH.
The Stinger HEIGH10 radio has a ton of attractive features going for it, especially for Wrangler and Gladiator owners:
- Vibrant 10″ touch screen 1024 x 600 with anti-glare technology
- Apple CarPlay (wired to front dash USB input)
- Android Auto (wired to front dash USB input)
- SiriusXM capable (SXV300 tuner required)
- Two USB inputs (secondary for iPod or USB)
- HDMI input
- 4 Camera inputs
- 4 Volt front, rear and subwoofer pre-out
- 15 band EQ with time alignment
- Toslink/Optical output
Floating screen – flush look
I was already familiar with the earlier iteration of this stereo, the Stinger ELEV8, and was aware of all its capabilities and features, but had always been hesitant to install one because truthfully – I’m just not a fan of the floating dash style radios. I do like the Alpine Halo series because of its more modest/minimalist appearance, but even then, I’ll only sell and install it in certain vehicles. There are some cars that these floating screens look great in and others where they just look really out of place and awkward.
Thankfully Stinger came out with a Wrangler specific install kit (SRK-JW18EH) that finishes this floating screen stereo out nicely.
Upgrading your stock Jeep JL Gladiator stereo
When it comes to replacing the stereo in Wrangler JL and Gladiators, there are a lot of things to be aware of.
Number one – it’s super tight behind the dash so you are really limited in options for aftermarket head units. Nothing with a traditional single din or double din chassis is going to fit.
Number two – there are a ton of features and vehicle info going through your stock stereo and very few aftermarket radios are capable of retaining all that stock functionality.
In fact as of this writing, two of our industry’s most popular aftermarket stereo parts manufacturers, iDatalink and Metra, still offer no solution to simply retain the OEM reverse camera. Metra actually made an aftermarket camera to go in the OEM location (what a pain in the ass!) and iDatalink is still working on a full kit solution for Maestro compatible radios (mechless and shallow mount only).
Stinger HEIGH10 – Retains OEM Features and Functions
Unlike many other major car stereo brands on the market, the Stinger HEIGH10 with the SRK-JW18EH Jeep installation kit has everything you need to wire up the radio and flush mount it in the dash.
In addition to the clean finished look, check out the long list of features retained with this aftermarket Wrangler JL/Gladiator head unit:
- Factory reverse camera (I think Stinger does this better than Alpine’s X409-WRA-JL does, but it was hard to tell on this install because the client had a hard spare tire cover with hole notched out which really limited the camera view so I couldn’t confirm this for certain)
- Front camera if equipped
- Original USB ports
- Warning chimes
- Steering wheel controls
- Volume knob (if equipped with 7″ stock stereo)
- Climate display
- Access to vehicle settings in the radio
- Stock amplifier if equipped
Stinger HEIGH10 – Bonus Features
In addition to seamlessly retaining all these features, the Stinger HEIGH10 adds a ton of cool bonus vehicle information that would be helpful during off road excursions.
All of this vehicle information is easily accessible through the Stinger HEIGH10 radio when installed in a Jeep Wrangler JL or Gladiator:
- Tire angle
- Transfer case info
- Tire pressure monitoring
- Door status
- Pitch & roll
- Battery voltage
- Coolant temperature
- Transmission temperature
- Oil pressure
- Oil temperature
- Intake air temperature
- Outside temperature
- Barometric pressure
- Longitude & Latitude
Is all of this information necessary? No, but it certainly is cool and looks pretty on the screen. Overall, I think Stinger did a great job with graphics in general and as well as menu structure. It’s pretty intuitive to navigate the various options available and all of this info is very easy to find while traversing.
Disable Start/Stop Feature
One of my favorite minor features about this radio is the ability to disable the annoying Start/Stop technology. Check this box to enable memory of the automatic start/stop button on the dash.
I am the first to admit I am a tree hugger – I grew up with the whole “plant a tree, save the planet” indoctrination. My childhood family home is lined with huge evergreens that I brought home as little seedlings when I was a kid (am I the only one that remembers these free trees giveaways at school in the late 80’s?). But WTF – how much gas/emissions are you actually saving with this annoying embedded “feature”. Check this box in the Stinger HEIGH10 radio and plant another tree if you agree with me.
Stinger HEIGH10 – Best bang for your buck
As a fellow Jeep Wrangler owner (both a 2-door 2014 JK and 2019 JL) I understand how easy and tempting it is spend thousands of dollars on upgrades for our vehicles. Wheels, tires, lift kit, off-road upgrades, stereo upgrades etc. There is always a LOT we want to do to our Jeeps and budgeting for all the things we want to do can be tough.
If you own a Wrangler or Gladiator with the 5″ screen, it can be hard to justify spending $3k on the Alpine X409-WRA-JL or $2k on the Infotainment stock 8.4″ upgrade with updated climate control panel just to get a nice big screen with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. This is where the Stinger HEIGH10 really shines in my opinion. It hits all the marks in terms of features for a quality aftermarket head unit upgrade while retaining all OEM functionality at a fraction of the cost of competitors.
The Stinger HEIGH10 radio itself goes for $1099.95 and the Wrangler JL Gladiator install kit goes for $619.95 and it’s a great platform to work with. For someone on a budget looking for a full system upgrade, the money you save on this head unit can be put towards better quality speakers, amplifiers and subs which is exactly what this client did. We did a modest upgrade in this 2-door JL and it sounded great – WAY better than stock.
- Stinger HEIGH10 Radio
- Stinger SRK-JW18EH
- Alpine Type R front components 6.5″
- Alpine Type R rear coaxials 6.5″
- Metra JP-1014 front 6.5″ adapter pods
- SSV Works rear 6.5″ adapter trim kit
- Alpine KTA-450 mini 4 channel amp (50×4 RMS)
- Alpine PWE-S8 under seat powered subwoofer
Not only did this client get the benefit of the larger touch screen – the 15 band EQ (that’s 6 more bands than Alpine) with digital time alignment and 4 volt pre-amp gave us the tools necessary to make sure we were getting the best sound quality possible out of the components installed.
Stinger HEIGH10 Review Conclusion
It’s hard to find any fault with this product, Stinger thought of nearly everything. And for anyone who has been following my blog, you know I can always find fault with something. When pressed, I would say there was really only one hiccup that came up during our install. We realized the USB input for Apple CarPlay/Android Auto is the center console USB only. You cannot make this connection using the dash mounted USB. And the connection is wired only (not wireless). Additionally, the optional iGo Primo navigation SD card? It does not include off road maps. Overall, these seem like pretty minor drawbacks when you look at the total package and total price tag.
Lastly, I have heard from one reader that he experienced a sound quality degradation when interfacing this head unit with his stock Alpine system. To be clear – he only upgraded the head unit and nothing else and I have not been able to verify this personally. I suspect it may be a level matching issue between the stock amp and the Stinger head unit amp (which can happen in any car audio system when upgrading an in dash unit in a vehicle with a stock premium amplified system because you’re technically amplifying an already amplified signal). Even then, that issue could potentially be mitigated using the built-in audio controls. Stinger does offer very specific instruction in the advanced menu for the stock amplified settings. Perhaps those were not followed? I’m not sure, I’m still waiting to hear back from that reader to confirm.
In conclusion, the Stinger HEIGH10 stereo with Wrangler JL Gladiator kit is a fantastic choice for Jeep clients looking for an upgraded head unit without the $3k Alpine price tag. Have you installed the HEIGH10 in your Jeep? Let me know what you think of it in the comments below.
How do you connect the Heigh10 to a dsr1 or how do you connect multiple amps! I have 5 amps and all aftermarket speakers and i have not been able to find info on how to keep my dsr1 and my amps.
What amps? The DSR1 is only 4 channel input anyways and can do either low level or high level inputs so you’d basically be going from the Stinger 6 channel out (probably just using front and rear because you want full range) into your DSR1 and then still use the 8 channels out like you’re already doing. Unless I’m missing something? OR you might be able to go digital, I haven’t used it yet in our Wrangler but I see the DSR1 also has digital input? Never tried using an adapter to go Optical to SPIDF Coaxial, but that might be an option too.
If you had to pick between the Alpine 409 and the High10 and you use your uconnect functionality for remote start etc. What would you choose? Would you go for the features of the High10 over the Cost of the Alpine and add a Drone Autostart? Or would the Alpine be the best over all solution?
Hi Joe, that’s a great question. You know, we let our Uconnect app subscription lapse so I don’t even know if that would still work with Alpine. The Uconnect module is still in the car and the remote starter still works from the fob. It’s possible the app to start the car would still work, but maybe it doesn’t. I haven’t actually run into that and I haven’t done any research on it. Have you talked to others with Alpine that say the app still works, but folks with the Stinger say it doesn’t? I’d be interested to know.
What I can tell you is after really getting to know the Alpine radio, we are planning on putting the Stinger HEIGH10 in anyways because of the better audio control. I am torn, I love the way the Alpine looks. The finished edges in the kit design are really eye pleasing, but the 9 band parametric EQ just isn’t enough for us and we want to use the optical out on the Stinger with our Helix DSP amps. And as much as I love the fit/finish and most of the functionality, it’s still an Alpine that does some quirky things. Like every once in awhile the thing reboots for no apparent reason (has latest software on radio and Maestro module). The other day I thought it had totally died, I got a blue screen before it rebooted which is what Kenwood and Alpine radios used to do 10 years ago right before they died – you’d get like the windows blue screen of death. Also, it doesn’t always have automatic start/stop memory. We did at one point where we didn’t have to keep hitting the disable button every time we got in the car. That was a feature added with a Maestro update that we didn’t have originally.
So I think from a value perspective, the Stinger HEIGH10 and a Compustar Drone would be the way to go. But I haven’t driven around with the HEIGH10 in our Wrangler for a few months getting to really know it yet. We sell both and so far, clients have been happy with their respective choices.
Thanks for the input! I really appreciate that! I spoke with my installer about this also as we are waiting for the High10 as well as some JL Boxes to arrive which will be sometime between soon and later. So I had time to do some reading and I have run across your posts over both radios as well as some other reviews. I think I feel better now about my choice of going to the High10 and appreciate your input. Oh one last question how is the hands free on both systems?
My current build will consist of Replacing the 8.4 with the High10, all stock speakers with speakers that can provide best sound within my budget and adding 2 JL Stealth Subs as well as a amp to power them. Now adding possibly to add the Compustar and Drone module to the mix just because I like the app on the phone for those occasions when you are in bed and suddenly cant remember if you locked your car.
Again thank you for your input.
Happy to help. The handsfree on both work well considering the environment. It’s a noisy Jeep with the soft top up or down, but even in those conditions I can always hear/understand John on the Bluetooth. Maybe not the case with the doors off on the highway, but I’m not sure the factory Bluetooth would work well in that condition either. And obviously sound quality for any of these systems is going to be better when you have the hard top on. Enjoy!
If you are using this headunit, do you not need to use any preamp adapters? I’m doing a full system upgrade with this as the head unit.
Stereo: Stinger RB10JW18B Jeep Package
Front speakers: Morel Virtus Nano Carbon 62 6-1/2”
Sound bar: Morel Virtus Nano Carbon Integra 62 6-1/2”
Amp for speakers: Rockford Fosgate Power T600-4
Subs: (2) 4 Ω stealthboxes
Amp for subs: Rockford Fosgate Punch P1000X2
Also: SSV Works JJT-SA065 and Metra JP-1014 Jeep Speaker Pods.
Does this seem like it will all work together nicely? Are there any other major components I need (such as amp mounting brackets, etc.) or will everything listed above come with everything needed? Also could you give a general guess on what installation would be on something like this? Thanks a lot!
Hi Robby, you would not need the pre-amp adapter if you’re using an aftermarket head unit like that. The only other thing I would consider is how and where the amps will fit. The under seat amp brackets we use from JL are for small foot print amps like the JL HD series or Alpine X series so you just need to consider where you’re going to put the amps and how you’re going to mount them. Check the dimensions, you may be able to make an amp rack that would fit in the rear storage tray and stack them both in there. Cost for install – labor rates vary widely from region to region. We would charge around 15-16 hours for all the equipment listed plus any additional custom labor for fabricating a nice basic amp rack. Also – depth isn’t an issue at all for the speakers, I’m not sure if you wanted the nano’s just because you heard them and liked them or if you thought depth was an issue.
I’ve been looking at this unit to replace my Pioneer AVH-4200NEX that I installed in 2017. My 2 main complaints with the Pioneer are the display quality and the flakiness of the Maestro rr. How well does this screen display with the top off the Jeep? Is it still viewable on a sunny day?
Hi Bruce, at our shop other than the occasional (maybe one a year) defective Maestro module that simply won’t program straight out of the box I can say we never experience flakiness in Maestro functionality so my guess is that might be a Pioneer issue you’re experiencing or maybe the Maestro needs a software update? I have seen a couple of those Pioneer units have issues with the lower panel of buttons malfunctioning and needing service repair where it acts like you’re making selections without ever touching the radio so perhaps that is what is going on. Either way, to answer your question, I do feel the HEIGH10 screen is superior in quality, responsiveness and easier to see in the sun than your older Pioneer. It’s definitely better/more vibrant than the older Kenwood DMX7704s I have in my 2014 JK which is pretty much on par with your 4200NEX. It would definitely be an upgrade. I hope that helps. Thanks for reading and thanks for the questions!
Thanks for the info, I really appreciate it. I was having to open up the dash and hard reset the Maestro about every 6 months (the soft reset in the menu wouldn’t work) because the audio would just stop.
I just installed the Height10 this weekend and so far I’m loving it. The install wasn’t quite as smooth as I would have liked when it came to mounting the display, but other than that it was pretty straightforward. You’re right about the brightness, it’s easily viewable in the bright Texas sunlight.