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 $999.95 and the Wrangler JL Gladiator install kit goes for $599.95 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.