Traveling long distance can be hectic without any form of entertainment. It can even be worse if you are traveling alone with no one to talk to. Most people have come to depend on car stereos as they commute to work, school or to functions. With advancement in technology, you could use your MP3 player, CD, Bluetooth, radio, phone or in-car-DVD player to keep yourself entertained. All these things depend a lot on your car stereo head. There is a lot more that you can do with your car’s stereo system if you take the time to discover it. To enhance your car stereo experience, all you need is a double DIN stereo unit.
What is it?
A double DIN head unit can enable you to discover a world of opportunities that you never knew existed in your car. What then is a double DIN head unit system? Every car has a stereo head. It is the centerpiece of your stereo system that sits on the dashboard. It’s what’s used to play music or play CDs in the car. The double DIN is an international standard measurement for car stereo heads. The German Institute for Standardization, standardized two sizes for car stereo heads back in the 1980’s. The first car stereo head size was 180 by 50 mm which is about 7 inches wide and 2 inches tall. It was referred to as the Single DIN. The second standard size maintained its wideness at 7 inches, but the width increased by another 5mm bringing the height to 4 inches. It became known as the 2 DIN car stereo. The 2 DIN car stereo is the most common setup for cars.
What to look for
A car’s head unit is the most visible component of the car. It dictates your car’s audio system. The market is very much saturated with different brands of car head units. This can make it hard for you to make a decision on the type of system you need to purchase. However, there are a few factors that you should have in mind when looking to purchase a head unit. One of such factors is the size. As mentioned earlier in this review, two standard sizes can fit into your car’s stereo. When looking to buy one, you need to factor in the size of your car’s stereo. You can easily measure the size of your stereo to know the size that will best fit your car. Another factor to consider is your budget.
Different products in the market vary depending on the quality. Therefore, when buying a head unit, you need to consider your spending power. Having a budget in mind will help you narrow down your options. Remember, the head unit for a BMW, Porsche or Range Rover will not cost the same as that of a Toyota or a Nissan car. Also, what factor is driving you to consider buying or upgrading your head unit? Knowing the reason behind an upgrade can be a good guide to what you want to buy. You need to ensure that your new head unit will have features that your old stereo doesn’t have.
Every car sold in the market today features an AM/FM radio allowing you access to your local stations. However, you may want to improve the audio quality of your local station. For this, you will need a receiver that has a built-in HD radio decoding unit which will dramatically improve your car’s audio quality. Another key factor to consider is your phone make. iPhone users need to ensure that the head unit has a badge written ‘Made with iPhone’. This will ensure that the new head unit supports access to either your iPhone or iPad. Android, Windows, and Blackberry users don’t need to worry about badges. They will just need to pick a receiver that uses Bluetooth audio streaming for wireless media playback.
Are you considering changing your car’s head unit? Then you have come to the right place. Product reviews act as a guide to whatever purchase you want to make. At the end of the day, depending on your need and spending power, the decision solely lies with you. This list looks at the best double din head units in the market based on the factors outlined above on what to look for. The review is not based on pricing only, but on the quality and features that make our list the best in the market.
- Pyle PLDN74BT 7-Inch Double-DIN TFT Motorized Slide-Down Panel Touch Screen
This head unit combines Bluetooth wireless music streaming and calls answering capability into one unit. In addition, the built-in microphone enables you to make calls hands free. Adding another level of safety while you are on the road. It easily pairs with all smartphones and works with all Bluetooth-enabled devices. The built-in CD/DVD player and touchscreen allow for quick and easy navigation on all your media files. It is a versatile dashboard entertainment system that gives you a crisp widescreen video quality at a modest size. Weighing 6.7 pounds, it offers a Hi-Resolution HD digital display with a one year warranty.
- Boss Audio BV9364B
The Boss Audio BV9364B DVD player comes with a 6.2-inch touchscreen monitor. With this unit, you can play your music from a DVD/CD/MP3/SD/WMA and smartphones. It is compatible with audio out from smartphones and MP3 players and offers steering wheel control inputs. Its Bluetooth technology allows you to stream music from apps like Pandora and Spotify, and still, make calls hands free. The rear-view camera can enable you to reverse in tight spots. Its preset equalizer enables you to change the sound style. Weighing 4.8 pounds, this head unit comes with a three-year platinum dealer warranty.
- Ouku In-Dash Double-DIN Car DVD Player with Touch Screen LCD Monitor
This head unit’s features include SD/USB support, FM transmitter, steering wheel control, built-in Bluetooth, a subwoofer and a touch screen. It has a display ratio of 16:9 with a screen resolution of 800 by 480. It has a storage size of up to 32GB with a screen size of 6.2 inches. This is the ideal product for people who own Windows smartphones as its operating system is Windows CE 6.0. It allows for voice navigation and supports six different OSD languages. It comes with free KUDOS 4GB GPS navigation map card and hands free Bluetooth to help you make phone calls as you enjoy driving.
- Kenwood DPX500BT Double DIN In-dash Car Stereo Receiver
This head unit features a 2DIN USB/CD receiver with a built-in Bluetooth. The Bluetooth wireless technology feature keeps you safe on the road, by allowing you to receive your phone calls without holding your phone. In addition, incoming calls can be set to pick up automatically or with the touch of a button. You can set up voice commands that can allow you to make outgoing voice calls by voice dialing. However, this has to be compatible with your smartphone. This Kenwood head unit allows for USB connectivity for audio playback from popular devices like the iPhone and iPod. It also supports heavy streaming for major streaming satellite radio services like IheartRadio. Weighing 3.4 pounds, it combines a user-friendly interface with a solid set of features.
- Jensen VX4022 2 DIN Multimedia Receiver
The Jensen VX4022 2 DIN Multimedia Receiver comes with a 6.2-inch touch screen and built-in USB port. Its built-in Bluetooth system offers you hands-free usage, phone book access, music streaming and audio controls for Android, Blackberry, and iPhone devices. It’s the perfect stereo for any car offering your speakers a bit of a boost to make your audio sound great. It has a built-in DVD/CD player which enables you to play music from your CD OR DVDs. The head unit allows you to mirror whatever is on your smartphone screen. The five different background and user interface colors allow you to customize the appearance. It is the perfect head unit for on-screen display and video watching. Weighing 6 pounds with over a thousand different colors to choose from, you can optimize the RGB output to match the interior of your vehicle.
- Pioneer AVH-4100NEX In-Dash Multimedia DVD Receiver with 7 inch WVGA Touchscreen Display
This unit features a 7-inch WVGA touchscreen with LED backlight display. It’s compatible with both the Apple Car Play and the Android Auto. Its Bluetooth feature allows for hands-free calling and audio streaming. It comes with a wireless remote and weighs 4.9 pounds. It also allows for DVD or CD playback. With this head unit, the rear seat passengers can enjoy both audio and video content on additional rear seat monitors and headphones even when the front passenger and driver are listening to audio from other sources; or are operating the navigation functions simultaneously.
- Pioneer AVH P2400BT DVD AV Receiver
The features of this product allow for CD/DVD/MP3/WMA playback. It’s Bluetooth compatible with a 5.8-inch display and comes with a ready to use navigation. It has a responsive and accurate touch screen. The Pioneer AVH P2400BT DVD AV Receiver comes with a remote and battery, but can still be easily controlled with the steering wheel controls. It offers a wide range of illumination, theme and background options combined with a good radio signal strength. This unit enables you to play music off a USB device with an auxiliary input for iPod dual. It weighs 2.2 pounds. It’s the most expensive of all the head units in our review.