Which Is the Best Car Stereo for Android Phones


We all know just how powerful music can be, especially when we are in the car. It really can make a boring journey much more enjoyable. However, the best listening experience will only come from a good car stereo.

As a result, many of us are in the market for a new one that will integrate seamlessly with our Android smartphones.

The best car stereo for Android phones will be determined by what size, input, and features you want. There’s a wide range of car stereos that pair with Android phones. Conduct research to find one that fits your budget and your needs.

As an Amazon Associate, ImproveCarAudio will receive a small commission from qualifying purchases made through the links in this article.

Tip: I know that it can be overwhelming to search through so many choices, so I have done the hard work for you and found the best options available!

All are conveniently available on Amazon, so to check the latest price, click the links below.

Alpine iLX-F309 – best single DIN stereo for Android phones

Alpine iLX-F411 Halo11 – best single DIN stereo with large screen

Pioneer DMH-C2550NEX – best single DIN stereo with a separate screen

Pioneer AVH-W4500NEX – best double DIN stereo with standard screen

JVC KW-Z1000W 10.1″ – best double DIN stereo with floating display

In the article below, I will go into detail through the best, in my opinion, radios in a few categories.

If you are looking for a new Android Auto car stereo unit, look no further than the following choices.

What Should I Look For When Buying a Car Stereo?

Choosing a new stereo head unit for your car is not as easy as just going online and selecting the first one you see that you think looks cool.

You need to consider a few things before making a selection. Otherwise, you may end up with a new stereo unit that is the wrong size, does not have the correct input for your needs, or is full of features you’re not particularly interested in. 

Keep in mind, if you are looking for a car stereo that supports Android Auto, you’ll need a more advanced one.

You might not necessarily have to buy the most expensive unit with every feature you can think of, but as a base, you will need:

  • Touchscreen
  • USB input

Especially important is the USB connection because Android Auto will not work without a USB input that allows your phone to connect to the stereo.

If you are not interested in Android Auto and just want to listen to music, you can still use your smartphone with your stereo using Bluetooth, USB, or aux inputs.

These input methods will allow you to stream music using apps such as Spotify or play the music you have downloaded on your smartphone.

Will Any Car Stereo Fit In My Car?

To avoid an unnecessary purchase, make sure you know what sized stereo unit you need. The two most common sizes for a car stereo head unit are:

  • a single DIN
  • a double-DIN

Single DIN units are 2 inches (5.08 cm), whereas double-DIN units are 4 inches (10.16 cm).

It is pretty easy to tell whether your car needs a single or a double-DIN unit. There will either be a bigger or a smaller space available. A single DIN unit can fit in a double-DIN slot with an additional adaptor spacer, but obviously, a double-DIN unit cannot fit in a single DIN slot.

A double DIN unit typically provides you with more options because of the bigger screen size, and most stereo units come as a double DIN size.

However, single DIN units are certainly not to be dismissed. Some floating display single DIN units have all of the features of a double-DIN one. You do not have to miss these out just because the space in your car is a little bit smaller.

How Do I Choose a Car Stereo Receiver for My Car?

The receiver is the device that you play your music through. When selecting one, make sure it allows you to play music either through FM or AM radio, an auxiliary input cable, USB input, media discs (for those who still have our CDs leftover), or Bluetooth. 

Although it has some sound quality limitations, Bluetooth is generally the most common way of playing music in the car these days.

Most modern stereo head units no longer offer CD players but compensate with features like touchscreens.

How Do I Install a New Stereo in My Car?

Installing a new car stereo can be a complex job, especially if installing it into a newer car model with a more complicated electronics system.

It is certainly possible to do it yourself if you have the know-how. If not, consider taking your vehicle to an auto-shop and having them do the job for you.

It is a quick and inexpensive task and having a professional do it ensures that everything is wired up correctly and will work as intended.

Once you’ve considered what size car stereo you need, what features you want, and how you will get the thing into your car in the first place, it’s time to start looking at all of the different options for car stereos on the market.

Because there are hundreds if not more different car stereos on the market, I have made it simpler to find the exact stereo you need by breaking our selections into categories.

You will also find a handy reference table at the end that summarises my choices. I focused on stereos with Android Auto functionality in all selected radios, but these stereos will generally work with iPhones as well.

The Best Single DIN Car Stereos for Android Phones

Does your car only have a single DIN slot available?

Or, do you have a double-DIN but already using part of that place for something like a UHF/CB radio?

If yes, do not worry. There are still options for those with limited space. For example, some single DIN units come with a flip/slide-out screen that may cover surrounding parts of your dash. 

Other single DIN units may instead utilize a detached display that connects via a cable, allowing you to place the display somewhere that suits you best. All links open on Amazon.

Pioneer DMH-C2550NEX

This one is unique. I recommend the Pioneer DMH-C2550NEX if you want a unit that takes up a single-DIN space, but you need to control where you place the display.

The DMH-C2550NEX allows you to install the radio in the existing DIN slot, but the screen you can place elsewhere in the cabin with the supplied cable. 

It features Android Auto functionality, an aux input, Bluetooth, digital/HD radio, a WVGA 800×480 resistive touchscreen display, and even supports a rear camera.

Alpine iLX-F309

The Alpine iLX-F309 HALO9 also uses a single DIN for mounting. It has a larger 9-inch (22.86-cm) WVGA capacitive touchscreen that ‘floats’ in front of the dash. The great thing is that you can adjust the mounting angle and height of the screen.

This unit can support a range of audio playback features like Bluetooth, HD radio, and SiriusXM satellite radio. 

You can also choose to buy this option bundled with a front and rear camera and connecting equipment for a complete audio and camera integration for your car.

Finally, Alpine allows control on various equipment like extra lighting, winches, and toolboxes with the additional KAC-001 accessory controller.

While the iLX-F309 has a lot of features and options to expand, with additional equipment, it can become an expensive investment but well worth the price.

The Best Floating Display Car Stereos for Android Phones

A floating display sounds a little bit like something out of a science-fiction movie, or at least something that you would find only in expensive luxury vehicles.

Well, that’s not the case. A stereo with a floating display is an option for anyone these days. You just need to adjust it appropriately when setting it up to ensure it’s not blocking any air vents or dash controls.

Below are my three best picks for floating display car stereos, depending on the budget:

JVC KW-Z1000W 10.1″

My number one choice for a car stereo receiver is the JVC KW-Z1000W. It has all of the features you expect, like Bluetooth and Android Auto, and comes with a range of other desirable functions, such as the JVC Streaming DJ feature, which allows up to five paired smartphones to control music streaming

This stereo also offers you a lot of control over your music, as it has 5-volt preamp outputs, K2 sound enhancement, and a 13-band EQ.

These options are perfect if you plan to add an aftermarket amp, speakers, and sub.

Kenwood DMX1037S

This car stereo is a fantastic offering from Kenwood – known in the business as a maker of quality electronic products.

The MDX1037S features a handily adjustable 10.1-inch (25.65-cm) screen to make it easy to use when driving. Similar types of car stereos have floating screens that feel a bit wobbly or insecure when driving, but that’s not a problem with this model.

Another great feature is the widgets you can move around on the screen for easy access to applications like music and weather while on the move. 

This kind of functionality streamlines the process of trying to find a particular song or access maps when you might be in a hurry.

This Kenwood radio has other valuable features, such as the essential Android Auto compatibility, Bluetooth, and USB drive, and on top of that, you can connect four independent cameras.

Overall, it’s my excellent choice for all who want a car stereo that offers a little more than average.

Jensen CAR1000 10.1” 

If you are on a budget, then you can still enjoy the stereo with a large screen. My best pick is the excellent and affordable Jensen CAR1000 because it has all the standard features you would want from a car stereo, such as Bluetooth, Android Auto, Apple Play, and USB inputs.

It also has three preamp outputs for connections to additional amplifiers and subwoofers, so if you are willing to modify your car sound system for a little less money, this is a stereo for you. The 10-inch (25.4-cm) color display is a touchscreen as well.

The Jensen is an excellent choice because it’s not intrusive at all. You won’t have to worry about this screen blocking your use of the other controls you need while driving.

The Best Budget Car Stereos for Android Phones

If you’re looking for a unit without all the bells and whistles but still want Android Auto, you can trade away some unnecessary features for a price drop.

Do you really need a CD player these days? What about a DVD player for that car cinema experience? They might not be essential for you. 

Just because you’re not paying a lot of money for a head unit doesn’t mean you have to miss many great features.

Below are my picks for the best car stereos for those on a budget. 

Kenwood DMX47S

The first on my budget list is the Kenwood DMX47S. This head unit comes in at an attractively lower price than some other options on this list but still retains many of the core features you can expect to see. 

It features Android Auto support, a 6.8-inch (17.27-cm) capacitive touchscreen, rear camera input, and can mirror your phone screen to the display through the Kenwood app.

Kenwood app could be helpful if you’re stopped and need to check something on a larger screen or if you want to watch a video while your partner runs into the store. In short, it offers a significant amount of features for such a budget unit!

ATOTO SA102

If you just want something that will run Android Auto and not searching for big-name brands, try an alternative option like the ATOTO SA102.

It supports many of the features of the other, more expensive stereo options out there at an affordable price.

These are AM/FM radio, Bluetooth handsfree, music streaming, USB playback, rear camera input, and even casting your phone screen to the head unit via their EasyConnection app!

BOSS BCPA9690RC

Another excellent budget car stereo unit, the BOSS Audio Systems BCPA9690RC, is well featured and even includes a rearview camera for its low price point.

This car stereo option supports Android Auto, has a pretty decently sized 6.75-inch touchscreen display with rear camera input, Bluetooth, USB input, steering wheel interface support (with a separate module), preamp/sub outputs, and of course, AM/FM radio. 

Again, another example supports the idea that a lower price does not mean fewer good features.

The Best Big Screen Car Stereos for Android Phones

If you have the room in your vehicle’s dashboard, big is undoubtedly better for a stereo head unit.

A bigger screen allows for more functionality, making it a whole lot easier (and a whole lot safer) to use the stereo while driving. Need to update a map route? No problem. Need to answer a call? No worries.

A bigger screen also means a more prominent camera display, adding another safety element to your drive. 

You would be surprised at the amount of screen size the stereos below offer at very reasonable prices. Continue reading to find out my three best picks for car stereos that have both a large screen and a large number of features.

Alpine iLX-F411 Halo11

This was the largest head unit on the market I could find! The Alpine iLX-F411 Halo11 is absolutely massive at 11 inches (27.94 cm).

That’s right, 11 whole inches (27.94 cm)!

What’s even better, this head unit can be used by anyone, as the unit’s core fits into a single DIN slot. The display then floats on an adjustable mount, allowing you to get the perfect viewing angle for your vehicle. 

Supporting a list of features as massive as its screen, you really do get a full feature set with the largest display available. This includes Bluetooth, SiriusXM (with the appropriate add-on kit), 1 HDMI input and 1 HDMI output, iDataLink for vehicle information and control, USB input, video playback, photo viewer, rear camera input, and of course, Android Auto.

You can even add the KCX-C250MC Multi-Camera Selector to add multiple cameras (i.e., rear and side) to the unit, making it extremely powerful for extra viewing angles when towing a boat or trailer.

Pioneer DMH-WT8600NEX

If you’re looking for a huge screen, the Pioneer DMH-WT8600NEX has you covered with 10.1 inches (25.65-cm) of the screen – which is massive compared to the other units I’ve mentioned.

This is less of a head unit and more of a head station.

It supports Android Auto (both wired and wireless), HD radio, SiriusXM Satellite radio support with an additional SiriusXM device, and iDataLink Maestro for steering wheel control connection. 

The screen’s large display is excellent for those with two camera connections. For example, this unit would be well suited in a vehicle used for towing a boat or trailer, with one camera on the car for parking and another for checking different towing angles.

The huge display also makes backing up much easier and ensures a much safer trip when traveling. 

Sony XAV-AX8000

Another option with large screen size is the Sony XAV-AX8000. While a bit smaller than the Pioneer DMH-WT8600NEX, the Sony unit is larger than most other units at 8.95 inches (22.73-cm).

It supports Android Auto, a three-way adjustable mount, a rearview camera input, and numerous audio output channels – both amplified and pre-amplified. 

This unit would be great as the control center for an audio powerhouse – perfect for those who love to crank up the tunes while driving.

You can also use the large display with the WebLink system to mirror your smartphone display, which is useful for entertaining passengers.

Another great feature about this unit is that it’s a single-DIN. In addition, it comes with a three-way adjustable mount, meaning you can place it in the ideal direction for ease of use.

The Best Overall Car Stereo for Android Phones

There are many great picks on this list for car stereos that work well with Android phones, have a good selection of useful features, and have a reasonable price to boot, but there can only be one that’s the best of them all.

The following car stereo has the best range of features at the best price. If there were only one car stereo that I would choose more than any others on this list, it would undoubtedly be this one.

Pioneer AVH-W4500NEX

My best overall pick is the Pioneer AVH-W4500NEX, and this is one impressive stereo! This really is a well-rounded product, including features such as:

  • A 6.94-inch (17.63-cm) resistive touchscreen display
  • Android Auto (both wired and wireless)
  • Rearview camera support
  • A second camera input
  • Bluetooth calling and audio streaming
  • Pandora and SiriusXM support
  • HD radio 
  • CD/DVD/USB playback

It even supports iDataLink Maestro for steering wheel control interface, so you don’t lose the convenience of those close controls.

There are not many things this head unit can’t do, and it’s an excellent choice for the price point.

If you have a double-DIN spot-free and want a unit that you’ll not have to replace for a long time, Pioneer AVH-W4500NEX is undoubtedly the one you have been searching for!

Summary

Finding the perfect new car stereo for you doesn’t have to be a big hassle, especially with this handy guide.

Ensure you know exactly what kind of stereo you’re looking for first: the size, input, and features you want to save yourself the trouble of buying something that doesn’t work for you.

There are so many excellent car stereo options that work seamlessly with Android Auto these days, so if you’re in the market to upgrade your old system, you really can’t do better than one of the ones listed here.

You’ll be cruising along to your favorite tunes with all of the ease of smartphone integration in no time!

Sources

World Wide Stereo: Best Car Stereos of 2021: The 8 Best to Buy

Double Din Guide: Best Android Car Stereo Double DIN: Product Review

Digital Trends: The Best Android Auto Head Units for 2021

Crutchfield: Car Stereos Go Extra Large

Martin

Welcome to ImproveCarAudio! I am Martin, and I love to write about everything related to car sound systems. I strive to provide the most accurate and helpful information about car audio through extensive research, as well as my experience with car audio installations.

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