Most cars come with basic receivers. However, most factory receivers lack the features that a modern audiophile needs. Luckily, you can upgrade by investing in a flip-out head unit. Most flip-out head units are designed as single-din head units and come with a retractable touchscreen display. The head unit fits in a standard car dashboard. They’re known as flip-out head units due to the retractable nature of the display.
Flip-out head units come with innovative features that make them one of the best car audio upgrades you can invest in. Some come with innovative features such as GPS and satellite radio while others allow for wireless integration with smartphones. They output better sound quality than most factory head units. Besides, they’ll add a sleek look to your car.
With many options to choose from, finding the best flip-out head unit is a huge challenge. You need to strike a balance between your budget and the features you want. We’ve reviewed the top brands available today to assist you in making a more informed decision.
Top 8 Flip-Out Head Unit
Whether you’re planning to upgrade your full car audio system or you’re just seeking to upgrade your old or factory head unit, we’ve reviewed the top choices you can find today. Let’s review the top picks, including their top features, pros, and cons.
Comparison Table of Best Flip out Head Unit
1. Top Choice: Pioneer AVH-3400NEX
Pioneer is among the leading car audio brands available today. The company has been manufacturing some of the best car audio components for many years now. Its AVH-3400NEX flip-out head unit comes with a DVD player and a 7-inch display.
- Wireless control- The head unit is designed to allow for wireless control via Bluetooth. You can stream and control your favorite music from your Bluetooth-enabled smartphone. It supports wireless control from up to 5 smartphones. You can also make hands-free calls with your smartphone. The head unit is compatible with iPhone’s Siri Eyes Free which allows for voice controls to make calls, listen to SMSes, or select music among other supported voice controls.
- Customizable interface- The interface that comes with this head unit is extremely intuitive. It features a clear and bright WVGA screen with a resolution of 800 x 480 and an aspect ratio of 16:9. You can customize the interface to display your preferred sources and switch from one source to another at the touch of a button.
- Supports Pandora and Spotify- If you like using smartphone streaming services, then you’ll appreciate the support that this head unit has for Pandora and Spotify. You can control them from the head unit via your iPhone, either through Bluetooth or USB. You can also connect to Pandora and Spotify via Bluetooth with your Android device.
- Numerous equalizer options- It comes with a customizable graphic equalizer featuring 13 bands. It also has an Easy EQ with equalizer presets and an Auto EQ for CD playback. Thus, it allows for the best sound tuning.
- Highly expandable- There are many accessories that can be attached to the head unit. For instance, you can connect a back-up camera via the back-up camera input at the rear. It also has an AUX input for connecting audio sources that support AUX connections. You can also connect it to an extra display via the composite video output.
- Supports wired remote control
- Display OFF mode
- 16:9 aspect ratio
- Resistive touchscreen
- Last angle memory
- It’s quite pricey
- The screen is not of HD quality
If you prefer paying some extra dollars for premium car audio equipment, then consider choosing this Pioneer AVH-3400NEX flip-out head unit.
2. Best Theft Deter Capability: BOSS Audio Systems BV9986BI Car DVD Player
The BOSS Audio BV9986BI single DIN flip-out DVD player comes with a 7-inch TFT screen. The display is NTSC/PAL compatible with a screen resolution of 800 x 480 pixels. It has several inputs that allow for multiple audio sources and a video output to connect to external video monitors.
- Multi-color illumination- The screen features a backlit display with a brightness of 600 NITS. It allows for multi-color illumination. You can select from 16 million illumination options. That way, you can customize the backlit display according to your preferences.
- Wide touchscreen display- It comes with a wide TFT screen. The digital touchscreen combined with a well-designed graphical user interface allows for easier control while driving. You can control most of the functions by touching them.
- Wireless audio streaming- The head unit supports wireless audio streaming from Bluetooth-enabled devices. It allows for playing and controlling music and applications such as Pandora and Spotify wirelessly. It also comes with an inbuilt microphone that allows for making and receiving hands-free calls via Bluetooth.
- Detachable faceplate- Another reason why this DVD player is among the best flip-out head units is its detachable faceplate. You can remove the faceplate when leaving your car in insecure parking zones to deter theft. Once removed, the head unit is inoperable and thieves are less likely to steal it.
- USB and SD card ports- The head unit comes with a USB port that supports USB flash drives with a capacity of up to 32 gigabytes. It also has an SD card slot that supports SD cards with a capacity of up to 32 gigabytes. It supports playback for both audio and video files from both USB flash drives and SD cards.
- RCA output
- AUX input
- AV input
- Rear camera input
- DVD/CD player
- It produces slightly from the dashboard
- The radio tuner is not very powerful
The most outstanding feature of this head unit is its detachable faceplate. If you reside in an area prone to auto parts burglary, then this BOSS Audio Systems BV9986BI Car DVD Player will be your safest option.
3. Best for Backup Camera: Pyle PLT85BTCM CD/DVD Player
Pyle manufactures a wide range of car audio equipment, including head units. The Pyle PLT85BTCM CD/DVD Player is designed to improve your car audio experience. It’s designed to allow for multimedia entertainment and safe driving.
- Backup camera- The head unit comes with a rearview backup camera kit. You can connect the camera to the head unit via the backup camera input. The backup camera is waterproof such that you don’t have to worry about water damage. Besides, the camera has night vision ability, making it fully functional 24 hours a day.
- Radio tuner- If you’re an audiophile who loves listening to the radio, then this head unit got you covered. It has a strong AM/FM radio tuner. Thus, you can listen to most radio stations within your area without struggling with the reception. The radio functionality has a memory for storing up to 30 radio stations.
- Easy installation- You’ll find it quite easy to install this head unit. It comes with all the essential installation cables and wiring for easy installation. Also, as a Single DIN head unit, it fits in most car dashboards. Thus, you won’t have to do any dash modifications for most cars. It also fits in without protruding.
- User-friendly- The head unit has a user-friendly control interface. The controls are labeled for easier control. Also, the digital touchscreen makes it easier to make different controls, with the menu icons being labeled. Additionally, the flip-out display is motorized for easier folding it and folding out.
- Multimedia functionality- It’s designed to support multimedia playback. You can play audio and video from a wide range of sources. For instance, it has a front-loading DVD/CD player. You can also play music and video files from a USB flash disk or Micro SD card. It also has an AUX input and an RCA input.
- Subwoofer output
- Bluetooth connectivity
- 7-inch TFT display
- Inbuilt microphone for hands-free calls
- Detachable faceplate
- Challenging to change the display brightness
- The radio tends to lose memory from time to time
The Pyle PLT85BTCM CD/DVD Player outshines competing flip-out head units in that it comes with a backup camera kit with night vision capability. Thus, it stands out in having one of the best backup cameras.
4. Best Average Price: UNITOPSCI Car Stereo in-Dash Single DIN
This single DIN head unit from UNITOPSCI delivers a maximum power output of 4 x 55 watts. It consumes a maximum current of 15 amperes and works with a 12-volt DC power supply. It comes with a retractable 7-inch touchscreen.
- GPS navigation- Among its most outstanding features is its support for GPS navigation. It features an 8-gigabyte map card with a preinstalled North American Map for Canada and the U.S. The offline North American map makes it effortless to locate new places when driving. You can update the map as needed.
- Wide-angle rear view camera- A backup camera is included in the package. You can connect the camera to the head unit for safer reversing. A rearview image appears automatically on the screen upon engaging the reverse gear. Besides, the camera features a 170-degree wide-angle lens.
- Steering wheel control- It has support for steering wheel control. You can program the steering wheel control buttons by customizing them on the settings menu. This makes it easier and safer to control different head unit functionalities while driving.
- FM radio- The head unit has an FM radio receiver with storage of up to 18 FM radio stations. It supports FM radio within the frequency range of 87.5 to 108 megahertz. The FM radio bands supported include FM1, FM2, and FM3.
- Mirror link- It comes with a mirror link functionality that makes it possible to mirror your smartphone’s screen on the head unit screen. It allows mirroring with iPhone versions 5s to 7s and Android versions 4.0 to 7.1 via a USB cable. That way, you can view the screen of your phone on the head unit screen.
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Supports hands-free calls
- USB port and SD card slot
- A/V output
- Waterproof rearview camera
- The radio lacks an AM band
- Black and white backup camera
Although the UNITOPSCI Car Stereo in-Dash Single DIN comes from a brand that’s not very popular, it comes with features that make it a worthy competitor and a great choice for an average budget.
5. Best Screen Resolution: Regetek Single Din Car Stereo
The Regetek flip-out single din head unit comes with a retractable 7-inch touch screen. It comes in a standard size for easy installation in most cars that can fit a standard single din head unit. It fits effortlessly without protruding outward.
- USB charging- With this head unit, you don’t have to worry about your smartphone or tablet running out of charge. It has two USB ports, one for wired USB connections and another one for USB charging. The USB port for charging is marked with a charging icon.
- Selectable EQ- It comes with an equalizer that makes it possible to adjust sound frequencies for a more customized sound output. You can choose from pre-programmed equalizer settings for different music genres including classical, jazz, pop, and rock among others.
- Memory card slot- If you prefer carrying simple and compact file storage systems rather than carrying large audio sources, then you can take advantage of the SD card slot on this head unit to play music and video files. You can also view pictures on an SD via the head unit.
- Bluetooth 4.0- It comes with Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity that allows for wireless music streaming via Bluetooth-enabled devices. Also, it has an inbuilt microphone that makes it possible to receive or make hands-free calls via Bluetooth. The Bluetooth connection offered by the head unit is stable and strong. It doesn’t cut in and out when streaming music or making hands-free calls.
- RCA audio output- The head unit has a dedicated RCA audio output for connecting a subwoofer. It’s especially useful when connecting it directly to a powered subwoofer. It also has two video outputs for connecting it to an extra screen.
- Affordable price range
- Backup camera input
- AM/FM radio with RDS function
- Digital clock with switchable 12 and 24-hour system
- Call answering button
- Lacks support for GPS
- The mirror link functionality is unstable
The Regetek Single Din Car Stereo stands out for its HD screen resolution at an affordable price range. It’s a great choice for watching HD videos and images.
6. Best Quality Touchscreen: Hikity Android 1 Din Car Stereo
The Hikity Android 1 Din Car Stereo boasts of having an HD touchscreen with a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. It can view high-definition videos and images without any form of lagging. It measures 186 by 55 by 178 mm (L x H x W).
- Security password- One of the features that makes it one of the best flip-out head units is its security password functionality. It comes with a factory password that you can change through the settings. The security password deters theft. It’ll also prevent unauthorized passengers, such as your kids, from using the head unit.
- Wi-Fi connectivity- The head unit supports Wi-Fi connectivity. You can share your smartphone internet by creating a hotspot and connecting the head unit. That way, you can download files and apps or view an online map.
- Night vision reversing camera- It comes with a reversing camera input to connect the provided reversing camera. The camera has night vision ability that makes it easier and safer to reverse or park during the night. Also, the night vision camera is waterproof.
- Bluetooth 4.0- The head unit supports Bluetooth connectivity, thanks to its advanced Bluetooth 4.0 technology. Its Bluetooth connectivity makes it possible to download your phonebook to the head unit. You can also stream music wirelessly through Bluetooth and make hands-free calls while driving.
- Steering wheel controls- Another key feature of this head unit is its support for steering wheel controls. This feature increases safety while driving as you can simply control various functions on the steering wheel rather than extending your hand to the dash while driving.
- FM radio with 18 presets
- Mirror link functionality
- GPS navigation
- Android system with 1GB RAM and 16 GB ROM
- Installation hardware and harnesses
- Poor radio reception
- The volume output is relatively low
The 7-inch touchscreen of this Hikity Android 1 Din Car Stereo stands out, thanks to its clarity, HD resolution, and responsiveness.
7. Best Budget Option: JOVOKO 7 Inch Flip-Out HD TFT Touch Screen
The JOVOKO flip-out Single DIN head unit is designed with affordability in mind. It comes with several multimedia functions that make it highly functional. It has a maximum power output of 4 x 50 watts and works with a 12-volt DC input voltage.
- Universal dimensions- The head unit features universal dimensions for standard single DIN head units. It measures 17 by 5.8 cm (W x H). Thus, it fits most dashboards without demanding a modification.
- Supports TF card and USB- It comes with a TF slot for inserting a micro SD card. It also features a USB port for inserting a USB flash drive. That way, you can carry your music files with a micro SD card or flash disk for enhanced portability.
- Automatic reversing view- The head unit has an input for a rearview camera. If you’ve connected a rearview camera, the display will automatically switch to the rearview upon engaging the reverse gear. That way, you won’t have to press any buttons to view the rear visual when reversing.
- Selectable sound modes- You can choose between four sound modes including bass, balance, fade, and treble. You can also utilize the EQ to switch between pre-programmed EQ settings such as pop, classical, jazz, and rock among others.
- High-definition touchscreen- The head unit features a 7-inch high-definition touchscreen. The touchscreen supports 1080 pixels video format for enhanced video clarity. You can flip out the touchscreen manually.
- A/V output
- AUX input
- Supports mirror link
- Inbuilt microphone
- FM radio with storage of up to 18 stations
- Lacks a DVD/CD player
- Lacks GPS functionality
If you want a high-performance but affordable flip-out head unit, then consider choosing the JOVOKO 7 Inch Flip-Out HD TFT Touch Screen single DIN head unit.
8. Best for Navigation: Podofo Single Din Car Stereo Navigation
The Podofo single DIN head unit comes with a 7-inch screen and measures 18.8 by 5.8 by 15.4 cm (W x H x D). Its standard size makes it suitable for installation in dashboards that fit standard single DIN head units.
- Phone link feature- The head unit supports mirroring with smartphones. It’s compatible with iPhone 8 and below. It’s also compatible with Android devices versions 4.0 to 8.0. Mirroring is done via a USB cable.
- FM radio- You can enjoy your favorite radio shows and news broadcasts via the FM radio in the head unit. It receives radio stations within the range of 87.5 to 108 megahertz. The radio reception is decent for clear audio.
- Phonebook download- You can download your phonebook to the head unit via Bluetooth. Also, the head unit has an inbuilt microphone. Thus, you can easily make hands-free calls while driving.
- AUX input- No Bluetooth? No problem. If you don’t have a Bluetooth-enabled device, you can still connect audio devices that accept AUX connections, including MP3 players and mobile phones for wired music streaming.
- IP68 waterproof camera- Another top feature of this head unit is that it comes with a waterproof reversing camera. The camera has an IP68 waterproof rating, meaning that it can withstand water, dirt, and dust. You can connect the reversing camera via the camera input on the head unit.
- Motorized retractable screen
- 4×60 watts output
- GPS navigation with a pre-loaded map
- Supports steering wheel control
- The provided instructions are illegible
- Doesn’t sort music files by artist or album name
Need a flip-out head unit that can assist you with unmatchable GPS navigation? If so, this Podofo Single Din Car Stereo Navigation head unit is your best bet. Its GPS navigation system stands out for its 8GB map card and pre-loaded North American map.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Flip-Out Head Unit
Flip-out head units are all designed for installation on the dashboard. They all come with a flip-out screen that can be retracted or hidden as needed. However, they differ in certain features and functionalities. Thus, it’s important to consider certain factors when choosing a flip-out head unit including:
The screen resolution of the head unit’s screen will largely determine the picture quality when watching videos or viewing images. Screen resolution is represented in pixels. The higher the screen resolution, the better the picture quality. Thus, if you want to view high-definition picture quality without lagging, then consider choosing a head unit with a high screen resolution.
The screen size is also an important factor to consider. While larger screens are great for better viewing, ensure the size you choose can fit in your dashboard. A standard screen size such as 7 inches is most suitable for flip-out head units as it easily fits in most dashboards.
It’ll also help to consider a head unit that comes with a touchscreen. A touchscreen makes it easier to make certain controls as it reduces the need to rotate knobs or press hard buttons. A touchscreen is especially great for controlling various functions while driving, unlike struggling with unresponsive buttons.
Ease of installation
Ensure the head unit you choose can fit in your car dashboard. Choose a head unit with universal dimensions to make sure it’ll fit easily without modifying your car dashboard. If you’re not sure about the size, first take measurements of your dashboard and buy a head unit that’ll fit in. Also, ensure the head unit you’re choosing comes with installation hardware and harnesses for easier and quicker installation.
It’ll help to choose a head unit with Bluetooth functionality. This will make it possible to stream music wirelessly from your smartphone. That way, you can stream music from your favorite music stores. Bluetooth functionality also eliminates the need to use cables.
Also, consider a head unit that has support for making hands-free calls via Bluetooth. For this to be possible, it should have an inbuilt microphone. That way, you can make and receive calls while driving for enhanced safety on the road.
Another important factor to consider is whether the head unit has an input for a rearview backup camera. That way, you can connect it to a backup camera for easier and safer reversing and parking. Some head units come with a backup camera in the package, which is an added advantage as you won’t have to buy the camera separately.
It’ll be an added advantage to choose a head unit that has GPS functionality. That way, you can navigate through unfamiliar routes without getting lost. It’ll be better if it has a memory for storing offline maps. Also, it’ll help if the maps can be updated.
Also, it’s important to consider the audio sources supported by the head unit. This will largely depend on your preferences. For instance, if you like playing music from DVDs/CDs, then consider a head unit that has a DVD/CD player. Also, if you like listening to the radio, choose a head unit with a radio tuner. If you don’t have Bluetooth devices, then consider a head unit with an AUX input for wired connections with devices that offer AUX connections. A head unit with a USB port and micro SD slot would be a plus.
There are dozens of flip-out head units available in the market today. As you can see, they differ in functionality. Thus, it’s important to make your choice wisely and enjoy a better entertainment experience in your car. Considering that we’ve reviewed the best flip-out head units available today, you’re assured that our choices will give you the best value for your money.
Michael Evanchuk is a San Francisco-based sound engineer with 20 years’ experience installing, troubleshooting, and repairing commercial, automotive, and household sound equipment. Evanchuk owns an auto stereo center, where he offers highly competitive car audio installation and repair services. He has written dozens of articles on different sound engineering topics, all of which have been published in leading journals, blogs, and websites.