The Best Double Din Head Units in 2020

Ever tried to hookup your phone directly to your car speakers? How did it sound? It obviously sounded terrible. The reason why a portable music player cannot sound great when connected directly to car speakers is its limited power to process sound. This is where a head unit comes in. A head unit is specially designed to process and control music from a sound source before reaching the amplifier and speakers. Thus, it works like the brain and heart of a complete car music system. However, factory receivers come with minimal features and power. They don’t deliver quality music. So what can you do if your car came with a factory receiver? The best option is replacing the old, factory receiver with a new one. You can choose between a single and a double din head unit. Double din head units come with numerous features, making them a great choice. Read on through this article for a review of the top 10 double din head units, including a buying guide.

Quick Comparison Table

Background of Our Double Din Head Unit Review

Ever bought a music equipment for its low price or attractiveness but it never delivered the performance you expected? Well, this is a major mistake that car owners make when upgrading their car stereo. Not many car owners know what to look out for when shopping for a head unit. To avoid making such costly mistakes, we decided to write a review about the best double din head units you can find today. This review is impartial and is based on factual information and experiences of real users. It will help you when choosing a replacement double din receiver for your car. We have reviewed each double din receiver for its unique features, pros, and cons, including a verdict on our overall view about each head unit. From this review, you’ll surely find a head unit that will match with your needs.

Our Top 10 Double Din Head Unit

While different double din head units are made with universal dimensions for the length and width, their performance and features may not be the same. Thus, a particular double din model may perform better than others. Thus, when making your choice, you need to choose a double din that has the features you want.

1. Pioneer AVH-1300NEX

Pioneer is one of the most renowned car music equipment manufacturers of all time. As such, the brand has earned one of the most reputable brand names in the market. Pioneer’s AVH-1300NEX double din tops our list of review based on its quality and some of the best features you can find in a head unit. Here’re what we found about this head unit:

Unique Features

  • Android and iPhone compatible- Everyone today loves being mobile, including playing music from portable devices. As a modern car owner, you’d want to play your smartphone music through the head unit. This Pioneer head unit supports streaming music from Android and iPhone smartphones. It supports Apple App Radio Mode and Apple Car Play. It also supports Pandora, SiriusXM, and Spotify.
  • Supports Bluetooth- The Bluetooth feature that comes with this Pioneer receiver allows you to stream music wirelessly from Bluetooth enabled devices such as Smartphones and tablets. Moreover, you can make hands-free calls via Bluetooth, making your driving experience safer.
  • Supports back-up camera- Another notable feature about this double din receiver is its support for a rearview camera. You can connect your rear camera through its video inputs. This way, you’ll easily reverse your car, especially when parking in tight parking spaces. You’ll be able to back-up your car safely without hitting any object.
  • DVD player- If you’ve never gotten tired of playing music from the now old-school discs, this head unit will be a great choice. It features a DVD player that supports playing music from DVDs and CDs. Thus, your old disc collections won’t continue gathering dust in your storage.
  • Touchscreen display- Tired of pressing unresponsive buttons on your old receiver? This head unit is a perfect replacement for it comes with a responsive touchscreen display. You’ll easily choose various options by the touch of a finger on the display. The screen also displays still images and videos. 

Pros

  • 4 channel output
  • Display Off mode
  • 6.2 inch wide TFT display
  • LED backlight with brightness control
  • Customization of home screen shortcuts

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with a remote control
  • Display is not clearly visible under bright sunlight

Verdict:

If you’re looking for a double din receiver with innovative features, especially support for today’s smartphone-oriented lifestyle, then consider the Pioneer AVH-1300NEX as your best option.

2. ATOTO A6-Standard A6Y2710SB

ATOTO A6-Standard A6Y2710SB boasts of designing different, better, and reliable head units. Its A6 double din is specially designed to have features similar to those of a smartphone, thanks to its Android OS platform. As such, it’s built with the latest technologies in mind. Let’s have a look at its key features that made it rank second on our review.

Unique Features

  • Runs on Android OS- The ATOTO A6-Standard A6Y2710SB head unit is built on Android Operating System, Marshmallow version. As such, it runs Android applications such as Google Maps, YouTube, Pandora, Play Store, and more. It’s firmware is constantly updated, and runs on a 1 Gigabyte RAM and 16 Gigabyte ROM. Thus, you can install several applications and run them seamlessly.
  • Supports steering wheel control- If your car steering wheel has stereo button controls, then you can easily control this head unit from the steering wheel. As such, you’ll have a safer driving experience since you will simply control the head unit from the steering wheel rather than stretching your hand to reach the head unit on the dashboard.
  • External Wi-Fi antenna- A major benefit of this head unit is that it supports internet connectivity. You can connect it to the internet via Wi-Fi. This is made possible by its external Wi-Fi antenna. Once you connect it to the internet through a hotspot from your smartphone or portable router, you’ll be able to stream content on the head unit and easily navigate your route through the preinstalled Google Maps.
  • Supports phone mirroring- Another unique feature of this head unit is that it supports phone mirroring or casting feature. This feature makes it possible to connect and view your smartphone content on the head unit display and control it from there.
  • Screen lock- The head unit features a screen lock feature that allows a user to lock it with a password. As such, someone else cannot access your sensitive applications such as Facebook and e-Mail. This enhances your privacy.

Pros

  • Inbuilt preamplifier
  • Preset 9-band equalizer
  • Hands gesture recognition
  • Internet connectivity via Wi-Fi
  • Runs Android apps on its Android OS

Cons

  • Internet reception has a limited radius
  • Sounds a bit distorted when streaming via Bluetooth

Verdict:

Looking for a head unit fully-packed with modern-day technologies? The ATOTO A6-Standard A6Y2710SB will be your best bet for all the features you’d want in a head unit.

3. Alpine iLX-W650

The Alpine iLX-W650 double din is specially designed as a multimedia receiver. It supports playback of both video and audio. Thus, you’ll listen to your favorite music and even watch video. It also comes with innovative features for a technologically advanced user. Read on to know why this Alpine receiver ranked higher than its competitors.

Unique Features

  • Hands-free control- One of the greatest features about this head unit is its hands-free control feature. This is made possible by its voice recognition ability. It’s able to recognize voice commands such that you can make control it by your voice. As such, it allows for the safest driving experience since you’ll simply make commands with your hands on the steering wheels and eyes on the road.
  • Two camera inputs- Another great feature about this receiver is its two camera inputs. This means that you can connect it to two different cameras, such as the backup camera and front camera. You’ll be able to view what is behind on the screen as you reverse your car or when you’re about to hit an obstacle at the front.
  • External microphone- It’s always advisable to avoid making or receiving calls while driving. Luckily, this receiver allows for hands-free calls through Bluetooth. At times, such calls are not very clear. Luckily, this receiver comes with an external microphone that makes the receiver hear you more clearly despite the road and engine noise.
  • Inbuilt amplifier- The receiver comes with an inbuilt amplifier for enhanced power. Thus, it’s able to drive most car speakers effortlessly. As such, you won’t have to invest in a standalone car amp not unless you need deeper and louder sound.
  • 6-channel preamp outputs- Another notable feature of this head unit that makes it stand out from its competitors is its 6-channel preamp outputs. With these outputs, you can connect a car subwoofer and several speakers directly without the need for an external amp. 

Pros

  • 7-inch capacitive touchscreen
  • Touchscreen swipe controls
  • Rear aux input
  • Works with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Compatible steering wheel controls

Cons

  • No CD player
  • Higher price range

Verdict:

The Alpine iLX-W650 double din receiver stands out when it comes to ease of control. It’s the best option for any car owner who need an easy to control head unit, thanks to its hands-free control.

4. BOSS Audio Systems BV9358B

Boss Audio has not been left behind in our review of the best double din head unit. The BOSS Audio Systems BV9358B double din stereo has great features to boast about. It’s designed to allow a user to enjoy several digital music options. Besides its 6.2 inch LED touchscreen, here’re some of its other great features:

Unique Features

  • Customizable audio output- The receiver comes with an inbuilt equalizer to allow for enhanced audio output. You can choose from its several preset equalizer curves depending on the music style you’re playing. You can also set your own custom equalizer curve.
  • AUX input- The receiver comes with an AUX input that allows a user to add other sound sources via an AUX cable. This way, you can connect your MP3 player or smartphone to the head unit via cable and enjoy playing music from your portable device in your car through the receiver.
  • Video output- Want to view your receiver display on a wider screen? You can easily do that with this receiver, thanks to its video output port. You can connect an external screen via the video output, especially when you want to add a bigger screen in your car for entertaining your passengers.
  • Radio tuner- If you enjoy listening to radio, you can choose this receiver for an enjoyable radio listening experience in your car. Its AM/FM radio comes with several radio presets. As such, you’ll only need to scan your radio once and the tuned stations will be auto-saved on the presets.
  • Subwoofer output- The receiver comes with a dedicated preamp output for connecting a subwoofer. It also comes with a set of preamp output for the front speakers and another set of preamp output for the rear speakers. As such, the three channels allow you to connect your car subwoofer and speakers directly.

Pros

  • Remote control
  • USB/SD card inputs
  • AM/FM radio presets
  • Camera input
  • Hands-free calling

Cons

  • You might have to buy installation accessories for your specific car
  • Not the best user interface

Verdict:

The BOSS Audio Systems BV9358B outshines other head units when it comes to customization of sound output. It’s the best option for enjoying well-balanced sound, thanks to its inbuilt equalizer.

5. HaoXuan DianZi 8542140521

The HaoXuan DianZi is one of the newest entrants in the market today, yet it has been able to outshine some of the most renowned car stereo manufacturers. Its double din stereo comes with admirable features that would make you want it as the perfect replacement for your old, factory stereo. There’s more to it including:

Unique Features

  • Automatic reverse image- With this receiver, you don’t have to manually switch the receiver to display the rear camera when reversing. It allows for automatic reverse image. It automatically switches the display to reverse image as soon as you engage the reverse gear. Once you engage the gear back to driving mode, it will switch the display back to what it was initially displaying.
  • Seven-color backlight- The button controls located along the left edge of the head unit are illuminated with backlights. The backlights have seven different colors for enhanced décor. The colors change automatically and you can as well choose a single, specific backlight color.
  • Antenna input- The receiver features a rear antenna input. You can hook it to an external antenna for enhanced radio reception. This way, radio stations are heard with enhanced clarity.
  • MP5 player- This stereo is specially designed as an MP5 player. It’s able to play music MP3 music files, display video content, and allow for video recording with the rear camera that comes with it.
  • Large 7-inch display- Another great feature of this head unit is its large 7-inch touchscreen display. It displays video and images in high resolution. It actually has the ability to display HD video and images, thanks to its 1024 by 600 pixels LCD.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • SD card slot
  • Video output
  • Rear and front speaker outputs
  • Front AUX input

Cons

  • No DVD/CD player
  • No external microphone
  • No app integration

Verdict:

It’s evident that the HaoXuan DianZi 8542140521 outperforms its rivals in video clarity and enhanced back up camera features. Thus, it’s the best choice for rear video and high resolution display.

6. JVC KW-V25BT

The JVC KW-V25BT is one of the best double din head units. It has been designed to deliver enhanced sound quality. The design employs K2 technology, a JVC technology, for reproducing original sound and expanding the overall frequency range. Here’re other reasons why it made it to our review:

Unique Features

  • MP3 ID3 tag- The head unit has the ability to display the name of the title, artist, and album of a currently playing music file, thanks to its MP3 ID3 tag feature. Thus, you’ll easily know more details about your music files.
  • Multilingual display- A unique feature about this head unit is that it can display text in 17 different languages. It has considered all the most common languages across the globe, making it ideal for use in any part of the globe. You’ll surely find a language you’ll understand from those supported.
  • Time alignment feature- This double din receiver features a unique time alignment feature that allows both rear and front speakers to reproduce sound at the same time regardless of them being installed in different locations. The timer adjusts the timing of sound from each speaker. Thus, every listening position gets sound at the same time. As such, there’s no delay in sound due to speakers being installed in different locations.
  • Favorite key functionality- The head unit features a special favorite key functionality. The key can be pressed and held to access the function you’ll want to register for the favorite key. You can set the key to do a dedicated function such as setting it to access the rear camera or Bluetooth radio, or whatever favorite control you want.
  • Resistive touch panel- The display that comes with the head unit is a resistive touch panel. It’s high luminance and displays vividly colored images. It also allows for gesture touch controls for easier control of functionalities such as adjusting the volume by making a circular touch gesture.

Pros

  • Free earbuds
  • Front and rear USB ports
  • Can pair up to 5 Bluetooth devices simultaneously
  • DVD/CD player
  • Satellite radio receiver

Cons

  • Remote control is sold separately
  • Bluetooth connections are a bit slow
  • Takes a bit more time to boot up

Verdict:

The JVC KW-V25BT double din receiver scores highly in customization. There’s a lot of flexibility in customizing controls and sound output, making it a great option for anyone who likes customization in settings and audio output.

7. Sony XAVAX1000

Sony has been around for many years now. It features in almost all sound equipment and devices. Its XAVAX1000 double din car stereo has a lot to be desired. It’s designed to meet effortless usability and safety while driving. Here’re some of its most desirable features:

Unique Features​

  • Highly responsive touchscreen- The screen display that comes with this head unit is highly responsive to touch. It responds quickly as soon as a user touches an icon. The screen also wakes up quite quickly than other models.
  • EXTRABASS technology- Sony has added EXTRABASS feature to this head unit. This technology allows for enhanced bass without distortion. If you love going deep on lows, then you’ll surely love this feature.
  • Dynamic stage organizer- Another great feature that comes in this head unit is its dynamic stage organizer. With this feature, you’ll be able to create virtual car speakers around the dashboard. It works by creating vivid sound images as if there’re speakers on the dashboard.
  • Rotary volume control- The volume control on this receiver features a rotary button. You can easily rotate it to push the volume up or down. The button is very responsive, making it quick and easy to adjust the volume.
  • Apple CarPlay voice control- You can attach your iPhone to the receiver via USB and enjoy controlling it with Apple CarPlay. You’ll easily control it via voice commands through CarPlay, making your driving experience safer.

Pros

  • Rearview camera
  • Maps navigation
  • Easy installation
  • Voice control
  • Front AUX input

Cons

  • Higher price range
  • Not compatible with Android Auto
  • The clock is often inaccurate and requires constant resetting 

Verdict:

Despite its higher price tag, the Sony XAVAX1000 head unit is a great option for anyone who prefers hands-free control over manual control.

8. SARCCH-13 Double Din Car Stereo

SARCCH is yet another new entrant brand in the market of car stereo equipment, but it made it on our list and surpassed other known brand names out there. Let’s have a look at why the SARCCH -13 double din is worth your consideration:

Unique Features

  • HD display- The touchscreen display that comes with this stereo is a high-definition capacitive screen. It’s also wide enough to display video and images in high resolution.
  • Phone mirror link- You can mirror your Android phone to the receiver through its phone mirror link feature. This way, you can view and control your Android smartphone apps directly from the receiver.
  • Multiple playback modes- The receiver supports 4 different playback modes. You can play music through Bluetooth, SD card, USB, and AUX. It also allows tone adjustment in all the supported playback modes. You can adjust both high and low tones.
  • Digital radio tuning- The receiver comes with an FM radio tuner. The digital tuner searches for radio stations automatically. It has a storage capacity of 18 radio stations.
  • USB charging- You can charge your smartphone via the front USB port of the receiver. As such, your smartphone will never go on low battery while travelling. You’ll easily stream music from your phone as it charges.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Steering wheel control
  • Memory card slot
  • MP5 player
  • Large display

Cons

  • Lacks a DVD player
  • Lacks inbuilt GPS navigation
  • Doesn’t come with a remote control

Verdict:

Need an affordable double din stereo with great features? The SARCCH-13 double din car stereo is the perfect choice for anyone with a tight budget.

9. Kenwood DDX25BT

The Kenwood DDX25BT is a stylish head unit suitable for replacing a factory head unit. It features a 6.2-inch LCD display, making sure you’ll enjoy a wider view of video, images, and text. Its DVD/CD player caters for everyone who prefers playing music from discs. Here’re some of the reasons why you should consider it as a replacement head unit:

Unique Features

  • 13 band graphic equalizer- You can use the preset 13-band equalizer to fine-tune the sound according to your preferences. Moreover, it allows for sound staging with its time alignment features. This allows for optimal performance in sound reproduction.
  • MOSFET power IC- The power mechanism of this head unit is made of MOSFET integrated circuits, making it reliable. The power output of this head unit is 50 watts per channel, with a total number of 4 channels. It’s powerful enough to power a sub and speakers.
  • Digital to analog converter- Another unique feature of this head unit is its inbuilt digital to analog converter. When streaming music from your phone via USB, the head unit converts the digital signals to analog signals for enhanced sound reproduction.
  • Off-axis viewing angle- The head unit has an electronic angle setting that enables you to set the display for enhanced off-axis viewing. This enhances the viewing angle such that you’ll enjoy a clearer view even when viewing at an off-axis angle.
  • Parking guide lines- You’ll enjoy backing up and parking your car more easily, thanks to the parking guide lines that come with this head unit’s back up camera feature. This makes parking safer and easier. 

Pros

  • Remote control
  • iPhone and Android app ready
  • Clear touch panel
  • DVD/CD player
  • White LED backlight

Cons

  • No front USB port, only at the rear
  • Bluetooth tends to cut off at times
  • Its processing power is a bit weak

Verdict:

Overall, the Kenwood DDX25BT double din receiver delivers great sound quality. It has a superb radio tuner, making it a great choice for anyone who wants a receiver with high-quality radio reception.

10. Jensen VX7020

Jensen VX7020 is specially designed to offer value for money. It gives you unmatched command over your video and audio sources. It comes with pre-installed maps with a dedicated navigation firmware. Here’re its top features:

Unique Features

  • 5-channel preamp outputs- The receiver comes with 5-channel preamp outputs. You can hook up your car subwoofer to its dedicated mono channel and also hookup the front and rear speakers effortlessly.
  • iGO Primo Navigation- Do you like navigating your route via maps while driving? If you do, this head unit will surely please you. It features iGO Primo Navigation, a navigation technology developed specifically for motor vehicles. Thus, you’ll have the best automotive navigation experience.
  • Selectable UI colors and wallpapers- The display features a selection of five UI colors. You can choose the color you want for the UI. You can also choose a wallpaper from the five available wallpapers.
  • Front AV input- Jensen has designed this head unit with front AV inputs. These inputs allow you to add any device with AV ports as a music source to the receiver.
  • RDS radio- The radio that comes with this receiver features RDS technology. RDS refers to radio data system. This technology allows for digital information to be sent over an FM broadcast. As such, you’re able to view time, program information, and station ID of a specific radio station. This enhances your radio listening experience.

Pros

  • Inbuilt amplifier
  • Remote control
  • Preinstalled 4 Gigabyte map card
  • GPS antenna with a 10-inch cable
  • External microphone with a 7.75-inch cable

Cons

  • Higher price range
  • Challenging to update the maps
  • Lacks speech assisted navigation in maps

Verdict:

Jensen VX7020 double din car receiver features the best automotive navigation. As such, if you value automotive navigation, then this is the double din receiver to go for.

Features to Consider When Shopping for the Best Double Din Head Unit

If you’re planning to replace your factory or old head unit, there’re certain features you’ll need to consider. As you can see from the review about, each double din receiver outshines the others in certain features, while other features are common amongst them. Thus, you’ll choose the receiver that has all the important features you need. Here’re some of the features to consider:

Connectivity Options

It’s important to know the connectivity options you’ll have. For instance, if you want a head unit that can be connected to a smartphone, ensure it offers connectivity options such as USB and Bluetooth. Other connectivity options such as HDMI and Phone Mirroring would be a plus. If you want to connect your portable devices the analog way, then ensure the head unit has an AUX input. Also, if you want easier connectivity with portable devices, then choose a model that has a front USB or AUX input.

Audio and Video sources

The main role of a head unit is to play music from various audio or video sources. While choosing a double din car stereo, you should consider its audio and video sources. For instance, if you love listening music from compact discs, then you should consider a model that has a CD player, or better a DVD player to play both CD and DVDs. If you love streaming music from portable devices, then it should at least have a USB port and Bluetooth. On a similar note, if you love listening to radio, then it should have a radio tuner. Also, ensure the head unit can support playback of all the most common file formats for convenience.

Quality of Display

Double din receivers come with a screen display. However, screen displays are not made of the same quality. As such, you should be careful with your choice. The best display is the one that displays multimedia in high quality. The higher the screen resolution in pixels, the better. Also, a display that allows for touchscreen functionality will allow for easier control of different functionalities. The touchscreen should be responsive to touch without lagging.

Integration with Smartphone apps

Today’s digital age is highly reliant on smartphones. Almost every smartphone owner prefers investing in stereo systems that can allow for connecting their smartphone. As such, consider a receiver that allows for integration with smartphone apps. It should support control for Android and iPhone devices such that you can pair your smartphone and control the apps from the receiver. This way, you’ll be able to use your smartphone apps on the receiver, especially apps such as Maps and music apps.

Sound quality and outputs

The kind of sound quality produced by the receiver determines the overall sound quality you’ll get in your car sound system. Thus, choose a receiver that delivers enhanced sound quality. It should at least have an inbuilt preamplifier to power a subwoofer. It should also have an equalizer to allow for further tuning of the sound to your liking.

The receiver should also have dedicated outputs for connecting at least a subwoofer, front, and rear speakers. It will be better if it has more channels to allow for adding more speakers as needed. Also, you can consider a receiver that has an inbuilt amplifier to output more power such that it can power the car speakers without using an external amplifier.

Usability

While most double din receivers come packed with great features, the best model should be the one that is easy to control. It should be easy to navigate through different features. Its operation should be seamless with faster boot-up time, minimal lag, and a user-friendly interface. The control buttons should be responsive for easier control. Also, it should at least have a remote control or better still, it should allow for control through the steering wheel controls. You can also find a model that allows for control through voice commands or smartphone apps.

Final Words

Double din car receivers are a great replacement for old, factory receivers. They’re larger in size, have a large screen display, and are packed with multiple features and benefits over factory receivers. As you can see from this review, double din receivers come packed with more audio sources and better features. However, be wise when making your choice to avoid wasting your money. Better still, make use of this review and guide on the best double din head units to stand better chances of making an informed choice.

Michael Evanchuk
 

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. He enjoys swimming and boat riding during his leisure time.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: