The best touch screen car radios

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In this article, I review the best double DIN car radios:

All of them have touch screens except the Pioneer FH-S700BS. I included it in my article because it is still an excellent product.

If you don’t have time to read the whole article, here is my recommendation:

The best touch screen car radio is the Pioneer AVH-210EX  – With its large 6.2″ touch screen, DVD player, AM FM tuner, powerful built-in amplifier and bluetooth connectivity, it’s very hard to beat for the price.

Terminology of car stereos

For the sake of this article, let’s have a look at the names of the key components of a car stereo and define them. Being clear about what exactly we are talking about will make the buying decision much simpler.

Car stereo

“Car stereo” is a generic term. It refers to all the elements of a car audio system as a whole (The head unit, the speakers, the amplifier, the wiring).

Head unit

The “head unit” is the main part of the “car stereo”. It is the unit that is installed the dashboard that the user operates. Currently there are two types of head units: 1) Single din and 2) Double din.

What is the difference between single din and double din?

The obvious difference is size. Single and double din are the same width but double din is twice as tall and so takes up more space on the dashboard.

Single DIN: size – Width: 7 inches (180 mm)  Height: 2 inches (50 mm)

The advantage of single din is that they are small and discreet and so less likely to attract unwanted attention by thieves. They are also often cheaper because they have fewer features and functions.

Double DIN: size – Width: 7 inches (180 mm)  Height: 4 inches (100 mm)

Double DIN units will have large colorful touchscreens that can be used for many things like watching DVDs (when parked of course), navigation and even mirroring apps from your smartphone.

All of the stereos reviewed for this article (see below) are double din units. All of them have touch screens except one.

Tuner

A tuner refers to a “head unit” that has a “radio tuner” ie. a radio. A tuner does not have a built-in amplifier. It would therefore require a separate amplifier for it to work.

Receiver

A “receiver” is a type of head unit that has a radio tuner and a built-in amplifier. Therefore it does not require a separate amplifier.

Controller

Not everyone is interested in having or listening to the radio. Some people therefore want a head unit that does NOT have a radio. That is what a “controller” is.  A controller is a head unit without a radio. A controller would have other audio inputs, such as a CD / DVD player.

Things to consider when choosing a touch screen car radio

Audio sources

What audio sources do you want? Some common options are radio, CD and DVD. However, since most people are moving away from CDs, it’s probably not worth paying for a CD player that you’ll never use. A better choice would be a “Digital media receiver” – ie a head unit without a CD player.  You can find decent digital media receivers with a built-in amplifier, preamp outputs, multi-band equalizers, wireless remote controls and options for satellite or HD radio.

Smartphone integration

Many head units can integrate on some level with a smartphone. That could be simply via a USB cord and a USB port on the front panel of the head unit. More advanced car radios will have bluetooth so that you can connect your smartphone via bluetooth and not have the hassle of plugging in cables. With smartphone integration, you can then play music stored on your phone through the car stereo and car speakers and even navigate through your music collection via the touchscreen on the car dashboard.

In addition to playing music physically store on your phone, some car stereos will also have integration to streaming apps such as Spotify, Pandora or iHeart Radio. You’ll be able to log on and then access all your playlists and subscriptions through the touchscreen of the car stereo.

Analog radio / digital radio / HD radio

Radio stations usually transmit an analog signal. No special equipment is needed to receive this analog signal as this is how radio has been transmitted since the beginning of time.

However, more and more radio stations are also transmitting with a digital signal. This digital signal offers superior audio quality when compared to an analog signal. Digital radio also offers some very nice features such as displaying the name of the radio station and even the name of the song on your radio’s screen.  In order to receive digital radio, your radio must be compatible with the type of digital technology standard used by the radio broadcaster.  This depends on what part of the world you live in. Be sure to chack your equipment has one of the following standards based on where you live in the world:

HD radio

In North America, look for equipment that supports “HD radio”.  HD Radio uses the same spectrum now occupied by the standard AM and FM bands. The same stations broadcast the digital component simultaneously with the analog signals. If your radio is “HD radio” compatible and it can pick up the signal, it will play the digital version. Otherwise, it will play the analog version.

Satellite radio

Satellite radio is made available in North America by a company called Sirius XM Radio. It is a paid service. Customers subscribing to the satellite radio service get access to more than 130 channels of Sirius XM programming for a monthly subscription fee. The car radio requires a Sirius XM compatible satellite radio tuner for it to work.  The service transmits in the frequency range of 2332.5 to 2345 MHz.

Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM)

DRM is common in Europe. DRM is a terrestrial service intended to replace AM and FM analog systems with a digital signal. The signal is compressed and transmits mainly in the shortwave (SW) bands from about 5 MHz to 19 MHz.

Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB)

DAB is a common digital radio standard in the UK and Europe.  DAB uses a compressed signal in the 174 to 240 MHz and 1452 to 1492MHz frequency ranges.

Digital Multimedia Broadcast (DMB)

DMB is malinly used in France and South Korea. It is very simpilar to DAB (see above)

GPS and navigation

Some car stereos also have GPS and navigational capability. Be sure to check if that is somehing you’d be interested in.

Connectivity

You’ll be wanting to physically connect other devices to / from your car radios / stereos.  Here are some of the common types of connection you’ll find:

Inputs

  • USB
  • Auxiliary input (3.5mm jack)
  • Mic (Microphone for hands-free phone calls)
  • W/R (wired remote)
  • Audio input jacks (usually with RCA connectors)
  • Video input jacks (usually with RCA connectors)
  • Rear-view camera (usually with RCA connector)

Outputs

  • Preamp outputs (Audio outputs that are used to drive an amplifier – usually with RCA connectors)
  • Video output jacks (often for rear-passenger monitors – RCA connectors)

The best double DIN car stereos

Pioneer AVH-210EX

The AVH-210EX is a double-din, in-dash multimedia a/v receiver designed for connectivity with your smartphone (iphone and android compatible). Enjoy features such as built-in Bluetooth AVRCP 1.6 for hands-free calling and audio streaming. Audio/video playback from USB and DVD sources and safety features such as back up camera ready.

Bluetooth – Hands-Free Calling and Audio Streaming

You can easily pair a Bluetooth-enabled phone to the AVH-210EX without having to go through complicated settings. When a registered Bluetooth device is near the receiver, the auto connection function automatically pairs the two units.

From wireless audio streaming (A2DP), hands-free calling, and simple pairing, to audio control and  artist, album, and song search (AVRCP 1.6 profile), Bluetooth wireless technology has made life in the vehicle much more convenient. The AVH-210EX also features Bluetooth Hands Free Profile 1.6 including wideband speech capability which improves the sound quality of phone calls.

Android music support

Connect and listen to music stored on your android device (operating system 4.0 or later) to the AVH-210EX without the need for an app. You can access your music via USB stored on an Android device and operate basic operations like FF, REW, Play, Pause, Random Play, and Repeat. Metadata information such as track, artist, and album name can be displayed.

USB direct control for iPhone

The AVH-210EX has direct connectivity to your iPod or iPhone for music. Song, artist, time and album information are displayed on the large 6.2″ touchscreen. A USB connection provides direct digital signal transfer from the device for good quality sound while providing enough current to keep your iPod/iPhone charged.

Back-up camera ready

Back-up camera input enables you to add a reverse (rear-facing) camera that can help you with rear visibility, towing, or parking. (The back-up camera is not included.)

Customize the colors

You can choose from among five colors (blue/red/amber/green/violet) for the display and 112 different colors to match the device’s illumination to your vehicle’s interior lighting.

Summary of key features (non-exhaustive)

  • Screen –  6.2″ touch screen, 16:9 ratio, resolution: WVGA (800 x 480), Color customization: 5 display colors, 112 key colors.
  • Built-in Bluetooth with hands-free profile (HFP 1.6), Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP 1.5), Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP), Secure Simple Pairing (SSP) and Dual Phone Connection.
  • AM / FM radio tuner – Presets: 18 FM and 6 AM, Best Station Memory (BSM), Local Seek Tuning, RDS and Supertuner IIID.
  • Android Music Support.
  • USB direct control for iPhone.
  • Compatible with all common audio file formats via DVD, CD and USB (WMA, WAV, MP3, AAC).
  • Audio playback of CD/CD-R/RW.
  • Video playback of DVD/DVD-R/RW/DVD (when the vehicle is parked).
  • Compatible with all common video file formats via USB (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, AVI/DivX and WMV).
  • Audio specs – RCA Preouts: 3 pair (2V), built-in amplifier (MOSFET 50W x 4), Easy EQ (EEQ) Preset Equalizer, customizable graphic equalizer with 13 bands, D/A Converter: 24 bit, time alignment (CD-MC20 required): manual, Crossover Network:HPF/LPF, loudness function, subwoofer control, listening position selector.
  • USB port – rear (1.5 Amp).
  • AUX Input – rear 3.5mm (Audio/Video)
  • Back-up camera input.
  • Wired remote input.
  • Composite video output.

Pros

  • Very easy to install – The wires are clearly labelled and the instructions are clear.
  • Excellent audio quality.
  • Bluetooth is very stable.
  • Simple to use.
  • DVD player.
  • Large 6.2″ touch screen.
  • Compatible with iphone and android.

Cons

  • There is no remote control.
  • The screen’s brightness is a bit weak in sunny conditions.

Pioneer AVH-X390BS

The Pioneer AVH-X390BS is a double din car stereo receiver with a large 6.2″ WVGA touch screen.  It has a DVD/CD player, AM/FM tuner with 30 presets (18 for FM and 12 for AM) and built-in Cea-2006 compliant amplifier.

This head unit supports Sirius XM digital satellite radio and has full smartphone integration via Pioneer’s app called “Appradio one”, giving you complete control over compatible iPhone and Android apps on the radio’s touchscreen. Bluetooth is built-in and allows dual connections.

This car stereo comes with a remote control included.

Key features

  • Remote control.
  • Built-in Bluetooth (Dual Bluetooth Connection.)
  • Built-in amplifier (2006 CEA Compliant): 50W x 4.
  • Hands-Free Profile (HFP): HFP 1.6.
  • Supports SiriusXM, Pandora, Spotify.
  • AM / FM radio with 18 FM presets and 12 AM presets.
  • Local seek tuning.
  • RDS.
  • Digital media playback – CD/CD-R/RW Playback.
  • DVD/DVD-R/RW/DVD-Video playback.
  • Compatible with all common audio file formats via USB (MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV, FLAC).
  • Compatible with all common video file formats via USB (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, AVI and WMV)
  • JPEG photo slideshow viewer via USB.
  • Back-up camera ready (Not included).
  • Audio – RCA Preout: s3 (4V).
  • Mixtrax.
  • Auto EQ (CD-MC20 required).
  • Easy EQ (EEQ) Preset Equalizer.
  • Customizable graphic equalizer: 13-Band.
  • Subwoofer control.

Pros

  • Big screen with good colors
  • DVD player
  • 50w output gives great speaker power delivery.
  • Remote control
  • Excellent audio quality(even with stock speakers)
  • 13 band graphic equalizer
  • Spotify integration
  • Customizable colors and backgrounds
  • User-friendly
  • Reliable bluetooth connection (with dual connection)
  • Backup camera compatible

Cons

  • Auto EQ doesn’t seem to work very well.
  • No customizable guidelines for backup camera.
  • The buttons are a bit small (but that leaves more room for the screen.)

Pioneer FH-S700BS

The Pioneer Pioneer FH-S700BS is a double din car stereo receiver with CD player. It has an AM/FM tuner and is also HD radio compatible. It has a brightly colored screen (NOT a touch screen).

It supports Pandora, iHeartRadio, Spotify and SiriusXM Satellite Radio.

There is a USB port on the front panel and it comes with a pair of free alphasonik earbuds and a remote control.

Superior sound quality

Use the 3 way Network Mode for a high level of audio performance. There is  time alignment, 13-Band EQ and FLAC codec playback (for files stored on USB drive), for precision sound and definition.

Hands-Free calling and Audio Streaming via Bluetooth

With the Bluetooth wireless technology, you get hands-free calling, wireless audio streaming with artist, album, and song search, simple pairing, and voice recognition.

Better call quality reception

With the new wideband speech hands-free profile 1.6, the bandwidth of the frequency is nearly doubled bringing you call quality similar to FM reception.

Dual Bluetooth 

Dual Bluetooth allows two phones to automatically connect when in the vehicle to easily make and receive calls and stream music from both phones.

Guest Mode via bluetooth

Guest Mode allows a user to add and replace a third mobile device instantly to the receiver.

USB Direct Control For ipod and iphone

Connect an iPod or iPhone to the FH-X830BHS using the optional CD-IU51 interface cable for 30-pin devices (sold separately) or CD-IU52 interface cable for Lightning devices (sold separately) to enjoy the music stored on your device. Song, artist, time and album information are displayed on the LCD display.

The Link Play feature helps you find content faster and the system’s wired USB connection provides direct digital signal transfer from the device for clean, clear sound while providing 1 amp of current to keep your iPod or iPhone charged.

Use the voice control of your iphone

The FH-X830BHS is also able to use the voice control feature found on your iPhone. With an iPhone connected to the receiver via Bluetooth and the receiver source set to “Bluetooth audio” or “iPod,” simply press the volume knob, wait for the prompt, and speak your command as you would on your iPhone.

Customize the colors

Dual-zone color illumination allows you to customize the color of the text on-screen as well as select another color for the button illumination. (Over 210,000 colors to choose from.)

10-level brightness control allows you to customize the brightness of your screen.

Summary of key features (non-exhaustive)

  • CD player.
  • USB port on front panel.
  • Remote control and alphasonik earbuds included.
  • Built-in Bluetooth for hands-free calling and wireless audio streaming.
  • Built-in amplifier.
  • Built-in HD radio.
  • 3x RCA Preouts (2V).
  • Supports SiriusXM, Pandora, Spotify and iHeartRadio.
  • AM / FM radio.
  • Digital media playback – CD/CD-R/RW Playback.
  • Compatible with all common audio file formats via USB (MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV, FLAC).
  • Subwoofer control.

Pros

  • 10-level brightness control – The screen is easy to read in all conditions.
  • Very powerful: 50w output.
  • Remote control and earbuds included.
  • Excellent audio quality.
  • Customizable colors and backgrounds.
  • User-friendly.
  • Reliable bluetooth connection (with dual connection).
  • Great integration and options for use with iphone.

Cons

  • No video functions or DVD player.
  • No touch screen.
  • Can take a little long to reconnect to Bluetooth.
  • The buttons can be a bit slow to react at times.

JVC KW-V25BT

The JVC KW-V25BT is a double din multimedia receiver featuring a large 6.2″ WVGA touch screen, DVD player, AM/FM tuner, built-in amplifier, bluetooth, 13-Band equalizer and JVC remote app compatibility.

Music sync. effect

The illumination flashes along with the rhythm of the music.

Gesture touch control

Just touch and move your finger over the screen for various operations corresponding to your finger movements. It’s very easy and quick to operate.

Connect 2 phones with Bluetooth

You can connect two phones via Bluetooth with secure and simple pairing. Calls to either phone can be received by a push of a key on the receiver.

iPhone bluetooth automatic pairing

Connect your iPhone via USB and the automatic bluetooth pairing function will work to complete the pairing. No long complicated menus to navigate.

Bluetooth voice recognition

Thanks to HFP 1.6 Wideband Speech, the sound quality is improved resulting in a higher level of voice recognition accuracy.

Bluetooth AVRCP1.5 for improved song selection

Easily search for songs using the browse function. You can look for and choose the song you want to hear from the folder name and song name lists.

JVC streaming DJ

Connect up to 5 Bluetooth devices simultaneously, allowing you and your friends to take turns streaming music.

Enhanced digital sound quality

K2 is a JVC original technology that reproduces the original master sound by expanding the frequency range. For example, K2 will expand the digital data of the audio CD recorded at 44.1 kHz/16 bit to 192 kHz/24 bit.

Time alignment to improve audio quality

The receiver will automatically adjust the timing of the sound output from each of the speakers so that the sound from each of the speakers will arrive exactly at the same time to the listening position, resulting in improved audio quality.

AM / FM radio tuner

The AM / FM radio tuner has 20 presets.

DVD / CD player

CD-R/RW Compatible, DVD-R/-RW, +R/+RW Compatible, Video CD Playback.

13-band equalizer

Use the 13-band equalizer to manually adjust the sound to your taste.

Pandora / iHeartRadio / Spotify Control (Android/iPhone)

Listen to Pandora, iHeartRadio, and Spotify from your smartphone with smooth control on the receiver via USB or Bluetooth connection for iPhone, and via Bluetooth for Android devices.

Ready for SiriusXM radio

You can listen to over 100 Channels of music, sports, and entertainment on SiriusXM satellite radio (optional SiriusXM tuner required, sold separately)

Remote Control App

Control the receiver’s audio source directly from the smartphone using simple finger gestures with “JVC Remote” app (now available for both iOS and Android).

Rear view camera ready

The Rear View Camera input allows you to connect an optional rear view camera (sold separately). A rear view camera allows you to safely reverse your vehicle, monitor towing, and more.

Steering wheel remote control ready

Factory steering wheel control functions can be retained with a third-party adapter (sold separately).

Remote control (optional)

Remote control (RM-RK258) is optionally available.

USB port

Charge your smartphone using the USB port, with up to a maximum of 1.5A.

Pros

  • Easy to install.
  • DVD player.
  • 6.2″ color touchscreen.
  • Remote control app – Control the receiver with your smartphone.
  • Bluetooth connectivity works very well.

Cons

  • Remote control is sold separately.
  • The screen is a bit dim.

ATOTO  A6Y2710SB

The ATOTO A6Y2710SB is part of the ATOTO A6 range of products. There are 7 other models available with slightly different specs. The specs below are for the A6Y2710SB version.

The ATOTO A6Y2710SB is a double din, android car navigation stereo with dual bluetooth. It has 1Gb of internal memory and 16Gb of internal storage. It comes equiped with an FM/AM radio tuner with RDS, wireless connectivity and support for up to 256Gb SD cards.

Pre-Amplifier

Built-in Max 4x 45W Amplifier with RMS 4x 24W

Equalizer

Preset 9-band Equalizer with 12 section adjustable frequency.

Bluetooth

Dual Bluetooth (BT1 4.2 & BT2 4.0), The first Bluetooth supports HFP/HSP/A2DP/AVRCP/PBAP.

Radio tuner

Built-in FM/AM Radio Tuner with RDS (station name displayed if available)

Display

Full HD 7″ 1024 x 600  touch screen.

GPS/Navigation

Built-in GPS Receiver module with external GPS antenna. Google Maps app is installed as the default GPS map. Users may need to download offline map data for certain area for offline navigation if preferred. Other map/navigation apps from Google Play Store can also be installed.

Phone Mirroring/Casting

Latest easy-connect app preinstalled. It supports the latest iOS 11.3 & Android 8.0 devices. 2 options (USB /WiFi) are available for connecting to Android smartphones. Wi-Fi option is only for Android 7.1 or below). One option (Air-play) is available for iOS devices.

WiFi / Microphone

All ATOTO A6 series have built-in microphone & ultra external Wi-Fi antenna (Silver plated copper wire).

Inputs, outputs and slots

  • Reversing camera input.
  • AUX Audio/Video input.
  • 4x channels RCA Audio Out (4V) for connecting to factory / aftermarket amplifier.
  • Separate sub-woofer Out (4V) (Manual /Automatic modes are available).
  • 1x micro SD slot.
  • 3x USB interfaces.

Voice dialing app

Users can download & install “Hound” app from Google Play Store to use voice dialing feature on ATOTO A6 for safer driving.

Optional parts

  • ATOTO AC-44P1 On-dash DVR Camera (via USB interface)
  • ATOTO AC-44F4 Steering wheel control IR Remote.
  • ATOTO AC-4450 Bluetooth OBD2 tool
  • ATOTO AC-4486 Rear view Camera
  • ATOTO AC-UTP1 USB TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system)

Pros

  • WIFI connectivity.
  • Dual bluetooth connectivity.
  • SD card slot.
  • Large internal memory (1Gb) and storage (16Gb). – More is available in the other A6 models.
  • Lots of other optional parts available including dashcam.
  • GPS navigation.
  • Excellent video quality on the screen.  It’s just like watching on a small laptop or tablet screen.

Cons

  • Menu navigation and user interface take a bit of getting used to.
  • Installation instructions aren’t very well-written.

Conclusion

The best touch screen car stereo is the Pioneer AVH-210EX  – With its large 6.2″ touch screen, DVD player, AM FM tuner, powerful built-in amplifier and bluetooth connectivity, it’s very hard to beat for the price.

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