Without a doubt, it can seem intimidating to some people to install a double din head unit into their vehicle. Many people think that installing one is going to require a lot of work, or that it might require skills that the consumer may or may not have. And we understand that point. After all, at one point in time, that was the case, but nowadays not so much. Thanks to innovations on the side of both the automobile and radio manufacturer’s sides, installing one of these units is easier than it has ever been. That’s why we took the time to review some of the best double din head units, so consumers can find out for themselves what’s amazing about putting one of these units in their vehicle.

Quick Summary of Double Din Head Units

 Editor’s Choice 

Pioneer AVH-1400NEX 6.2-Inch Unit  (review)

 Also Recommended 

Sony XAVAX1000 Double-Din Media Receiver  (review)

 Also Consider 

Alpine iLX-W650 Multimedia Reciever  (review)

Reviews

Pioneer AVH-1400NEX 6.2-Inch Unit

 Editor’s Choice 

Anyone thinks that a double-din head unit should not only be packed with features but also look good when it’s installed is going to want to examine this unit more closely. This model has a stylish modern look to it that will automatically update the look of anyone’s dash—particularly people who have an older vehicle. But good looks aren’t the only things that the consumer has to look forward to when they purchase this unit. Features that will intrigue even the most jaded of audio consumers and secure this model’s position in this review’s number one position.

Let’s start with this model’s touchscreen and work from there. This model has a clear-resistive touchscreen, has an 800×400 screen resolution, and a 24-bit True-Color panel. It also features a multilanguage display, a dual-phone connection, and hands-free audio streaming and/or phone calls. This model can also support MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, WMV, DVD, and DVD-R/W/RW video playback. This model can also support CD, CR-R, and other popular video formats such as MP3, AAC, and FLAC. And of course, this model is capable of AM/FM playback.

This model’s 6.2-inch display or its features aren’t the only things worth mentioning. This unit’s ease of installation is also something that makes this our number one pick. This model is very easy to install and shouldn’t take the average consumer any time at all. However, as easy as this model is to install, and even though it’s a joy to use, this model does cost a little more than comparable models. Not a whole lot more expensive, but enough to give the consumer pause before they make their purchase. In our estimation, we think that this model’s ease of installation and features more than account for the increased price-point, but consumers are still going to want to consider it before finalizing their purchase plans.

PROS:

  • This product is easy to install.
  • This unit has some nice features.
  • This unit seems to be well made and quite durable.
CONS:

  • It costs a little more than comparable 6.2-inch head units.

Sony XAVAX1000 Double-Din Media Receiver

 Also Recommended 

Even though this model is basically an entry-level media receiver from Sony, we do believe that it can be quite valuable to many of our readers. One of the main advantages of this unit is that it’s extremely easy to install. It’s very easy to hookup and once it’s been installed, it’s very easy to use. This model has a 6.2-inch responsive touchscreen that’s easy to use and a pleasure to use. This model’s touchscreen not only works well but is also more responsive than previous touchscreens released from Sony. In fact, the touchscreen on this model wakes up twice as quickly as the ones found on previous models. No matter repeatedly tapping on the screen to try to get the unit’s attention.

It’s also worth mentioning that this unit has a rear chassis that’s smaller than most double-din units and that’s the secret to this model’s ease-of-installation. It’s easier to slide in and there’s plenty of room for power cords and cables that the consumer might need for the accessories they hook up to it. Accessories such as rear-view cameras. It also means that in no time flat, the consumer can have this radio installed and working.

This model also has the 4×55 W Dynamic Reality Amp 2 that removes interference from music so that it is rich and crisp. That allows it to deliver interference-free music, even when the volume has been cranked way up. The last thing that we’d like to say about this model is that it allows the consumer to get real-time directions and traffic updates from this model’s personal navigator. A personal navigator that Apple Car Play makes it possible. All of these features make this model one that consumers might want to consider if they’re looking to dip their toe into the double-din radio market.

PROS:

  • This unit is extremely easy-to-install and use.
  • This model is rear-view camera ready.
  • It has rotary volume control for ease-of-use.
  • It has a very responsive touchscreen.
CONS:

  • This is an entry-level media receiver.

Alpine iLX-W650 Multimedia Reciever

 Also Consider 

Alpine is a company that’s so well known, all you have to do is to say the name, and people’s ears perk up. And there’s a good reason why this company has been well known for so many years. That’s because this company has been making high-quality audio equipment for a long time, and this model isn’t an exception to that rule. The model that you’re currently reading about, the Alpine ILX-W650, is a great double din head unit that allows the consumer to listen to music or news, make hands-free phone calls, or receive navigation instructions. All of this from a unit that doesn’t cost a whole lot and is quite easy to install.

Let’s take a look at some of this model’s features, shall we? We’ll start with its shallow-mount chassis. This chassis makes this unit easier to install and gives the consumer plenty of space for the cords used to hook up accessories. This model also is a digital media receiver with AM/FM tuner—although it is worth mentioning that this unit does not play CDs. Even so, it’s still an advanced unit that some people might want to take a closer look at before they buy a new double din head unit.

This model also has built-in Bluetooth connectivity, so the consumer can enjoy music Apps such as Spotify, Amazon Music, or Pandora. It also features a USB port that allows the consumer to use a wide variety of different devices with it—accessories such as thumb drives and the like. Other features that can be found on this model include a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen, a rear AUX input, two camera inputs, 6-channel preamp outputs, and the ability to work with a Sirius XM satellite radio—if the consumer decides to purchase it separately, of course.

PROS:

  • This product is extremely easy-to-install.
  • There’s plenty of room behind it for cables.
  • The equalizer is customizable.
  • It produces good sound, even at high volumes.
CONS:

  • Steering wheel control needs an adapter to be used.

The Ultimate Guide To Double Din Head Units

By this point in our article, we hope that we have raised the curiosity of our readers and have them considering buying the best double-din unit they can buy. However, for those people who might need a little more information about these devices, we’ve decided to go ahead and give our readers some more information. Information that will help them purchase the best double din head unit for their needs. Below are some things that consumers are going to have to think about before they purchase their next model.

Consider The Stereo’s Form Factor

The first thing that the consumer needs to do before purchasing a new double din head unit is to investigate the form factor of the unit in question. Some vehicles only have a single din receptacle and others have a double-din receptacle. If the vehicle doesn’t have space for a double-din receptacle then it’s not going to work. A single din receiver will fit into a receptacle for a double-din receptacle, but the reverse isn’t true. Fortunately, a lot of double-din receives are made with a smaller footprint designed to fit into single din receptacles. 

Consider The Output Power Of The Unit

It’s also worth mentioning that the consumer should make sure that the unit’s power is appropriate for the speakers being used. If the double-din unit delivers more output than what the speakers can accept, then it can cause a lot of distortion or even flatten out the sound of the music. Therefore, if the consumer purchases a unit with a lot of power, they might also have to upgrade their speakers as well—this is particularly true if they’re using stock speakers.

Think About Your Budget

Another consideration that many double din stereo buying guides seem to gloss over is the consumer’s budget. If everyone had hundreds upon hundreds of dollars, then everyone could find the best double din unit for their vehicle. Unfortunately, not everyone has that kind of money to throw around, so the consumer should always base their buying decisions on what they can afford to spend. They should also factor in any adapters or the price of new speakers (if they have to upgrade) into their decision. Once the consumer knows how much money they have to work with, they can then begin to search for their new double-din head unit. 

Think About Potential Media Used

It’s also important for the consumer to think about the types of media that they’re going to need to play. While just about all of them will play AM/FM radio, not all of them will play other types of media. That’s why if the consumer wants to play CD or DVDs, WMV, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, or just about any other format, then they’re going to want to make sure it’s capable of playing those media types beforehand. 

Does It Have A Touchscreen?

The consumer should also think about whether the unit has a touchscreen or not. Although most modern units are moving towards touchscreens, there are a few holdouts that instead use dials or push buttons, so if touchscreen convenience is important, then make sure that the unit in question has one. And if it does have one, then make sure that it’s a responsive one that doesn’t require a lot of effort to operate. 

Steering Wheel Controls

It’s also important for the consumer to make sure that the unit has steering wheel controls. Although many units can be used with steering wheel controls, some units require the consumer to buy an optional adapter to make it possible. It’s always best to know this beforehand so that you don’t have to order and wait longer for the adapter to come in when you already have your double-din stereo ready to be installed. 

Additional Features To Consider

After making sure that the stereo or digital media center you’re considering meets all of the above criteria, then you might want to check to see if it has a few optional features that might make it easier to use or just more fun. Below are some other things that consumers might want to think about before purchasing their next stereo unit. 

  • Whether the unit can make hands-free phone calls.
  • Whether the unit has built-in Bluetooth capabilities.
  • Whether it can connect to Wi-Fi.
  • Whether it has customizable equalizers.
  • Whether it’s equipped with rear-camera inputs.
  • Whether it has USB ports. 
  • Whether it has a GPS unit built into it. 
  • Whether it has built-in theft-protection.
  • Whether it has dual-phone capabilities.

Once the consumer has determined all of the following features, then they can then purchase the best double-din head unit for their car or truck. With all of the above information, the consumer should be able to pick out a unit that works well for them and will provide them with many years of use.