Android Double Din HeadUnits - Worth It or Problematic?

Hi all,

So im looking at upgrading my double din stereo in my car mainly to bring inbuilt maps and reversing camera capabilities. I know theres a tonne of them on ebay and Aliexpress, and i was thinking of getting one that runs Android as i can then load google maps on it with offline maps, as well as offline spotify etc. My issue is has anyone got any experience with these? I want something thats smooth and works, no jittery operation. Furthermore it needs to integrate with my basic steering wheel controls, which most seem too anyway.

I guess im really just looking for experiences. Do you have one? Do you find it useful? Drawbacks? Better options?



  • Do not expect smooth experience, good sound quality, support or things to work exactly as you imagine…..

    But having google maps and OK google in a car is a game changer, works really well at looking at alternative roads when there's traffic. I have 200gb of music in mine and unlike other 2 Dinn stereos, the Google play apps are superior in sorting all your file systems as expected from Android experience. This is not like having a phone that hangs on your car window or Android Auto, because there's no stuffing around with sync'ing or crapping out your phones battery due to constant charging.

    Buy it for the utility of having a little computer to do what you want, but not because it's a quality unit.

  • I have one from Carjoying that I installed in my X-Trail for a few months now and so far so good. Sound quality seems better than the original stereo. I use the offline Here WeGo maps, offline Spotify, changed the launcher to car dashdroid. Don't use steering wheel control but I see there's an apps to set it up. My only complain so far is, even after you set the font size to the largest one, it still not enough for me…

  • They're no good. Biggest issue for many is overheating-related shutdowns and glitches, because they cheap out on cooling. Also you cannot upgrade a head unit like you can with either a phone or tablet - some apps no longer support older versions of Android, and you may not want to be stuck with an outdated Android head unit.

    IMO Get a phone with a magnetic mount for easy attachment, and hard-wire a cheap 12v LCD display to your reversing camera. There are also Wifi-based reversing cameras available but the apps is a bit inconvenient for frequent use. Be mindful that there are lithium batteries in these phones, so don't leave them out in the sun for too long.

  • The new head units with Android 6.0 and quad core chipsets are the way to go. It improved the sound in my car particularly with apps like Poweramp available.

  • I've just installed a Joying unit in my vehicle. I am fairly happy with it except a few issues, but on the whole I think it's still better than paying $900 or whatever for a Pioneer or Kenwood that can't even run standard apps. I was a bit nervous about the potential for a crap user experience and ugly UI, and in many places it is not fantastic, but it looks ok and basically works. Having spotify, navigation apps, and OBDII data display is awesome.

    Things that I'm not entirely happy with: Brightness control. I need to install a separate app to control screen brightness because the built in settings do nothing This is pretty important when driving at night as it's very bright. Sound quality: Could be better. I'm not sure if this is the unit or something to do with my setup, perhaps my speakers actually need an amp. The sound is fine but not amazing. Steering wheel controls don't work despite me specifying to Joying that that was a feature I needed. Could be a problem in my wiring, need to investigate further. The unit can not play music from an iPhone over USB, must be connected by bluetooth. Performance is a bit slow, particularly on opening some apps, but it's not glitchy or clunky, it just takes slightly longer than I would prefer.

    Other than that basic performance and usability is totally fine, and the downsides are worth it for $350. In the long run I may replace it with a more expensive unit if I can get one that will run the apps I need plus have better sound quality.
    It remains to be seen how the unit holds up after a year or two and some big trips.

  • Put one in a Mazda 3 - just plugged straight into everything, steering wheel controls and another display built into the dashboard still work. No complaints really, it does what it was advertised to do. It fit perfectly, navigation works, sound is fine, phone quality is fine, the UI is pretty obvious.

    Have zero care for installing other apps or upgrading etc so I can't comment on that.

    Only real problem is that if something goes wrong there's basically no support, but for ~$300 I don't really expect anything better.

  • Extremely interested in these and would like to know what units are the best in terms of fluid experience and least hangups (Unlike any android phone i've ever owned)

    Looking for AUX, GPS (If i can send location from my phone to the head-unit that'd be great), FM radio and bluetooth handsfree as well as support for a USB RS232 connection.

    interested in running shadowdash to an MS3, if anyone's done this with one of these head units, what unit and what issues did you run into?

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