Opinions on Sony Head Unit

Has anyone had experience with a Sony XAVAX1000 or other Sony unit. Particularly how good the radio is?

My cheap Chinese all in one unit has died. Time to upgrade to Apple CarPlay. The unit above has CarPlay for a reasonable price. We listen to radio the most around town and the old head unit didn’t have good reception. I’m hoping a brand name unit might have a better tuner in it. I’m also hoping Bluetooth works better for phone calls, current one requires turning the volume up to around 30 which then blows you away when the call ends as typical volume is 10.

Also wondering if CarPlay navigation can be used while listening to the radio or other USB source. This unit must be plugged in to use CarPlay if that makes a difference. They it is in special at Supercheap Auto this weekend.

Thanks in advance.



    I installed a sony xav-ax5000 in my wife's car, wouldn't recommend it.

    • Music on USBs - continuous errors where it locks up and refuses to play. Have tried it as reformatting fat32, various different usb drives, small and large capacity all have the same problem. Plus the music display is pretty poor, no album art displayed playing off USB.

    • using maps on carplay - can you believe there's no multi touch? You can't slide the map with a finger, and no pinch to zoom. You have to push various icons, then poke at on screen arrows to scroll and move the map. Maybe other non Sony products have the problem, unsure.

    But for your needs, the bluetooth works fine, radio reception (FM anyway) is fine. Yes can use radio, or USB (if it works, which is doesn't) while using carplay nav. Android auto works fine too.

    Speaking of cheap chinese units, I stuck a 10" xtrons in my 4WD and I prefer it to the ax5000.


      Thanks. I hated the USB music interface the most. Hard to scroll, no shuffle, headers didn’t display well. I got up with it because it only gets used on longer trips when we run out of radio and it’s ok to listen to albums in alphabetical order then skip the occasional track.


    what cheap chinese unit did you have and how long did it last?

    • +1 vote

      Not sure if the brand, just a cheap one off eBay and it’s been going for a couple of years. It seems to be overheating. It started out going into a boot loop and showing an error message in Chinese on hot days. Would run for a few minutes and then go into the loop. Now it does it even on colder mornings.

      The biggest reason to replace it is the reverse camera doesn’t work either.


    I have a xav_651.
    Audio is very good, Bluetooth as good as can be expected. Radio is acceptable where I live with fringe reception. Integrated hands free is good.
    As a comment, the interface is very clunky compared to a phone or tablet.
    It came with the car, I don’t think I would buy one, as I gather they are expensive.

  • +1 vote

    Is your car a Toyota? In the past 15 yrs or so they have used whats called a dual diversity antenna system with a built in reception booster. It works well… BUT if you install an aftermarket head unit you must use a special adapter ($10? ebay) for the system to remain effective otherwise the reception on any aftermarket unit will be poor.
    I have a chinese headunit (Joying) in my Toyota SUV for the past 5yrs+ and it is brilliant, far better in every feature than the JBL $800 upgrade unit we opted for in our other car when we bought it. Radio reception without the adapter was average but with it on it is amazing.
    Most head units are chinese made so even with the chinese named units quality can range from bad to the best, it is not about $$$s.

    • +1 vote

      No. It’s a Nissan, but i did connect the power to the antenna booster. When it was first installed the radio was ok, but deteriorated after about 12 months.


    I have a XAV-AX3000 which I believe is the same as the AX1000, except 3000 has AndroidAuto as well.

    Have used both AndroidAuto and CarPlay on it, AA really sucks, CarPlay I thought was quite neat, didn't have any issues playing Spotify + using Google Maps.

    USB is great, never had any issues, using a 32Gb Sandisk Facet with only MP3 files on it.

    Made quite a big difference to my car speakers compared to car stock headunit, with the equalizer also being configurable.

    Didn't have any issues with FM either but I am in metro Sydney for most part.

    Hope that helps!


      Thanks. I bought the unit, based on the price compared to others. It was discounted, then stacked the $20 credit from super cheap and a gift card. Next- the install, a triple swap. Dead unit out of the Ute, unit with dodgy radio out of my wife’s car and into the Ute. New Sony into wife’s car.


        I am bad with installs, so got an audio store to do it, best of luck with it!

        You can also manually configure the steering wheel buttons on the unit too

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