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View Full Version : iPhone4 and Car Audio - What's the best head unit?



Scubasnaps
7th September 2011, 10:11 PM
This one hasn't been discussed for a while so I'm keen to hear the 2011 opinion.

I'm looking to install a decent 2 DIN audio / AV system in my car (2007 Landcruiser). At the moment I just have a bog standard radio / CD setup with no iPod or iPhone connectivity. I use my iPhone's phone function with a separate Contour hands free unit and sometimes use a crappy Belkin tunecast to play music through the FM radio. I also use the Tom Tom GPS App with the TT adapter. Definitely not an ideal setup with a lot of cables and bits all over the place.

I've been looking at the Pioneer 2 DIN head units but all involve compromise and functional duplication of the iPhone's capabilities (e.g. navigation). Then I read about the Pioneer AppRadio. This unit holds the promise of real iPhone integration and no functional duplication. However, if several negative YouTube reviews are to be believed, the interface has some way to go. "Clunky" is a kind way to put it. The AppRadio hasn't been released in Australia yet, but it's expected Real Soon and at a hefty markup to the USA price (surprise surprise). Maybe future versions of the software will address the problems ... or not.

Car audio manufacturers have been reluctant to embrace smartphones. Car audio product cycles are much longer and smart phone hardware interfaces and software is rapidly evolving.

So, what is the best car audio option for the iPhone4? What experiences have you had ?

dekco
8th September 2011, 01:23 AM
i believe alpine has the best interface for ipod/iphone.

i tried out a C63 back in february this year, and let me tell you, merc's iphone connectivity sucks bollocks.

chippamania
8th September 2011, 06:50 AM
I'm rolling with an Alpine 2011 INA W-900E. It has full iPhone4 connectivity by Bluetooth, along with iPod audio and satnav. Great system, with the occasional bug, but nothing that hasn't been solved with a quick reboot. iPhone4 connectivity includes: Contact list auto-transfer to headunit, voice dialling, hands free calls, controls by headunit or iPhone, all by Bluetooth. Strongly recommended, worth the coin. Can probably get them cheaper now through JB Hi Fi or Northfield (I got mine done through the guys at Nundah).

---------- Post added at 06:50 AM ---------- Previous post was at 06:49 AM ----------

PS. With a 2010 Subaru, I was able to connect the headunit to the factory steering wheel controls.

McBanjo
8th September 2011, 07:50 AM
I use the TomTom adapter, then just plug that directly into an Aux-In port. In my experience this is the best solution, keeping all of the iPhone's functions, not duplicating anything and not having some ugly 2-din radio with crappy software making your car look cheap. I also have a Nokia car kit fitted for handsfree calls.

My standard radio didn't have an aux-in originally, but I did some research on my radio and bought a custom-made cable online.

vacantengaged
8th September 2011, 11:43 AM
I have a JVC double-din head unit. It connects to my phone by headphone jack for music playback, though for some reason, when connecting via USB, my phone charges but no more.

Saying that, the head unit is a few years old now. I'm pretty sure JVC have some iPhone-compatible head units out now.

Steve_D
8th September 2011, 12:29 PM
The only thing that i would say to make sure of is the unit that you are going to buy has its own iPod/Phone/Touch adapter.

iPodŽ Car Stereo Adapter Shopping Guide (http://www.crutchfield.com/S-L0mOvawk5KO/learn/learningcenter/car/ipod/car_adapters.html)

Things like this also work if you don't want to rip up the dash.

Apple iPod Car Adapter Kit: Dealership Factory Connection Cable for iPod, Nano, and iPhone. (http://www.carplayer.com/)

The issue then is just picking a Head Unit that plugs into one of these adapters and also it has the look and power you want (also enough RCA outputs for amps etc)

sammu
16th September 2011, 01:14 PM
Have used a JVC, it wasn't bad but took ages to catch up when you were scrolling through artists/songs etc (would just list everything as numbers then change to names when you stopped)

I think Alpine is the best as was said above, that high speed interface they brought it is good