Do you remember the days when drivers would get a new radio or CD player installed in their cars? Since the introduction of digital double DIN head units, the days of single-DIN displays are over!
After reviewing car stereos for years, I’ve concluded that the new double DIN systems are superior to anything we’ve seen before. They have flawless sound and the units are now big enough for GPS displays, which is a huge upgrade from the single DIN units.
Of all the units I’ve had the chance to try out, the ATOTO A6 has to be my favorite. This head unit has something for everyone, and while it may come with plenty of advanced features, it's still user-friendly.
Some head units suit drivers better than others, though. For example, if you primarily use your display for the GPS, you don’t need a unit with physical knobs. If you use the unit for music or other audio, having a physical knob with tactile response might help you control the noise level better.
Keep reading to find out the best double DIN head units and how to choose a display that fits your needs!
Double DIN head units upgrade older cars by giving them more functions and a modern look. After testing out each of these products, here’s what I think about the best double DIN head units on the market.
If you're looking for a well-rounded double DIN head unit that hits all the marks, the ATOTO A6 may be exactly what you're looking for. With dual WiFi connection, dual Bluetooth, and gesture control, there's a lot to love about this unit.
While there are plenty of apps to download from the Google Play store, specific tablet or phone apps like Netflix or Android Auto aren't available on the device. However, it's unlikely you'll be trying to watch a movie while you drive, and as long as you've got the Android Auto app on your phone, you won't need it on the head unit.
Of course, if you do want to put on a show for your kids while you're on the road, you can use the built-in EasyConnect app to cast from your phone.
Once you've got your phone hooked up via Bluetooth, you can even sync your contacts, and the ATOTO A6 will remember them for next time. For me, this makes searching for contacts even easier while I'm on the road.
Another feature I appreciate is how the ATOTO A6 allows you to connect three devices simultaneously. So, if one friend's playing music, another may be using GPS, and someone else can still make a call.
If you've already got a USB dash cam, you'll be pleased to know that you can use one of the inputs on this head unit to hook it up.
If you're looking for something that won't break the bank, you may want to consider the Pioneer MVH-S620BS. Not only is it easier on your wallet, but if you don't need WiFi capabilities or GPS, this head unit is a simple, user-friendly alternative. To change the settings, you'll need to use the physical controls or the knobs located along the bottom of the unit.
While it lacks a touchscreen, you've got all your controls front and center—learning how to use this device won't take any time at all. If you're looking to hook your phone up to the unit, you've got a couple of options: you can use the USB input, the aux input, or the receiver's Bluetooth capabilities.
It may not have all the bells and whistles, but if you're looking to get the most out of this unit, you can always download the Pioneer SMART sync app, and connect your smartphone's capabilities to the unit.
Speaking of capability, this head unit shouldn't have any trouble working with all the major streaming services, including Spotify, Pandora, and SiriusXM. You can even give your favorite songs a "Thumbs Up," from the heads unit, or use the "Thumbs Down" button to skip through the ones you don't want to hear.
While driving, I love these kinds of simple, intuitive features—it keeps my eyes on the road, and off my smartphone.
If you're going to pick a head unit that comes with a touchscreen, you don't want a junky screen that's hardly responsive or hard to read. When it comes to display screens, my favorite pick has to be the Hieha 7-Inch Touchscreen. Not only is it super responsive, but the LCD screen features beautiful video quality too.
Along with being compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, this head unit even features a bonus backup camera, which comes with HD night vision. Many head units might make your drives more fun, but not all of them make them safer like this Hieha media receiver does.
Keep in mind that, while you are using your backup camera, the receiver will automatically stop all music and calls as long as you're in reverse.
And, if you want to use a phone link mirror function while you drive, this stereo is compatible with most Android and iPhone devices.
The 6.8-inch touchscreen display on the Pioneer AVH-2500NEX is large, bright, and easily navigable, making it one of the best double DIN head units on the market! You can change the display options so it’s dimmer or brighter, which helped me see the display better during the day
The display was super responsive. Reaching over to the controls took some getting used to, but once I did, navigating the controls was a breeze. I customized my home screen, so I was able to put my most used apps, like maps and music, in an accessible place.
The home button, on/off switch, and volume controls are physical buttons located on the left side of the head unit. You might prefer having physical controls because it gives you more ways to adjust settings, volume, or other features..
The AVH-2500NEX has Bluetooth, CarPlay, and Android Auto compatibility. I don’t own an Android phone, but I have heard that the Android Auto capabilities are weak at best. The connection becomes shaky or drops altogether. The Bluetooth functions still work, so you can play music, but not much else. If you have an Android phone, this head unit probably isn’t for you.
The AVH-2500NEX even comes with a CD/DVD player on the front and USB and Aux-In ports on the back. With this many options for music and entertainment, the issues with Android phones aren’t detrimental to the unit’s usefulness.
If you want the best double DIN head unit for audio quality, the JVC KW-X840BTS is the display for you! JVC focused exclusively on sound quality and connectivity when they were designing this head unit. The results are an easy-to-navigate, but high-powered unit.
The KW-X840BTS isn’t a touchscreen unit. That means it lacks some features, like GPS support. The screen is also smaller than other models. The screen is big enough to tell you a song’s name or who’s calling, but not large enough for any other features.
But what it lacks in extra features, the KW-X840BTS makes up for with its user-friendly interface. The unit only has physical buttons and knobs, just like older stereos. You won’t have to mess around with Bluetooth if you don’t want to, although the KW-X840BTS has Bluetooth capabilities.
The best part of the KW-X840BTS is its sound quality. JVC went through rigorous design protocols to ensure the head unit had premium sound. Features like K2 technology and time alignment help your music sound better—and the best part is JVC includes these functions in the KW-X840BTS!
Finally, the KW-X840BTS’ Bluetooth capabilities allow you to hook up two phones at once, both of which can receive calls through the head unit. I love this feature because I can have my phone playing music, but if a friend needs to make a call, they’re already connected and ready to go.
When it comes to finding the best double DIN head unit, there are some features that you can’t go without. For example, every head unit doesn’t need to have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, but without Bluetooth, it’s useless. Here are some other common concerns about buying a new head unit.
The features you may need in a head unit depend on what you’re using it for. If you’re a delivery driver or someone who needs directions often, make sure whichever head unit you purchase has GPS capabilities.
Here are some of the main features you should make sure are present in whichever head unit you decide to buy:
Without these three features, your double DIN head unit is essentially just a radio, just harder to use.
Other features on double DIN head units are optional, but they may help you drive better, entertain passengers, or stay more focused on the road. Here are some of my favorite optional features:
Unless you have experience with wiring and electrical components, I don’t recommend installing a head unit yourself. Although it’ll cost you more, getting a garage to install the unit will get you the best results.
When it comes to installing a head unit, it’s not only the wiring that matters. A garage will secure the unit in place, install trim to match your car, and set up any other features the head unit may include.
If you do decide to install the unit yourself, follow the instructions in the head unit manual and car manual carefully. Always turn your car off and disconnect the battery before trying to install anything. You could blow a fuse, or worse, electrocute yourself if you don’t follow this step.
Look for diagrams that show screw locations. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to break or damage the plastic pieces you need to remove to fit the head unit into place. By following your car and head unit manuals, you should be able to install the head unit, but a garage will save you the headache.
When you install a non-native system into your car, there are always some potential issues that could occur. Some of the most common issues people report revolve around electrical wiring. Bad wiring can cause the unit to lose power or to not start at all.
That’s why I recommend allowing a garage to install your unit. They’ll do it right the first time, and if not, they’ll give you a refund or fix the problem.
Another common problem surrounding wiring is the radio antenna. If you don’t wire this piece correctly, you’ll either get static or no sound at all.
One final issue you have to be on the lookout for is size. Double DIN head units don’t come in a uniform size, so you'll want to check that they will fit in your car. Both the width and height are obviously vital, but some people forget to measure the depth. You don’t want a protruding head unit, do you?
While there's plenty of great options on this list, the best double DIN head unit has to be the ATOTO A6 with its well-rounded capabilities. Not only does it feature a responsive touch-screen, but if you set up gesture control, you won't even have to touch it to change settings.
Whether you're looking to download apps, connect up to three phones at once, or connect a dash cam, you can't go wrong with the ATOTO A6. Interested in purchasing this head unit? Buy it here!