Looking for a cheap double DIN Apple Carplay unit

Joined
Sep 20, 2014
Messages
2,537
Location
Seattle-ish, WA
We (family) have two vehicle that don't get driven a lot, but it would be awfully nice to have a double DIN head unit with Apple Carplay installed. Both have a double Din space, no problem. Just connect the phone and then have all that functionality. Since the cars aren't driven a lot, they doesn't warrant big $$ on a high-end unit. Plus, we need two units, connectors, and a custom fascia for one car (not that expensive). That said, I don't want a junky thing that's got glitches or I'd just keep the iPhone on a mount and the good stereos already installed.

Any ideas people have used recently? Key things (in my mind):

a) Reliable function with phone for maps, texting, calls.
b) touch screen (it appears some don't have that????)

Not as important:
a) video capability/CD/DVD (CD would actually be kinda nice, but not required)
b) built in GPS (will be connected/paired to phone)

I know many things are out of stock because of WuFlu madness; it's not imperative it is installed right away so it could wait a little bit if something compelling was currently out of stock.

I have used Carplay on a friend's car on a road trip (2019 Camry) and it was great. It greatly enhanced the user interface and to me made the driving experience safer by reducing distraction and that's valuable - Seattle/Tacoma has a crazy amount of traffic - like so many places - so it would be good. One of the cars is for my older father so it would be great for him.
 
Joined
Apr 27, 2012
Messages
12,284
Location
MA
Why not mention the year and makes of the cars? I'd go over to Crutchfield first to look around, but you can usually find them cheaper somewhere else. Otherwise you can get cheap no name android units on Aliexpress pretty cheaply once you know the year and make of the car.
 
Joined
Dec 31, 2017
Messages
10,560
Location
SE British Columbia, Canada
For those unfamiliar with Crutchfield, you will have to have a soldering iron. They send the stereo unit, and a plug-in harness, and sometimes more than one harness. You follow the directions and solder the wire from the stereo to the match wire on the harness. I use heat sharing tubes over top the joint. You then pull the plug-in harness from the existing vehicle and plug in the new one. You do not have to cut any of the vehicle’s wires. The unit will come with the required trim piece and full instructions on how to remove the original unit. I’ve done this in several vehicles, always with good results. :)
 
Joined
May 25, 2005
Messages
1,793
Location
USA
Car toys has some deals right now. Years ago when Circuit City was still around I picked up a real nice Pioneer CD Receiver for $30 off. Someone ordered it then never came back to get it installed.
 
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
9,434
Location
Los Gatos, CA
Crutchfield is great. I have not used the Boss products, but they seem to be good bang for your buck.
Just don't go too cheap; you only want to do this once. I like JVC products; I have a refurb in the old Tundra with backup camera.

Go for it.
 
Joined
Jul 23, 2021
Messages
1,205
Location
PA
I've been VERY happy with the prices and installation with Best Buy. Any purchase over I think $100 includes free install.

I've recently upgraded 5 vehicle systems with the same head unit for compatibility/familiarity. Very happy. I paid a private contractor to do one and then did 4 thru Best Buy. I'd suggest the Best Buy route as less hassle and less expensive.

Note, you're paying about a $400+ additional per stereo premium to have Apple carplay. Not sure what your finances are but that's a huge technology budget hit for rarely driven vehicles. If you're not married to the idea of that level of tech, here's what I do. I bought the $200 Pioneer units, that have touch screen, DVD/CD, and USB and AUX ports. I put all my music files on USB and/or Ipods (everyone has an Ipod, right?), or I suppose if your phone has a jack you can do it that way too. I have something like 5 years of music on a micro USB. I could listen for 5 years and never hear the same song twice if I wanted. The micro USB was $7. Organizing some music was a fun project. I also really like the DVD/CD drive. The ability to put in physical media is a must. I like buying used CDs or DVDs and being able to put them in my car immediately if I want to watch/listen. Admittedly, I almost never would watch a DVD but heck, sometimes you might be stuck somewhere and want to. The CD ability however is excellent. I love finding cool music and immediately being able to listen to it.

Anyway, just an idea to save you $800 on two Apple stereos.

Good luck to you.
 
Joined
Oct 7, 2012
Messages
3,055
Location
NYC
For those unfamiliar with Crutchfield, you will have to have a soldering iron. They send the stereo unit, and a plug-in harness, and sometimes more than one harness. You follow the directions and solder the wire from the stereo to the match wire on the harness. I use heat sharing tubes over top the joint. You then pull the plug-in harness from the existing vehicle and plug in the new one. You do not have to cut any of the vehicle’s wires. The unit will come with the required trim piece and full instructions on how to remove the original unit. I’ve done this in several vehicles, always with good results. :)
For those a little more familiar with Crutchfield ✋

They offer a readyharness service for $25, and that'll make your installation pretty much plug and play

They use high quality crimp and heat sealed connectors, they're got a pictorial on the website

All you have to fight with is plastic dash trim, routing and securing things so they don't rattle, dealing with BS Metra trim kits that never quite match, and this that the other thing

Save your patience for running the backup camera 🥵
 
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
6,585
Location
Ohio
Key things (in my mind):

a) Reliable function with phone for maps, texting, calls.
b) touch screen (it appears some don't have that????)

Not as important:
a) video capability/CD/DVD (CD would actually be kinda nice, but not required)
b) built in GPS (will be connected/paired to phone)
An Apple CarPlay head unit without a touchscreen ? Doesn't seem right at all. Maps and GPS will run off of the phone when in CarPlay mode so those are basically automatic (no need for built-in navigation in the head unit - for one, it will just add cost for something you're not going to use 99% of the time). With texting via CarPlay, realize that it is all SIRI-driven. You can't type texts, you read it and SIRI transcribes it. Same with when you receive a text, SIRI reads it out loud to you.

In addition to CarPlay, all you'll use the head unit for is listening to the radio. Everything else will come via the phone.
 
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