Soon, as more advancements were made in communications technology, what’s known today as in-car infotainment systems were born: screens, big or small, with which the driver to interact pretty much the same way as he does with handheld devices, allowing control over a number of the car's systems or services.
Presently, nearly all cars selling in markets across the world come with some type of multimedia combo comprising a screen, an operating system and loads of apps.
But, just as there still are those among us who remember times from decades ago, there are possibly millions of older cars still on the road with no infotainment system whatsoever, and millions of drivers still not enjoying what it means to drive in today’s day and age.
Aside from using a smartphone as a car’s infotainment system, drivers can now go for one of the countless aftermarket multimedia solutions currently available. Affordable in general, easy-to-install by a tech-savvy individual or a licensed professional, they offer about the same capabilities as OEM products.
Below you’ll find a list of 5 such aftermarket systems, selected based on their popularity in online shops.
Atoto A6 (ad) - Atoto is a Chinese company that describes itself as “the first Android car stereo brand that only provides in-depth customized Android-based car entertainment systems.” One of their main products is the A6.
The A6 is a double din multimedia system running on a modified version of the very old Android 6.0 Marshmallow. It offers support in nine languages, including English, Arabic, Russian, and Japanese.
The system’s touchscreen is 7-inches in size with a resolution of 1024x600 and comes with built-in GPS and Google Maps, phone mirroring, reversing camera input, 3 USB and 1 SD card slots. The system can be fitted on a variety of cars, as it is offered in one of five front panel sizes.
On the downside, the A6 is not compatible with Apple devices and does not come with headrest video output option. Also, to be able to use its voice dialing feature, you’ll have to download a special app.
The Atoto A6 starts from $169 on Amazon and works on a wide number of vehicles.
Pioneer AVH-2300NEX (ad) - Pioneer is one of the biggest names in the auto industry when it comes to audio and video solutions for cars. For decades, the Japanese have been supplying the big players of the industry like GM, Ford or Toyota.
For owners who want to upgrade their older cars, Pioneer has a number of multimedia solutions at hand, all named in an extremely complicated manner.
The AVH-2300NEX if one of their most appreciated solutions. Described as a DVD receiver, the system is one of the most advanced on the market, albeit it does cut some corners when it comes to the quality of the display.
The screen is 7-inches in size and, being WVGA, it only offers 800 ×480 resolution. But AVH-2300NEX makes up in other departments. It is both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible, allows Bluetooth connections and is SiriusXM ready. On top of that, it works with Spotify and Pandora.
The Pioneer AVH-2300NEX sells on Amazon from $371.97 and is sized 11 x 9.5 x 6 inches, making it ideal for use in a wide variety of car models.
Sony XAV-AX100 (ad) - Leaders in some of the industries they make products for, the Japanese from Sony have a wide range of car multimedia systems as well on sale. Among the most highly appreciated is the XAV-AX100.
Compatible with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, the XAV-AX100 is based on a 6.4-inch touchscreen that also can be controlled via a rotary dial or using one’s voice. The entire system is 6.36 x 7.01 x 3.94 inches in size.
The screen can be used to show all the common apps now available on the market, but it can also be linked to an existing rear view camera as to show what’s going on in the back. There are also three pre-outs fitted to ensure a natural expansion on the car’s sound system.
The Sony XAV-AX100 is double din, and it can be used on most car models. It sells from $286.78 on Amazon.
JVC KW-M740BT (ad) - Priced from $289.93 on Amazon, the JVC KW-M740BT is yet another Japanese solution to the multimedia problem for older cars.
The system is 2 din and is based on a 6.8- inch Clear Resistive touchscreen display and comes with Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and is Sirius XM ready.
The entire system dimensions are 15 x 12 x 10 inches, making it usable in most of the cars currently on the market.
Corehan (ad) - Also a double din system, the Corehan CS-JD-AN-03 is also at the top of the online shopping list.
The system is based on a 7-inch touchscreen and runs on Android. As such, it is fitted with Bluetooth, GPS, dual USB, and micro SD ports and even supports an OBD2 scanner. The Corehan supports video output to the headrest monitors.
This system is priced from $159.95 on Amazon and can be fitted on most vehicle makes.
To make sure you choose the perfect multimedia solution for your car, we advise you to check the compatibility of the vehicle with the multimedia system on specialized websites like Crutchfield before making a purchase.