Best cheap Android Auto stereo head units

Cheapest Apple CarPlay head unit

What is the cheapest Apple CarPlay head unit? If you are an iPhone user, there are big chances you’ve heard about Apple CarPlay. A system that mirrors the most important apps on your phone directly into the head unit display. Maps navigation, music streaming as well as most basic functions of your phone like making calls and reading text messages.

It’s not only very convenient but also very helpful in terms of handling the phone without taking the eyes of the road, being a great improvement in driving safety.

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Unfortunately, this connectivity has only started to be offered in models developed during the last 5-6 years. If you have a slightly older car it’s unlikely that it features CarPlay compatibility.

Although, that is not an issue anymore, as most aftermarket manufacturers are offering head units with CarPlay integration so you can easily upgrade your car’s outdated head unit to a whole new one loaded with the most recent tech.

Getting a new head unit can be a considerable investment, that’s why in this article we are going to review some budget systems, so you can purchase the cheapest Apple CarPlay radio that will perfectly fit your needs in terms of price and features.

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The Pioneer AVH-1400NEX may not be the cheapest Apple CarPlay radio on review but it is the best allrounder. It doesn’t feature any particular weaknesses and offers a great solid overall package.

Dual Electronics DMCPA11BT is the ideal option if you’re after an aftermarket system with a big display. Apart from its great LCD, offers a solid bunch of features for an affordable price tag.

The Pioneer SPH10BT doesn’t support Apple CayPlay but it has remarkable value for money while you use your iPhone’s screen. Please read on for more information.

The cheapest Apple CarPlay head unit review

In the following table, you can compare these product’s main features. For more information, please click the images to see the products on Amazon and be sure to read this article until the very end.

Product Name Display Size Sound Equalizer Amplification

Pioneer AVH-1400NEX

6.2-inch 13-band 50w Peak x 4

Power Acoustik CP-650

6.5-inch 14-band 14w RMS x 4
60w Peak x 4

Dual Electronics DMCPA11BT

10.1-inch 8-band 16w RMS x 4
50w Peak x 4

Sound Storm DD988ACP

6.75-inch Not Stated 16w RMS x 4
80w Peak x 4

Boss Audio BVCP9685

6.75-inch Not Stated 80w Peak x 4

Pioneer SPH10BT

(doesn’t support Apple CayPlay)

N/A 13-band 22w RMS x 4
50w Peak x 4

Pioneer AVH-1400NEX


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Key features:

  • 6.2″ LCD touchscreen;
  • 5 display colors;
  • 50 watts peak x 4 channels;
  • Digital multimedia receiver with AM/FM tuner;
  • Bluetooth hands-free calling and audio streaming;
  • 13-band graphic equalizer;
  • Compatible with Apple CarPlay w/ Siri Eyes Free;
  • Optional remote control.

This is a great double din Apple CarPlay affordable head unit from a reputable manufacturer. If you have an iPhone this will work great, offering full CarPlay integration and Siri Eyes Free to guide you through your journeys as a personal assistant.

But this Pioneer Apple CarPlay head unit offers much more than iPhone integration. From high-res FLAC playback to Bluetooth audio streaming to SiriusXM compatibility it’s all there.

If you’re an audiophile on a tight budget, you should know that this cheap CarPlay stereo also sounds awesome, with a great audio amplifier and a 13-band EQ with a bunch of expansive sound-shaping tools to make it sound just like you wish to.

Its 6.2″ touchscreen has plenty of brightness for those sunny summer days. Also, the touch feature is very responsive and works like a charm, being on par with much more expensive head units.

The only downside is that its construction feels a bit cheap, but for the price and all the features and sound quality it offers, you can’t really be asking for more.

Pros:
  • Awesome sound quality and amplification
  • Outstanding responsiveness of the touchscreen
  • Good value for money
Cons:
  • The unit feels cheap to the touch with flimsy buttons

Power Acoustik CP-650


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Key features:

  • 6.5″ LCD touchscreen;
  • 7-Color RGB LED front panel illumination;
  • 14w RMS (60w peak) x 4 channels;
  • Digital multimedia receiver with AM/FM tuner;
  • Bluetooth hands-free calling and audio streaming;
  • 14-Band Digital Audio EQ & Surround Sound Effect;
  • Compatible with Apple CarPlay w/ Siri Eyes Free;
  • Remote control included and an external wired microphone.

Power Acoustik offers a nice and inexpensive head unit with the CP-650. It has built-in Apple CarPlay compatibility, letting you safely use your iPhone while driving, putting your phone’s info right in front of your eyes in the unit’s display screen. Siri will also conveniently guide you when using GPS.

The sound quality is good, especially considering the price point, offering a good amplification power, and a 14-Band Digital Audio EQ & Surround Sound Effect.

Its major downside is the display. The brightness is very low and it can be painful to see anything that’s on the display during a bright sunny day. And to make things worse, it is also very reflective.

This Apple CarPlay stereo is cheap but it gets the job done, for sure. If you are on a budget and you just want to listen to your favorite music and be able to navigate by pairing your iPhone using the CarPlay feature, this is what you should get.

Pros:
  • Very affordable CarPlay system
  • Ok sound quality
  • Good value for money
Cons:
  • Poor display brightness

Dual Electronics DMCPA11BT

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Key features:

  • 10.1″ LCD touchscreen;
  • 16w RMS (50w peak) x 4 channels;
  • Digital multimedia receiver with AM/FM tuner;
  • Bluetooth hands-free calling and audio streaming;
  • 8-band parametric equalizer with 8 preset options;
  • Compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Are you after a head unit with a big display and CarPlay compatibility and you don’t want to spend a lot of money? This one is the best Apple CarPlay stereo for you!

With a huge 10.1″ LCD touchscreen it will make your life easier when using navigation apps. Everything will be shown very clear right in front of your eyes. Also, if you add an (optional) backup camera, the large screen size makes it easy to see what’s behind you! It has an adjustable tilt angle from -10º to +18º and will fit most cars with a 2-DIN slot.

The unit’s operating system is clear and easy to operate and the sound quality won’t disappoint you either. It features a dedicated switch for voice commands and works great both for Siri and Google Assistant.

It is sometimes a bit laggy when changing screens or swiping through the menus. The USB port and SD card covers are flimsy and hard to put back on.

Pros:
  • Huge display
  • Good sound quality and EQ settings
  • Dedicated switch for voice commands
Cons:
  • A bit laggy in operation
  • Some switches feel cheap

Sound Storm DD988ACP

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Key features:

  • 6.75″ LCD touchscreen;
  • 16w RMS (80w peak) x 4 channels;
  • Digital multimedia receiver with AM/FM tuner;
  • Bluetooth hands-free calling and audio streaming;
  • Compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Sound Storm, a brand from Boss Audio Systems, offers this great overall product for an affordable price. If features a bright and clear, sharp, and responsive 6.75-inch capacitive touchscreen, an aspect where many other low-priced competitors fail.

As smartphones have become an essential part of our day-to-day life, CarPlay integration is getting obligatory. That will let you control the most essential commands and apps of your iPhone through the head unit’s display. And with Siri’s voice commands you can easily get directions, look for points of interest, check your messages, play your music, and a lot more.

Despite being the cheapest Apple CarPlay stereo on review, the sound quality is on par with the market segment and won’t disappoint you, but it would be great if the software included more sound settings and adjustments.

Pros:
Cons:
  • Not much sound adjustments

BOSS Audio Systems BCPA9685RC

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Key features:

  • 6.75″ LCD touchscreen;
  • Multi-color illumination;
  • 80 Watts x 4 peak power, RBDS Tuner, Balance/Fader and, Preset built-in EQ;
  • Bluetooth Hands-Free, Make and receive calls, Bluetooth Audio Streaming;
  • USB, AV, Rear Camera, Steering Wheel Control Input;
  • WebLink provides access to Amazon Alexa;
  • Compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

This Boss Audio BVCP9685 is a double DIN head unit with a 6.75″ capacitive screen featuring a vertical strip of touch controls along the left side of the body. You can choose a custom color (or rotate through some colors) for the buttons illumination.

Its 800×480 screen, despite not having the bigger resolution of some other models, features nice and crisp colors, and also good brightness levels even during sunny days.

You can plug in your smartphone to the USB port and activate Android Auto or Apple Car Play. You can also connect it via Bluetooth and playback music or podcasts with the media player. Most functions are fairly easy to operate.

This Apple CarPlay head unit offers 80w of peak power amplification (x4 channels), it plays well in higher volumes and sounds good most of the time. Keep in mind this system doesn’t offer a built-in CD player. The overall interface is simple and straightforward.

Boss Audio BVCP9685 is a cheap Android Auto unit that offers a lot for its price.

Pros:
  • Easy to navigate and use while driving
  • Great sound amplification for the price
  • Good value for money
Cons:
  • No CD player
  • The screen is a fingerprint magnet

Pioneer SPH10BT

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Key features:

  • 1-DIN head unit;
  • No touchscreen;
  • Uses your phone as the stereo’s display;
  • 22w RMS (50w peak) x 4 channels;
  • Bluetooth Hands-Free, Make and receive calls, Bluetooth Audio Streaming;
  • Tuner Presets (18 FM, 6AM);
  • Equalizer: 13 Band EQ+.

Let’s start by pointing out this isn’t a true traditional Apple CarPlay aftermarket head unit. The system has a phone holder and a USB connection (or via Bluetooth) to pair your phone with it. Your own iPhone will act as the screen itself.

Can you install CarPlay in older cars? This Apple CarPlay single DIN is a great addition if you’re driving an older vehicle with a 1-DIN slot and you’re willing to take advantage of full smartphone integration. It will fit almost every car model featuring a 1-DIN space.

The Pioneer head unit itself has 6 large buttons across its fascia, with a very small display. Most of the screen info will be displayed by the driver’s smartphone screen, which fits into a phone holder that folds out of the receiver. The connection between both is done via a USB cable or Bluetooth.

This system presents an exciting way to combine your head unit and your iPhone into a seamless experience. And it works well! Pioneer’s Smart Sync app is the key to getting this unit to work the way you want while driving. It does a great job of using your smartphone’s features for a personalized driving experience

Not only it is cheaper than a traditional head unit with an integrated display but it also brings some other advantages. Smartphones have generally far superior touchscreens than aftermarket head units, as in terms of operation or even in what concerns to resolution and brightness.

Pros:
  • Great integration with your own iPhone
  • Sturdy phone holder
  • Affordable price
  • A must-have fold older vehicles
Cons:
  • You have to mount your iPhone on the holder every time you’re using your car
  • Can be tricky to install

Wrap Up

The availability of CarPlay head units from different manufacturers is immense. There are models suited for all needs, tastes, and price tags. Therefore, the choice of CarPlay stereos can be complex and tricky.

We hope this article was clear and helpful, and you got all the information you required to decide which budget CarPlay system is the best to upgrade your car’s obsolete radio.

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