6 ‏‎Best Apple CarPlay Stereo Review & Guide 2019

Choosing the best Apple CarPlay Stereo is not an easy mission. There are dozens of them out there. Of course, there are specific brands (actually, we are going to talk about them right here) but confusion remains.

In this article (it is a bit long), I’m going to take you step-by-step in this market. Despite the length of the article, it will shorten the road for you. So, get your coffee and relax. I’m going to lead you from the very first point.

The following list is carefully chosen to help you in taking the right decision. You will find both cheap and expensive, A1 brands and most common, the best stereo that matches your needs and what is going beyond, and more.

Read this list carefully and choose the best one that fits your car and requirements. So, let’s start at……..

Pioneer is a pioneer in many things, but is it really a pioneer in CarPlay Stereos? We shall see.

The first thing you notice is its 6.2″ capacitive touchscreen display. I think you may look at it as a small touchscreen but at least it is close to the size of iPhone 6 Plus and wide enough to feel comfortable with it. The built-in Bluetooth gives you more freedom. It gives your hands-free calling and audio streaming more easiness.

Of course, it comes with Best Stereo which is compatible with iPhone 5, 5s, 6, 6 plus, 6s, 6s plus, and 7.

It is a smart compatible option for many operating systems. As it works with iPhone, it does the same with Android. Also, it is compatible with MirrorLink and Siri Eyes Free. Yes, it is a positive feature; it is not an Exclusive CarPlay Stereo.

MirrorLink feature may require buying separate hardware to get the best use of this feature.

Moreover, Pioneer AppRadio plays a lot of video formats that may not be available in other CarPlay Stereos.

What We Liked

What We Didn't Like

Alpine looks interesting with its mark (007). Does it remind you, someone? I guess so. Well, Alpine ILX-007 is an exclusive. Yes, it is designed specifically for iPhone (Versions: 5 or newer) users to work with.

Alpine is not so famous as a pioneer but it works well with your iPhone. It has a built-in amplifier (18 watts RMS CEA-2006/50 peak x 4 channels).

It comes with 7-inch high resolution (800 x 3 x 480) touchscreen display with USB charging capability (Transparent Type TN LCD). All of these features come with full white LED illumination system backlighting.

Alpine supported established apps by Apple and updated with some news.

Is there something to worry about? Unfortunately, Yes. There is no control buttons compatibility on your steering wheel. That means you have only 2 options: Using your hand, or asking Siri to help you. But Alpine CarPlay stereo is compatible with any vehicle that has steering wheel controls to sync with.

What We Liked

What We Didn't Like

Sony is like Pioneer, a trusted brand in the electronics industry. By the way, Sony XAV-AX100 got 2 advanced positions in Amazon categorization as we are going to explain.

Sony XAV-AX100 is simply described as a CarPlay/Android Auto Media Receiver with Bluetooth. So, it works with both Apple and Android. And with both operating systems you can use voice control. It comes with manual controls buttons on the left side of the dashboard.

Its touchscreen is 6.4 inch. So, it comes in medium size between Pioneer and Alpine. Its sound is a very powerful sound with the 4×55 W Dynamic Reality Amp. Also, it comes with Dynamic Stage Organizer that helps you to create virtual speakers on your dashboard.

Do you have a rear camera in the back of your car? Well, Sony XAV is compatible with the rear camera, and you can easily reverse with the instruction of outlined view on the screen. This gives you smoothly and safely reversing of your car.

What We Liked

What We Didn't Like

First of all, its touchscreen is smaller than DA100, it is 6.2 inch. Second, it supports a wide range of Android smartphones. Third, it is packaged together with the TE-BPC License Plate Frame.

It works with both CarPlay and Android. It comes with Bluetooth and Siri Eyes Free, plus Pandora FLAC audio support, and finally On-Screen Access to compatible apps at your touch.

This type of Pioneer is not as famous as other types of Pioneer. So, you will not find a lot of reviews about it on Amazon.

Pioneer SPH-DA120 Smartphone Receiver w/ 6.2″ got 3.6 stars of 4 Amazon customer reviews.

What We Liked

What We Didn't Like

Kenwood is the most versatile CarPlay in this list. Also, Kenwood is a well-known brand in the electronics market. It comes with many features that you may not need it, but it is still there to use anytime. So, it is the most expensive CarPlay Stereo in this list. The technology that Kenwood uses in its products made them high level in both possibilities and price.

Let’s take a look for Kenwood and discover how it meets its high price:

  • It works with both Apple and Android operating systems.
  • It comes with Built-in Bluetooth for audio streaming and hands-free calls.
  • Its display is 6.95-inch touch screen (I don’t know why this size exactly, why not 7″ or why not 6.9″ for example. Anyway, you will not notice this 0.05″. Consider it as 7 inches).
  • Display and command of select navigation, music, and other apps for Android and iPhone.
  • Also, Pandora and heart radio is controlled by iPhone and Android.
  • It comes with Siri Eyes Free with selected versions of iPhones.
  • It has screen mirroring with selected types of iPhone and Android models.
  • You can charge your mobile whatever it is (iPhone, iPad, iPod, or Android) via USB port.
  • And of course, 6 channel preamp outputs (4-volt front, rear, sub).
  • Parking grid lines with a rearview camera for reversing movement.
  • …………..and more.

As mentioned above, Kenwood DMX7704S has many features that you may not need but still the strongest in the market.

What We Liked

What We Didn't Like

Actually, this item doesn’t belong on this list. It doesn’t support CarPlay or Android Auto. But Clarion is the perfect option for a tight budget. Before ignoring this item, let’s take a look.

Simply, Clarion NX706 can be easily connected to your smartphone – whatever its kind – and gives you the most common features you need. If your mobile is iPhone, it will work easily with Siri Eyes Free to give you more comfort. If yours is Android, it will, too.

What more?

Its display touchscreen is 7 inch with a resolution of 480 and this is a big advantage is existent only in Alpine of this list. It has the standard 6 channel preamp with 20 watts per channel, but it can only push totally 45 watts. Also, it comes with USB for more connectivity for MP3, WMA, AAC, and more. The distinctive feature of Clarion NX706 is the capability of a wide range of file formats.

What We Liked

What We Didn't Like

Apple Carplay Head Unit Buying Guide

First, we need to know what it is:

CarPlay is the way that Apple invented to help car drivers to use their iPhones without leaving the steering wheel touch in dangerously way as it happens by using the mobile itself.

Now, by using an LED display in your car, you can easily enjoy your phone features while you are driving your car. By this device, you can call/answer calls, receive/send messages, listen to your audios, check maps to get directions, and much more. All of the previous is smoothly happens while you still focus on the road without endangering your life or the lives of others to unexpected accidents.

This is the main idea: The safe use of your iPhone with more concentration on the road.

What are the benefits of the Best CarPlay Stereo?

Again, using such a device makes your life easier. Imagine the following benefits while your eyes and hands stay where they belong:

  • Multiple Control Options: If you are a classic man who likes to twist knobs or move buttons, it is well designed to give you this option. Or you like to feel the familiarity of using iPhone by touching the screen. Or you like more comfort by dealing with Siri. All these options are available.
  • Maps Capabilities: It is designed basically for cars. So, maps are a basic tool to drive you to required directions. Smart Maps is reading your contacts, emails, text messages, and calendar to predict your direction and suggest you. Moreover, in the case of you need to eat, fuel, take your coffee, and more, Maps suggests the nearest and best according to your preferences.
  • Siri is always active. Just Ask: Siri is active and standby for you. You have to ask her for help and then you got what you want without leaving the steering wheel.
  • Messages Power with Siri: Ask Siri what you want and you will find help. Siri can read messages, reply to it, dictate your voice message to write it correctly, and finally send this reply.
  • +200 Models: Partnered with more than 200 car manufacturers to support these models. Even if you didn’t find your car among these cars, you can use it still. 

Why should I buy a Best CarPlay Stereo?

Life goes on and becomes smarter and easier. All inventions that humanity had invented and had to touch from start until the 80s of the last century are incomparable with the revolution of telecommunication of the last years of the twentieth century and the first decade of the 21st century. And who can imagine what our life will be the next 10 or 20 years?

I called that: Waste of Possibilities.

These inventions had been created for you to make your life easier and smarter. Why do you ignore or neglect them? On the contrary: Use and enjoy them.

Furthermore, we should take care of the factor of safety. Many accidents happened because of the lack of attention to the road and steering wheel. By few buttons in this wheel, or little clicks on the display screen of your CarPlay Stereo, or even by making some orders to Siri, your driving is completely safe.


You can buy one with the advantage of Android compatibility. Read this list carefully and check the following:

  • The size of your product especially the size of the touchscreen.

  • Check the features you need and compare with others.

  • Check your budget.

These 3 simple steps will help you to overcome the lack of choosing one of the 6 Best on this list.


Other Posts You Might Like

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.