Installing an aftermarket head unit with the most recent and best connectivity options into your present automobile may give you related connectivity to new autos and breathe new life into your day by day commute. And it may also save your life if you cannot assist however take a look at your smartphone display when driving. True to its identify, Pioneer has been a pacesetter in aftermarket infotainment, providing related options (resembling its App Radio) earlier than automakers. The firm’s AVIC-W8400NEX head unit is not low cost ($1,200 with out set up), however it works with most vehicles on the highway to seamlessly brings Android Auto and Apple CarPlay to your car, incomes our Editors’ Choice.
Design and Features
The AVIC-W8400NEX multimedia navigation receiver has a pointy 7-inch, 16:9, 800-by-480-pixel capacitive contact display that is straightforward to learn and which you’ll be able to configure as desired. Below the display are eight bodily buttons, six of that are small and require extra consideration than it’s best to give them whereas driving, though the quantity toggle change on the left is about aside from the opposite buttons for ease of use whereas on the highway.

Three buttons within the middle, from left to proper, embody one for switching between the app/map display and an AV operation display, one other for accessing the principle menu, and a 3rd for displaying the source-menu bar. Three extra buttons on the precise are for a again operate, activation of voice recognition, and accessing the DVD/CD and SD card slots display behind the fold-down display.
The unit contains AM/FM HD radio and SiriusXM compatibility with an add-on tuner, and it may possibly play lossless FLAC audio recordsdata on a USB drive or SD card. It additionally comes with built-in turn-by-turn navigation that makes use of an onboard mapping database (offered by Here Maps).
In addition to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Pioneer’s default AppRadio interface permits on-screen entry to cellphone contacts, calendars, and extra on a smartphone related by way of USB cable (included). It can also wirelessly join by way of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi utilizing a protocol referred to as Miracast, which primarily mirrors your cellphone’s show.
The AVIC-W8400NEX’s built-in energy amplifier pumps out 14 watts RMS or 50 watts peak into 4 channels, whereas three units of AV outputs enable connection to exterior amplifiers. The rear of the AVIC-W8400NEX additionally has an HDMI inout, twin USB ports, a pair of A/V inputs (mini and RCA), and two digital camera inputs and outputs.

Pionner features a microphone that may be discreetly put in for voice instructions, hands-free calling, and texting, and it really works with Apple’s Siri Eyes Free. You additionally get a handheld distant for handbook management from any seat.
The contact display affords quite a lot of background and splash-screen show choices that may remodel your dashboard right into a mini disco gentle present. An Easy EQ preset equalizer and subwoofer management can help you play deejay.
A provided Apple Lightning or USB cable for Android gadgets affords bodily connection to the unit and simultaneous cellphone charging. Using a third-party adapter, the AVIC-W8400NEX additionally permits sustaining a car’s inventory steering wheel controls.
We put in the Pioneer AVIC-W8400NEX in a 2007 Toyota Tacoma and examined its Apple CarPlay functionality utilizing an iPhone 8. You can set up it your self (an in depth set up information is included), however it includes some pretty advanced wiring. If you have not finished this sort of factor earlier than, you are higher off leaving it to knowledgeable, however bear in mind that this can add to the entire price of your invoice.
After the preliminary pairing (achieved in only a few minutes after set up with out studying the proprietor’s handbook), the unit will routinely hyperlink to your smartphone by way of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi everytime you return to the automobile. Bluetooth connectivity was a bit inconsistent in testing, nonetheless. Sometimes the connection occurred rapidly. Other occasions it will take a number of minutes or would not join in any respect. Occasionally, the connection would happen, however the Pandora show display whereas utilizing CarPlay continued to show “Loading” even whereas Pandora was taking part in.
When plugged in, related by way of Wi-Fi, or with the Bluetooth connection working correctly, the comfort and security of utilizing Apple CarPlay is great. Once on the highway with streaming and navigation (cellphone or in-unit) working, the AVIC-W8400NEX is straightforward function utilizing solely voice instructions.
Icons are massive, straightforward to see, and are equivalent to these on the iPhone 8 we used for testing. Touch-screen sensitivity and response occasions are almost equivalent to a smartphone.
The built-in navigation characteristic would not want mobile connectivity, though the mapping software program requires common updates following an preliminary free replace supplied from a certified Pioneer supplier as much as 45 days after buy. Knowing you may acquire and use turn-by-turn navigation when out of cell protection is reassuring. Android Auto and CarPlay map shows are rendered as they might be in your smartphone, albeit bigger.

One of probably the most handy—and protected—options of the AVIC-W8400NEX is studying and replying to incoming texts when utilizing Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. We additionally like that calendar reminders seem on the show and could be learn aloud with a faucet of the display.
Make Your Car Feel New Again
If you are in search of a option to refresh your present car, the Pioneer AVIC-W8400NEX completely matches the invoice (and most dashboards). Overall efficiency is easy, intuitive, and the menus are logically organized—which is greater than we are able to say for some problem-prone automaker programs. And not like OEM infotainment programs, it may be upgraded by way of twin back-up digital camera inputs, a composite video enter, and an SD/SDHC reminiscence card slot for reminiscence enlargement.
The $1,200 price ticket is steep. But the Pioneer AVIC-W8400NEX’s massive colour show will make you’re feeling like you’re driving a brand-new automobile with all of the infotainment bells and whistles—however with out the brand new automobile cost. More importantly, it would preserve you related to your smartphone and centered on arriving at your vacation spot safely. That’s sufficient to earn it our Editors’ Choice.

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