Q: anyone have recent experience with 1DIN stereos capable of android auto?

gunn

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95 T-bird with 5.0and m5r2 swap for lemons
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I don't really need to buy this device as my car is in pieces but I thought I should just take a quick survey of folks: has anyone had any direct experience with android auto capable stereos that fit in 1-DIN spaces? I suppose I could roll the dice and buy some device from TEMU.com but I just took a look and there are several options on Amazon so I will likely spend a little more and buy there with the option to return if its truly trash.

My needs:
- I use a Pixel phone but my wife uses an iphone. She'll probably never drive this toy car but I might as well have it Carplay+Android Auto capable. Wireless vs USB attach preferred
- The 1DIN port is low in the car (not on the dash but on the center console in front of the shifter) so I need a 1DIN stereo that sits in that spot and when the screen is deployed, lets you tilt it back slightly (so i can see it when looking down at an angle).
- Touch screen, IPS. The higher the resolution, the better.
- Don't care about screen mirroring apps other than android auto. I don't want ot have to install chinese fungus SW (esp if its sideloaded).
- I'm hoping that the SW is decently snappy so the more modern the processor and the more RAM it has, the better.
- Ideally, it also runs Android so I can install some apps useful for monitoring things on this car
- Audio wise, I mostly listen to news/podcasts vs music. Shouldn't sound shitty (I remember making a mistake and buying jensen speakers as my first aftermarket speakers and being sorely disappointed with the audio quality) but doesn't need to be audiophile grade, either. I suppose I can always install an aftermarket amp as well.

Price wise:
Doesn't need to be $50, but I'd rather not spend $600-1000+ for an Alpine/Sony/Pioneer unit, either. I'm not buying tomorrow so if you have recommendations on a 1DIN device that you know works well, I'd love to hear about it.
 
I have some general thoughts as to why I never remotely considered going this route. The thing about the Japanese audio manufacturers is that they've had years of experience in the mobile electronics space to build coherent user interfaces and user experiences that you won't find by Chinese white label sellers on Amazon or Temu. Since UX is my profession, anything Chinese-designed with a touchscreen is almost an automatic "no" for me.

The Android devices cobbled together by these Chinese outfits are often underpowered with unpredictable reliability. I'm sure there are multiple units that can check off all your needs feature-wise, but the UI is almost assuredly going to be clunky. I don't even like them in double DIN spaces. I have very little expectations for them in single DIN. The top Amazon result for "android autio single din" doesn't even have buttons for volume, never mind a physical knob. Better not lose that remote.

I truly dislike screens that stick out like a sore thumb, but if that isn't a concern, I would look at Boss Audio before a Chinese white label product if the likes of Alpine/Kenwood/Pioneer/Sony are too pricey.
 
I have some general thoughts as to why I never remotely considered going this route. The thing about the Japanese audio manufacturers is that they've had years of experience in the mobile electronics space to build coherent user interfaces and user experiences that you won't find by Chinese white label sellers on Amazon or Temu. Since UX is my profession, anything Chinese-designed with a touchscreen is almost an automatic "no" for me.

The Android devices cobbled together by these Chinese outfits are often underpowered with unpredictable reliability. I'm sure there are multiple units that can check off all your needs feature-wise, but the UI is almost assuredly going to be clunky. I don't even like them in double DIN spaces. I have very little expectations for them in single DIN. The top Amazon result for "android autio single din" doesn't even have buttons for volume, never mind a physical knob. Better not lose that remote.

I truly dislike screens that stick out like a sore thumb, but if that isn't a concern, I would look at Boss Audio before a Chinese white label product if the likes of Alpine/Kenwood/Pioneer/Sony are too pricey.
I totally value UX design but selecting a solution that runs Android and supports Android auto makes UI a Google problem vs something that the Chinese would need to cobble together.

If I don't like the launcher, I can always pick another one and customize it to my taste. This is why I wouldn't pick something that runs Windows CE for example even if it supports Android auto.
 

Just scratch the Porsche logo off.
 
While it would be presumably running stock Android, the whole package of software and hardware is still cobbled together. I don't have a lot of faith in most mobile SoCs. I'd want to know that it's not some unknown POS that can't be directly compared to a Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC for which I have some points of reference. It used to be that these Amazon listings would show you some mediocre hardware specs and an outdated version of Android. Now many of them don't show that at all, which I find concerning even if most people wouldn't find it relevant.

The curious thing is that I don't care about any of that with a name brand system because I'm trusting them to have done that testing and research already. Without that though, I feel like I'm shopping for a mobile device, and then the hardware specs do matter. Even then, seeing how much RAM there is and how fast the CPU is tells you close to nothing compared to the conclusions you could draw if those specs were in a PC. I can only tell if something is too little. And yeah, 2GB RAM and 32GB internal storage is way too little in 2023:

61altIBIarL._AC_SL1500_.jpg
 
This is where I usually start looking;
alpine has two single din receivers with big touchscreens.
Did you sell the alphasonic amps you had in the Ferrari? Those were probably nicer than most, these days.
 
I have 2 single din Chinese touch screens, they function. Neither my wife nor my daughter care about much more. The UI is clunky, audio is ok, one supposedly had a sub out, but I’m pretty sure the sub isn’t working. I’ve not made time to troubleshoot.
My Cougar is my daily driver and is like car play, but doubtful I’ll get over of these.
 
The round momentary switches are used for overdrive and to change the Info center display screen. The rotating one is used to change the three little red LEDs that show various info like trans info (what gear I'm in, locked TC) and whatever else I would like to see up close like temps, pressures etc. The one furthest up is for the Mad Max blower light so you can see the dancing pulleys thru the scoop.

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-Scott
 
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This is where I usually start looking;
alpine has two single din receivers with big touchscreens.
Did you sell the alphasonic amps you had in the Ferrari? Those were probably nicer than most, these days.
Yeah, I simply don't care enough about audio to appreciate the old school amps
They were Rodek I think I got nearly $300 for the amps and the crossover went for $77 from collectors.
A modern amp is <$100.

I just sold my headers and the air intake (probably $100 worth of tbird parts) for a good deal more as well. Definitely in the long tail of selling random parts at this point.

Biggest downside: while not equivalent in style or entertainment value, I could have bought a Tesla S Plaid for what this project has cost in parts.
 
I have 2 single din Chinese touch screens, they function. Neither my wife nor my daughter care about much more. The UI is clunky, audio is ok, one supposedly had a sub out, but I’m pretty sure the sub isn’t working. I’ve not made time to troubleshoot.
My Cougar is my daily driver and is like car play, but doubtful I’ll get over of these.
What brands are the chinese parts?
 
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I keep it old school in Cougie, even though it's new.

-Scott

Welcome Scott! Glad you found us here. Your Cougar is amazing. I wanted to ask you about those door speaker and the trim you used to install them. What size are they? Where did you get that trim made? How is it installed? Could you post some pictures of your door trim or the installation process? Any other information about them that you could share would be greatly appreciated.
 
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The speakers are 6.5 Polk Audio's Momo line to match the other Momo stuff I have going on in there (Wheel, shifter & pedals). I used speaker rings held up by custom cut tongue depressors then stretched some fabric over it all, fiberglass'd it and covered it with vinyl upholstery.

-Scott
 
View attachment 2335

The speakers are 6.5 Polk Audio's Momo line to match the other Momo stuff I have going on in there (Wheel, shifter & pedals). I used speaker rings held up by custom cut tongue depressors then stretched some fabric over it all, fiberglass'd it and covered it with vinyl upholstery.

-Scott

Thanks. Yeah, I knew it had to be a custom build. Nice work. I was thinking about doing the same but that takes way more work and skill than I have to duplicate.
 
I spent my first check from my first "real Job" on an alpine tape deck for the car, and a technics cassette deck for the house. Brandon just made me an alignment tape, and I'm in the process of refurbing it. Bought it in 84, worked fine until ~2003, when I realized the brass capstan supports were badly worn. Bought parts off ebay, and it's back to new condition. :) I still have the alpine cassette deck too, lol.
 
An MP5 player, huh?

320px-MP5.jpg

And that's why I can't take Chinese head units seriously.
I remember shooting one of these at a friends bachelor party years ago.
Video game nostalgia aside, I'm not sure I'd ever want to own one.
There are plenty of better/cooler/whatever PDWs you can own.

BTW, I also briefly considered what other features I may want in this stereo. Having an HDMI input like this Sony head unit might be compelling as then I could go so far as stick in a carputer if so desired.

This is not a today or even this qtr decision so I'll just stick around and see what the market offers.

Then I saw this beauty of random no-name chinese tech. It also incorporates 360 degree surround view cameras (something I kinda want to integrate as well and was expecting to spend another $200 on) + FM radio + Android Auto. For this, I would reconsider rebuilding my center console cubby to integrate this device. Someone needs to buy it and LMK what they think :)
 

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