Aftermarket Head Unit
Aftermarket Head Unit – We’re back in the summer with Pioneer’s budget-friendly MVH-1400NEX CarPlay headset ( review ). What we see is a beautiful no-frills headpiece with a clean design.
The MVH-1400NEX with its $300 price tag is good, but it lacks Wireless CarPlay, making it a non-starter for users who want a wireless experience. Enter Pioneer’s ~$800 AVIC-W8400NEX, a truly wireless CarPlay aftermarket head unit. Is a wired connection worth paying more for?
Aftermarket Head Unit
Like the previous 1400NEX CarPlay installation, I had the W8400NEX installed in my 2012 Toyota. As I’ve complained about before, Toyota has introduced a really terrible head unit with a slow and resistive screen. As much as I like to look stock in my car, almost everything proves superior to the built-in head unit with Toyota’s Entune interface.
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I used the same shop that installed the previous component to install the W8400NEX. Installation took a little longer than before, but all the big boxes were checked again: backup camera, steering wheel controls, etc. As before, there is a small microphone placed above the rear glass for Siri voice control. Not the cleanest installation, but it works.
I find that the performance of aftermarket heads depends on the installer. If you have a good installer, you’ll likely have a better working head when all is said and done. If you have a poor installer, there is a chance that the rest of the items will be damaged.
As before, and for complete transparency, Pioneer took care of the installation time, and paid for everything to be installed. They also allow me to keep the head installed in my car because of the time it takes to redo the whole process. With that in mind, I obviously have an advantage over random Joe in installing random installers. With Pioneer overseeing the process, installers are motivated to do their best work to ensure the device is installed correctly.
Admittedly, I’m a minimalist type, so the cheaper 1400NEX, which has no buttons and features, and no moving parts, really appealed to me. The W8400NEX, on the other hand, has tactile, RGB-customizable buttons on the chin area, and a motorized front design that can tilt, revealing a hidden CD/DVD player and SD Card slot.
File:toyota Camry Gen6 Trimpanels Removed Aftermarket Head Unit.jpeg
The W8400NEX is still a pretty decent headset – it has a larger 7-inch display with 800-by-480 resolution and good off-axis viewing angles – but the more advanced features seem the budget model. This makes sense, if the DVD drives and DVD drives cost extra, but the market for such needs is shrinking every year.
I was also hoping that the higher-end W8400NEX would provide higher performance, but that’s not the case. It features the same pixels as the budget model we reviewed last year, a rather paltry 800-by-480 resolution. I do not expect a clear iPad Pro-esque, but for $ 800, I feel that the resolution should be higher.
That said, high resolution is not necessary for a good CarPlay experience. The head is usually far from your eyes, and you look at it while you are driving.
The star of the show, when it comes to this handset, is wireless Apple CarPlay. Wireless CarPlay is the reason why iPhone users are interested in this head unit in the first place. Does it live up to expectations?
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Installing wireless CarPlay couldn’t be easier. Communication is initiated by a simple long press of the volume control button on the steering wheel. After doing this, you will see a prompt on the head asking you to connect to Bluetooth.
Simply click on the server name using the iOS Bluetooth settings and the pairing process will begin. When paired, you’ll be asked to enable CarPlay on your iPhone. Typically, the entire wireless pairing process takes about 30 seconds, and once your device is paired, it stays that way until you disconnect it.
In Pioneer’s budget model unit, I had to connect my iPhone with a USB to Lightning cable every time I wanted to use CarPlay. Although there are advantages to this, since it will charge your phone at the same time, it is a bit annoying, and it means having cables scattered around the house at all times.
With the Wireless CarPlay-enabled W8400NEX, your iPhone connects seconds after you start your car, for a seamless experience. This means that I can enjoy online everything that CarPlay has to offer – Apple Music, Maps, Phone, Messages, Mail, Books, etc., along with third-party applications that support CarPlay – without thinking of that.
Rav4 Hybrid 9
Since our last launch with CarPlay, we’ve opened it up to third-party Maps services like Waze and Google Maps, making CarPlay even more useful for users who rely on the service. as such.
My Toyota’s speakers don’t provide the best environment to judge the sound, but the sound quality, at least to my ears, sounded just as good as the wired CarPlay headset I used last summer.
Keep in mind that the CarPlay interface is more or less a container where everything flows from the connected iPhone. So, it doesn’t matter if I’m talking about the most powerful iPhone that Apple has to offer right now, the iPhone XS Max.
For families with Android users in the same household, you’ll love the fact that Android Auto, Google’s competitor to CarPlay, is also built in. This will make it a popular leader in households with different tastes in phones.
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Unlike my Toyota head unit, Pioneer’s aftermarket offering comes with a capacitive touch screen, meaning you don’t have to press down on the screen to register your touch. Instead, the responsiveness is similar to the iPhone interface, although not as responsive as an iOS device.
All CarPlay functions can be performed via capacitive touch, and this includes navigating between apps, selecting within apps, and calling Siri. Just keep in mind that CarPlay isn’t multi-touch compatible, so that means no functions like pinch-to-zoom within the Maps app, etc.
One of my biggest gripes with the previous CarPlay units we reviewed was the lack of tactile buttons for audio controls. This budget CarPlay unit featured dedicated volume buttons, but they were capacitive buttons and lacked tactile feedback.
While I like the clean look the capacitive buttons offer, the tactile volume controls located in the lower left corner of the W8400NEX are safer for the driver, as there is very little chance of temptation to take your eyes off the road. when trying to adjust the volume.
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For those who simply want to use CarPlay while driving, the W8400NEX is a bit pricey compared to entry-level offerings, and has some unnecessary extras for people who just want the basics. Features such as a motorized front panel, DVD player, and SD card reader add to the price of the device.
However, if you must connect to Wireless CarPlay, and after using this unit I think it should be, the W8400NEX is a good choice. The wireless CarPlay connection was easy to set up, and there was no problem. It’s such a good experience that I don’t like the idea of having to go back to a wired CarPlay unit.
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Jeff produces videos, tours, recipes, written tutorials and reviews. He prides himself on being able to explain things simply, clearly and concisely. I admit that this event was inspired by Dinu2506’s remodel of a beautiful red Audi A4. I have a 2015 Audi Q5 and have been looking for a good upgrade option for the same reason. I test drove the 2021 Q5 and found that only the infotainment system, based on 10 “floating” screens, is different from the 2015 Q5 (and the diesel engine). The floating screen looks a bit aftermarket. But there was quality made and so it fits well. That made me salivate. One of the main reasons that held me back in the past was my desire not to compromise on the ‘feel’ of the original quality. The new model made me think hard. One of my friends got an aftermarket screen installed in his Toyota Fortuner and it seems OK. But I was still a bit skeptical about the quality. The finish and specs of the screen I have seen have not been impressive. That is until I found this Chinese site selling complete head unit upgrades for the most popular cars