Unlike smartphones, cars tend to have refresh rates a bit long than a year or two. Ideally, a good car lasts a good couple of decades or more, and if you’re still perfectly happy with what you’re driving, you have to deal with missing out on the early days of the smart car. Fortunately, there are Aftermarket car gadgets, and while in some cases that simply means getting a smartphone mount, there are other companies making small smart car receivers with displays that can run Android Auto or CarPlay. Pioneer and Alpine have made some, and now they’re being joined by Sony.
The XAV-AX100 is an aftermarket receiver that works with both Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto, both of which are smart, car-safe interfaces that make use of a connected smartphone. This receiver has a 6.4″ 800 x 480 touch display with a column of physical controls for track skipping, volume, and home running down the left side. The resolution is much lower than what we’re used to seeing, but considering that smart car interfaces like CarPlay and Android Auto are only supposed to be used to control music, look at maps, look up contacts, or view car stats, the dramatic step down in display quality could be worth it for how much it lowers the price.
Sony is also saying the XAV-AX100 will be great for audio. It’ll support your car’s existing speakers with a 55-watt x 4 Dynamic Reality Amp 2 and circuitry that should get the most bass performance out of your car’s woofers. It also comes with a 10-band equalizer you can play around with to get music sounding just the way you want it to sound. If you’re looking to go aftermarket for your car’s audio system, too, the XAV-AX100 can be connected to external amps and speakers. Sony’s Dynamic Stage Organizer technology plays around with sound reproduction to create a virtual mini-soundstage on the dash, rounding out a nice set of audio features.
Sony is actually ahead on price, for a change. The XAV-AX100 will retail for $500 when it becomes available in November, making it much cheaper than the CarPlay-compatible aftermarket receivers from Alpine and Pioneer. With the low-res screen and the extra cost, many will still understandably just get an in-car smartphone mount, but these receivers are ultimately a safer choice, and, while expensive, might not be a bad buy for concerned parents of teens driving hand-me-down cars.
This story was originally published at Sony Introduces an Aftermarket Smart Car Receiver That Works With Apple CarPlay and Android Auto