Is This the Best Android Auto Car Stereo Money Can Buy?

Android Auto is now more in demand than ever. Developed by Google, the technology mirrors an Android smartphone’s functionality on a car’s dashboard. Android Auto compatibility allows drivers to keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel. Promoting safer driving in the process, over 500 new car models now support Android Auto. From Acura and Audi to Volkswagen and Volvo, more are being added all the time.
But what about makes and models without support for Android Auto? The good news is that a range of aftermarket options is available. Aftermarket Android Auto stereos allow car and truck owners across the board to enjoy all of the same benefits. Android Auto can also be added to older vehicles, including those that entirely predate the smartphone era!
Prices for basic Android Auto stereos start from as little as $200. However, those looking for a seamless experience will want to shell out on something more similar to the technology installed by automakers from the factory. Among the very best is reported to be Japanese audio equipment brand Kenwood’s flagship eXcelon Reference model.
Costing almost $1,600, does this make the Kenwood eXcelon Reference DNR1007XR the best Android Auto car stereo that money can buy? Let’s take a closer look.

Kenwood eXcelon Reference DNR1007XR

Kenwood’s eXcelon Reference DNR1007XR costs a somewhat eye-watering $1,599.99. That’s over six times the price of entry-level models from brands such as JVC and BOSS Audio. However, buyers are promised an Android Auto experience akin to that of the world’s most prestigious luxury vehicle brands.
Features of the eXcelon Reference DNR1007XR from Kenwood include a stunning 10.1-inch high-definition monitor with a capacitive touch panel and built-in Garmin navigation. There’s also built-in Bluetooth, HD radio, and Wi-Fi, plus a total of four high-definition front and rear camera inputs.
Android Auto connectivity is both completely wireless and instant. The DNR1007XR’s screen further boasts a floating panel mechanism, setting it well apart from cheaper Android Auto stereo models on the market.
As part of Kenwood’s growing eXcelon Reference Series of products, state-of-the-art materials are used throughout. Designed to meet the needs of even the most demanding music fans, Kenwood reportedly spends countless hours listening to and tuning these products.
All of this comes in a package that would look perfectly at home in any luxury vehicle.

Android Auto Benefits

Kenwood eXcelon Reference DNR1007XR buyers get access to all that Android Auto has to offer. Google Assistant on Android Auto helps with tasks from finding routes to playing music and checking the weather. Android Auto can also mirror a variety of third-party apps on a compatible display. In this instance, that’s the Kenwood eXcelon Reference DNR1007XR’s impressive 10.1-inch floating screen.
Other benefits of Android Auto include:
  • Hands-free calling and messaging
  • Voice-controlled access to music and podcasts
  • Options to hear the news and listen to audiobooks
  • Real-time alerts with Google Maps and Waze
  • Help with finding fuel, EV charging and parking
  • Access to personal calendars and schedules
  • Widescreen compatibility for larger displays
As of last month, Android Auto is now available in a total of 42 countries around the world. First unveiled in June 2014 and released a little less than a year later in March 2015, Android Auto provides many of the same benefits as CarPlay from Apple.
Kenwood’s eXcelon Reference DNR1007XR helpfully boasts support for both options, which is great news for Android smartphone users who also own an iPhone.

More Budget-Friendly Android Auto Stereos

Of course, not everyone is in a position to spend over $1,500 on a stereo such as Kenwood’s flagship eXcelon Reference device. Thankfully, many cheaper options are perfectly capable of serving up a five-star Android Auto experience.
By utilizing smaller screens and opting for cables instead of wireless connectivity, brands such as Pioneer can focus on delivering a product that’s more affordable. By omitting costly larger displays and suchlike, money instead goes solely into functionality and performance.
At under $300 at selected retailers, the Pioneer DMH-1500NEX comes particularly highly recommended in terms of a budget-friendly Android Auto stereo. Features include official Android Auto support via a wired USB connection, a fixed 6.95-inch touchscreen monitor, a built-in amplifier, and subwoofer control.
A separate microphone with a visor-mounted bracket also provides the best possible experience when using the stereo’s Android Auto functionality to make calls. As such, it’s far from lacking in what it offers and will set you back a whopping $1,300 less than Kenwood’s eXcelon Reference DNR1007XR.
Another popular Pioneer device, meanwhile, adds rear-view camera support and wireless connectivity in a broadly similar package. The $700 Pioneer AVH-W4500NEX is an ideal choice for those adamant about adding rear-view camera visibility to their vehicle alongside Android Auto support.

Kenwood eXcelon Reference DNR1007XR, Android Auto, and Other Considerations

The eXcelon Reference DNR1007XR from Kenwood clearly isn’t designed for mass appeal owing to its extremely high price tag. That said, what it promises is a guaranteed top-tier Android Auto experience. For the most part, though, the overall experience is just as good on cheaper devices. What’s crucial is to check for official Android Auto support.
Significantly cheaper aftermarket stereos hinting at Android Auto functionality may not actually employ the legitimate Google interface. Instead, they merely offer a way of connecting an Android smartphone via Bluetooth or other means. Accordingly, they’re unable to provide anything like the full Android Auto package.
If you’re shopping around for an Android Auto-equipped aftermarket stereo, particularly for under $300, be sure to keep this in mind. Whichever Android Auto stereo you choose, remember to also pick up a suitable car electronics extended warranty to protect your purchase.

Save up to 70% on Car Electronics Warranties With Upsie

At Upsie, customers can save up to 70% on the cost of industry-leading extended warranty coverage. The same is true whether an individual is purchasing a policy for a $1,600 Kenwood eXcelon Reference DNR1007XR or a sub-$300 alternative from any one of a number of other popular brands.
Upsie is also on hand to offer comprehensive coverage for:
Again, all plans cost around two-thirds cheaper than the competition.

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* This article is over 6 months old and may or may not be updated.