You’re 17, you’ve just passed your driving test and you’ve got the keys in your hands for your first car. There is a desperate need to drive with freedom and to be able to play your music as loud as you want.
Moreover, if you just want to bring your car up to the modern age with the use of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, giving you a sat-nav without having to buy another device and access to your Spotify account.
There’s a whole new world of audio tech out there to help you enjoy the driving of your car, we take a look at some of the best.
You’ll see the abbreviation DIN in your search for a new stereo, this refers to the stereo’s chassis, as car stereos come in two standard sizes. Single DIN refers to stereos that are two inches tall and seven inches wide. Double DIN refers to stereos that are four inches tall and seven inches wide. Your car may be able to accept both sizes but you can’t tell just by looking at the front of the vehicle.
Double DINs are double the size so generally speaking they have more room for controls and are easier to use.
At a snip under £100, the Alpine Electronics (single-DIN) is made for iPhones – connect via your charging cable, as they’re not included in the purchase, you can play Apple Music (subscription required) or, buy using the Bluetooth (UTE-100BT) Connectivity, you can stream music and make calls.
Connecting your Android device via a USB cable is also possible. You can also tune your sound with 10 different pre-sets or three-band Parametric EQ functions and configure the colour scheme on the head unit to match the illumination of your dash or the colour scheme of your choice.
Pioneer has been on the big wall of Halfords' car stereos since inception. We’re not sure if they pioneered the idea, but it’s possible. This stereo, with its built-in smartphone cradle, will bring any car into the modern era.
Having your phone in such a way gives you one-touch access to applications (with the help of the Pioneer Smart Sync app), voice recognition, FM Radio, Bluetooth connectivity and the ability to hardwire your phone in with your USB cable.
If the touchscreen is something you long for in your motor then there are few better. You get a 6.2-inch touchscreen that has voice control with Apple CarPlay, Rearview camera ready and a quick wake up time.
While this stereo has enough space saving Single DIN rear chassis, make sure there is enough space for the touch screen underneath your stereo as the screen is bigger than the chassis itself.
The big spenders stereo upgrade – a 6.95-inch Bezel-less Flush Surface Display with Capacitive Touch Screen.
What that means is you get a bigger screen size without increasing the overall size of the device (Bezel-less) and that you’re able to control the device with a touchscreen, which uses a thin layer of conductive material which is said to be more sensitive and accurate (Capacitive Touch Screen).
Also with a Single-DIN Chassis, this touch screen comes out above the Chassis, usually where your dash is. Dual USB Ports and HDMI connectivity really make this touch screen stereo more of a TV than a stereo but it does have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity where you can access music, maps, message and all else.
The ultimate budget buys, a quick and easy upgrade for £50. Designed for digital music with a USB and AUX input, meaning you're able to connect your iPhone/iPod and Android devices.
A white LCD screen with the buttons illuminated in red, the KDX-262 is also Steering wheel Remote Control ready with the purchase of a separate accessory.
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