From tablets to smartphones, touch screens are here for good. They are the new battlefront in the war between analog and touch screen hardware is the car dashboard. The advent of new and exciting technology in the car audio and navigation industry is exciting. However, it may not be for some consumers as it’s no longer a simple radio with volume controls and tuning knobs. Now, consumers want touch screen radio controls that integrate with navigation, climate control, and cell phone calls.
Luckily, car audio manufacturers are answering the call. There are now dozens of options for car touch screen radios, including some that come standard on new cars. If you’re in the market for an aftermarket car radio, this article will guide you through the options. You’ll see new developments in intuitive car interfaces and audio controls all below.
Car Touch Screen Radio Options
Since the early 2010s, car designers and reviewers have complained about the way car interiors look and function. A 2012 PC World article lamented the state of dashboard interfaces for drivers. No new innovation had entered the space since the original car radios with buttons and knobs. Car exterior design and interior lines have all modernized. However, the dashboards in our cars don’t look much different from the way they did in the 1990s.
Recently, that trend has started to change. Car designers are looking for ways to modernize and upgrade interiors to give a luxury feel. Even mass market car manufacturers are getting in on the dashboard redesign shuffle with new interfaces. The biggest frontier for these changes is touchscreens and glass. The Telegraph reports that car designers are turning to glass as the next big thing in car interior design, creating intuitive, touchable interfaces for all the controls inside your car.
This will most noticeably affect our car radios increasingly becoming car entertainment systems. With the integration of streaming services, bluetooth phone connections, and turn-by-turn directions. On new models, these items are being incorporated. However, increasingly consumers are choosing to install aftermarket touch screen interfaces on their existing cars for efficiency, safety, and entertainment.
The Top Touch Screen Car Radios
If you’re considering upgrading your current car stereo interface, consider this– Make sure your car has enough space in the dashboard to accommodate a touch screen. These smart audio systems require a large amount of surface area on the dashboard. They extend deep into your car’s electronics bay behind the dash.
Your best option, if you’re considering an upgrade, is to get a consultation from a local expert in car audio systems. This will let you know if the touch screen radio and its head unit will fit inside your car. It’s also probably wise to let a professional do the installation. Since the wiring behind these systems can be difficult to implement. For the brave DIY-or-die souls out there, there are tutorials and guides for sizing, wiring, and installing a new car stereo.
1. Pioneer Touch Screen Radio
PIoneer has been making car radios and audio equipment for a long time, and they’ve established a trusted brand. They offer a couple options for touch screen radios. This an aftermarket version of Apple CarPlay, Apple’s system for integrating your iPhone with your car, called the AppRadio 4. AppRadio 4 also supports Android phones.
2. Sony Car Stereo
Sony is another one of the most trusted names in electronics, with a long history of in-home and in-vehicle devices. Their 6.4” Media Receiver includes Apple or Android compatibility and offers a sleeker design than the Pioneer aftermarket kit. Sony also offers other media receivers in various sizes to fit your car’s dimensions.
3. Crutchfield Audio Aftermarket Stereo
Crutchfield Audio specializes in car radio equipment. Their touch screen options are excellent competitors with sleek, easy-to-read design. They have a big variety of touch screen devices to choose from, This makes them one of the most versatile brands on the market.
Shopping Best Buy’s Car Radios
There are tons of options when it comes to picking a touch screen car radio. The ones listed below are some of the most popular. But it is wise to shop around to find a system that meets your needs. Big box stores like Best Buy let you compare different brands side-by-side. Many Best Buy locations can also help with the installation of the new system.
Bluetooth Car Radio Compatibility
One of the most important considerations for your new touch screen radio is Bluetooth compatibility. In order for your cell phone and other wireless devices to integrate with your car’s entertainment system, you’ll need that entertainment system to support Bluetooth. It’s the most widely-supported protocol for wireless communications, outside of wifi, and Bluetooth is only growing in importance as new smart devices continue to get developed.