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Thread: Headunit of choice

  1. #1
    Registered Member

    Mazda 5

    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    6

    Headunit of choice

    Hello all,

    I am putting a HU and 4ch amp in and have a few questions.

    1. Do different HU provide different sound when using the channel outputs and an external amp?

    2. Is carplay that good that I would regret not having it?

    3. I saw this chinese one and see that it has android 5.1 on it. Will that play very nice with the iphone? I'm not an iphone for life kind of guy so it may change in the future. Also, what are the odds google's play music will ever work on carplay?

    4. this one looks bomb and says it is for 2013. did the wiring harness or steering wheel control change in those years?

    5. this one looks to be the most recent version. all of them are "8005" but they have different letters in the model name.

    I guess I'm strongly leaning on #5 because it says it supports 64gb external memory whereas the others are 32.

  2. #2
    Registered Member


    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brooklyn, NY
    Posts
    41
    Looks like we're in the same boat. Have you actually tried Apple CarPlay? I spent a lot of time researching Pioneer and Kenwood units with CarPlay and I'm just not convinced yet. I like the idea of using your phone as the brain for the head unit (it probably has better circuitry than any of these radios), but you're limited by what is CarPlay-compatible. I'm a Waze user, and that's not currently supported. I doubt they support Google Play music either.

    Also, I just don't like how they will look in the dash, with all that blank plastic on each side. Finally, if I want a nice glass, capacitive touchscreen, only the top models offer that - for about $500 more that the basic model.

    At this moment, I am also leaning toward one of these Android units. They all have real buttons and knobs for a better, factory-like look, and better functionality than touchscreen-only. They also have more features, like wifi and 3g/4g mobile data, TV module, etc. I like that you can use a bluetooth OBDII connector and see full car diagnostics on the Torque app.

    Another thing - I've read here that simply replacing the factory head unit will improve the audio quality, even without an amp or new speakers - the OEM radio is just that bad.

    So, I think your #5 should be a good choice. Once I nail down some rear headrest monitors and some other goodies, I'll be installing one of these head units.

  3. #3
    Registered Member

    Mazda 5

    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    6
    I actually went ahead and ordered one. There's a newer model for $440 that has Android 6 and an octacore processor. I will post when I get it and install it

  4. #4
    Registered Member

    none

    Join Date
    Jun 2016
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    va
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    23
    subscribed. Looking forward to updates from you!

  5. #5
    Registered Member

    Mazda 5

    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    6
    So I did receive it. First thoughts...it looks amazing. Has lots of options.

    Then I started using it and things went downhill. The screen is relatively reflective so houses and trees and what not are going to be seen when you are driving. Got pretty annoying pretty quickly. Not a deal breaker. Screen would not automatically turn off, I always had to press an icon. Even after a simple volume change, I would have to tap an icon to turn the screen off. Getting annoyed now.

    Bluetooth functionality was miserable. Sound quality was that of a sketchy AM channel and was totally infuriating. Phone USB connections were for pictures or video and not music. Don't know if that was my error but I tried as best I could to no avail. Would only work with flash drive (and I stream my music). Deal breaker.

    Luckily the seller I got it from on Ali Express accepted the return...because of paypal's agreement. Shipping to china...$80.

    Do yourself a favor and get a more popular brand that is sold in the US.

  6. #6
    Registered Member

    2009 Mazda5 Sport

    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    25
    Ugh, sorry that didn't work out for you. I think I've decided to go with a mass market radio myself, when budget allows.

  7. #7
    Registered Member


    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brooklyn, NY
    Posts
    41
    Thanks for being a guinea pig, juniorsenior. Would you mind sharing a link to the device you tried? I had high hopes for these - they just look so much better in the car. I wish there was a way to install buttons and knobs in the trim for a Kenwood or Pioneer.

    With regards to your specific problems, I had the notion that Android allows you to make fine adjustments, like auto-off for the screen. I'm not so familiar with Android, but the ability to tinker with settings is what the Android guys always mention when they make fun of my iPhone. This was my reason #2 to consider these head units. I'm guessing the auto-related functions are controlled by an app, rather than the core OS, who knows...

    Your issue with the USB connection reminds me of my other car, a Dodge Caravan. The USB port on the faceplate is to copy audio files or photos to the hard drive - it is not for streaming. The USB in the glove compartment is labeled for iPod, and works for audio streaming with a phone. I've seen some of these head units with separate ports in the rear for "USB" and "iPod".

    Anyway, scratchy sound quality is something you can't fix in the settings. It's a bummer it didn't work out for you, but thanks for sharing your experience. I'll keep waiting for a head unit that actually does what I want...

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