- Google may be making a big push into cars with Android Auto, but not everyone wants or needs a brand new car. Thankfully there are plenty of ways to bring at least parts of your Android experience into your car, including 3rd party Android Auto in-dash units, newer smartphone-compatible in-dash units, and cables for connecting your phone to your stereo. Even convenient mounts and chargers can make a huge difference. With this in mind, here is a roundup of some of the best Android-related car accessories!
Android Auto head units
If you really want Android Auto but aren’t looking to buy a new car in the near future, you do have plenty of car accessories options when it comes installing after market Android Auto in-dash head units, starting with Pioneer and their NEX line of infotainment systems. These systems come with Android Auto compatibility, letting you plug your smartphone into the device to enjoy the full Android Auto experience, while also being compatible with Apple CarPlay.
Recently, Pioneer launched two new NEX head units that in addition to wired support also include support for wireless connections with Android Auto. The bad news: Only a few phones, like Google’s Nexus or Pixel devices, currently support wireless connections for these Android Auto third-party units. The good news: More phones will support this feature soon, including all of them that are released with the newly launched Android 9.0 Pie operating system
The most expensive of the two head units is the Pioneer AVIC-W8400NEX, which costs $1,100 and includes a 7-inch capacitive multipoint touchscreen. The AVH-W4400NEX also has a 7-inch touchscreen, but costs a bit less at $637, thanks to the fact that it has a more primitive resistive display.
Kenwood is about the only competition Pioneer really has in this area. The company also has several Android Auto head units options in this category, and like Pioneer, Kenwood has recently launched new models that support wireless Android Auto connections for the few phones that support it now and in the future. Of course, all of these new systems are compatible with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. You can get these new units with either 6.75-inch screens or with a slightly larger 6.95-inch display. Prices range from around $650 to nearly $1,300.
Smartphone-compatible automobile in-dash units
Looking for a new in-dash unit that integrates with your Android device, without paying top dollar? While it’s not Android Auto by any means, the Pioneer DEH-X4800BT Single-DIN In-Dash CD Receiver features Pioneer’s MIXTRAX technology, built-in Bluetooth for hands-free calling and audio streaming, USB direct control of an iPod or iPhone, USB access to music on Android devices running Android 4.0 or later, and Pandora radio ready for both iPhone and Android.
In addition to an updated cosmetic design, these new model CD receivers include updated feature enhancements like Bluetooth USB pairing. The Pioneer DEH-X4800BT is available on Amazon, priced at $83.99.
If you want to get an in-dash car unit from Pioneer with a few more features, the AVH-200EX may be to your liking. It also connects to Android smartphones via Bluetooth for hands-free calling and streaming of music, but it also has a 6.2-inch resistive touch screen for a more direct control of music playback and more. It also supports video playback from USB and DVD sources, along with the ability to add a backup camera. It’s available on Amazon for $195.
BOSS Audio V9986BI
The BOSS Audio in-dash unit comes with a motorized 7-inch widescreen touchscreen digital TFT monitor that slides out and up from inside the unit with a high quality 800 x 400 pixel resolution. The device offers built-in Bluetooth support for hands-free calling and audio streaming, as well as USB and Aux support, along with DVD playback.
A remote is available to control the system, and depending on your vehicle type, is also compatible with the controls available on your steering wheel. The BOSS Audio BV9986BI is available on Amazon, priced at $149.99.
Pyle PLDNB78i Headunit receiver
The Pyle Headunit receiver comes with a motorized fold down 7-inch HD touchscreen, and offers built-in Bluetooth support for hands-free calling and audio streaming. There is also an integrated GPS navigation system with features such as text-to-speech and turn-by-turn voice prompts, as well as a CD/DVD player.
Apart from Aux support, the device also comes with a built-in SD card reader, giving you an additional media storage option. The Pyle PLDN78i can be found an Amazon for $188.07.
Easy solutions for phone audio playback
Etekcity Roverbeats Unify
The Roverbeats Unify wireless receiver by Etekcity connects to any powered speakers or even your A/V receiver with a 3.5mm to 3.5mm or 3.5mm to 2RCA audio cable. Enabling Bluetooth capabilities in traditional speakers, the Roverbeats Unify allows users to stream music directly from Bluetooth devices to their favorite speaker.
Any Bluetooth device, including tablets, smartphones, and computers, can play and control music on a sound system. Setting up a connection is very easy, and from then on, re-pairing is automatic and hassle-free. For phones with NFC, holding it to the Multi-Functional Button also allows for an instant connection. This device is available on Amazon, priced at just $19.99.
iXCC auxiliary cable
The iXCC auxiliary cable is a sturdy 3.5 mm Aux stereo cable wire that is ideal and convenient for connecting portable audio devices, smartphones, tablets, and MP3 players, to a car stereo (with AUX port), portable speaker system or other 3.5mm-compatible output devices. Built with dual-shielding, high-quality polished metal connectors, and corrosion-resistant gold-plated 3.5mm connectors, the plugs are durable enough to withstand heavy usage.
The design prevents tangling, which makes it easy to store without worrying about knots or kinks. Available lengths include 3 feet, 6 feet, and 10 feet, and can be found on Amazon, starting at $4.99.
GoGroove FlexSmart X2 FM transmitter
If you don’t have an aux-in port on your car’s stereo, the GoGroove FlexSmart X2 FM transmitter is the way to go for listening to your smartphone’s tracks on your standard car stereo. In fact, you can pair up to two smartphones, via Bluetooth, with the GoGroove. You can listen to your music on your stereo, via the FM transmitter, while taking hands-free calls at the same time. It also can charge up your phone with its USB port. It’s available on Amazon for $30.
RCA car cassette adapter
Just because your car is getting up there in age, doesn’t mean you can’t easily hook up your phone for listening to your favorite tunes. As the name suggest, the RCA car cassette adapter lets you play audio from any mobile device or portable audio player with a 3.5 mm headphone jack using the convenience of the cassette deck in your older car. All you need to do is plug the device into the cassette deck to enjoy your music. The RCA car cassette adapter is available on Amazon $7.18.
Mountek nGroove CD slot mount
If you’re looking for a reliable high-quality mount and have a CD slot in your vehicle, the Mountek nGroove Mount is a great choice. This mount installs directly into the CD player slot, and doesn’t use any suction cups, clips, screws, and is therefore very easy to install, and is perfectly calibrated to snugly fit without damaging your vehicle.
It firmly mounts most current smartphones, but it always a good idea to check for size compatibility, especially if you use a large device like the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. The holder can also be rotated to any angle, depending on your convenience. The Mountek nGroove CD slot mount is available on Amazon, priced at $24.41.
The Kenu Airframe is an ultra-portable car mount that weighs under an ounce and is small enough to fit in your pocket. The device fits into the vents in your car, and the clip can be rotated to securely fit onto any vent, be it horizontal, vertical, or angled.
Given its rather small frame, the only limitation with the Kenu Airframe is that it can accommodate smartphones with a display size up to 5-inches, and you will have to check for compatibility with your smartphone first. The Kenu Airframe is available on Amazon for $24.95.
iOtte Wireless Phone Car Mount
If you want to do more than just mount your smartphone on your’s car’s dashboard, and your phone also has support for Qi-based wireless charging, then this iOtte Car Mount is for you. Not only can you charge up any Qi-based phone with its wireless charging mount, (when its plugged into the car’s standard charging port) but it also supports Qi Wireless Fast Charging which is 40 percent faster for phones that support it including the Samsung Galaxy S8, S9, Note 8 and the new N0te 9. In addition, you can charge an additional smartphone or tablet at the same time with this mount with its extra USB port, which is available on the actual charging connection.
The mount connects to a semi-permanent dashboard disc, and it also includes a telescopic arm that allows for the phone to be extended up to 8.3 inches from the disc. The mount can also pivot up to 225 degress. It’s available on Amazon for $50.
Best Bluetooth speaker systems
The Jabra Drive is a wireless bluetooth speakerphone that is one of the car accessories that can be clipped on to the sun visor. No setup is required, and it is very easy to operate. Voice guidance talks you through as you pair it up with your mobile for the first time, and after that, it will connect automatically whenever you get into the car, and is a great way for hands-free calling.
The device also features A2DP technology, which allows you to stream music from a smartphone or Bluetooth-enabled MP3 player, listen to directions from your GPS applications, and more. The Jabra Drive is available for $36.99 on Amazon, making it a great car accessory that can take your car tech to the next level.
Belkin AirCast Auto
The Belkin AirCast Auto lets you easily connect your smartphone to your car stereo without the need for any professional installation. All you have to do is simply plug the device into the aux port of your car and use Bluetooth to pair it with your smartphone or tablet. A convenient light ring makes it visible at all hours and blinks when calls come in.
The power adapter comes with an USB port that lets you charge your smartphone while you drive. After an initial pairing process, just push the AirCast Auto button to reconnect, even if your smartphone is in your pocket or a bag.
With built-in echo cancellation technology specifically designed for in-car use, this device ensures that you get optimal sound during calls. The Belkin AirCast Auto is priced at $44.86 on Amazon.
RAVPower car charger
This RAVPower product is a hand car charger with two ports, both of which are designed to support 2.4A charging. The company claims this is the smallest metal car charger in the world, which means it shouldn’t take up much space. Best of all, this car charger is very cheap at the moment, as Amazon is selling it for just $8.49.
BESTEK 400W Power Inverter
This 400W device comes with dual AC outlets and four USB charging ports that should cover all your charging needs while on the road. It allows for a maximum of 5 amps when charging mobile devices using the USB charging ports, and can charge four devices simultaneously. The Bestek charger is available on Amazon for $35.
Any other car accessories you recommend for making the most out of your Android device while in your automobile? Let us know your favorite car accessories in the comments!