There aren’t going to be too many people that describe the new Alpine ILX F309 digital media receiver as “subtle”.
Essentially an iPad popping out of your dashboard (and installing via Single DIN mounting systems) this 9-inch capacitive touchscreen device is loaded with top-tier hardware that you’d expect from the folks at Alpine.
The screen kind of “floats” above your dashboard in a way that is very modern and appealing, though it does bring about a couple of issues that will highlight in just a moment. All in all, the Alpine ILX F309 is a very fancy piece of automotive entertainment equipment that has people understandably excited.
Immediately upon opening the Alpine ILX F309 box you’re going to be presented with your first look at the 9-inch capacitive touchscreen monitor itself.
The screen is sleek, slick, and drop dead gorgeous when it has been fired up. The capacitive screen means that all of your taps and swipes are going to be immediately recognized as well. Navigating the Alpine ILX F309 feels a lot like using your iPad or Android tablet.
The underlying technology powering this digital media receiver is built into a Single DIN unit that can be installed into practically any dashboard. The screen is connected to the mounting system with articulating connections that let you move and manipulate the screen after it’s been installed for optimum viewing angles and utility.
A specialty made wiring harness is included to streamline installation but there’s also secondary harnesses for Data Link, camera, AUX, SWC, and microphone harnesses included as well. Pre-amplified “out” harnesses are thrown into the mix to help you really extend the functionality of the Alpine ILX F309.
A 5-foot USB extension cable lets you use the rear USB input as a dedicated USB input for your mobile devices without taking up the front facing USB port. A GPS antenna is attached to an 8 foot cable with a proprietary connection that gives you instant navigation capabilities as well.
Like most modern digital media receivers on the market today the Alpine ILX F309 includes an external microphone attached to 12.5 feet of cable. You can move your microphone throughout the cabin to pick up high quality sound for phone calls and voice commands without feeling like you’re limited in its positioning.
A visor clip, HDMI connector clamp, mounting hardware, double-sided tape, trim package, rear covers, and quick reference guides and installation manuals fill out the rest of the ILX F309 box.
Every single Alpine ILX F309 review begins by highlighting the gorgeous 9 inch touchscreen and this one will as well.
While the screen isn’t quite as razor-sharp as the retina displays from the folks at Apple it isn’t that far behind in quality or resolution. This is truly a stunning looking touchscreen with full capacitive navigation technology built right in. Each individual tap and swipe is going to be registered immediately with a high degree of accuracy.
The articulation points allow you to move the screen around without having to worry about it bouncing all over the place as you go down the road. This lets you angle the screen towards you when you are driving along but also put it back into a more universal viewing position when you have passengers that want a look at the screen as well.
From a car stereo improvement standpoint the ILX F309 is swimming in features. Alpine has taken things to the next level with the sheer amount of options you’ll be able to sift through that dramatically improve the audio experience inside of your vehicle. From proprietary software that improves the sound quality of your stock speakers to implementing streaming capabilities over USB and Bluetooth, Sirius XM capabilities, and so much more there’s a lot to like about what the ILX F309 has “under the hood”.
The implementation of iDataLink Maestro technology lets you maintain a lot of the from the factory stereo functions of your vehicle while improving them at the same time. The fact that you even get extra cable management systems (complete with HDMI input) takes this to the next level.
The Alpine ILX F309 plays nicely with both Android and Apple devices. This is something we will cover little more in depth in just a moment but the Carplay and Android Auto functionalities are tightly integrated.
Immediately upon connecting your Apple or Android device the Alpine ILX F309 system will not only detect which operating system your mobile devices running but will instantly load either Carplay or Android Auto for you.
This gives you a lot more control over your mobile device via the ILX F309 interface, but it also allows you to take advantage of voice control and command capabilities that wouldn’t have been as easy to use with the ILX F309 system itself.
You’ll get to take advantage of more apps that you are comfortable with on the 9 inch touchscreen that essentially blows up your mobile device and allows it to be utilized through the built-in monitor.
Best of all, the Alpine ILX F309 allows for the use of Carplay and Android Auto over USB hardwired connections or Bluetooth wireless connections. This isn’t a feature you’ll find in every system but it’s nice to see on full display here.
You aren’t going to be able to pop the 9 inch touchscreen off of the ILX F309 the way you might have been able to with removable faceplate automotive media receivers in the past. This screen is very much hard mounted into the bracket system itself.
While these features are nice the Alpine user interface itself is a dream to use. You definitely don’t have to use those Apple and Android systems if you aren’t interested. Some people would argue that you aren’t missing much using the Alpine system alone.
Absolutely. You’ll be able to stream media to the Alpine screen via your mobile device over Bluetooth connections, but you can also connect via USB (your phone, your tablet, or a USB flash drive loaded with movies and TV shows) to watch content that way as well.
Alpine really went all out when designing the new ILX F309 flagship option.
This is one of the most impressive digital media receivers on the market today. It’s feature-rich, loaded with new technology, and has a very attractive 9 inch touchscreen leading the charge. The Single DIN installation system is a nice format as well. It allows for more vehicles to utilize this Alpine set up than those with Double DIN availabilities only.
At the end of the day, if you want the latest and greatest automotive entertainment technology installed in your vehicle the Alpine ILX F309 deserves serious consideration.