It’s easy to get suckered into thinking that the Alpine ILX W650 is somehow not as technologically advanced or as impressive as bigger head units and receivers on the market today just because it’s so slim and so compact.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
It’s almost unbelievable how the engineers at Alpine were able to shoehorn so much impressive technology into this compact receiver. Combine that with a gorgeous user interface, super affordable price point, and some of the most impressive extensibility in the auto receiver world today and you’re looking at something really special here.
Sure, the unit will fill the space in a Double DIN installation, but it isn’t big, it isn’t bulky, and it definitely doesn’t feel clunky or confusing to use, either.
Let’s take a little deeper into everything that the new Alpine ILX W650 receiver has to offer.
Immediately upon opening the box of the Alpine ILX W650 you’ll be confronted with a sleek, compact 7 inch capacitive touchscreen and an almost unbelievably shallow head unit system.
The entire system measures just under 3 inches deep, leaving plenty of room for aftermarket and accessory wiring to add all kinds of components that flesh out the extensibility of this unit, too.
The digital media receiver itself is all self-contained and already attached to a prewired harness that runs off of the 15 A fuse system. On top of that, wiring has already been run for a camera harness and a pre-out system. This means there’s room for accessories and extras during your initial installation without having to go through a drawn out wiring set up.
42 inches of USB cord let you run and route this necessary input anywhere through your vehicle cabin. Most people choose to drop that USB cord directly beneath the digital receiver and have it come out somewhere near their cupholders, but if you wanted to run cable almost all the way to a backseat splitter you could do that, too.
An external microphone that’s attached directly to a 13 foot cable allows you to move and maneuver the hardware necessary for voice control and commands. You can position your microphone anywhere in the cabin you choose for clear audio pickup. This will help increase the clarity of your calls you handle through the car stereo system and improve the responsiveness of your voice controls.
Brackets (including a separate bracket for your microphone), screws, and a Quick Reference and Installation Guide round out the rest of the goodies you’ll find in the box when you get your new Alpine ILX W650 digital media receiver.
The 7 inch capacitive touchscreen is the brains of the operation when it comes to the Alpine ILX W650.
Not only is it gorgeous (particularly when playing video media) but it has next to no input lag whatsoever. This means you’ll be able to control your new digital media receiver on the go with the same kind of speed and responsiveness that you’d expect from your smartphone or your tablet. There’s no real delay going on behind the scenes.
The shallow mounting chassis design is a huge space saver. This allows you to run all bunch of different accessories to the receiver itself without cluttering the space behind the unit. If you’ve ever tried to attach backup cameras, GPS antennas, dashboard cameras, and other accessories to a traditionally mounted chassis you know things can get really tight and cable management becomes an impossibility.
That won’t ever be a problem with this unit.
Instead, you will have space galore for all of this extra wiring should you choose to go in that direction. But you’ll also have dramatically improved cable management and that means more airflow behind this system. Lower running temps allow your receiver to last longer, improving the reliability and durability of this Alpine unit thanks to its shallow design.
We’ll dig a little deeper into this key feature just a moment, but the ILX W650 includes full support for both Apple Car Play and Android Auto. This is a huge bonus for modern drivers that want their digital media receiver to work right away with their mobile device.
An almost unlimited amount of entertainment options are available through the Alpine system, too. You can play content directly from your smartphone or tablet through USB or Bluetooth connectivity, including video or audio media you have downloaded to your device or are streaming from applications like Spotify.
Tight integration with GPS navigation systems and Sirius XM are included right out of the box as well.
Immediately upon connecting your Apple or Android device (via USB or Bluetooth) the integration with Apple Car Play and Android Auto kicks in.
The UI of the Alpine ILX W650 changes depending on which mobile operating system you’re using, with large application buttons popping up. This basically turns your digital media receiver environment into a clone of your Apple or Android device.
On top of that, you’ll have full access to the voice commands and voice assistant features on your mobile device as well. Texts will pop up on your screen in an easy to read font, giving you the opportunity to respond with voice to text dictation capabilities as well.
You’ll be able to place phone calls, send emails, pick media to play and even start navigation without ever having to take your hands off the wheel thanks to this integration.
As long as you have a Double DIN space in your dashboard, you’ll be able to install the ILX W650 unit in your vehicle with no trouble at all. The built-in wiring harness streamlines this process quite a bit, too.
You don’t have to connect your phone or tablet via USB to play/stream music and media through the Alpine ILX W650. You can connect over Bluetooth 100% wirelessly if you like. The advantage with connecting through USB is that you can charge your phone at the same time, though.
You can play video content from your mobile device on the ILX W650, though you aren’t going to be able to play DVDs or Blu-ray discs. It’ll have to be digital media from your phone or tablet, though you can also plug-in a USB stick and play media from that source as well.
With so many quality digital media receiver options to pick and choose from on the market today finding the best choice for your money feels like and uphill battle.
If you’re willing to spend a little bit extra to get your hands on one of the very best media receivers on the planet today, one that’s really “future proof”, then the Alpine ILX W650 is something you’ll want to look closer into.
The touchscreen is easy and beautiful, the wiring and installation process is simple and straightforward, and the overall experience – and sound quality – you’ll get from the ILX W650 is right up there with the best of the best options money can buy.