It’s really hard not to fall head over heels in love with the new Pioneer AVH 210EX at first glance, particularly when you see just how beautiful, how vibrant, and how crystal-clear the nearly 7 inch WVGA touchscreen on this digital media receiver is.
Whereas a lot of modern digital media receivers have so-so touchscreens when it comes to range of color, accuracy, and overall resolution and fidelity the Pioneer looks and feels like a modern-day tablet (and a high-end one at that).
Combine that with the underlying technology that the folks at Pioneer have shoehorned into this relatively compact unit and it immediately becomes apparent why this option is so popular.
Featuring wireless and wired connections for your smartphone and tablet devices on the go, as well as top-tier integration with Android Auto and Apple Carplay, there are a lot of bells and whistles under the hood of this system that make it such a fantastic purchase.
Sure, there are a couple of nitpick issues that we highlight below (but none of them deal breakers) just like any other digital media receiver. But all in all this is a rock solid unit that will act as the brains of the operation for your entire automotive entertainment system.
Let’s take a little deeper into everything that the new Pioneer AVH 210EX brings to the table.
The biggest piece of hardware in the Pioneer AVH 210EX box is the combination digital media receiver/DVD player/nearly 7 inch resistive touchscreen module.
All of these pieces of hardware are fused together in a Double DIN configuration, though the touchscreen can be detached from the mounting system itself for safe storage while your vehicle is parked and left unattended.
On top of that, the dedicated wiring harness is included inside of the box to help you with the installation process. Pioneer digital media receivers in general are pretty easy to install, but the inclusion of this harness makes things go a little smoother all the same.
You’ll even get AV and pre-out harness accessories included with this setup that let you choose when and how you want to extend the capabilities of the AVH 210EX later down the line.
A remote control designed specifically for the AVH 210EX unit is included, too (with a lithium-ion battery already installed). This allows passengers in the backseat to control the digital media receiver without having to lean forward, making for a much more convenient set up on the move.
Recognizing that not every modern vehicle comes with a GPS antenna or navigation system on board the folks at Pioneer have included a dedicated antenna for GPS signals with an 11.5 foot long cable as well. This means you’ll be able to get dedicated navigation for your Pioneer unit straightaway without having to use the navigational components on your phone whenever you need mapping.
The 58 inch USB extension cable is designed to plug directly into the rear USB input while having plenty of room to fish the wire out into the cabin of your vehicle for easy use and utility. That’s plenty of extra room to run the wire almost anywhere in the front of your vehicle, helping you to tuck your cell phone or tablet away when it is plugged in without having to take up the front facing USB port.
An external microphone with a mounting bracket has been attached to 13 feet of cable. You can use the extra cable length to situate your microphone perfectly to pick up crystal-clear audio from the driver seat without ever feeling in the way or obtrusive. This is a big benefit for those that want voice control over their Pioneer system as well as over their mobile devices.
The rest of the boxes filled with mounting hardware, double-sided tape, self-adhesive components, a trim ring, sticker labels, instructional manuals, online product registration sheets, and a host of other pieces of paperwork and information to help you make the most of everything the AVH 210EX has to offer.
The engineers at Pioneer set out to create a digital media receiver that interfaces directly with mobile devices over wired or Wi-Fi connectivity. That’s what makes the AVH 210EX model so special and is certainly one of its key features.
Not only can you connect your Android or iOS device via USB but you can also use the Bluetooth 4.0 connection or the built-in Wi-Fi connection to enjoy rock solid and stable connectivity throughout your digital media system.
On top of that, you can use Apple Carplay and Android Auto over these wireless protocols – something that not every digital media receiver on the market today makes possible.
The nearly 7 inch diagonal touchscreen on the Pioneer AVH 210EX is a pretty special feature, too. This screen takes advantage of next generation WVGA screen technology as well as resistive touch capabilities. This means that your screen is going to look fantastic in any lighting condition, with real color accuracy and vibrancy, but it’s also going to have a high degree of responsiveness when you’re tapping in controls.
Two separate inputs are available in the back of the AVH 210EX module to accommodate rearview cameras as well as front facing cameras. This is a bit of a rarity in the digital media receiver world as well, as most options only include a single input for reverse cameras, but it is a nice little addition. You’ll have better visibility with your vehicle thanks to this approach to camera technology.
Of course, high definition radio components are built right into the Pioneer AVH 210EX as well. You’ll be able to pick up clearer digital audio signals over terrestrial radio, but you’ll also have the opportunity to pick up traditional terrestrial radio on both FM and AM channels if they are the only thing available.
Sirius XM satellite radio capabilities are built right in, too. You’ll have to pick up a Sirius XM connect vehicle tuner and a Sirius XM subscription to make the most of these capabilities but other than that the system is ready to go pretty much right out of the box.
On top of all that, you get iDataLink Maestro connectivity. This lets you use any OEM steering wheel controls for your entertainment system that might already exists in your vehicle with most manufacturers. This is a huge benefit, though for some manufacturers you’ll have to purchase a secondary accessory to make the steering wheel controls work the way you want them to.
Both the Apple and Android mobile operating systems are supported with the Pioneer AVH 210EX, and both of them work “right out of the box” the moment that you connect your device to this digital media receiver.
Best of all, not only are you going to be able to have total control over your smart phone or your tablet when you connect via USB but you’re also going to be able to use Apple Carplay and Android Auto when you are connected over Bluetooth or the integrated 5 GHz Wi-Fi network.
This allows for rock solid and high-speed connections between the AVH 210EX digital media receiver and your mobile device. It also turns the Pioneer AVH 210EX into basically an oversized tablet hard mounted into your dashboard, giving you total access to your phone’s controls, capabilities, and mobile applications while on the go – combined with voice commands as well.
The Pioneer interface on its own is pretty slick but the receiver becomes really special when using it in Apple Carplay or Android Auto mode.
Wi-Fi screen mirroring capabilities are built right into the Pioneer AVH 210EX, though as of right now they only work with Android devices running at least Android 5.0. It’s possible that Apple screen mirroring support is added through a firmware update later down the line.
If your vehicle did not come with Sirius XM satellite equipment already built-in that you can plug directly into the Pioneer AVH 210EX through the wiring harness, you’ll need a third-party adapter and a subscription for this satellite radio service.
While the AVH 210EX does not include backup camera hardware in the box it does include support for two different cameras (including backup cameras, dashboard cameras, and front facing cameras) with pre wired inputs ready to go. You will need to purchase the hardware for the camera itself if your vehicle did already come with one from the manufacturer.
One of the premier manufacturers when it comes to automotive entertainment equipment, Pioneer as done a great job with everything that the AVH 210EX model has to offer.
Sleek, attractive, well-designed, and engineered to be as future proof as possible this is already one of the most popular digital media receivers on the market and should continue to be so for a couple of years.
The screen is gorgeous and responsive to touch controls, the underlying technology is very fast and high-performing, and the extensibility you get with the Pioneer AVH 210EX allows you to add to its capabilities at your convenience.
The Pioneer AVH 210EX comes highly recommended.