The folks at Pioneer themselves describe the AVH 211EX digital media receiver as an “entry-level” option, but the sheer amount of top-tier technology squeezed into this Double DIN unit is much closer to a mid-level solution at an entry-level price point.
It’s hard to imagine finding anything in the digital media receiver world today that offers quite as much as the Pioneer AVH 211EX does. Combine that with the near legendary reputation that Pioneer has for making quality audio and entertainment systems for automobiles and you can start to see why so many people consider this a best buy kind of option.
Below we highlight all of the key features, benefits, and important specifications that the Pioneer AVH 211EX is defined by. We also touch on a couple of the small issues folks may have with this unit to give you a fair and totally balanced look at whether or not it is worth your money.
Ready to jump right in?
Let’s get to it.
A digital media receiver through and through, this head unit is attached to a DVD player as well as a 6.2-inch touchscreen monitor that works off of the 10 A fuse system.
The screen itself is pretty gorgeous, bright, and offers multicolor illumination options straight out of the box, and the CD/DVD legacy media capabilities of the Pioneer AVH 211EX are nice as well. A dedicated wiring harness makes setting up your new system almost effortless, even if you don’t have a world of experience making this kind of upgrade in your vehicle.
The folks at Pioneer have also included a dedicated remote control for the Pioneer AVH 211EX in the box. This makes controlling your media and the digital media receiver itself from seats other than the driver seat pretty straightforward. The lithium battery that is included guarantees that your remote control is going to last for years before needing to be replaced.
A 5 foot USB extension cable is included in the box as well. This extension cable is designed to be plugged into the rear USB ports and then fished through your vehicle. It offers plenty of length to give you the ability to plug your smart phone or tablet directly into the AVH 211EX system without it feeling cluttered or in the way. It also guarantees that the front facing USB port stays open and available as well.
Like most other modern digital media receiver systems, the Pioneer AVH 211EX includes voice control and command capabilities.
These capabilities are made possible thanks to the inclusion of a dedicated external microphone that you can position most anywhere you like in the cabin of your vehicle. The microphone itself is attached to 13 feet of cable, meaning you can even run it up through the side pillars of your vehicle and clip it to your visor if you like all while guaranteeing quality audio and consistent feedback.
The rest of the box is filled with double-sided tape, dedicated mounting hardware, a quick start guide and a visual installation manual that’s easy enough to follow if you haven’t done this kind of project before. There are a bunch of YouTube videos out there to help you get this digital media receiver up and running, too, if you’d like something a little more helpful.
The media support of the Pioneer AVH 211EX is what really separates it from the rest of the pack when it comes to other entry-level options on the market right now.
For starters, you have full legacy media support in the form of a CD and DVD player mounted directly into the head unit itself. You’ll be able to feed physical media directly into the slot at the top of the screen while on the go, using your favorite CDs or DVDs) including burned media) without any headache or hassle whatsoever.
On top of that you’ll also have access to the media that you have on your phone or tablet. This can be digital media that you have downloaded separately to your mobile device, but it can also be media available through any and all of your favorite streaming applications.
Dedicated support for Pandora and Spotify is built right into the Pioneer interface, but you can also playback movies and TV shows on the 6.2 inch VGA touchscreen as well.
Connecting to your mobile device is straightforward as you’ll have plenty of different options. You can hook up via USB or connect over the Bluetooth protocol, with strong, stable, and reliable Bluetooth connections possible inside of your vehicle cabin while on the go. Connect over USB and you can charge your device while using it at the same time.
Though the Pioneer AVH 211EX does not include hardware for a dedicated backup camera it does make it possible to install a backup camera pretty quickly with the integrated wiring harness components and the dedicated AV input on the rear of the head unit itself. If your vehicle already has a backup camera mounted in it connecting is simple and straightforward, but adding an accessory option is easy enough with the way that the AVH 211EX has been put together.
Total support for Apple Carplay and Android Auto is a bit lacking when it comes to the Pioneer AVH 211EX, as you will be able to enjoy the full experience that these software platforms provide even after connecting your device via USB or Bluetooth.
This is a bit of a downside to using the Pioneer AVH 211EX, though it does provide for voice control and touchscreen commands of your mobile phone or tablet when you have hooked up via USB or Bluetooth.
It isn’t quite as elegant or as easy to use as Apple Carplay or Android Auto, but the Pioneer overall experience of controlling your phone or tablet through the touchscreen interface is still pretty impressive all the same.
Right out of the box the Pioneer AVH 211EX does not include a satellite radio tuner and your purchase of the Pioneer AVH 211EX will not include a Sirius XM subscription. A tuner accessory can be purchased and wired into the included harness of this system and with a subscription you can start listening to satellite radio immediately.
Blu-ray discs will not playback when fed into the CD/DVD slot on this digital media receiver. CDs and DVDs (including burned discs) work wonders, though. If you want to watch media in high definition while on the go, you’ll have to stream it from your mobile device via USB or Bluetooth.
The resistive technology built into the VGA screen of the Pioneer AVH 211EX is some of the most responsive and accurate touchscreen technology we have seen on the market right now.
Each screen tap and every swipe is going to be recognized and registered straightaway, with the same degree of accuracy you would expect from your smartphone or your tablet. There’s also not a lot of input lag so the screen responds to you instantly.
Make sure that you aren’t making the mistake of thinking that the Pioneer AVH 211EX is somehow not as impressive a piece of digital media receiver technology because of its entry-level price tag.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
It may not be quite as flashy or as fancy as some of the other top-tier options from Pioneer, but it is still a Pioneer digital media receiver. It’s high quality, features top technology components and hardware, has a fantastic reputation for reliability and durability, and utilizes the same Pioneer user interface and operating software that has been recognized as an industry leader.
Sure, some other options have more bells and whistles (and much higher price tags) but if you aren’t looking to spend a mountain of money on a new digital media receiver but still want a significant upgrade the Pioneer AVH 211EX is well worth a closer look.