The display on this thing is absolutely stellar. It’s a capacitive touchscreen, which makes it highly responsive. But we found that it’s not as responsive as other screens. It seemed to do better with quick taps than normal touches.
You would think that a 720p HD screen would prevent you from keeping your eyes on the road, but the truth is that it makes it easier to glance at the screen and understand what you’re seeing so that you don’t have to keep looking.
Images are clear and crisp and easy to interpret with a quick look.
You don’t have to worry about a slow startup. The cold boot time is about 10-13 seconds and the warm boot is only a couple of seconds faster.
They broke the trend of using USB-A input and instead opted for USB-C input. This head unit comes with all kinds of adapters if this would pose some compatibility issues for you. But it represents a huge shift and a good one at that.
The most significant advantage of this is raw speed. Type C USB is much faster and more versatile than type A. This allows much faster data transfers between two devices and significantly faster charging for all of your devices.
The following big change is the addition of a micro HDMI input and the elimination of RCA A/V inputs. You know, the red-yellow-white cables.
That may represent a learning curve for some, but this means that it’s going to be much easier to mirror your smartphone or another device to the stereo.
So with the help of a lightning digital A/V adapter and an HDMI-to-micro-HDMI cable, you can mirror your iPhone onto the stereo screen.
Very, very cool.
This is a double-DIN system, but it installs like a single-DIN. The mounting system is highly customizable. It allows for various levels of depth, tilt, and height positions:
If you’re really OCD, you have three different positions to mount the display on the chassis: Left, Center, and Right.
The features are overflowing on this puppy. The first thing you’ll notice is that the new software resembles an Android OS more than anything else.
You don’t have to feel like there’s a chance you could be left out in the cold for your choice of either iPhone or Android, since this head unit will show you lots of love no matter your preference.
Assuming you take the time to set up the GPS antenna, then you have the joy of using wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto both.
Both persuasions integrate several of your phone’s first-party and third-party audio apps and navigation apps to the stereo apps.
If you like the idea of charging your device, then you can connect to CarPlay or Android Auto with a direct USB connection. Wireless is an option, not a mandate.
If you were looking to get YouTube or Netflix directly on this unit, sorry. Those apps do not install. They’re accessible with a few workarounds, but it’s not an out-of-the-box feature.
The HD display gives a whole new breath of life to any app that you choose to use.
Just using Apple Maps is addictive. Speaking of which, the Pioneer DMH WT8600NEX does not have built-in navigation, but what you can access through your phone is more than enough to make up for this.
Waze, Apple Maps, and Google Maps are all that most of us need.
Android users have a slight leg up in navigation. Android Auto features pinch and zoom technology.
Now back to that juicy wireless connection deal.
The wireless connection is established through the stereo’s wi-fi. It’s not a complicated setup at all, and is pretty much like connecting to any other wi-fi.
The stereo will give you a password to enter on your phone and you’re good to go.
The critical step is making sure to scroll through all of the privacy agreement before tapping that you’ve read it.
It punishes bluffers by limiting what you can do and you’ll have to reset all your factory settings to try again. Yes, some of us have learned this the hard way.
Speaking of wi-fi, this stereo can connect to a wi-fi or hotspot source. While this does allow you to access the internet, it does not allow you to download apps to this unit.
Internet navigation is made possible by downloading the CarAVAssist app. When this is in place, you can browse the web and establish website defaults like YouTube, Google, or whatever else you want.
This app will also reflect directly on the rest of your entertainment widgets. Besides websites, you’ll be able to register sports teams to have their schedules displayed onto the stereo.
Registering your location gives you options for displaying local weather.
The home screen can be rearranged any way you like with the option of touching and dragging sources around. The OS is anything but rigid.
Here’s one that might make some of you squeal with unbridled joy. You get Amazon Alexa for free with the purchase of this head unit.
You don’t even need to have an Alexa account. As long as you have an Amazon account, you’re set. She adds a whole other layer of variety in music, news, and entertainment, not to mention the fact that she can be accessed just by saying her name.
She can be prompted by a special swipe on the display, but come on. Hands-free is cooler.
Android users will feel right at home with the way you can access major sources just by the way you swipe on the home screen. Swiping down accesses suggested radio stations. Left and right swipes will bring up Alexa and source menus.
But these things will only come up if you’re connected to the stereo via wi-fi or Bluetooth. Otherwise, they’ll be blanks screens.
Oh yeah, this is a stereo, too. Kinda easy to forget.
The radio tuner delivers incredible CD-quality sound on your favorite radio with artist tags. Same goes for your favorite music streams.
Suppose your favorite music is nowhere to be found across the radio or the internet? Well don’t fret, because you can plug in a thumbnail drive and play WMA, AAC, WAV, DSD, and FLAK files.
This feature isn’t limited to audio. If you have video files, you can play MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 and DIVEX files.
You can also upload and view jpeg images and set one to your wallpaper. But you can’t adjust your splash screen.
The stereo is Sirius XM ready with the optional SXV 300V1 universal tuner. Your steering wheel isn’t going to get lonely thanks to the Access ASWC1 interface.
You can use this stereo to find out how your car is doing from the inside out by purchasing the iDatalink Maestro Rr and integrating it with your car’s factory systems. You can see gauges and factory codes unique to your vehicle, plus you can control the air conditioning and the heated seats.
There are two camera inputs, one for rear and front respectively.
Adding to the expandability of the home screen, you can spend a lot of time getting it to look just right with the options of wallpapers, colors of the lighting, and all the possibilities of wallpapers you can upload yourself as a jpeg.
The sound is 100% under your control, from which speakers it comes out of to the way it thumps.
That was a lot to go through. This head unit clearly has a lot to offer. Only major issue is that sellers will make sure you’ll pay handsomely for it.
Some buyers might get annoyed that with all those extra bells and whistles, that this unit has no native web browsing capability. The fact that it doesn’t use apps could also be a drawback.
Browsing the internet is a bit tedious with the oversized digital keyboard that appears onscreen.
But don’t lose sight of the fact that this is a car stereo and you’re going to want to be focused on driving, not researching Google for your next term paper.
The sound, the options, and especially the wireless capability for both Apple and Android users is hard to ignore. Sure it calls for a $1200 price tag, but that’s an investment that will last you for the life of your vehicle.