The folks at Sony have been making pretty slick pieces of hardware (especially in the entertainment space) for decades and decades.
This Japanese technology giant is beloved for its hardware, producing stunningly beautiful products that “just work” right out of the box. There’s just something about Sony hardware that makes you feel comfortable right away, even before you get a chance to use it.
At the same time, Sony engineers have learned a thing or two since unveiling the Walkman when it comes to audio entertainment equipment.
The brand-new Sony XAV AX5000 represents some of the coolest stuff this Japanese company is doing right now. Pairing top-tier industrial design and a slick user interface with lots of power under the hood, there are a couple of reasons why people are falling head over heels in love with everything that the Sony XAV AX5000 brings to the table.
We dig a little deeper into those reasons below in this quick review.
A slightly (and we mean slightly) smaller than 7-inch diagonal touch screen is a first going to confront you when you pop open the Sony XAV AX5000 box.
This digital media receiver is configured with Double DIN installations in mind but remains relatively compact, especially from a depth point of view. This certainly isn’t a heavy monstrosity that’s going to take up a lot of space in your dashboard the way that some other premium digital media receivers will.
The head unit itself is already pre wired right out of the box and an included wiring harness allows you to install the XAV AX5000 into any Double DIN space on any vehicle (regardless of make or model). This will help you make quick work of the installation process and you’ll certainly appreciate the extra wiring hookups for accessories (available direct from Sony or aftermarket manufacturers) that make extending the XAV AX5000 straightforward as well.
A remote control is included in the box as well and it operates of RF signals. This is great for anybody in the backseat that wants to control the media while you drive. It’s particularly useful for parents that want to give their children a little bit more control over the radio. You’ll also find a 3v battery installed in the remote so that you can start using it immediately.
Tucked into a corner of the box is going to be an external microphone and a mounting bracket system. 12 feet of microphone cable allow you to position this microphone pretty much anywhere in the front of your vehicle’s cabin. The opposite end of this cable terminates with a right angle 3.5 mm connector that jacks right into the rear of the head unit to give you full voice control and command capabilities.
Double-sided tape, screws and mounting hardware, as well as operating instructions and a quick start guide straight from Sony flesh out the rest of the components, you’ll find in the Sony XAV AX5000 box.
While the Sony XAV AX5000 definitely shines all on its own it really becomes something special when you pair your smart phone or your mobile device with this digital media receiver.
Engineered to work with iOS and Android devices straight after installation you’ll find tight integration between Apple Carplay and Android Auto immediately accessible. We’ll get into that a little more in depth in just a moment, but you’ll be pleased to know that the integration “just works” and it’s a dream to use.
Bluetooth 5.0 technology is on full display with the Sony XAV AX5000 as well. You’ll be able to wirelessly stream music and media from your smartphone or tablet while on the go, but you’ll also enjoy 100% hands-free phone call capabilities as well. You’ll even be able to send text messages or emails with voice to text on your favorite Apple or Android device.
Best of all, you won’t have to worry about holding your phone close to your mouth when giving Bluetooth commands either. Because of the inclusion of that external microphone we highlighted above all of your phone calls will be crystal-clear, all of your voice commands will be perfectly interpreted and understood, and your phone can be tucked safely away in the glove box the whole time.
The sound quality of this digital media receiver is top-tier. A 10-band graphic equalizer as well as Sony’s proprietary Dynamic Stage Organizer helps you to make the most of the audio equipment already installed in your vehicle. The DSO technology can create “virtual speakers” in your vehicle that round out your audio experience. Innovative sound shaving technology is powered by the Dynamic Reality Amp 2 from Sony and it is on full display here.
Pre-amplification outputs are already wired up with the Sony XAV AX5000 should you choose to overhaul your front, rear, and subwoofer speakers throughout the vehicle later down the line.
While Sony definitely worked hard to create a user interface that would be a joy to use all on its own, if you connect a smartphone or tablet running the iOS or Android operating systems you’ll be able to use Carplay from Apple and the Android Auto system if you’re interested.
This gives you a little bit more control over the interface of your phone direct from your digital media receiver but it also gives you easy access to onboard navigation, phone call and texts, emails, whether, your favorite applications, and all the media you have on your phone (or the media you can stream through a data plan).
Streaming music over Pandora or Spotify is a dream when you use the Sony XAV AX5000 Apple or Android options with your phone connected over USB.
Unfortunately, you’ll only be able to use Car Play and Android Auto when your phone is connected via USB. This may be something available later down the line, but it isn’t available just yet.
As long as your vehicle accepts a Double DIN head unit, you’ll be able use the Sony XAV AX5000 to upgrade your media experience in the car.
GPS antennas and onboard navigation can be implemented with an accessory GPS antenna connection, so long as your vehicle has that hardware installed already. You can also purchase third-party GPS antennas to get this up and running.
Of course, you can also plug your phone into the Sony XAV AX5000 via USB and take advantage of your phones GPS navigation capabilities as well.
Sony makes fantastic hardware (real cutting-edge kind of stuff) and the XAV AX5000 digital media receiver is no exception.
Slick looking, well-designed, and obviously made from high quality components and with proprietary Sony technology, this is one of the best top-tier digital media receivers you can install in your vehicle today.
There are a couple of nitpicking issues that can be remedied with third-party/aftermarket upgrades that make this receiver even better. But right out of the box the Sony XAV AX5000 is still something special.