15 states in the U.S. currently consider it illegal to so much as touch a smartphone while driving, and 37 states will ban teen drivers from using their smartphones while behind the wheel. And with more widespread legislation on the way, Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto are becoming increasingly valuable tools for staying connected while on the road.
Until now, unless you purchased a new car with one or both of the technologies already built into the dash, expensive aftermarket in-dash receivers were the only way to retrofit a vehicle into the modern age of smartphone connectivity. Pioneer changed that today with the introduction of the AVH-1330NEX and AVH-1300NEX receivers at $400, along with the step-up AVH-2330NEX and AVH-2300NEX at $500, and the all-new single-DIN AVH-3300NEX with pop-out touchscreen for $600
The AVH-1300NEX with CarPlay only and the AVH-1330NEX with both CarPlay and Android auto are currently the least expensive way to put the two most popular smartphone platforms right into a car’s dashboard. Drivers can use CarPlay to make and receive phone calls, compose and respond to text messages, and access Apple maps for navigation, all using voice control with Siri. You can also access Apple Music, iTunes Radio, Spotify, Pandora, and SiriusXM satellite radio for music playback.
Android Auto provides access to Google Maps, Google Play Music, and all the aforementioned music apps as well, with the promise of direct Waze access coming in the near future. For those who wish to use Waze now, Pioneer makes the popular traffic-based maps app available through its Apps+ feature, putting the app right up on the touchscreen for easy viewing and integrated audio directional instructions.
All of these new receivers will also let drivers create new Pandora stations on the spot based on the song being played, and store up to six stations as presets, much like standard FM Radio. All decks also play CDs and DVDs, and support high-res FLAC file playback up encoded at up to 192kHz/24-bit, though resolution will be scaled down to CD quality.
While the cheaper receivers sport a 6.2-inch display, the step-up AVH-2300NEX and AVH-2330NEX, at $500 each, offer a larger 7-inch display. All this is still packed into a standard double-DIN slot. Sleeker controls and smaller bezels on these receivers also make for a slightly more attractive option.
Finally, the AVH-3300NEX makes a single-DIN installation for those with older cars, classic cars, sports cars and exotic cars a possibility, thanks to a flip-out 7-inch touchscreen. This model, along with the 2330 and 1330, also supports dual cameras, while the rest of the line supports a single back-up camera with boundary lines overlaid on the image.
Drivers will also enjoy an upgrade in sound quality in most cases thanks to Pioneer’s 50-watt X 4 built-in amplifiers, graphic EQ, and fine-tuned balance and fade controls.
For those concerned about replacing the existing system in their car due to its heavy integration with such features as environmental controls and on-screen instrument clusters, Pioneer offers support for a system called iDatalink Maestro, which allows all those features to be uploaded to the new in-dash receivers and displayed on the touchscreen at the touch of a tab. In many cases, this upgrade will allow even more interaction with vehicle controls and informational displays than what was available on the stock display.
Pioneer told Digital Trends the new receivers will be available for purchase July 2017.
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