CarPlay is one of the best ways to listen to or use your iPhone in your car by giving you access to a variety of different apps right on your vehicle's dash.
While many newer cars come with CarPlay built-in, you can enjoy CarPlay in almost any car by installing a new audio receiver in your dash. Here's are our favorite CarPlay-enabled audio receivers.
If you're looking for an audio receiver that can truly do everything, look no further than the Pioneer AVIC-8200NEX.With a built-in CD/DVD drive, HD radio tuner, Bluetooth compatibility, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, there is no device or file format the AVIC-8200NEX can't play.CNET gave the Pioneer AVIC-8100NEX (the previous model) a perfect 5-star review, citing its wide variety of features (all available on the AVIC-8200NEX), as one of its strongest selling points."The Pioneer AVIC-8100NEX features Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, MirrorLink, and Pioneer's AppMode smartphones, covering all of the integration bases. Onboard navigation won't leave the driver stranded should they forget their phone."The 7-inch LCD touchscreen is bright enough to see in sunny conditions, and the entire system should fit into a standard double-DIN dash opening.You can pick one up for about $610.
If you don't quite need all the bell and whistles of Pioneer's top-of-the-line model receiver, then take a look at the Pioneer AppRadio 4 SPH-DA120 which only costs $330.The 6.2-inch touchscreen will allow you to control all the built-in CarPlay features right on your dash, and will need a double-DIN opening in your dash to be installed correctly.The Pioneer AppRadio 4 SPH-DA120 has a few key options for audiophiles out there, offering a 5-band equalizer with seven preset, high and low-pass filters, and subwoofer controls, allowing you to tailor perfectly.
If getting CarPlay into your car is all you care about, the Alpine iLX-007 offers a streamlined no-frills experience.Designed to specifically work with CarPlay, the Alpine iLX-007 has a beautiful 7-inch capacitive touchscreen with barely any bezel and without any physical buttons, so you can always see what you need to see clearly.CNET loved the simplicity incorporated into the design and function of the Alpine iLX-007"The Alpine iLX-007's slick interface is focused on Apple CarPlay and nothing else. The learning curve is especially easy, and there are no conflicting or redundant features or audio sources."With no Bluetooth or CD/DVD drive on board, the Alpine iLX-007 will only leave you with a simple AM/FM Tuner if you forget to bring your iPhone along for the ride. The Alpine iLX-007 is priced at around $670.
If fine-tuning your sound in your car is important to you, then take a look at the JVC KW-V820BT.Complete with all the standard CarPlay connectivity you would expect, the JVC KW-V820BT also comes with a cd/dvd drive, Bluetooth compatibility, and AM/FM tuner, so you won't be left high and dry when you don't have your iPhone with you.On top of all that, the JVC KW-V820BT has a 13-band equalizer allowing you to customize your sound, and even separate subwoofer controls, so you can really even out the low-ends of your music.You can pick up a JVC KW-V820BT for about $425
The Sony XAV-AX100 is a fan favorite. With a 4.5-star rating on Amazon and many people telling me personal its their go-to CarPlay reciever, its clear that the Sony XAV-AX100 is worth a look.It has a 6.4-inch LCD display to view all your information and a pretty small form factor, allowing it to be installed in smaller cars with smaller dashes. Plus, the manual controls on the Sony XAV-AX100 on the side of the reciever, so they don't get in the way of other dash controls. The knob on the side makes the manual controls a breeze to use, which is a big reason it has so many fans.There're two versions of the Sony XAV-AX100, one without a CD/DVD drive and one with a CD/DVD drive; they cost about $400 and $450 respectively.
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Updated July 2018: Updated pricing information.
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Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way.
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