If you’re the proud owner of a luxury vehicle, the built-in head unit is probably quite advanced. However, most of us drive regular cars with average-at-best stereos. On the bright side, there are lots of top-notch aftermarket in-dash receivers, and they’re rather affordable. With the Best Touch Screen Car Stereo, you’ll get full Smartphone integration, easy map navigation, and a fancy display.
Voice controls will also be an option, along with audio and video playback. For this guide, I reviewed 40+ best-selling and high-rated devices to find the best picks in terms of pricing, the feature set, and ease of installation. Only five units made it into the final cut! So, join me, and let’s check out what the market has to offer. Oh, and don’t forget about the FAQ and Buyer’s Guide!
Table of Contents
Best Touch Screen Car Stereo Review
1. JVC KW-M56BT – Best Touch Screen Car Stereo with Backup Camera
Best known for its TVs and home recorders, JVC has a strong foothold in car electronics as well. As for the KW-M56BT stereo unit, it’s one of the finest offers on the market to date. First of all, it features an easily adjustable GUI (graphic user interface). It only takes a minute to set everything up. Another big pro has to do with the installation: it is fast, intuitive, and doesn’t require any pro skills.
Add an advanced, 13-band EQ, and you’ll see why this head unit deserves to be on the list. Oh, and if you have a backup cam, plugging it in will only take a minute. As for my only complaint, it has to do with the physical buttons on the side of the stereo: they’re not placed where you’d necessarily expect them and might be a minor challenge to reach. Other than that, the JVC engineers did a fine job with this device.
- Highly customizable user interface: easy to fine-tune
- Fast, straightforward installation/mounting process
- Includes a 13-band EQ for some tone shaping
- Oddly-placed physical buttons
If you’re a big fan of customizing your car stereo’s navigation, menus, buttons, and everything else in between, JVC might be a great investment. It takes little effort to install into a double-din kit and features a full-fledged equalizer. The left-side buttons/knobs aren’t very handy, though.
2. ATOTO A6 PF – Best Touch Screen Car Stereo with Navigation
Moving up with the list, let’s see what A6 PF is all about. This is a relatively affordable head unit with a strong emphasis on fidelity. The IPS touchscreen has a 1024 x 600 resolution and doesn’t put any strain on your eyes. Secondly, navigation is swift and precise. Next, thanks to the universal, flexible mounting design, it easily fits into 99% of modern-day cars. Just follow the included instructions, and the device will slide right into the dash.
I also want to mention the customer-oriented company policy and fast, helpful support agents. Deliveries across the US, in turn, take little time and are 100% charge-free. There is one con, though: the list of officially supported apps by the ATOTO stereo is rather modest. It does work with the most popular ones, of course, but you might have a hard time installing some maps on it.
- High-precision, 1024 x 600 IPS HD touchscreen
- Flexible, universal design: fits most dash kits
- Prompt delivery + client-oriented support
- Limited app compatibility
Overall, A6 PF is a bargain for the average US driver looking to upgrade the stereo head unit. The HD touchscreen, versatile and compatible design and strong support are all good reasons to pick it over the competition. Sadly, the selection of compatible applications isn’t particularly large.
3. Kenwood DMX4707S – Best Touch Screen Car Stereo with Apple Carplay
Drivers that put sound quality first might want to pay extra attention to what Kenwood has to offer. This car stereo is fully compatible with high-def. audio formats. I’m talking about FLAC, of course, along with WAV. You can play these files through a USB flash drive or by syncing the head unit with your Smartphone. The audio quality is quite impressive as well, by the way, and not only on premium-quality speaker systems.
On the hardware side of things, it’s important to mention the wires. They’re 50% thicker than the average and last significantly longer (not to mention they’re much safer). The user interface leaves a lot to be desired, though. It’s quite neat and easy to navigate, of course. However, it tends to be slow at times, which can be quite frustrating. On the bright side, it’s still much faster than most built-in units.
- Works with HD audio formats like FLAC, WAV, and AAC
- Sounds great even through a cheap stereo system
- Thick, safe, and reliable wires for extra durability
- Slow response times
Despite the somewhat annoying UI feedback time, Kenwood’s stereo is a keeper. It boasts an excellent audio quality, works with a long list of HD formats, and comes with brick-strong, extra-thick connection wires. If that’s something that you’re looking for, put DMX4707S on the list.
4. BOSS Audio Systems BV9358B – Best Aftermarket Touch Screen Car Stereo
The first thing that’ll probably catch your attention is the CD/DVD player. While most drivers might not have use for it, it’s still a nice touch. Bluetooth is a part of the deal as well, and it takes only a couple of seconds to detect a mobile device and connect to it. Inside the package, you’ll find all the necessary wires, cables, and mounting gear. As a bonus, BOSS includes a remote control.
You can lean back in the rear seat and control the unit from there. Strangely enough, the packed user manual isn’t very useful. It can actually be misleading and shouldn’t really be relied upon (thankfully, the installation and connection routine is pretty simple). The built-in mic is pretty cheap, too. On the bright side, BOSS’s navigation system is very fast and has an impressive response time.
- Fast navigation through the user-friendly, intuitive GUI
- Can easily play both CDs and DVDs (no Blu-ray)
- The package includes a handy remote control
- Misleading installation instructions
The biggest selling point of the BOSS dash unit is the fast UI. Plus, it has a CD/DVD player and an RC unit for easy control. Bluetooth works flawlessly; so do the USB and AUX inputs and the radio receiver. The user manual isn’t at all helpful, however, and the mic is rather cheap.
5. P.L.Z AN-500 – Best Budget Touch Screen Car Stereo
Do you feel like the more expensive stereos might not fit your budget right now? Well, don’t worry, because AN-500 is one of the most affordable in-dash receivers out there and an all-around decent product. Moreover, as a double-din stereo, it features a pretty big and fancy touchscreen (10.1 inches). So, if you like bigger-than-average displays, this could be the right investment.
That’s not it for the pros yet! In the package, P.L.Z includes a pretty solid rear-view camera. It has a night-vision mode and will help you stay safer on the roads (especially when trying to squeeze out of a tight parking spot). On the downside, the design isn’t very impressive. In fact, AN-500 has some reliability issues and tends to get hot at times. When that happens, the device stops working. This happens rarely, but can still be a problem.
- The biggest touchscreen on the list: 10.1 inches
- One of the cheapest options on the market
- Night-vision rearview camera included
- Design/durability issues
Comparison Table – Best Touch Screen Car Stereo ()
|ATOTO A6 PF
|BOSS Audio Systems BV9358B
What can you expect to get with P.L.Z? This is the least expensive touch screen receiver on the list and will suit low-budget customers. Besides, it features a large touchscreen and comes packed with a backup camera. Unfortunately, the engineering quality isn’t particularly great.
How to Find the Best Touch Screen Car Stereo for the Money?
When looking at product specifications online, it can be pretty hard to figure out which device fits you best. So, the key here is to know which parameters to check first to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. Here’s a list of some of the most important factors to keep in mind:
The UI and navigation. The user interface needs to be fast, intuitive, and easy to navigate. Some devices take a bit longer to respond, while others are much faster, thanks to advanced software and hardware. If you’re in the $150-200 price range, as long as the UI is straightforward and all the menus are easily accessible, it will be a reasonable investment.
The touchscreen. Next, we’ve got the display, or, rather, the screen. Every single device on today’s list features a touchscreen, which automatically means it’s more intuitive. The average size for a double-din head unit is 6.5-7”. But, some brands take this a step further and go for 10 inches or even higher. In any case, see that the screen is HD, doesn’t flicker, and is protected against sunlight.
Fixing a Touchscreen Car Stereo: A Step-by-Step Manual
Statistically, the touchscreen is the first thing that starts to malfunction in a car stereo. However, instead of buying a new device, you can try and fix the screen. One of the simplest (and most effective) solutions to touchscreen problems is regular maintenance. By that, I mean you gotta clean it regularly. Dust, dirt, and pollen can do quite a number on stereo units. Be gentle, though, and don’t break anything!
There are lots of cheap screen-cleaning solutions out there that handle this perfectly. While you’re at it, check the wires: they might be loose or damaged. If the problem is not physical, but rather has to do with the software, a system reboot might help. Just press and hold the power button for 5-10 seconds, and that should do the trick. Still not helping? Go with a factory reset. This isn’t a very hard procedure, but I still want you to follow the included manual.
How to Get Water Out Of A Touch Screen Car Stereo?
This is a pretty common problem, especially for families with little kids. So, here are short, yet detailed instructions on how you can get water out of the device properly and (hopefully) get the unit working again:
If the water was just spilled over the device, all you gotta do is mop it off using a dry, soft cloth. That’s pretty much all you’ll need. On the other hand, if the water found its way into the actual head unit (which happens rarely), then you’ll need to carefully detach every single part of the system, get rid of the moisture, and carefully put everything back on.
On the surface, you’ll find a set of screws – remove them using a standard screwdriver. That should give you access to the front panel. Next, get to the locks. They might take some effort to unlock. Once you’re “in”, look at the wires. If they’re black-ish, replacement is in order. If not, disconnect the wires that go into the touchscreen to remove it. In most cases, water accumulates behind the screen. Gently remove it using a soft cloth, and that should do it.
Removing a Touch Screen Car Stereo: A Detailed Guide
Before you go ahead and remove the unit from the dash, make sure the battery is off. Next, get rid of the faceplate. There’s a button on either side: push it and the plate should come off easily. With the stereo within your reach, grab a screwdriver and remove the screws (usually four in total). Or, if it’s a newer car, you’ll see a pair of clips on each side.
The best tool for undoing the clips is the so-called “Din tool”, AKA the radio removal key. Don’t have one? Then a coat hanger might do. Just be careful not to damage anything. Ok, now you can slide the stereo out. But don’t yank it out just yet, because the unit will be connected to a bunch of wires. Disconnect them slowly, make sure nothing is holding the stereo, and remove it!
What does the Best Aftermarket Touch Screen Car Stereo Look Like?
It all depends on what you’re looking for in a new head unit. We already talked about the UI and the touchscreen, and for a fan of fast navigation and easy controls, these are the most important aspects. Others put the feature set first. I’m talking about a 13-band equalizer for fine-tuning your favorite tools, voice controls (they are pretty handy), and connectivity options. Speaking of those, the best stereos work with three different interfaces.
These include Bluetooth – the most popular technology – Wi-Fi, and, of course, physical inputs. USB has proven to be quite reliable and useful, while the AUX port is more like an extra. Memory storage is another thing to keep in mind. Most stereo units only work with 16GB, but the more advanced devices can easily “handle” up to 32 gigabytes. Again, it all comes down to what you’re into.
Straightforward installation, a generous package, reasonable price, and lots of extra features – that’s what a perfect head unit looks like. But how do you make sure that’s exactly what you’ll get? By reading this guide, of course! Join me, and let’s talk about it all in detail. We’ll go over the average price tag, the most important extras, what to look for in the package, and more.
#1: Perfect Fitment + Easy Mounting
The best thing about car stereo units – they’re highly compatible. Unless it’s a custom design, or you’re driving a really old vehicle, there shouldn’t be any issues with the installation process. With that said, you need to know about the difference between single and double din units. Single-din receivers are 7-inch wide and 2-inch tall. Double-din units are a bit taller (7” width, 4” height).
That means they can feature bigger screens and have more buttons and knobs on the side. However, double-dins are harder to fit, simply because they’re not as compact. So, it might be a good idea to measure the factory stereo in your car before making a purchase. This way, you can be 100% sure the device will fit.
#2: Connectivity Options + Extras
Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Siri, CarPlay, AndroidAuto, and SiriusXM – that’s pretty much it for the connectivity options. Even if you only have a single USB port, you’ll still be able to enjoy the new stereo unit. Wireless connections are pretty useful, though, especially for playing music, video, accessing apps on your phone, and getting your hands on more detailed maps for navigation.
As for the extras, some brands include a CD/DVD player, while others go for a backup/rear-view camera. If you’re a big fan of sound quality, look for a device that works with formats like FLAC. Subwoofer outputs, volume knobs, and “receive call” buttons on the sides, as well as a built-in microphone, can also come in handy.
#3: The Price: How Much For a Stereo?
The more features the receiver has, and the bigger the touchscreen, the more expensive it will be. In the FAQ and earlier in this guide, we went over the factors that set a high-quality stereo from an average-at-best device. Right now, an entry-level car stereo unit can be yours for as low as $100-120. The next price range is $150-200, and for that, you’ll get better Bluetooth support, along with a bigger screen.
To get premium sound quality, more inputs and outputs, and a generous package, you’ll have to pay 250-300 US dollars. Anything that costs more than $300 will be an “overkill” for most drivers.
Alright, that’s pretty much it! Car stereos don’t have to be expensive, overly complicated, or hard to install. Modern-day units are user-friendly, take +/- 30 minutes to mount and come packed with all the right features. If you’re a big fan of adjusting the UI to your liking, go with JVC. ATOTO, in turn, boasts a true HD screen and fast deliveries across the country.
With Kenwood, you’ll get extra durability and impressive sound quality. Audiophiles on a limited budget will like what P.L.Z. has to offer. Last, but not least, BOSS is all about fast navigation and even has a CD/DVD player. So, yes, every single device on today’s list has its own set of pros. Which one fits you best, though? Only you can answer that question!