A stereo with CarPlay is a must have.

Something I said to myself when Apple first announced CarPlay was that the next car I bought would have to have CarPlay built in. Unfortunately, that sort of broad statement comes with the side effect that there are only a handful of car manufacturers that provide CarPlay as a standard. In addition to that, I was also limiting myself to certain model years. Thanks to third party companies like Pioneer, I was saved from being limited on my choice of car because they provide an aftermarket stereo that includes CarPlay. This came in very handy as I just bought a new Ford F-150 and replacing the default radio was first on my list of upgrades. I quickly found that the Pioneer AVH-4200NEX, a CarPlay enabled stereo, added to my truck was something I decided was a must.

Pioneer AVH-4200NEX Multimedia DVD Receiver with CarPlay REVIEW

Pioneer AVH-4200NEX with CarPlay
It’s very important to note that the Pioneer AVH-4200NEX (Networked Entertainment eXperience) not only features CarPlay but also Android Auto, which is the Android equivalent to Apple’s CarPlay. I’ve not been able to use that function of the AVH-4200NEX but have found the CarPlay integration to be most impressive. Aside from the smartphone integration and capabilities, the Pioneer AVH-4200NEX has a lot of remarkable features. First of all, it has a 7-inch screen that displays in 16:9 (widescreen) aspect ratio. The resolution is 800 x 400 and it’s a clear resistive touch screen.

Pioneer AVH-4200NEX Multimedia DVD Receiver with CarPlay REVIEW

The Pioneer AVH-4200NEX does not have a built-in navigation system. But, this is one of the features that comes in with CarPlay. Because your iPhone has a built-in map system and navigation with Siri, that is one of the features that carries over to the CarPlay enabled stereo. I’ve used it multiple times in my truck and found it to be quite useful and easy to use. The Pioneer deck does have built-in Bluetooth and it’s very easy to use. The stereo also supports Sirius Radio and comes equipped with it’s on HD Radio tuner. Personally, I end up streaming music most of the time through CarPlay, but it’s great that those other options are available. The HD Radio is great and I’ve loved using it when the occasion has come up.

Pioneer AVH-4200NEX Multimedia DVD Receiver with CarPlay REVIEW

You can dim the screen and even customize the display and buttons (5 Display Colors, 112 Key Colors, 3 Backgrounds, Splash Screen). The display is motorized and removable so that you can rest assured that your entertainment system is secure in your car. Once the display is removed, the stereo is locked and cannot be used. This is a feature that I really value. It puts me at ease to know that I can safeguard my belongings.

The Pioneer AVH-4200NEX also includes a DVD player in its system. While this might be great for some users, it’s not really necessary for me. The player is located inside the stereo and you can access it by lowering the faceplate, which exposes the DVD slot. The one time I think I will really get use out of this is when I take a long trip somewhere. It will be nice for my passengers to be able to enjoy a movie in the car.

Pioneer AVH-4200NEX Multimedia DVD Receiver with CarPlay REVIEW

Why CarPlay?
Why do I find CarPlay to be such an importance? First, it gives drivers the option to be totally hands-free from their phone while driving. While that’s not something that is really a problem for me, I do tend to see more people paying attention to their phones instead of their driving. CarPlay takes the most important features of your iPhone and incorporates it into your stereo. And it’s all within reach by calling out to Siri. Check out some of the functions in the demo video below.

Personally, I feel having a built in unit with CarPlay is a must for me. I find I spend less time fumbling with calls and responding to texts. It’s about safety and making the driving experience better all around. In fact, I feel that Siri actually responds better to my voice with the stereo’s microphone than just through the phone. I notice that she understands me better when I’m using Siri through the CarPlay setup. With that in mind, Apple might want to invest in designing a better mic for the iPhone. I say this as someone who uses Siri a lot and finds that it works better in a vehicle than sitting at my desk.

Pioneer AVH-4200NEX Multimedia DVD Receiver with CarPlay REVIEW

There are many features to the Pioneer receiver, but CarPlay was the most important to me. I would not have invested the time, effort, or money if I was just installing this unit without CarPlay. I’m not dissing the Pioneer deck by any means because it is a very solid unit. I’m just saying for ease of use, CarPlay is the only way to go.
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