Are you looking to upgrade your car? Yes? Well, the best way to do that is with a new head unit! But, the problem is, which one is best? Should you go for an Alpine or a Pioneer, that’s the question. We’re going to answer this conundrum today.
But, before we get started, we should explain just how we’re going to be breaking it down.
|1. Pioneer AVH-210EX
|2. Pioneer MVH1400NEX
|3. Pioneer AVH-X490BS
|4. Pioneer AVH-2500NEX
|5. Alpine INE-W977HD
|6. Alpine ILX-207 with Back-Up Camera
|7. Alpine ILX-W650
Breaking It Down
Okay, we are going to look at both Alpine and Pioneer models, starting with Alpine head-up displays. We’ll look at the overview, the core features, the advantages, and the disadvantages of each one. Then, we will come to our final decision on which brand is the best.
So, without wasting any more time, let’s get into it. Beginning with a few Alpine models.
If you haven’t used one of Alpine’s units before, it might seem like a bit of a chore getting to grips with it. But, it will almost certainly be worth it when you do! There are physical buttons for the microphone, audio, voice, volume controls, favorite, power/menu, radio, reset, and NAV controls. After that, everything else can be tapped on its responsive touchscreen.
It’s worth noting that you need to make sure it fits inside your vehicle’s dashboard! This goes for all of them, by the way. Otherwise, you’re going to be bitterly disappointed.
Anyway, without further ado, let’s have a look at the features (we know you’re dying to see them!).
We won’t talk about all the features (there’s no need to bore you!). Instead, we’ll focus on the most exciting ones so we can come to a firm decision on the whole “Alpine VS Pioneer” debate.
There are going to be certain functions that you use far more frequently in your head-up display than others. Clearly, Alpine has recognized this as they have made it possible for you to customize the favorite screen any way you see fit.
Amazingly, you can select up to a whopping 54 functions to display on this screen so you can locate them at a moment’s notice.
The dual-screen feature allows you to look at both your music and your map at the same time. It’s rather disconcerting when you can’t see the map while you change your music, so Alpine has made sure this is a thing of the past.
- Works with touch and voice
- Comes with Alpine audio enhancements already integrated
- Plenty of screen real estate (around 7 inches)
- Works with your Android and iPhone so you’re never forced to choose
- No disc player so it fits nicely in most dashboards
- Bluetooth connectivity possible for hands-free calling and/or streaming music
- Comes with a camera option if you fancy that extra luxury
- If you do want a disc player, Alpine gives you an option to add it in as an extra
- Optional adapter so you can keep your steering wheel controls in order
- Built-in GPS
- It does not notify you if a text message comes through unlike other head units
- You can’t play videos to any monitors at the back that you may have installed
Alpine ILX-207 with Back-Up Camera
Alpine has always seemed to be at the top of the sound equipment game in the automobile industry. But even for this company, the ILX-207 seems to have made a huge leap forward. Essentially, this head-up display has paved the way for cars to make proper use of the power and connectivity of smartphones.
Regardless of whether you have an Android smartphone or an iOS device, connecting it to the Alpine ILX-207 is a breeze. You can choose between a wired or Bluetooth connection too (but let’s face it, everyone wants a Bluetooth connection these days).
Okay, just like we did with the previous console, we’re going to take a look at the core features of this one as well. Ready to dive in? Excellent!
Apple Car Play or Android Auto
As soon as you connect your cell phone, Car Play or Android Auto starts immediately. This can then be taken advantage of thanks to the huge 7-inch touchscreen. Seriously, it feels like having an iPad permanently strapped to your vehicle!
Voice Control Integration
Now, a lot of head units claim to have voice control features. But how many of them truly work? Very few. Thankfully, the Alpine ILX-207 is one that does do what it says on the tin!
- Comes with an onboard amplifier that elevates the standard speakers in your car more than you could ever imagine
- Works extremely well with Apple Car Play and Android Auto Rocksolid
- Has Bluetooth 5.0 abilities
- Has the best sound quality in head units
- Fantastic 7-inch touchscreen
- Super durable and reliable
- Comes with a built-in microphone for handy voice control
- USB and AUX input and output
- Simple installation
- No CD player but it’s likely you just want the streaming capabilities anyway
- It’s quite daunting to use when you first set it up, however, it looks a lot like a smartphone screen so you might feel a bit of confidence from that
It’s crazy just how much the geniuses over at Alpine were able to cram into this little receiver. Not to mention that it comes with an unbelievably streamlined, easy-to-use interface!
While we’ve been going on about how small it is, we should mention that it will fill the space in your dash. There won’t be any unsightly gaps, don’t worry! However, it’s important to note that it isn’t bulky or overly big (which is a huge plus for us, but maybe not for others).
Yep, it’s that time again! We’re going to take a peek at the main features this impressive little head-up display has.
Technically, all of them have this. So, why are we talking about this as a key feature? Well, because Alpine has outdone itself with this no-lag, super-smooth display.
Straight out of the box, you will notice just how sleek the design is. Once you have set it all up, you’ll realize how crystal clear the graphics are. And finally, once you press your finger to it, you will see how smooth and immediate the transitions are. Honestly, we can’t ask for more than that!
Usually, head units come with a load of wires and casing at the back. But not this one! It prides itself on being exceptionally space-saving.
- Installation is simple and quick
- Clean interface that is easy to find your way around
- The touchscreen responds instantly to both swiping gestures and taps
- Nice and wide touchscreen (7 inches)
- Works with Android Auto and Apple Carplay
- Saves space on your dash but is still packed with loads of technology
- Offers room for expanding its abilities
- It comes with a high price tag
- Many people have said that it isn’t worth the price they paid. But, this is highly subjective
Next, we will highlight a few Pioneer units for you.
The engineers and designers at Pioneer have tried their best to make their head-up display feel (and look) like a high-end tablet. And boy, have they achieved their goal! You really must see it to believe it. The console is unlike the rest of them. Instead of having a non-responsive, “iffy” touchscreen, it blesses you with 100% responsivity and clarity.
But, enough about that! Let’s take a look at the key features that the Pioneer AVH-210EX has to offer us.
Yep, you read that right. With this head unit, you just get to choose between USB and Bluetooth connection. Instead, you can opt for the built-in WiFi connection so you can enjoy the effects of stable connectivity throughout your entire journey! There aren’t many units that have tried and successfully completed this feat. Pioneer is certainly aptly named!
At the back of the unit, you can find two different camera inputs. One is for the rearview camera and the other is for a front camera. You don’t find this very often in these types of consoles. Generally, you can only hook up one camera. So, this is a lovely little extra that you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.
- Extremely durable construction
- GPS navigation included
- Comes with reverse camera
- HD radio
- Great connection both wireless and wired
- Inexpensive for a double DIN
- Very crisp sound (exceptional for the cost of the unit)
- Bluetooth and hands-free technology
- No lag on the touchscreen
- Easy to install
- Easy to use
- RGB lighting, allowing it to match with your dashboard
- USB ability when you want to plug your smartphone in
- If you have old Apple products, they won’t work with this unit
- A large amount of the screen is taken up by the CD player
Regardless, this is a pretty nice head-up display for those iPhone fanatics. Anyway, let’s continue.
As we hinted at, this digital media receiver comes complete with Apple CarPlay. This is great since you can make use of Siri Eyes Free while you’re on the road. For those of you who commute to work or are super busy, you are given the ability to turn lost time into productive moments.
We know you want to get right into the nitty-gritty features, so here we go!
Siri Eyes Free
If you drive a lot (either for work or pleasure), you will probably need to answer some messages along the way. Until now, you might’ve even been pulling up on the side of the road to respond to those all-important work correspondence.
Well, those days are over!
With Siri Eyes Free, you will have a personal assistant right there with you in the car. She can not only read out texts you have received, but she can also respond to them. Yep, all of this is done without you have to take your eyes off the road or go for impromptu pit stops.
This head-up display unit is fantastic for sound quality. Seriously, you won’t be able to find a better one (yes, even from Alpine).
- 6.2 inches of a touchscreen (can be a good thing and a bad thing, it depends on who you ask)
- Professional installation can be sought easily if you don’t feel like doing it yourself
- No buttons, everything is on the touchscreen so you don’t have to worry about small components breaking
- Huge music capabilities (choose from Spotify, Pandora, Bluetooth, SiriusXM, Apple Music, and Audible)
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Flawless with Apple CarPlay
- Comes with the ability to add a reversing camera
- You cannot use Bluetooth and CarPlay at the same time
- Android is not supported at all with this one, only Apple works so clearly, it’s geared toward the iPhone
- Smaller touchscreen than the others we have spoken about
It allows you to harness the power of your smartphone in the dashboard of your car. What more could you ask for? Oh, Pioneer has also been the leading player in this industry for many years. So, you know you are getting the best of the best.
Shall we get into the key features? Great! We’re sure you won’t be able to get enough of them.
In our opinion, compatibility is the most amazing feature. Why? Because it can work with loads of apps on your cell phone. There is no need for a separate GPS unit with this one since you can just utilize Google or Apple Maps! Both will display on this head unit as full-color maps with straightforward route guidance.
Oh, and you can also plug your phone in for it to charge while you’re pootling along the road.
Inside this unit, you receive an amplifier that delivers the appropriate volume for the type of music you prefer. The 13-band equalizer then allows you to tweak the sound output to your liking.
- Easy to use your iPhone’s Siri function through the unit
- Comes with a one year warranty
- Supports all Android music functions
- Offers hands-free calling abilities
- Supports both Spotify and Pandora
- Even supports video
- Display multiple languages
- Allows you to control contacts, maps, and calendar apps
- Pretty expensive for its capabilities
- Many people have had trouble with the reliability of the Bluetooth connection
- There is a limit to the number of apps available on the head unit
This double DIN console gives you a load of features (the main ones we’ll get into a bit later) so you can bring your car into the modern-day. However, it should be noted that Android Auto can only be accessed through a USB cable connection. Unfortunately, the wireless connections are geared more towards the Apple market (which is fine if you have an iPhone of course).
Steering Wheel Controls
As long as you buy an extra little component, you can get away with never using the tiny physical buttons on the Pioneer AVH-2550NEX. How? Because you can hook everything up to your steering wheel and use the far more accessible buttons there. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!
7 Inch Touchscreen
You can expect a flawless, no-lag experience when you use the unit’s touchscreen. Other models can be slightly unresponsive, but not the AVH-2550NEX! Truly, this one is nothing but the best! Oh, and you can pick from 112 color options so you can ensure your dashboard suits your aesthetics.
- Comes with so many features dedicated to music and you can use all of them straight out of the box
- The colors are changeable, meaning you can match them to the look of your dashboard or the rest of your car’s interior
- The sound is very clean
- The sound is a lot louder than other models
- Some of the buttons are very small making it hard for someone people to use them properly
- It has a high-gloss finish which (in our opinion) makes it look pretty cheap
- People have said that this model can lag and become very unresponsive sometimes. This is more prominent when you are going on short journies
- The cooling fan is rather loud sometimes
The Winner — Pioneer
All things considered, we believe that Pioneer is the best brand to go with for your head unit. Of course, Alpine has amazing features but having looked at everything, Pioneer wins on all the big things.
For those of you who want a bit more of an explanation, the final section is for you.
Most of you guys will probably be looking for a higher quality sound system when you update your car’s head unit. Well, Pioneer is well in the lead for this. Their integrated amplifiers and bass settings are incredibly detailed, making for an all-around better listening experience.
Aside from that, it is much easier to utilize their controls. Nine times out of ten, there won’t be any small buttons on their consoles or you won’t need to use them. Why is this so great? Because there’s less chance of tiny components breaking or hitting the wrong button by accident while you’re driving.
Seriously, you cannot go wrong with Pioneer.