Pioneer's AVH-W4400NEX CarPlay compatible stereo

Review of Pioneer AVH-W4400NEX

If you are looking to buy a new car stereo and you have an iPhone or a phone running Android, you need to take a look at the Pioneer AVH-W4400NEX. Hands down the best feature of this stereo is the wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The ability to just get in the car and leave your phone in your pocket as CarPlay connects automatically, is amazing.

The AVH-W4400NEX and the AVIC-W8400NEX are currently the only two on the market that allow for wireless for both CarPlay and Android Auto. Alpine has had wireless CarPlay for sometime now but no wireless Android Auto. JVC/Kenwood has wireless Android Auto but for CarPlay you can only use a wired connection.

Over the years, I have found the car manufacture's infotainment systems to be poorly conceived and difficult to use. At the same time, 3rd party stereo units literally have too many flashing lights and on-screen information that they nearly send the user into a seizure. Thus, the outcry by the public in recent years for auto makers to have Apple CarPlay in their cars. Well, this unit by Pioneer has a nice balance of bells and whistles while still showing some restraint and not visually overloading you. In other words, it the ease of use, without eliminating features makes driving fun. And of course Apple CarPlay makes hands-free messaging, music and navigation a breeze.

Speaking of navigation, if you do not plan to use any of the "on phone" navigation apps, then the AVIC-W8400NEX, which has a built-in nav system is the one you should look at. However, if you do plan to use the navigation apps on your phone, and why wouldn't you, the 4400NEX is brilliant. On Apple CarPlay, you have the option of using Apple Maps, Waze or Google Maps. Apple does a nice job of providing some common visual characteristics on all three that keeps the Apple experience in tact. For example, when you have any of the nav apps routing you and you switch to another app like Podcasts, a floating alert will pop up notifying you of approaching turns. The popup visually has the Apple look. One thing that users should be aware of if they plan on using Waze is that while the posted speed limit is shown on screen, your current speed is not. There is some debate as to whether this is an oversight by Waze or a safety/liability issue being enforced by Apple. In any case, if you have Waze preferences set to alert you when you go over the speed limit, the phone will still beep to alert you. One other note about the navigation: The stereo comes with a GPS antenna that is optional but will offload the heavy lifting from he phone and help save some battery life.

The AVH-W4400NEX has a resistive screen that is actually very responsive and has great colors and brightness. In sunny, reflective situations, I found the screen to be very easy to read.

It comes with a microphone that gives you "Hey Siri" voice control. There is even a dedicated voice control button on the stereo in case you don't have one on your steering wheel. Oh and yes, you can retain steering wheel buttons when you purchase the iDataLink Maestro Interface Module. The quality of the microphone for phone conversations is great. It does not sound like you are in a tunnel.

Oh and I forgot to mention it plays video from CDs, DVDs, SD cards and USB memory devices. There is a safety feature that most modern units have that requires the car to be stopped and have the parking break engaged in order for the video features to work. Most people know of ways to bypass this and Google will affirm that. I will leave that decision to you and your ethics, although we recommend you do not use the bypass.

It is Sirius XM compatible. If you are not currently a subscriber but plan to be, I suggest you sign up and get your Sirius receiver before you install the Pioneer so you can install everything at one time.

There are so many other features of this unit that I just can't mention them all here. If you are thinking of buying a stereo for your car and Apple CarPlay or Android Auto are important to you, take a look at the AVH-W4400NEX by Pioneer. I highly recommend it. I also recommend buying it from Crutchfield. Their prices are competitive and their tech support is amazing! For those that are DIY kind of people and want to install it yourself, and you can, make sure you buy the ready harness service (US store only). They prewire the harnesses to match your particular car. It makes it almost plug and play. When I installed mine, I had some questions and their telephone tech support guy was amazing. It was like he was sitting in the car with me and answered every question.

I highly recommend this stereo for anyone looking for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. You will not be disappointed.