The Best Cheap Android Auto Head-Units of 2019

Android Auto is a hands-free way to use a smartphone in a vehicle.

Many new cars have Android Auto built into the "infotainment" system. Plug a smartphone into the dashboard with a USB cable and voila, you can make and take calls, send texts, stream music, talk with Google Assistant, use GPS-navigation apps like Waze and Google Maps, etc.

Android Auto Wireless is available on some Google-made phones (like the Nexus and Pixel), however, many other Android phones are able to connect wirelessly to Android Auto via the Google Play Services Public Beta Program. One day, this feature will be standard.

What if your car doesn't have Android Auto? You’ll need an Android Auto head unit (i.e. an aftermarket car stereo). Even the cheapest Android Auto head units are expensive. Be careful if you find an unknown brand at a bargain price: It's probably an in-dash Android tablet that does not support Android Auto. 

Here are the best-reviewed Android Auto head units that have sold for $350 or less in the last 12 months. Not all head units fit every vehicle's dashboard, so use Amazon's "Make Sure It Fits!" tool before you buy.


Good Price: $330 | Great Deal: $280

This JVC head unit works well and the touchscreen is responsive, according to several Best Buy customers. One reviewer says that screen glare makes this stereo difficult to operate during daytime hours.


Good Price: $400 | Great Deal: $350

This stereo looks and sounds great, according to several Best Buy customers. Many reviewers say the unit's buttons are small and awkward to navigate; a few had issues using their steering wheel controls.


Good Price: $400 | Great Deal: $350

Kenwood's Excelon sounds great and has an amazing screen (that is easy to see/use during the daytime), according to several Amazon customers. Reviewers had mixed results using Android Auto Wireless with Samsung phones. A few customers say Kenwood's apps and UI are dated.


Good Price: $350 | Great Deal: $240

This head unit works flawlessly with Android Auto's hands-free features and GPS, as well as Google Music, according to several Amazon customers. Some reviewers wish that the screen was brighter; others say the software seems outdated and in need of a firmware update.


Good Price: $340 | Great Deal: $296

This head unit is easy to install, has a responsive screen and sounds great, according to several Amazon customers. Many reviewers praise the unit's volume knob, voice controls and phone call clarity. As for negatives, some customers say the stereo boots slowly and has an annoying road-safety prompt.


Good Price: $218 | Great Deal: $209

The SA102 has a snappy screen, good reception (for FM radio and Bluetooth pairing) and sounds great, according to several Amazon customers. Some reviewers wish the screen was easier to see in the daytime; others say the head unit is hard to adjust while driving. A few had difficulties installing this head unit.


Good Price: $317 | Great Deal: $289

JVC's head unit sounds great and has a great graphic equalizer, according to several Amazon customers. A couple of reviewers caution that Waze (a maps app) must be used in Bluetooth mode, otherwise the head unit will not play music while the app is open. Another reviewer was frustrated by the stereo's auto-lock feature (for safe driving).


Good Price: $259 | Great Deal: $219

Boss Audio's head unit runs Android Auto quickly and without lag, according to several happy Amazon customers. Most reviewers found the head unit easy to install. Some reviews are critical, but the complaints don't fit a pattern or common theme.


Good Price: $332 | Great Deal: $327

Kenwood's Android Auto head unit is easy to install and sounds great, according to several Amazon customers. Some reviewers had issues getting the microphone to work for Bluetooth calls.



 

 
John DeFeo