While choosing a flip-out head unit for your car, the first thing you need to focus on is compatibility.
You don’t want to purchase an expensive 2-DIN stereo head complete with Bluetooth and 10-band EQ support, only to find out that it won’t fit in your dash.
To give you an idea, most cars will easily accept a 1-DIN unit (measures 8” x 2” for the front panel).
You can fit a smaller stereo head inside a larger mounting bay with the help of aftermarket mounting kits, but you cannot fit a larger head unit inside a bay that is designed to accept a smaller size (you can, but it will require extensive modification).
Once you’ve decided which stereo head unit size you need for your car, you can go ahead and select the proper model for your needs based on features.
In this article, we shall focus on the flip out head units- these are almost always single DIN head units types and carry a slide-out hinged tray on the top to which a touch screen panel is mounted.
The touch screen car stereo panel can be anywhere from 5” to 7” in size, and you should make sure that the motorized mechanism is reliable and smooth before you purchase any type of flip out the head unit.
In terms of features, you’re going to need the following basics- Bluetooth, multi-band EQ support, hands-free calling and audio streaming, USB connectivity, AUX input, RCA preamp output.
Higher end models will offer better RMS power output per channel, along with more advanced EQ options, and subwoofer controls.
Make sure the head unit is compatible with both Android as well as Apple devices if you plan on syncing it with your phone. We have listed some of the top flip-out radios on the market right now, so let’s dig in.
Our Pick: Pioneer AVH-3300NEX 7″ Flip-Out Receiver with CarPlay and Android Auto
Smartphone-oriented head units have never favored users with single DIN dashboard openings, but with the brand-new Pioneer AVH-3300NEX, there’s something to smile about in the long run.
Besides fitting into a single-DIN opening, this car stereo delivers remarkable smartphone experience by bringing both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration platform to your dashboard, all thanks to a state-of-the-art and highly customizable interface that features a 7-inch Clear Resistive touchscreen.
The unit is specifically built for the modern smartphone driven user who thought they were out of luck because they don’t have double-DIN setup.
The AVH-3300NEX is compatible with all android phones and iPhone 5 or later. It comes with a microphone for hands-free calling and voice commands, plus a physical remote control.
At a 7-inch size, the screen gives a fairly sharp resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, with five distinct display colors, automatic dimming, and various splash screen options.
The touch-screen is fully responsive and is designed to let you fully exploit smartphone features like Google Now and Siri Eyes.
Apart from CarPlay and Android Auto, the AVH-3300NEX features Pioneer’s AppRadio Mode+ which gives you control of compatible smartphone apps straight from the touchscreen.
This works well with Pioneer’s free AppRadio gateway app as well as maps and calendar, among other functions. However, getting this to work will require a separate cable.
Users who’d like to use individual apps are also presented with controls for Pandora, Apple Music, and Spotify. Along with other apps, these can be used with the unit through Bluetooth.
Of course, there’s a built-in Bluetooth hands-free calling functionality featuring a Wideband Speech Hands-free Profile 1.6 that approaches FM-type sound quality.
What’s more, satellite radio enthusiasts and audiophiles will appreciate the Pioneer SXV300 Sirius XM tuner and the 192-kHz/21 bit playback capability, together with a CD/DVD drive that plays a wide range of digital files either from a disk or USB.
Finally, the AVH-3300NEX includes a detachable faceplate for theft protection, two auxiliary video inputs in the rear panel, a rear-view camera input, as well as a rear video monitor input. The whole interface is customizable to taste, and there is a variety of display choices to choose from.
What makes the Pioneer AVH-3300NEX striking as compared to other aftermarket radios is its CarPlay and Android Auto capability. On using the unit with my car, I relished seamless access to phone features, music, maps, messaging, and apps like TuneIn, Spotify, Stitcher, and iHeart Radio.
The menus were pretty easy to use and provided fast access to what I wanted. CarPlay was particularly cool with its audiobook and podcast interfaces, though I’d have preferred Pioneer’s own apps for Spotify and Pandora as they offer better graphics and more info compared to Apple. Nonetheless, CarPlay is superior when it comes to navigation since it adds a free feature via Apple Maps.
CarPlay and Android auto are not the only things I adored, however. I had the pleasure of using other functionalities like AppRadio Mode which provided me access to Waze for traffic and reminded me of an appointment in my calendar.
As I had expected, there wasn’t much room to fit many buttons on the faceplate but the ones included were useful. Once the faceplate motorizes, the majority of controls can be accessed from the screen and so there’s no need for extra buttons.
On the other hand, the fold-out screen can block some vehicle controls. Apart from that, the system matched up well with my car and aftermarket license camera.
I also liked the broad array of audio adjustments, including a delay function and a speaker level adjustment option that lets you fine-tune sound from each speaker, a cross-over for setting cutoff frequency, graphic EQs and presets, and the roll-off slope, not to forget, loudness and bass boost controls.
Runner-Up: PIONEER Flip Out AVH-X7800BT
The Pioneer AVH-X7800BT is our runner-up flip out radio pick for various reasons. It has one feature that you will not find on any other stereo head (except AVH-3300NEX) on this list, and that is a Dual-Bluetooth connection.
What it allows you to do, is connect two mobile phones or Bluetooth compatible devices to your car stereo at the same time.
This has multiple uses, for example- you can use your phone for hands-free calling while downloading a song or video from another phone or Bluetooth-compatible device such as an mp3 player, iPod, etc.
You can also connect two phones at the same time if you wish, and even receive or make calls simultaneously on both.
You can also connect two phones at the same time if you wish, and even receive or make calls simultaneously on both.
The faceplate is detachable and theft-resistant, while the high-quality 24-bit DAC pairs up finely with the powerful preamp unit inside to deliver audiophile grade experience through all 4 channels.
You can run your subwoofer off the RCA preamp output, and there are an advanced sub and EQ controls right on the main menu. It even supports Google Voice and Siri Eyes Free technology.
The 6” x 3” WVGA touchscreen features an 800 x 480 resistive panel and displays crisp colors, while the powerful NEX UI feels extremely smooth and responsive, and offers plenty of customization options.
So are there any cons in this seemingly flawless 1-DIN car stereo unit? Well, as a matter of fact, there are. Firstly, you need to check the depth of the mounting bay in your car since some older European models might not be able to fit this unit.
There are some AUX and RCA connectors on the back, and even though PIONEER added those over the rear end to reduce clutter on the front panel, it makes the mounting process a nightmare for some customers with older cars.
To make the installation process even more complicated, the main power/speaker connector cable is really short.
Bang For The Buck: Power Acoustik PTID-8920B
If you want a no-frills, reliable, reasonably priced 1-DIN flip out stereo head for your car, Power Acoustik PTID-8920Bmight just be the one you’re looking for.
It uses a high clarity 7” WVGA resistive touch panel which is not the best for watching movies on the go while driving your car (why would you ever want to do that?), but packs enough clarity for you to get a nice view of that tree or pole behind your car as you are trying to park in a tight space.
Yes, you can hook up this stereo head with your rear-view or parking camera.
It also packs a decent AM/FM combo radio, so you can listen to the local news and music channels in the morning on your way to the office, and you can use the subwoofer controls on the front panel to crank up the bass while going for a drive with your friends and family.
This flip out radio is compatible with both Android as well as Apple devices and comes with Bluetooth support for hands-free calling and audio streaming.
There are not a whole lot of cons in terms of actual hardware, but the software interface is somewhat lacking in terms of the options that it offers.
Not to mention the fact that you will experience a slight drop in bass when listening to music on Bluetooth.
On the Budget: BOSS AUDIO BV9982I
Don’t have a bucketful of cash to spend on the latest fancy flip out car stereo unit? Well, you can still get one of these- the BOSS AUDIO BV9982I packs plenty of features to keep you happy and comes at a reasonable price.
It delivers plenty of RMS wattage to drive even larger car speakers, and there are multiple I/O options such as- AUX, Bluetooth, CD/DVD, RCA, etc. You can control the subwoofer from the main menu and the EQ controller is pretty decent.
This unit can also be hooked up to your rear camera, and the detachable front panel is theft resistant. The motorized display seems responsive and durable, while the entire body of this unit feels well-built despite the cheap cost.
Installation can be a tedious process thanks to the unconventional power connectors and weirdly complicated instruction manual that takes hours to decipher for the average human being.
Also, the display resolution is sort of low, but still manageable. Other than that, there really are no major flaws in this device and once you get it installed, everything should work perfectly fine.
On the Budget: Soundstream VIR-7830B
The market is full of so-called “budget stereo heads” which are actually immensely cut-down models featuring cheap internal DAC units and low-quality Bluetooth modules.
Finding a good budget single DIN flip out head unit can be quite tedious. But Soundstream is a manufacturer that specializes in manufacturing low-cost car stereo solutions for the average middle-class consumer.
Their VIR-7830B packs a great motorized 7” touchscreen display, Bluetooth, CD/DVD player, and comes with USB as well as AUX and RCA ports.
The detachable faceplate prevents people from running away with your brand new car stereo, and the broad array of connectivity options means that you’ll be able to stream music/videos with ease while talking in hands-free mode.
There is one major issue with this unit, which appears to be a firmware bug rather than an actual hardware deficiency. You cannot navigate through the home screen menu or change any settings if your phone is connected to the head unit via Bluetooth.
With a USB connection, though, everything works fine and you can share folders between your phone and the SD card on this stereo unit without any issues at all. The sound quality is nothing great, but we would call it satisfactory for the price.
On the Budget: Pyle PLT85BTCM
The Pyle PLT85BTCM comes with all the expected features of a dependable unit. It is a single din sized receiver with a 7-inch retractable screen offering high definition with it 16:9 aspect ratio and 800 by 480-pixel resolution.
It comes with a number of features and technologies like anti-shock mechanism and electronic shock protection. It supports all popular file formats like Mp3, MP4, JPEG AVI and more while it is compatible with multiple types of discs from DVDs and VCDs to CD, CD-R, and CD-R/W.
You also get the Bluetooth compatibility with virtually all devices allowing for music streaming and hands-free calls.
The unit lacks a navigation system which is quite odd given that this is an almost standard feature in the medium to top range flip out radio units.
It, however, makes up for this with the backup camera set and the great attention to detail for the audio and video features including providing even Micro SD slots with a memory support size of up to 64GB.
The backup camera set is something to behold with its marine grade construction and the all-weather proofing with an IP67 rating. It offers high resolution at 420 TV lines and a 170 degrees wide angle view.
If you have a dependable GPS system and are looking for a robust well designed flip out head unit get this and enjoy the gift of a quality backup camera as an add-on.
Also Great: Jensen VX3012
The Jensen VX3012 is a single din multimedia stereo flip out unit with several in-built features.
It comes with a 7-inch retractable LCD TFT touchscreen that with a clear 800W x 480H resolution, an inbuilt Bluetooth system, DVD playback support, A2DP Music Playback for all smartphone devices, remote control and an equalizer to set the right tone.
It also comes with several expandability options including a front 3.5 mm aux input, a backup camera input, Rear video output and five channel rear preamp outputs.
You also get support for USB devices and the package is delivered with pretty much everything you will need for a straightforward installation process.
The best aspect of this unit is the control and flexibility it provides. From the audio front, you have a customizable equalizer with a 10 band tuning capability allowing you to set the most desirable tone.
You also get a wide choice of audio and video sources with the music streaming applications that are supported along with smartphone compatibility. The DVD allows you to convert the car into an entertainment zone and you can easily share the video with the backseat occupants by using the rear outputs.
The home screen leads to Spotify, SiriusXM, Pandora and iHeartRadio apps.
Further control is demonstrated by the hands-off Bluetooth pairing ability that allows you to get calls from your phone without touching it. Your hands are not required to move the steering wheel every now and then since this unit supports a steering control interface.
This is a useful safety feature which allows you to focus on the road while driving and still concentrate on the road ahead while still accessing major aspects of the unit.
The auxiliary features and the easy setup makes this one of the best models out there but you may find some issues with the visibility of the screen especially on sunny days.
However, if you are looking for a well-packaged bargain deal on a basic flip radio unit, this is one to consider.
Also Great: Pyle PL7ANDIN
This is another quality product from Pyle and comes with lots of features building upon the PLT85BTCM model.
It is an android car stereo receiver that has both Bluetooth connectivity and supports WiFi streaming and downloads. You also get a Full HD 7-inch TFT LCD screen with 1080 support featuring a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels.
You also get an advanced GPS navigation system that also features an integrated Google Maps navigation setup.
The Android OS version is 5.1 lollipop and a Quad Core processor powers the whole unit. It brings with it numerous apps and you can always download more on the go.
The audio is supremely enhanced and a customizable equalizer ensures you get the most from this setup. The design is solid and the installation is easy as is the norm of most Pyle units with all the components and wires provided.
The letdown for an otherwise boosted up stereo receiver is the lack of easy compatibility with Apple products. The GPS also only works when there is WiFi.
Top of the Line: Clarion NZ503 DVD Multimedia Receiver with Built-In Navigation
It is a multimedia receiver set featuring a 7-inch touchscreen and comes with an inbuilt navigation system. This allows you to have a large screen even in a single pin dash opening. The maps are comprehensive enough and cover US, Canada, and Puerto Rico.
Other major features include compatibility with HD radio tuners and Sirius XM tuning systems. It also comes with an in-built Parrot Bluetooth system and PANDORA internet radio capability.
The system packs a powerful amplifier with 19 watts RMS and can support up to four channels. There is a lot of flexibility and connectivity offered by this setup. You can play DVDs and CDs and still work with USB devices.
Connection to your front and rear speakers is enabled by rear USB input, a rear composite A/V input, a 3.5 mm aux front input and a rear camera input for any additional camera you would want to be added.
From the device, you get a rear AV output and 6-channel preamp outputs. The powerful amplifiers mean you get great and well-defined audio from the speakers.
iPod and iPad compatibility can be achieved using a Clarion adapter and a USB connection respectively.
The dual zone A/V output offers more balance and you can achieve more control with the 3 band equalizer that comes with 5 preset ranges.
The navigation system is filled with 15 million points of interest giving you suggestions for food gas and other service centers.
The only letdown with this is the quite basic interface which also has several approval points in its steps.