ICE & HFT Double-Din Android head unit questions

Discussion in '7th Generation (2003-2008) [Acura TSX]' started by NottsBiker, Wednesday 1st Apr, 2015.

  1. NottsBiker Top Contributor ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

    Ben Nottingham
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    Hi All,

    We are off to France again this July for 2 weeks in Southern Brittany / Loire Atlantique and will be taking the folks and Taz n Bella in the boot.

    I've already picked up an XCarlink for the stereo to phone connection but forgot to get one with the optional bluetooth kit = doh!

    Last year we used our Samsung Galaxy 4's on the USB cable from the Nissan QuashQai (sp??) hire car which was 'ok' but only trickle charged the phone which after a 7 hour (slow) drive from Calais went flat 3 miles from our gite. Those 3 miles were of course in total darkness and on rural roads, which if everyone who's ever been to France will tell you were deserted. Lets just say that the ear ache was epic and I don't want to repeat this comedy again.

    I had planned on picking up a cheap sat nav and using it from the cigarette lighter socket / mounted to the screen to ensure a trusty GPS only based method of navigation. More recently I've spotted many different Android based double din head units along with additional mount kits which enable you to fit this unit into the lower 'cubby hole' in front of the gearstick. As I've got the Type-S with only the cd player headunit I thought this was a good upgrade but without fitting one of those garish Chinese units up top.

    What I'd like to find out is;

    1. Sensibly priced / reliable Android head unit reccomendations
    2. Did Honda make a mount kit / fascia and how much it costs (if poss)
    3. Will this fit inline with my existing head unit / work from the steering wheel
    4. Any way to get cheap internet in Europe

    Hopefully someone else has already done something similar (saw some USA installs online) or is also thinking about it. Its worth pointing out however that I want something that is pretty much plug and play and I don't want to be installing a tablet into my dash unless there is a kit to do so as I'm not a software programmer / custom ICE installer. I won't be using the XCarlink with this as I'm guessing it will become redundant.

    Thanks in advance - Ben
     
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  2. RogerH69 Premium Member Club Supporter

    South Africa Roger Oxford, UK
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    @NottsBiker - there are a lot of ways that you can go, and they all really start of with you deciding to what extent you want to use your phone in conjunction with your head unit, as well as what make and model phone you have. I see however that you have specified an Android head unit though.

    If you want a head unit that runs Android, then there are a few options out there, with vastly different price ranges. You could probably get a Chinese built 'no name' brand for about £150 to £250, but these will be slow, buggy and almost certainly have malware built into them. The only real quality Android based head unit you can get (to my knowledge) are -

    - Top of the range - Parrot Android Smart. Price for about £350 to £520. Everything except built in 3G / 4G
    - Mid range - Parrot Asteroid Tablet. Price is about £250. This is just a small tablet (5 inch screen) with a custom mount

    I personally do not like any of the Android based head units (even the Parrot ones), as they are usually one or 2 versions of Android behind, and Android DOES take a while to boot up, no matter what version it is, or what it is running on). If I HAD to use one, I would only go for the Parrot Asteroid Smart.

    If you look at my Type-S Civic, you'll see I've been through 2 different double din head units, and I am saving up for my next one, the Pioneer AVH-X8700BT. In my opinion, at the moment, this is THE one to get if you have an Android 5 phone, as it fully supports Android Auto. This will allow you to use apps that are on your phone, but view and control them using the head unit, using a simple, standard USB connection to the phone. It also supports full Bluetooth audio, and handsfree dialing. This unit also supports Apple CarPlay for those other people out there.

    Having extensively used my Nexus 5 phone, plus a USB Android stick with multiple Pioneer head units via AppRadio Mode, and then seeing Android Auto, I would definitely recommend going for a setup that supports Android Auto. Even if you can't use it now (if your phone is not Android 5+), you are future proofing yourself, as Android Auto and Apple Carplay are (in my opinion) here to stay, and most of the latest head units will support CarPlay and (thankfully) more are supporting Android Auto too.

    You can also go for single din options which will still have a touch screen, but the touch screen slides in and out of the unit. I don't think you can get an Android option in single din mode. The AVH-X7700BT from Pioneer isn't too bad, and has a 7 inch screen. You can get cheaper options with smaller screens / less features.

    I can't tell if any of these will fit your car, as you don't have an entry in the garage section.

    Most head units will work with steering wheel audio controls, as long as you get the correct stalk adapter and connector for the head unit you buy. You can also get fascias and mounting brackets for most cars.
    - - - Updated - - -
    1. Sensibly priced / reliable Android head unit reccomendations - Unfortunately, I don't think you'll get sensibly priced AND reliable Android head units. For reliable, and well supported, I'd go for one of the Parrot models
    2. Did Honda make a mount kit / fascia and how much it costs (if poss) - I doubt Honda would make them, but third party companies would. Cost depends on car, and double or single din, and with or without fascia.
    3. Will this fit inline with my existing head unit / work from the steering wheel - I would recommend replacing existing one. Parrot Asteroid Smart should work with steering wheel controls, but never used one, so not 100% sure
    4. Any way to get cheap internet in Europe - I would recommend getting an unlocked 3G Mifi unit, and then just getting a data SIM in Europe
    - - - Updated - - -
    I just saw this in the Parrot Asteroid Smart user guide -

     
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  3. SpeedyGee Administrator Staff Team

    England Speedy Birmingham
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    Spot on advice Roger :Thumbup:

    The cheaper ones just aren't worth considering, the usability of these units is absolutely appalling.
     
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  4. NottsBiker Top Contributor ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

    Ben Nottingham
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    I'm at work so my reply will have to be brief.

    Thanks for such a detailed reply = very helpful with lots to think about and consider.

    I've looked into the Parrot head units and do like the look of the integrated one which is currently retailing around the £370 mark coupled with a mount kit bringing the total install bill to approx £410. Honda did actually make a kit (lost part number at mo) but Lings website was not working (again) yesterday so I could not check if its available in the UK but at a guess HH could tell me quite easily over the phone.

    I've checked out dongles from 3 mobile as they have the ability to be used in France for no extra cost and my mum actually has one of those 3 mobile wifi hotspot 'pebbles' (white thing that looks like a pebble / bar of soap) so that would be my 'net taken care of abroad and back in the UK I'd use my 4G.

    We both still have Samsung Galaxy S4's - not sure if the Android Auto works on this model

    My car is 2003 2.4 Tourer Type-S

    Thanks - Ben
     
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  5. RogerH69 Premium Member Club Supporter

    South Africa Roger Oxford, UK
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    Android Auto will not work with an Android phone that does not have Android 5 (Lollipop) or later, so I don't think will work with the S4. If you go for the Parrot Asteroid Smart, you do not have to worry about what phone you have, as Android itself is on the Parrot head unit. You SHOULD be able to connect your S4 to it via bluetooth / USB.
     
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  6. richb87 Club Member ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

    United Kingdom richard rhyl
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    I would avoid the cheap Chinese ones if you can my mate had one and its slow and the firmware is buggy £150 not well spent! You can usually get a wiring harness/adapter to make your starring controls work with an aftermarket unit. But as for fitting a double din there are a few options out there best place to put it would probably be where the little cubard thing is above the ash tray
     
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  7. NottsBiker Top Contributor ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

    Ben Nottingham
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    Thanks

    I've tried to download android auto from Google play today but could not find it on there.

    I've got a year to go on my contract so won't be getting a new phone anytime soon :Frown:
     
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  8. RogerH69 Premium Member Club Supporter

    South Africa Roger Oxford, UK
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    Link for Android Auto

    Note it will not work if you do not have Android 5.0+ on your phone AND a compatible head unit.
     
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  9. NottsBiker Top Contributor ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

    Ben Nottingham
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    Thanks. Says not compatible with my device which probably explains why I couldn't find it when I was looking.
     
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