The advantages of having a touchscreen receiver in your car
Safety and convenience at your fingertips
I've written about car audio and navigation at Crutchfield since 2006. During that time, I've driven to a lot of concerts in many different cities, so portable navigators have come in quite handy. I've also worked at several record stores and volunteered as a DJ at a community radio station, so I've applied the lessons of listening to music from several sources and in various environments to my own evaluations and writing.
More from Dominic DeVito
Why put a large-screen receiver in your dash? Fantastic looks are a great starting point, but there’s so much more you can get from a double-sized stereo. You can see all the information you need at a single glance, making it easier to keep your eyes on the road. You’ll also have expansion options like navigation and a rear-view camera available to you in the future.
Add a rear-view camera for safety
A rear-view or backup camera can help make your double-sized stereo a valuable tool against accidents, because you never know what you’ll see behind you — a pet, a tricycle rider, or even Bigfoot (he’s really shy). Its wide field of view offers a whole lot more of what’s behind you than using your mirror, and you won’t have to turn your head.
Alpine HCE-C305R rear-view camera
Get alerts for sudden dangers
Alpine’s HCE-C305R camera with Active View offers an added degree of safety over ordinary cameras: alerts for moving objects behind and to the sides of your vehicle. You’ll see the items outlined and tracked as they move across your screen, and hear audible alerts that increase in frequency as threats get closer to your vehicle. Four different viewing modes ensure you’ll have all the angles covered. Plus, it's a universal fit—it works with any brand of aftermarket receiver with a camera input.
Nice big display
With a large screen acting as your receiver's display, it's a whole lot easier to read than the 2- or 3-line displays of typical car receivers. You'll enjoy being able to read more information about what you're listening to. Bigger icons, split-screen capability, and more screen real estate add up to a satisfying car audio experience. You'll be able to keep your eyes on the road a whole lot better if you're not squinting at your display, or waiting for the info to scroll by. In fact, everything you do with your receiver is easier when you have a large, touchscreen interface. Here are some examples of how these receivers can make your drive much easier.
Bluetooth lets you enjoy hands-free conversation using your compatible phone. You’ll be able to see caller information instantly with a big screen in your dash, so you can keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. Some receivers also allow audio streaming from phones.
Get a better map view than phones or most portable navigators can deliver. And if your receiver doesn’t feature built-in navigation, you might be able to add guidance with an outboard unit, or connect to an iPhone app like MotionX-GPS Drive that works over 3G signals.
User-friendly HD Radio™
HD Radio broadcasts sound great, and a double-sized receiver provides way more info than a regular stereo. You’ll see album art and station logos from select broadcasters, plus song, artist and album info. And you can tag songs for later purchase from iTunes® right on the radio.
Convenient stereo controls
One of the main advantages of any big-screen receiver is the ease of going through the menus. Whether you’re looking for a song on your iPod, a favorite satellite radio station, or the EQ settings, a big, colorful touchscreen makes finding functions intuitive and simple.
If you're toting your family around, the "dual-zone" capability that some receivers offer lets you separate the rear-seat entertainment from the front. Your backseat passengers can listen to their tunes or watch movies on a second monitor, while you listen to the ballgame up front.
Worth a look
When you're shopping for a car stereo, consider the benefits of getting a touchscreen, navigation receiver. And if you don't need built-in navigation, DVD receivers and digital media receivers are less-expensive options. Regardless of which you choose, the elegance of touchscreen control makes them easy and fun to use.
Use our handy vehicle selector tool to see which stereos will fit your vehicle.