Skip Navigation

An early look at the Alpine Halo9 iLX-F309 multimedia receiver

Go big in your dash with a 9" floating screen

In a nutshell: Below is my review of Alpine's exciting new iLX-F309 multimedia receiver. It features a 9" touchscreen display that "floats" in front of the dash and fits in most single-DIN dash openings. It's a big and bold way to get the benefits of a finger-friendly receiver in many vehicles where it wasn't possible before.

Even though it wasn't going to be on the streets until February, Alpine let me get hands-on with their brand-new iLX-F309 touchscreen receiver for a couple of days after Christmas. This sneak preview had me pretty excited, as I got to try out a 9" touchscreen stereo designed to work with most single-DIN (2" tall) dash openings. It presents a welcome new option for many drivers who would ordinarily be shut out of a big-screen, in-dash experience without major modification to their vehicle. 

iLX-F309 in dash

Alpine's iLX-F309 receiver looks cozy in the dash of my 2004 Nissan Sentra.

Float into the future with the Alpine Halo9

The iLX-F309 receiver features a “floating” screen design, which puts the adjustable 9" display in front of the dash itself, connected to a “brain” which goes in the dash's 2" opening. Alpine solved the issue of climate controls and other important dash functions by offering five vertical mounting positions for the screen. And the articulating mount also let me move the angle of the screen forward and backward, so I could get the best view from the driver's seat. It looks way cool and is easy to operate with fingertip, touchscreen control, and a few dedicated buttons along the bottom of the bezel.

Lots of car stereo features and room to expand

One thing that really struck me when unboxing the iLX-F309 is how much stuff's included. Alpine really thought this through by including way more than just the standard car harnesses and USB pigtail. There's a microphone for using the Apple CarPlay™ or Android Auto™ voice functions. A GPS antenna maintains accuracy when trying to use navigation through the phone.

Alpine doesn't include a rear-view camera, but there is a dedicated harness in case you want to add one. And it's compatible with the iDatalink Maestro interface module, which will retain a lot of your factory stereo's functions. There's even a cable-management system for the stereo's rear HDMI input to keep your phone cord from getting mangled. 

How it installs

The stereo ships in two parts: the chassis/brain and the 9" screen with the attached mount. The chassis goes into the dash opening and should fit in most vehicles easily since there's no disc player involved.

To install it in my dash, I had to first figure out how the screen would accommodate my Nissan Sentra's climate controls and vents. I eyed how the screen would look against my dash and determined the proper vertical slot on the mounting apparatus. My dash is not angled so I didn't have to worry much about adjusting the screen forward or backward. 

I then attached the mount to the chassis with screws and the screen to the proper vertical slot with more screws. Once everything was installed with my existing dash kit (from my previous aftermarket stereo), it felt solid, like it couldn't just fall off if I hit a speed bump.

Alpine iLX-F309 receiver

The iLX-F309’s articulating display can be adjusted forward or backward to get the best possible view from the driver’s seat. The adjustable 9" screen can also be moved several inches vertically.

Inspired Alpine design

I talked to Alpine ahead of getting my hands on the stereo, and they told me, “It’s certainly different, especially in the after­market radio world. But when installed, the look of it on the dash should not be unfamiliar — it looks right.”

After installing it in my Sentra, I agree. It’s eye-catching, but not distracting. Alpine also told me that the receiver works best in ISO-DIN applications, which use screws to secure the it in place in the dash opening, for stability. When shopping with Crutchfield, our website will tell you if the iLX-F309 is a good fit for your car.

Alpine iLX-F309 receiver

Securing the iLX-F309 in the dash requires screwing the display into the chassis.

One small hitch

Since I was given an advance preview of the iLX-F309, there were a couple of issues along the way. I wasn't able to maintain a continuous power connection between the chassis and screen after I installed it into my Sentra, which was due to an error on my part. I have to emphasize that this error was due to my misreading of the installation instructions. But since I was on a deadline, I didn't have time to remove and re-install the stereo in my Sentra. However, I was able to bench-test it with a battery and it worked just fine.

Bench testing the iLX-F309

It's not quite the same as trying it in the car, but at least I was able to get a feel for how the stereo's interface worked. The main menu's not flashy, but it does give easy access to sources and functions. Like most of Alpine's capacitive touchscreen stereos, swiping through the interface is a cinch, even for my big dumb fingers. 

Dominic at his desk

Apple CarPlay

I don't have an Android™ phone, but my iPhone® 6S is always ready to help me test out a new receiver with Apple CarPlay. The iLX-F309 does quite well on this front, with the large screen giving me a great look at the phone icons. There's a dedicated microphone button along the receiver's bottom bezel for activating Siri® voice commands, and of course I can touch on the left-hand side of the display to go home or to access recently used functions — it's easy to switch between Maps, Podcasts, Music, and so forth. 

Alpine iLX-F309 receiver

Apple CarPlay compatibility lets me do all sorts of cool things on the iLX-F309's gigantic screen, including thumb up/down on songs via Pandora and learning about developing traffic jams near the office.

More fun and functionality

There's a "favorites" button along the receiver's bezel, so I can make shortcuts to preferred stuff like radio stations, destinations, and phone numbers and get to them quickly. I didn't get to play with the built-in HD Radio™ tuner or optional SiriusXM satellite radio (the tuner must be purchased separately) but it's nice to know they're there. After I disconnected my iPhone I plugged in a thumb drive with FLAC audio files and was pleased to see the stereo could play them. It can also run select video files from a thumb drive, but only when the emergency brake is engaged.

Sound sorcery — easy audio adjustments

Even though I couldn't listen to the Alpine Halo9 in my car, I was able to check out the handy sonic setting screens while bench testing. There are numerous adjustments which could be made easily with my fingertip, including time correction and crossover points. And the stereo's also supposed to be compatible with Alpine's TuneIt app, but I couldn't make it work. Again, I was dealing with a time crunch so I assume this would've been taken care of eventually.

A couple of things I would change

The iLX-F309 is a great way to introduce owners of older cars stuck with a single-DIN dash opening to the wonders of big-screen convenience. It has a lot going for it, although the fact that it's two separate pieces might be a turn-off for some.

One thing that I would add is a knob for quick volume adjustments, but I can understand why it's not there. I'd also add a second USB input, so one wouldn't have to stop to switch between smartphone use and a thumb drive. And certainly a detachable face would go a long way to easing security concerns, but it's tough to see how that'd be practical with such an involved piece of gear.

Give the Alpine Halo9 a go in your dash

We're expecting the iLX-F309 to arrive in February, so check this space for a pre-order link. We know it'll be tough to say if you'll be fully pleased with such a large screen in your dash, especially if it might cover up vents or climate controls. That's why we offer a 60-day total satisfaction guarantee. Be sure to check our vehicle selector to see if will fit your car first, and if the stereo's still not right for you, just return it in like-new condition for your money back.

Personalized advice from our team of experts

Have questions about this receiver or any other touchscreen options for your vehicle? Our expert Advisors know what's up. Call, email, or chat with us today. And free lifetime tech support is included with every Crutchfield purchase.
 

Last updated 8/6/2018
  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/16/2018

    Jose, this head unit has one camera input, but I've passed your question along to Advisors. Someone will contact you soon to help find a solution for your Pilot.

  • jose from glendale

    Posted on 5/15/2018

    how many cameras does this radio take? I have a 2016 honda pilot but I have a back up camera and a pasenger side camera that I really like, would I still be able to input both cameras to this unit? Thanks in advance.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/4/2018

    Sorry, John. The iLX-F309 is one (inseparable) unit.

  • john

    Posted on 5/2/2018

    Can you mount the brain somewhere else separate from the screen and run a cable from the brain to the screen? My vehicle does not have much room behind the dash and I want to flush mount the screen

  • Nick Smolenski from Maybrook

    Posted on 4/27/2018

    Do you happen to know the max brightness of this screen in bits or cd/m? Some expensive headunits still have rather dim ~200nits displays that can be a little dim when out driving in daylight. The brightness isn't listed on their product page or in the manual.

    Dominic DeVito from Crutchfield on 6/8/2018
    Hi Nick - Thanks for your question and apologies for the delayed response. I passed it along to Alpine, and here is their reply: The average brightness rating on Halo9 is 480 nits. Obviously, this can change based on the dimmer setting. Hope this helps!
  • Percy Von Winning from Salinas

    Posted on 4/12/2018

    Really doesn't matter what it will do or cant do. A 9" screen sitting out in the open like that is asking to be stolen. They should have thought of a retractable screen like the duel sound stream unit.

  • Dominic DeVito from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/26/2018

    Hi James - We hear you on some of the limitations of this particular receiver. And we do let our vendors know when our customers express dissatisfaction with their products, so they can hopefully make future improvements. One way you can provide direct feedback to Alpine is to visit their Facebook page and leave a comment there - they have an active social media team and may be able to address your concerns quickly. Otherwise, Alpine's "Contact Us" page may also provide an avenue for you to make your voice heard.

  • Dominic DeVito from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/26/2018

    Hi Bill - Having the Android Auto app on your phone won't affect its ability to play video from your phone. What you will need is an MHL-compatible phone and the proper cables. From the "Details" tab on the product page: "Android Connectivity: Use Alpine's KCU-610MH HDMI cable kit (sold separately) to connect your MHL-compatible Android smartphone. Check here for a list of compatible MHL-enabled Android phones. The Samsung Galaxy S3/S4/S5 and Note II/III/IV requires an additional 3rd party MHL microUSB 5-pin to 11-pin adapter (sold separately). Newer Samsung Galaxy and Note smartphones do not support MHL. Some Android smartphones will require a MHL conversion adapter (sold separately). The HDMI connector provides audio/video playback, while the USB connection charges the battery of your Android smartphone." One of our Advisors will be happy to help you out if you need further assistance.

  • Dominic DeVito from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/26/2018

    Hi Rudedog - According to our in-house measurements, the Halo9's chassis measures 7.025" wide, 6.575" deep, and 1.985" tall. And the "Details" tab on our product page says: "The screen can be positioned 0.75" (20mm) deep from the default position to be closer to the dash, and higher or lower up to 1.1875" (30mm) from the default position to adjust for height in the dash. The screen position must be adjusted prior to installation. It cannot be adjusted while installed in the dash." If you have any further questions about the Halo9, feel free to contact one of our Advisors via email, chat, or phone.

  • James

    Posted on 3/25/2018

    It's a disappointment that Alpine quickly put this product into production without thinking about a few things. One, having more than one USB is a must. Not sure why they didn't have 2 or 3 USB. Two, this unit doesn't have video out put for headrest monitor. Why Alpine decided to do this is beyond me. Alpine shouldn't break away from the normal just to please the customers with the selling point of the 9 inch screen rather than having all the normal things on the deck. Think the Alpine folks out to put a much thought of having the normal things on a deck rather then not having them, trying to have a selling point only to get negative comments.

  • Bill Rogers from Dayton

    Posted on 3/25/2018

    Can the halo9 play video from Android phone if Android auto app is installed ? I know it can play audio.

  • Rudedog from Hunter

    Posted on 3/25/2018

    I know the screen is 9 inches. But what are the measurements of the halo?and how far is the back side od the halo to the single din unit?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/26/2018

    Josh, we received a pre-production model. Until our Product Research team can database a production model, we can tell you for sure that the diagonal screen measurement is 9". To account for a variety of dashes, the screen can be positioned around 0.78" deep from the default position to be closer to the dash, and higher or lower up to 2.36" from the default position to adjust for height in the dash. Additionally, you can angle the screen forward and back into fixed positions.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/26/2018

    Curtis, we didn't, but you can watch a video of JR checking the head unit out at CES 2018 on our product page.

  • Curtis Malcolm from North Babylon

    Posted on 2/25/2018

    Did you by chance take a video of this test fit?

  • Josh from Muskegon

    Posted on 2/23/2018

    What are the outside dimensions of the screen

  • Dominic DeVito from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/21/2018

    Hi Jason - The microphone is an external one. Based on customer reviews of other Alpine receivers with an external microphone, there don't seem to be many complaints about the sound quality. One of our Advisors or Tech Support staff might be able to help with placement options in your particular vehicle for the best results.

  • Jason from Colorado Springs

    Posted on 2/20/2018

    Where is the microphone for this unit? Is it built in Tom the bezel or is the expectation that an external mic routed somewhere in the car is the only method? I don't want to route another microphone that is subpar in comparison to a built-in mic on the bezel. Thanks!

  • Dominic DeVito from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/19/2018

    Hi Lalith - Until we get these receivers in stock and can database them properly, we're still not 100% sure how they'd fit in most vehicles. Alpine assures us they'll work in most single-DIN (2" tall dash opening) applications. Give one of our Advisors a call, chat with us online, or send us an email and they'll be able to help you with your fitment questions and recommend the proper dash kit for your Honda.

  • Dominic DeVito from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/19/2018

    Hi Josh - Our apologies for not covering as many aspects of this exciting new stereo as we would have liked. We were working within a pretty tight deadline due to this being one of the few pre-production models available at the time. Alpine was kind enough to loan it to us but they needed it back pretty quickly. We spent the better part of an afternoon installing it into the Sentra but were unable to get it to stay powered on for more than a few minutes (which was our fault, not the fault of the receiver). Unfortunately, we don't have too many photos of the installation. To answer your questions: there is no wireless Android Auto support for the iLX-F309 - but it's available wired, just like most aftermarket receivers available have right now. And there is no built-in or add-on navigation - it would be available through either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

  • Lalith Vaka from san ramon

    Posted on 2/18/2018

    Hi Dominic, will this work with my 2012 Honda Odyssey(with out navigation)? Where would it fit on the dash?

  • Josh from Havre de Grace

    Posted on 2/18/2018

    I'm disappointed you didn't test it with an Android phone since that's what half of your customers use including myself. Also disappointing you didn't get the sound working in your car which makes a car stereo review kind of pointless. Did you take photos during the install? Is wireless android auto supported? Does it have built-in navigation or an add-on option?

  • Dominic DeVito from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/15/2018

    Hi Will - Unfortunately, the iLX-F309 does not have any video outputs, so while you'll be able to take advantage of video from DVDs on the receiver's screen if you pair it with the Alpine DVE-5300 DVD player, you won't have any way to send the video signal to your backseat entertainment system. There are some other double-DIN options available which offer a disc player, video outputs, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility that should fit your Escalade, and one of our Advisors will be happy to walk you through them if you call, chat, or email us.

  • Will from MKE from Milwaukee

    Posted on 2/15/2018

    I have a 2013 Cadillac Escalade which all kits point to a double din mount. I also have a stock rear seat entertainment screen that plays DVDs from the factory radio. If I combine the Alpine DVD player with this can I still maintain the functionality of my rear seat entertainment screen?

  • Dominic DeVito from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/14/2018

    Hi Nick - I reached out to Alpine and they said it does not have flexible outputs. However, they did recommend checking out the new PXE-0850S wireless digital processor which is coming out soon; it may suit your needs.

  • Dominic DeVito from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/14/2018

    Hi Mark - To answer your question, there's no quick release or equivalent for the Alpine Halo9 screen (it's held in place by at least 8 screws). If you're still thinking about picking up this stereo, an Advisor can help you with car alarms or other options for keeping it safe. Give us a call, chat, or email us and we'll get you squared away.

  • Nick from Chicago

    Posted on 2/14/2018

    Are the preamp outputs flexible? Switching from front/rear/sub to High/Mid/Low?. Audiophiles who run active are waiting eagerly for an answer on this...

  • Mark Belanger

    Posted on 2/13/2018

    What are the security options for the Alpine Halo9? Seems like a floating 9-inch screen would be begging for a break-in. Any chance the display has a quick release or equivalent?

  • Dominic DeVito from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/9/2018

    Hi Nathan - This unit has 3 pairs of 4-volt preamp outputs (front/rear/sub). I'm sorry if that's not clear from either this review or the product page.

  • Nathan

    Posted on 2/9/2018

    Why does it not have pre-amp outs? How would you attach a amp with this head unit in a vehicle?

  • Dominic DeVito from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/8/2018

    Hi Keevan: While we have some preliminary information on the iLX-F309, we're still waiting on a production model from Alpine to arrive so we can inspect it and get all the measurements we use to determine fitment in different vehicles. Alpine have assured us it will fit in most dashes, but they did mention that it seemed to be more stable when used in an ISO-DIN application with screws on the side of the receiver to help hold it in place, so that will be a consideration. Once we've got them in stock and properly databased, one of our Advisors can help figure out your options, including dash kit possibilities to accommodate a single-DIN radio. If you don't want to wait, feel free to call/chat/email an Advisor now about what issues you might run into with the info we have available right now.

  • Keevan from CANTON

    Posted on 2/8/2018

    Will this fit in an FJ Cruiser? It doesn't appear to have double DIN mount, can it be achieved with a spacer?


* Required field.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by our moderators. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Great Gear Giveaway

THE

GREAT GEAR GIVEAWAY

Ask an expert advisor

No pressure, no commission — just lots of good advice from our highly trained staff.

Find what fits your vehicle

 
 
 
 

Can't find your exact vehicle?

Featured Products