Having Android Auto or Carplay in a large floating touchscreen in your car? Awesome. Having to buy a new car that you can’t afford just for the infotainment? Not awesome. If you really want it, though, an aftermarket add-on like the Sony XAV-AX8000 In-Car Receiver will be your best recourse.
Designed to install in just a single DIN space, the receiver should be easy to integrate into a wide variety of cars. That way, it doesn’t matter what old, scruffy car you’re still driving – there’s a good chance you’ll be able to integrate this thing into the dash without any complicated modifications.
The Sony XAV-AX8000 consists of a receiver with an 8.9-inch screen out front, giving you a large and spacious display to look at maps, check messages, and queue up a playlist of listening material for your drive. Because it hovers over the dash using an adjustable mount, you can tweak the display’s depth, height, and tilt angle, allowing you to find the perfect position with just a few quick adjustments. The screen has an anti-glare coating, allowing you to easily see everything at a glance, so you can keep your eyes on the road. There’s no touch interaction, although labeled buttons at the bottom of the display allow you to easily interact with the menus.
It can run both Android Auto and Carplay, with built-in Bluetooth for pairing with up to two phones at a time. At a later point, it’s also supposed to get a software update to make it compatible with WebLink, an app-delivery platform that mirrors your smartphone screen to the receiver’s hovering display, so you can run apps that aren’t supported by either of the two in-car platforms from Google and Apple. That’s right, you can use the darn thing to watch YouTube videos that will absolutely distract you from the view of the road, so you, at least, get to blame your favorite YouTube creators the next time you get in an accident.
The Sony XAV-AX8000 has a built-in four-channel class-D amplifier that delivers 55 watts of power output, with integrated EXTRA BASS circuitry to help your speaker system reproduce clear, punchy sound at any volume level. Suffice to say, this will make your car speakers sound a whole lot better, whether you want to listen to music, a podcast, or a self-improvement audio book that’s so corny, it makes you cringe. We know, you can’t explain why you keep buying those things, either.
A built-in microphone allows you to issue voice commands to either Siri or Google Assistant, so you can get stuff done without having to look at the screen, with the same mic allowing you to take phone calls right from the display. It’s ready to take input from most rear view cameras, so you can use it to more closely watch whatever you’re backing into, while USB slots allow you to play media directly from thumb drives.
Want one? The Sony XAV-AX8000 comes out in December. Price is $599.99.