Shopping help/questions


Sir millipede...
Jul 10, 2019
It's a long story, I'll highlight the questions further down in case anyone needs to skip...
We have a kenwood(I'd have to double check the model) in our van, original owner installed it. Gps, backup camera, etc... It was okay except the maps were out of date and cost money to update. I found that ridiculous considering how expensive the unit was. Anyway, it just quit the other week so now I'm stuck making decisions on a new unit.
I recently decided that I have FOMU(I hate acronyms actually) instead of FOMO... Fear Of Messing Up... HA
I'm a perfectionist, OCD, anxiety, things like that. Decision making is VERY difficult for me so I take days and days of being online ALL day comparing features, reviews, prices, etc... Drives me nuts, I hate it. But, I can't buy something I'm going to regret...
We're also poor so, I can't fully replace the kenwood we had... we need something cheap... Been looking at quite a few options. We started looking at things around $100 but quickly realized that, unless I opted for some REALLY off brand with no reviews, I wasn't going to get all the features I need. So I started looking at higher prices. My wife and I kind of considered going up to about $250 but I was looking at one model that was a little higher. I can probably push her to $300 if I NEED to... but, I'm not sure if I need to...
Some of my frustration now is knowing what does what as many models don't spell out EVERY feature or show enough pictures. Some of them, you can find more info in the questions... some, you cannot. That all adds to the maddening factor of the whole shopping experience...
So.... getting a little closer to the subject at hand...

I started REALLY leaning towards a couple sort of off brand Android units that have good reviews... like, decent reviews really. They had the gps built in(antenna and all), cables, connection for the backup camera, etc... looking like a good option. One thing that wasn't major but had me rethinking the decision I ALMOST made was that in the questions, the seller answered people about the backup camera saying it would not come on unless it was in reverse.
Our kenwood unit, we were able to hit a button(especially in GPS mode) and use the backup camera while driving. When my kids are watching a dvd in the back, I can't use the rear-view mirror... On a LONG trip from AR to MA they'd watch a lot of movies and, I would use that camera to see behind me to aid in judging the traffic for lane switching, etc... That was handy. Again, it's not a deal breaker unless I can figure out the other thing I'm really here to ask about...

There are some Pioneer models that are under $300 that look like MAYBE they'd work. Unlike the Androids, they don't have built in gps... but, some of them connect with your cell phone and you can use that gps.
AVH-1300NEX is one of several I'm looking at. Also looking at AVH-X390BS and AVH-600EX

At least one of them mentions apple carplay and not android... so, I'm assuming that my android wont be able to put gps up on the screen? My wife has an iPhone but we've never messed with anything like that before.
Some, I think, can connect with both.
Some of the images they use on amazon make it look like it has gps but, then somewhere in the fine print it's only if you buy some gps unit to connect to it that costs over $300 more. Might as well buy one with gps unit included... ha.

So I'm trying to figure out...
How the connection to the phone works. Anyone with experience with that sort of thing? Description makes it sound like it's REAL easy to just have the maps on your phone come up on the stereo. I don't want to make assumptions with that, I want to be SURE...
In case all the above was skipped over, I'm talking about the stereos that can use gps through your phone. Is it as simple as connecting the device?
2. Anyone know if the camera is accessible with any of such pioneer stereos, while in drive? Basically, if I can't do that at all with the touch of a button on the pioneers, I might as well get the android unit that has gps already built in.
3. Where's the easy button? HA I don't know anything about wiring but can follow directions quite well. I need a unit that plays CDs, has a stereo(of course), has an easy and cheap way to do GPS, and can use the backup camera on demand...
And wont break the bank... I've read that you can wire things differently on some of the units to get the backup camera to work whenever but... two issues with that. It needs to be at the touch of a button or something, and, I STILL want it to come on when in reverse. Is that possible??? This last question(s) is just in case pioneer stereos don't have a button to see the camera on demand... and then I decide between the pioneer relying on a cell phone or the android with built in gps.
Wow... way too many questions and thoughts there but, this is how my mind works... I have to get this right or I'm going to go crazy.
Once in a while I'll come across a unit that looks like it might do all I want but then, it is cheap and has REALLY bad reviews.
I think one of the android units had ports for two different cameras... backup camera being in reverse only and a front facing camera I'm guessing would be accessible at the touch of a button. Perhaps someone could wire the one backup camera into both ports, somehow???
Oh so many thoughts... Days... literally days trying to find JUST the right thing... with every purchase I make it seems. ugh.
Thanks for reading, if you got this far.

Tonight I'm going to pull out the old radio just to make sure something didn't come loose or something. We've been in the van for just about 2 years and it suddenly just quit... Power still gets to it, no bad fuses or anything... No screen, no sound, can't eject the cd that's in it... but we know power is getting to it. meh...
(side note/question: someone explain to me why these "fancy" radios are so, well not simple? Difficult to go through settings... and, the time... if the radio is off, you don't know what time it is. Such a big computer in a car that needs to be on just to see what time it is... or us the backup camera... meh)
Last edited:

audiobaun Veteran
Jun 28, 2011
Have you tried the RESET button on the Radio yet to see if that works before purchasing a new one?Id try that first to see if it goes back to default and place your settings back to your standards/likings


Sir millipede...
Jul 10, 2019
Thanks for the reply. Given the amount of posts with no responses in this section I was starting to worry. I tried another site and now a FB group and so far I'm not getting all the answers I want, but I'm figuring a few things out. I'll get to your reply in a moment.
My biggest question at the moment is with some of the Pioneer radios, they claim you need THEIR lightning to usb cord for the connection to work properly between your phone and the radio. I'm just not sure how their cord is going to be different from any other one.

Yeah, my wife searched on her phone about the radio and got her hopes up. Something said that if the screen doesn't work to hit this button and if it still doesn't work, well that just means something can be soldered and then it will work. I had to explain to her it wasn't the screen that was not working... it's the whole unit.
I've tried several buttons... not responding the same way now but the other day when we did that, the little triangle would turn red which helped us know power was getting to the unit. But, that's all. No sound, no internal sounds, nothing on the screen... have checked fuses, not that I suspected them given power is still reaching the unit. And today I even pulled it all out, checked all the cords, checked the fuse that's attached to the radio... I even opened it to peek inside(I'll have to do that again to remove the CD that's stuck in there)
I can't figure out what happened to it. Sure would be the cheapest/easiest thing if I could do something to get it working. It's just dead from what I can tell. No response at all.

Another question I have is less important but... how in the world do you store all those wires? I pulled everything out and apart and trying to get the radio back in for the time being... wow, everything is in the way and you can't see or feel back there to assist. It's in there a little crooked at the moment but I'm not too worried about that for now. ha.

So, I'm not sort of going back and forth(still I suppose) between the android unit and one of the pioneer ones.
I discovered that, according to the manual, some of the pioneer ones do allow the rear view camera to work while in drive... though the image may not be as full. Not sure what that would look like or how I feel about it but that's one question answered for me. Another possibility for either option is to have a second camera on the back... might be silly but then one would be for backing up and the other would be for any time. This would work with the pioneers and at least one of the androids is setup for a front and a back camera so one should be accessible on demand.
So I have to figure out what I want to do there, which works/sounds better to me AND figure out if I REALLY need to buy a cable or two specifically for connecting the phone to their radio.
I go back and forth because both options sound okay. I don't like the idea of having to rely on the phone being connected to the pioneer to get gps capabilities... and the android units I'm looking at come with fully functioning gps... But then the use of the backup camera on the pioneer might be easier.
Back to decisions decisions. I want to lean towards the android because you can install apps and I think I'd enjoy the features... but the pioneer is, well, it's a Pioneer that is a reliable brand compared to the somewhat generic Android brands I'm looking at... they have decent reviews but I don't know much about the companies.
back and forth.... back and forth...
I am getting closer though so that's good. :)

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