The double din car stereo has come a long way since they were first introduced, are continuing to evolve and add more functionality all the time. From the basics of listening to the radio, they have become much more than an entertainment system with many now offering the ability to use them as GPS navigators and connecting your phone to make calls with.
Not only do they have great screen real estate (usually around 6.5”-7.0") many of them are also touch screen, which makes it a lot simpler to control whilst driving. Compared to fiddling with nobs and dials, you just need to press an on-screen button or two to do the same thing.This extra screen size also allows us to see more information than is available on the older single din that can only display two or three lines of text, and often scrolls the information, meaning you have to look at the screen for longer. The double din car stereo on the other hand can give you the same, or more, information in a single glance, which allows us to focus on driving. Which is what I’m told I’m supposed to be focusing on.
The screen in most cases also allows us to watch movies and even play console games (providing the stereo comes with the right holes to plug it in). Whilst we shouldn’t watch movies while driving, it can provide entertainment for others in the car on long trips, and for the driver when sitting stationery in the car for periods (waiting for the other half while their shopping?).
If it comes with Bluetooth, chances are you’ll be able to connect your phone to make hands-free calls, which is especially handy with so many places making the use of phones while driving prohibited. The Bluetooth can also be used to connect mp3 players such as ipods so that you can control it with the stereo controls and play your music over the car entertainment system. Always check that the double din car stereo unit you’re interested in has the ability built-in if it’s important to you, and beware of manufacturers that say “Ready” as it might mean you can’t currently use that function but it may become available in the future. Also, check reviews of the product by other users as they may report problems with connecting certain gadgets to that system.
HD radio and Satellite radio are becoming more common and provide a better sound and better listening experience. The ability to listen to these are becoming more common and is worthwhile looking for in current models.
One of the things I use most often is the backup camera. There’s nothing more annoying than having a couple of big heads behind me blocking the view when trying to reverse park. Having the double din car stereo provide an unobstructed view of what’s behind has saved me part of my sanity (not much I admit, but still) and of course prevented quite a few bumps that would’ve happened without it.
The other thing I use constantly, even when going places I’ve been to a million times, is the GPS. The touch screen makes it is for me to explore the GPS interface and easily find what I’m looking for, and the screen size provides all the information I need, especially when that woman inside the box gives me strange instructions and I have to look at the screen to work out what she means (as a side note, my wife says I listen more to Ms. GPS than I do to her, which I probably do, but she usually has more interesting things to say). If available in your area, also enable the real-time traffic information function as it’s brilliant in helping to avoid hold-ups and jams.
I guess you could say I’m a double din car stereo junky, and I’m not going to deny it. But with what it can do for me, can you blame me?