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Help me choose a headunit: Biggest flush fit in a Gen 2?

Discussion in 'Audio & Video' started by wi_taco, Feb 19, 2021.

  1. Feb 19, 2021 at 12:38 PM
    #1
    wi_taco

    wi_taco [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to yet another "do my homework for me" thread asking the all-knowing-all-seeing TacomaWorld hive mind for suggestions. OK in all seriousness I've done some homework but still not sure which direction to go so I'm hoping some experts here can help a brotha out. Need help finding which headunit I should go with before I spend $$$ and have to do it all over again later. Figure this might also help others to make decisions in the future - my pain has to be beneficial for something, right?

    UPDATE 2/23/21: I have made a decision to go with the Pioneer DMH-W4660NEX. Wasn't my original plan but seems to fit my needs best (also my OEM headunit is dying and I need something quick). Thanks to everyone for suggestions, my search is completed. Some photos on my build thread starting here until I maybe stop being lazy and do a write-up.

    [​IMG]

    Fairly long details below. Short Version: I'm looking for the largest flush-mount headunit that can fit in a Gen 2 that isn't a total heap of Chinesium crapola and doesn't need custom bezel fabrication.

    If not already scared off and running for the hills, follow me deeper into the rabbit hole...

    Requirements/Criteria:

    • Apple CarPlay. It's 2021 and it should have wireless CarPlay. Shouldn't require extra add-on modules or kludgy double-tap button hocus-pocus. This is non-negotiable.
    • Ability for a 2nd front-facing camera. Again non-negotiable.
    • Capacitive touch screen. Not even a little bit negotiable.
    • BIG SCREEN. At minimum it can't be smaller than my current OE 2015 6" screen. Ideally more like 7-10".
    • Flush mounting in dash. I really like the Alpine Halo 9 and Pioneer 8"+ units but I don't want it sticking out that far past the dash trim.
    • Reputable brand: Pioneer, Alpine, Kenwood, et al. Not very keen on the unknown brands that you find on Aliexpress and such. Dasaita/Seicane/Joying/etc that means you. I'm trying to keep an open mind here but it's hard. No Boss, Jensen, or JVC either as they trend to the lower end of features and not what I have in mind for this project.
    • Wiring: Right now I'm leaning towards a big-name headunit + Maestro RR for OE integration. I strongly prefer this type of install versus the Dasaita route of cutting/splicing/praying that I can make a bunch of generic modules work.

    Some Photo Examples Because Monkey Brain Like Pictures

    First up is the Dasaita/Seicane style Android based unit (photo credit @Naszero on this thread). No doubt these are by far the sleekest mounting setup with screen going all the way to the bezel and completely flush. I like this styling. I don't like the particular device (mostly I'm not a fan of the Android style kludgy integration). 99% sure I don't want to deal with some headaches this can give. Plus no front facing camera option from what I can tell.

    [​IMG]

    Next up is an example of a WC6600NEX using a modified Metra 5500 kit (photo credit @foolhardy on this thread). I'd rather not have to modify the bezel if at all possible but this is growing on me due to lack of alternate options. If I could pay more for a kit that didn't need modification it would have the edge over anything requiring mods.

    [​IMG]

    Here we have a DMH-C5500NEX using the proper Metra bezel and it looks great (photo credit @OverlAnderson on this thread). Some reports of possible reliability/early failures but the best looking integration. (Edit: removed part about it being end-of-life by Pioneer, it's still out there). If I could find something like this with my list of features I would buy it immediately.

    [​IMG]

    This is an example where it has a big screen and all the features but sticks out past the dashboard (photo credit @superman2481 on this thread). For several reasons I don't like these - makes it a theft target, takes up more room outside the dash, potential for accidental damage because I'm a big clumsy gorilla. These are a non-option for my project but I'm very tempted to go there anyways.

    [​IMG]

    This is an example of a W4500NEX which is representative of anything I can buy off the shelf from Crutchfield, BestBuy, or other places (photo credit @httuner on this thread). Certainly I could do worse, but I really really really do not like the extra wide bezel around the radio, and also how the unit sits inside the bezel. Screen is bigger than stock but takes up smaller area in dash/bezel and looks goofy to my extremely subjective nit-picky fashion senses. Please give suggestions and save me from this option. I don't really like it.

    [​IMG]

    If you made it all the way to the bottom congratulations and please help save me from further mental damage on this search. Fully expecting to be made fun of like the slow kid who eats glue and I'm not mad about it. Cheers!

    Edit 2/19: Some formatting and a few words.
    Edit 2/22: I'm making wireless CarPlay a mandatory option now.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2021
    dolbytone and OverlAnderson like this.
  2. Feb 19, 2021 at 1:25 PM
    #2
    ATXTacoGuy

    ATXTacoGuy Member

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    Subbed... looking to replace my h/u as well. My particualr bug-a-boo is wanting a semi-prominent volume/power knob.
     
    wi_taco [OP] likes this.
  3. Feb 19, 2021 at 4:39 PM
    #3
    OverlAnderson

    OverlAnderson A dude playing a dude disguised as another dude

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    stuff and things
    I’m curious to know what functional issues you found on the c5500NEX? I haven’t researched any head units since I installed this awhile back. For the record mine has worked great I love this unit!
     
  4. Feb 19, 2021 at 9:30 PM
    #4
    EricT

    EricT Well-Known Member

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    I just threw a Kenwood DDX9906XR in mine. Got a good deal as it's a 2019 model. It replaced a 10 year old kenwood DNX6960. Old unit sounded nice so I suffered with the sloooow. That unit was a turtle. The new one works so much better, night and day better really. I just recently upgraded to an iphone, so the wireless apple carplay is blowing my mind. Phone doesn't even need to leave my pocket. Really nice. Since it runs the apple maps too, no need for the garmin anymore like the old one. Also I really recommend, and believe with carplay you will need to retain the steering wheel controls so you can mash the voice button and demand siri play you some funk. I used the maestro RR with the TO1 harness. Hook that up to the OBD port and you get some really nice gauge readouts, individual tire pressures etc. It's pretty slick. A little extra work to figure that out but really worth it. The screen is amazing too, where I could barely see mine in any sort of reflection issue, this one is bright and nice.
    The maestro instructions do get into the weeds a little with their vague nonsense. If you get that and get stuck, message me.
     
    A Scamm and dolbytone like this.
  5. Feb 20, 2021 at 12:23 PM
    #5
    wi_taco

    wi_taco [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Well that's actually a very good question. I personally haven't found any issues, however going from reviews at multiple online retailers there are people saying the units failed very soon after install. I do IT work for a living so this isn't my first rodeo on the Internet, but it does seem (at least to me) there are a larger number of reviews than I would expect indicating early failures. That being said, I'm still weighing if I want to take the risk on the C55000NEX because it otherwise checks nearly all of my boxes.

    Thanks for the feedback. No question I like what the Kenwood headunits offer from a specifications standpoint but this thread is about the aesthetics of the dash bezel. In that category, all of the ~7" units like this are last place on the list for my own personal tastes.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2021
  6. Feb 20, 2021 at 4:18 PM
    #6
    EricT

    EricT Well-Known Member

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    So I was previously aware of oversized displays but the ones that sit forward of the unit, kenwood has a 10" trucker unit like that. But I had no idea there was bigger than double din out there. That is cool!
     
  7. Feb 20, 2021 at 5:36 PM
    #7
    busychild

    busychild Well-Known Member

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    TRD Exhaust, TRD Sport Short Shifter, Skid Plate, K&N Intake, Bakflip G2 Cover, Husky Liners, Falken Wildpeak ATW3. Alpine ILX-259, JL Stealthbox w 10TW3, JL XD600, 2x JL 650-x (front and rear doors), Subaru Kicker Tweeters, KMC XD Enduros 17x8, NFab Nerf Bar .
    I have the Alpine ILX-259 and wish I got the 309 instead. That unit has ability to support multiple cameras and even the accessory pack if you wanted to do software controls and it has The capability to display ODB2 information. Alpine just released a 10" one as well jus not quite the same capabilities as the 309.

    here is mine for reference and I have pretty big hands
     
  8. Feb 21, 2021 at 6:39 AM
    #8
    cgm

    cgm Well-Known Member

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  9. Feb 21, 2021 at 9:07 AM
    #9
    wi_taco

    wi_taco [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the feedback. This thread is about the aesthetics of the dash bezel for flushmount options. Since this is a floating/external type unit it doesn't meet my criteria.

    Thanks for the feedback. Regarding Android-based options I don't want to deal with some headaches this can give. Maybe it works for you, I am not going that route. (Edited: removed part about this not having native CarPlay, apparently it does. I still don't want to deal with these options but they unquestionably have the sleekest bezel integration)
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2021
  10. Feb 21, 2021 at 4:35 PM
    #10
    cgm

    cgm Well-Known Member

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    I understand your concerns about android if you are used to ios... I have always had an android so i am used to it, but next phone will be an iphone because of my kids. What are the issues with android-based devices and iphones? is it glitchy or is it jsut a glitchy ui/os?

    The big big question is can alpine, pioneer, etc. put a better ui on their devices than android? honestly, i'm not sure. Does Best Buy still have car audio? I wonder if they would stock any of the head units you are looking for to check how they work. I am going to have this truck for a while, so the option for wireless carplay is also a non-negotiable for me once i have my iphone.
     
  11. Feb 22, 2021 at 7:11 AM
    #11
    wi_taco

    wi_taco [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I do IT work by day. I have used every phone imaginable on the market. I am very comfortable with any & all operating systems. I 100% do not want to deal with an Android-based headunit. That's not even accounting for security factors - who is to say these particular units aren't "phoning home" and stealing your data? Far-fetched and I'm sure that sounds like I'm some kind of conspiracist nutter but trust me when I say those things are real concerns. Pioneer/Alpine/Kenwood/et al. probably haven't undergone any security audits either but I would feel much safer, given how large their market share is, those types of issues would be known by now.

    The other part is that I can't see one before I buy it. Don't like buying sight unseen even if I can view photos on this forum. Listings to purchase these headunits are sloppy and don't always have all the details.

    There is absolutely no question that UI on the Android headunits can be made more aesthetically pleasing than the big brand names. This isn't something I care much about because CarPlay looks the same no matter which one you choose.

    Funny you should mention that - I went to two different BestBuy stores yesterday to see what I could find. Not much in stock but I got to see a couple similar devices for a hands-on experience. I really don't want to spend the big bucks ($1000 yikes) but the Pioneer DMH-WT7600NEX might actually be an option if I can shoe-horn it back far enough into a 2nd gen so that it sits close to flush. They didn't have many Kenwoods but if I go that route it would be a DMX957XR based on specs ($800 on that one). I did get to play with a Pioneer DMH-W4600NEX which I didn't think I would like as much but frankly it might be the best option even though it is the smaller screen that I wanted to avoid (but at $600 it looks somewhat like a bargain compared to the others).

    One interesting result of my hands-on test: I absolutely want wireless CarPlay now. Any units that don't support it are dead to me including the DMH-C5500NEX that I was originally leaning towards.

    Decisions, decisions...
     
  12. Feb 22, 2021 at 6:01 PM
    #12
    cgm

    cgm Well-Known Member

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    good luck with your search, it sounds like you know your stuff... and we are looking for pretty much the same thing! please update this whenever you decide!
     
    wi_taco [OP] likes this.
  13. Feb 23, 2021 at 6:50 AM
    #13
    wi_taco

    wi_taco [OP] Well-Known Member

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    This whole search was supposed to be a long-term thing but apparently my OEM headunit decided it's the jealous type and last night started having errors. Think the universe gave me a sign to upgrade ASAP. Regardless, I think I have made the decision to go with the Pioneer DMH-W4660NEX.

    If anyone is interested, here is my logical thought progression. Maybe it will help you.
    • I started giving some thought to the Pioneer DMH-WT7600NEX which is a larger floating-style screen. Using the bezel on my 2015 it may be possible to recess it nearly flush but of all options this would take the most work to fit properly.
    • I then compared the WT7600NEX to the W4660NEX and feature sets are nearly identical. Main difference is larger screen with higher resolution. Side-by-side in a local BestBuy store confirms the screen is indeed superior.
    • Ultimately economics made my decision. The WT7600NEX is $1000 whereas the W4660NEX is $600. I can buy the W4660NEX and still have enough money to buy the blackout dash trim pieces.
    • I absolutely HATE the look of the Metra dash kits. The way they recess is super ugly to me. The Scosche TA2111B on the other hand is much nicer looking and solves one aesthetic problem I had.
    • I still don't like how large the bezel is around the stereo but I've had a discussion with myself and think I can live with it. Might modify it to add phone mount and other accessory mounts anyways. It'll work and I'm only slightly sad about it.
    • If I didn't have my own personal hang-ups about the Android unit and the security risks + kludgy integration, then no doubt that is the best current option for a goal like this. And the most cost effective.
    • My second choice would have been the Kenwood DMX957XR. It costs $200 more than the W4660NEX. I don't plan on doing crazy audio upgrades/tuning. For my goal it's not worth the extra cost.

    Interesting note for anyone still considering the newer Android device: Price on that sketchy looking CarTrimHome site is more expensive than AliExpress by about $100. I can't direct link it but search "tacoma android stereo 6g" and you should be able to find it. Look identical and specs are identical. Probably the same thing.

    Thanks to everyone for your suggestions!
     
  14. Feb 24, 2021 at 7:28 PM
    #14
    cgm

    cgm Well-Known Member

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    Sweet, looks like a great choice, and not really all that much more $ than the no-name android ones.

    What is your plan for integrating the steering wheel controls and back up camera? Are you going to use this? https://www.amazon.com/Maestro-ADS-MRR-Universal-Replacement-Interface/dp/B00E4W1644
     
    wi_taco [OP] likes this.
  15. Feb 24, 2021 at 7:36 PM
    #15
    wi_taco

    wi_taco [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thanks and I agree. Just ordered all the parts today. While the stereo itself is about $200 more than the Android units, integration/installation stuff will total about double (assuming the Android units are around $400 which seems to be the going rate). That being said, I personally feel the Pioneer will give better signal quality and reliability.

    Yes I will be using the Maestro RR for integration. I don't see any big threads on the W4660NEX here in the Audio sub-forum so will probably do a write-up on it once I install and make sure it's all working (will also be in my build thread at some point). Intention is to include a full parts list so that if people like it they can replicate my results.
     
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  16. Mar 26, 2021 at 11:55 AM
    #16
    dTed

    dTed Member

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    Looking forward to a full write-up. I think my screen is going bad on my OEM radio, so I'm starting the search for a replacement.
     
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  17. Mar 30, 2021 at 8:43 AM
    #17
    wi_taco

    wi_taco [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Going to be quite a while until I can do a write-up of any sorts. Still waiting on little miscellaneous parts but the pandemic making it hard to get some things. Added link in top post with a photo of how it currently looks and link back to my build thread if you want to see where I'm at right now. TLDR; is that the W4660NEX suits my needs quite well and so far I'm happy with it. Imagine you can't go wrong with the other headunits on the market from Kenwood, Alpine, etc.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2021
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