Pioneer NEX 8100 CarPlay

Pioneer’s second generation NEX series of in-dash receivers with CarPlay support are now available through authorized retail channels, the company announced today. Apple’s CarPlay feature made its aftermarket debut last fall through a firmware update to several models of Pioneer’s first-gen NEX head units, and the improved models are the first from Pioneer to be designed with CarPlay support (and Android Auto) from day one.

Pioneer first unveiled the second-gen NEX head units at CES 2015 in January. The new in-dash receivers still carry a heft price tag with models starting at $700 for a 7-inch WVGA resistive touchscreen display ranging up to $1400 for the much preferred capacitive version.

The cheapest way to add CarPlay to your car without waiting to buy a new vehicle with support included is still Pioneer’s AppRadio4 head unit, which features a 6.2 capacitive touchscreen with CarPlay integration for as low as $449 (reg. $600). The new models are available at retailers that carry Pioneer equipment including Best Buy, and the first-gen units will likely be spotted for less than their original asking price.

The Pioneer AVIC-8100NEX ($1,400 SRP), AVIC-7100NEX ($1,200 SRP), AVIC-6100NEX ($900 SRP), AVIC-5100NEX($750 SRP) and AVH-4100NEX ($700 SRP) are currently available at authorized Pioneer retailers across the U.S.

The new models do tout improved touch sensitivity and brighter displays with improved color vibrancy. You’ll also get the ability to use Android Auto, Google’s approach to CarPlay, if you decide to switch platforms and pick a model that supports both. If you’re not in a rush to jump into the CarPlay race, however, iOS 8.3 confirms that Wireless CarPlay is on the horizon, although we have not yet seen hardware support.

Check out our hands-on review with CarPlay using a first-gen NEX head unit from last fall, and our head-to-head comparison of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to see both platforms in action.

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