CarPlay is showing up in plenty of new car models this year, but it’s much cheaper to replace the radio in the car you already own to get CarPlay for yourself. Sony is joining the aftermarket CarPlay scene this fall with its new and relatively affordable XAV-AX100 receiver.
Aftermarket CarPlay displays don’t always look and work the way Apple fans might hope, but Sony seems to have squeezed in some good taste on this model. The stock interface isn’t atrocious if you need to interact with it for non-CarPlay features, the frame around the screen is fairly minimal, and the volume toggle is a rotating knob. This is a personal preference of mine as buttons for volume and track skipping are hard to identify without looking sometimes.
The 6.4-inch touch panel is a decent size for the $499 price tag too. Bigger is always better with car screens in my experience, but it’s not easy to find a 7-inch or 8-inch screen anywhere near that price. Pioneer’s 6.2-inch AppRadio 4 receiver is the closest competition with the 7-inch Alpine ILX-007 topping it in price.
It’s unclear if the screen type is resistive or capacitive, however, but I wouldn’t recommend a resistive touch screen regardless of price. (I’ll update with clarify here shortly.) [Update: Sony says it’s resistive so we’ll have to see how well that works with being responsive.] The screen resolution comes in at 800×480 which won’t match iPhone or iPad quality but it’s OK compared to other car screens.
Sony says the XAV-AX100 receiver will be available in late November, and hopefully we can get our hands on one to test around then. For more on CarPlay, check out our hands-on with changes coming in iOS 10 and find the best CarPlay apps here.