A couple of years ago, car stereos were a luxury for the few fortunate ones. Fast forward to today and things have changed, and that quite drastically. In today’s world, a car stereo is more of a necessity. And not just any stereo mind you, but a good quality stereo that offers you many functions like navigation, above the normal use of a stereo.
For some reason unknown to anyone, car manufacturers couldn’t see the need for a good factory stereo, and so they just slapped just any old radio in your car and sold it to use as part of the package. And that is where innovative companies like Alpine saw a need and worked hard to fill the gap. Producing many car stereo systems in the lifetime of the company, Alpine is one company that knows what you need and create it for you – concerning car audio and multi-media systems that is.
And when they released the industry shaking Alpine iLX-107 unit, we all thought they had made it and would sit on their laurels as they rubbed their hands in glee. But oh no, they were not done yet.
Enter the Alpine iLX-207.
As the name suggests, the iLX-207 is an upgrade of the iLX-107, but, it is more than just an upgrade as you will see in this Alpine iLX-207 review. In fact, when you take a closer look, it becomes evident that the Alpine iLX-207 is a whole different system altogether.
Before the Alpine iLX-207 was the Alpine iLX-107
For you to fully appreciate the Alpine iLX-207, you will need to understand the Alpine iLX-107 first. Let me give you a brief overview of the former before we move on.
The Alpine iLX-107 as I mentioned earlier, rocked the car stereo world by being the first in-dash car stereo system to feature wireless CarPlay, an amazing infotainment experience developed by Apple for their iOS-powered phones. The iLX-107 is an amazing multi-media and navigation unit that seamlessly connects to your phone and gives you control via the steering wheel controls or the touch screen.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), the Alpine iLX-107 was designed with Apple users in mind, and it is very evident in the interface. For Apple user’s it is an advantage as there is no disparity between the CarPlay interface and Alpine’s own GUI.
A few drawbacks that the Alpine iLX-107 has are that it does not support HD radio and SiriusXM, and these are major gripes for those who love them. But overall, the Alpine iLX-107 is an amazing multi-media infotainment system.
Having said all of that, let us get to the business of the day, our Alpine iLX-207 review.
The Alpine iLX-207 Review – When the Best is Improved On
The release of the Alpine iLX-207 was a relief for those who were waiting with bated breath for Alpine to upgrade the Alpine iLX-107. And the wait was well worth it as most of the iLX-107’s shortfalls were taken care of – and that very well. Let’s look at these improvements, shall we?
Here are some of the things you should expect from your Alpine iLX-207 in-dash multi-media unit.
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible
- CEA-2006 compliant amplifier
- Power Output:
- Peak: 50 watts x 4 channels
- RMS: 17 watts x 4 channels
- AM/FM tuner
- MP3/WMA/AAC/HE-AAC/FLAC Playback
- 9-band parametric equalizer
- 3.5mm Rear A/V Auxiliary Input
- Rear USB Input
- 3 Sets of 4V preamp outputs (front, rear, and subwoofer)
- SiriusXM Satellite Radio Ready: SiriusXM SXV300v1 and subscription required
- HD Radio Built-in
- Steering Wheel Control Ready: PAC ControlPRO or the Axxess ASWC-1 required and sold separately
- Dedicated Backup Camera Input
Let’s take a closer look at the Alpine iLX-207, shall we?
The Massive Display - Impressive
When it comes to a car’s infotainment system, the screen is the center of it all, especially in this age where most interaction with devices is done through the screen. The Alpine iLX-207’s screen is one screen that won’t let you down in this aspect as it is a very brilliant 7” capacitive touch screen that responds very quickly to your touch input.
Unlike the Alpine iLX-107 which has touch only controls except for the one that wakes up Siri and the one that toggles between CarPlay and Alpines own system, the Alpine iLX-207 has clickable buttons beneath the display. And that’s a welcome relief to those who love clicking buttons.
Overall, the Alpine iLX-207 comes with a superb screen that truly outshines many of its competitors. It deserves a healthy 4/5. No screen gets a perfect score in my books as long as it fails to solve the problem of glare. So a 4/5 for a screen in my books is a very good score.
Sound Quality – the Big One for Audiophiles
When it comes to sound the quality that comes from the Alpine iLX-207 is superior to most. It is even made better by the onboard amplifier that comes with the unit, and believe me, it makes a world of difference. A car audio system has never sounded better.
Whether you have stock speakers or not, you will find the output from the Alpine iLX-207 more than satisfactory. And sound is one of the major reasons you are looking for an in-dash multi-media solution, is it not? For its superb sound quality, the Alpine iLX-207 gets a perfect score – 5/5.
Connectivity – Keeping You in Touch with What Really Matters to You
Living in a multi-device world comes with its own challenges, especially the challenge of staying connected while on the move. The Alpine iLX-207 takes care of that problem for you by keeping you connected to the world around you while still keeping you well connected to the road.
You can connect your phone to the iLX-207 via Bluetooth or USB cable and have you phone function right from the dash with Android Auto (more about that later) and Apple’s CarPlay. Now, that’s having the both of both worlds.
And to better connect you to the road, or rather, the right roads as you drive, the Alpine iLX-207’s navigation is enhanced by a GPS antenna that comes with the unit. All you have to do is connect it to the unit and stick it onto the dash of your car and voila, a better GPS signal for a more reliable navigation system.
With the Alpine iLX-207, there is no need to be disconnected from everything that matters just because you are on the road. It keeps you well connected, and for that, I give it 5/5.
The Alpine iLX-207 – What’s New?
Let’s first take a look at what’s new in the Alpine iLX-207 before we look at the other hardware and software features that this magnificent unit comes with.
Introducing Android Auto
While the Alpine iLX-107 was mainly targeted at Apple users and thus its main feature was Apple’s CarPlay, the Alpine iLX-207 is more accommodating as it caters for both Apple and Android users. For those who run on Android, this is a very welcome and exciting development.
For those who don’t know what Android Auto is all about, let me give you a brief overview.
Android Auto is like turning your car dashboard (and steering wheel) into your phone. It takes all the features you love about your Android-powered smartphone, puts them directly in your car’s dashboard, and gives you the freedom to drive without missing any updates from your phone. Android Auto gives you information on a familiar interface, which means you can grasp it quicker than you would on an unfamiliar interface.
One of the key features of Android Auto is the Google Maps-powered navigation system. You can never go wrong with Google maps. The Google Maps-powered navigation provides step-by-step directions and automatically finds alternate routes if it detects heavy traffic. Do you have favorite destinations stored in your phone? Android Auto ports over saved destinations from your phone, so you don’t have to manually type them in again, saving you precious time.
And the best part of all? Android Auto is voice controlled. Whether it’s a song, contact, or destination you need, all you have to do is ask nicely – in “Googleese” that means you have to precede your query with, “Okay, Google…”. With voice control, your safety is enhanced as your eyes are kept on the road while your hands are kept where they should be – at 10-to-2. And if a message should come in, Android Auto will read it back to you and reply as you dictate. Talk about safety as you drive!
Android Auto and the Alpine iLX-207 jointly get a 5/5 on this one. Enough said about Android Auto, let’s get back to what’s new with the Alpine iLX-207.
More Music Streaming Options
What the iLX-107 lacked in SiriusXM and HD radio, the Alpine iLX-207 has made up for. The Alpine iLX-207 is SiriusXM ready if you are a fan of satellite radio, meaning you won’t miss out on your favorite entertainment, news, and sports as you are on the road. Not only that, but you can still enjoy the other streaming services such as Pandora, Spotify, iHeart radio and many other music apps that you have on your phone – Android or iOS.
This is a great improvement from the Alpine iLX-107, as your choice of music source is now greatly increased. 5/5 for you Alpine iLX-207.
The Alpine iLX-207 Review – Why Get Anything Else
Seriously speaking, if you are looking for a great in-dash car infotainment system, why get anything besides the Alpine iLX-207? This is one of the ultimate multi-media systems on the market and it definitely does pack a punch, or two.
The Alpine iLX-207 is not just an upgraded iLX-107, it is a completely different in-dash multimedia and navigation hub all on its own. And all you have to part with to have it in your car is $525.08, minus the installation fee of course.