In this Pioneer AVH 4200NEX review, we will uncover many things. You don’t have to be a car guru to know that the majority of high-end cars manufactured in the last few years have come equipped with some sort of flashy stereo unit, complete with a relatively large touchscreen, a user-friendly interface, hands-free Bluetooth, and a variety of other high-tech features.
Unfortunately, not all cars, especially if they weren’t all-too-recent buys, are so lucky as to come gift-wrapped with such state-of-the-art stereo equipment.
If you’re looking to give your car’s interior that present-day feel without having to cop a shiny, new car straight off the lot, picking up a solid stereo unit is a good place to start.
Or maybe you did just buy yourself a primo ride, but that factory-installed stereo set-up isn’t to your liking. Either way, if you’re in the market for a new stereo unit, it’s important that you know what you’re getting into since there is a slew of different models out there to choose from.
Take the Pioneer AVH-4200NEX, for example. It has just about all the bells and whistles you could imagine and then some. But what really sets it apart from the rest?
This Pioneer AVH-4200NEX review will answer just that and delve into whether or not it’s a unit worth purchasing.
What Is the AVH-4200NEX and How Does It Work?
The AVH-4200NEX is one of the dozens of double DIN multimedia receivers offered by Pioneer, a Japan-based technology company that specializes in everything from car electronics to televisions to DJ equipment.
If you’re somewhat of a car stereo neophyte, you may be asking yourself: What exactly does double DIN mean? A DIN (a German stereo standard that stands for Deutsches Institut für Normung) simply refers to the opening that a car stereo device fits into.
A single DIN means that this opening has measurements of 7” x 2”, while a double-DIN (7” x 4”) allows for larger touchscreen-based stereo models. There are arguments to be made regarding the benefits of a double DIN versus a single DIN, but for the purposes of this Pioneer AVH 4200NEX review, let’s just stick to the definitions.
Basically, if the space in your car where a radio should go measures in at four inches tall, you’re good to install the AVH-4200NEX and similar products.
Now, there are a plethora of different types of double DIN head units you can pimp your ride with, but the AVH-4200NEX is specifically part of Pioneer’s NEX (Network Entertainment eXperience) line, which focuses on providing optimum smartphone connectivity so that you can access your phone’s apps, music, and navigation systems all right from your dash.
The AVH-4200NEX debuted in late 2016, and while it’s not Pioneer’s newest NEX model, its slick design, easily navigable interface, and smartphone integration capabilities has still managed to entice consumers to purchase this model.
What the AVH-4200NEX Has to Offer
There are several attention-grabbing aspects to the AVH-4200NEX that set it apart as one of Pioneer’s flagship models. First, let’s start with the design and user interface. The AVH-4200NEX comes equipped with a 7” detachable touchscreen with a well-lit and vibrant clear resistive 800 x 480 resolution display and an easy-to-navigate touchscreen.
It also comes with a number of display and color customizations, including 13 backgrounds, five display colors, and 112 key colors, providing a vivid visual experience. The anti-glare screening coating can also work wonders during sunny days.
Next, we move onto the audio and video functions of the AVH-4200NEX. It can play both audio and video content from CDs and DVDs as well as SD cards and USB memory devices (there is an HDMI input, two rear USB inputs, and dual rear-view camera inputs for a backup camera). It is also Bluetooth capable, making it perfect for taking any hands-free phone calls or streaming audio.
Speaking of streaming audio, the AVH-4200NEX has received high praise for its crisp audio quality, and it comes with several customizable settings to give you the acoustic experience that feels right for you.
The fact it comes with an HD radio and is SiriusXM ready (tuners are sold separately) doesn’t hurt either. Another neat audio feature for any aspiring DJs out there is a music mixing system called MIXTRAX, which allows you to mix your music library using DJ-inspired audio and visual effects.
If you have small kids or just a parked car with bored backseat passengers, the AVH-4200NEX also comes with Dual Zone Entertainment.
This allows for those in the backseat to enjoy audio or video of their choosing on separate rear seat monitors while allowing for the driver and front seat passenger to listen to their own audio or focus on navigation.
Finally, and remember this is the primarily-touted of the AVH-4200NEX and similar models, is the smartphone integration capabilities. Depending on which kind of phone you own, you will be able to integrate either the Android Auto or Apple CarPlay apps.
For Android Auto, you can hands-free call and text and, thanks to a handy voice control feature, you also can search the web, input a destination into Google Maps, or access your favorite streaming services, like Pandora, Spotify, and Stitcher.
Similar services come with Apple CarPlay. The only major differences are that it uses Apple Maps rather than Google and allows for hands-free Siri integration.
Is the Price Right?
When it first hit the market in 2016, the one glaring downside of the AVH-4200NEX was that it was fairly pricey at $700, though now you can purchase it from many online retailers, such as Amazon, for about $400 or even $100 cheaper than that at Best Buy. Keep in mind, unless you consider yourself to be exceptionally handy, you’ll likely need professional help to install the unit, which will set you back additionally.
If price is a concern for you and you don’t care for all the extensive smartphone integration capabilities of the AV-4200NEX, Pioneer does have several newer DVD receiver models on the market, such as the AVH-X391BHS, that can be purchased at about half the cost and still offers stellar sound quality and limited smart device compatibility.
Here’s What The Public Had To Say About the AVH-4200NEX
Most reviews of the AVH-4200NEX are fairly positive, with reviewers praising the receiver’s multitude of features, clear sound quality, and sleek design. Several reviews of 4 stars or higher particularly appreciated the AVH-4200NEX as an easily navigable alternative to either outdated or factory-installed systems.
Despite its initial high-end price, positive reviews praised the AVH-4200NEX for its affordability, considering what it offers. Additionally, those who purchased such sold-separately products as SiriusXM and a backup camera reported positive experiences.
Reviewers seemed to be split, however, on the effectiveness of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Both Apple and Android users who had positive experiences with their respective apps enjoyed that they had fairly easy connectivity and offered hands-free capabilities and streaming services.
When it came to complaints, reviewers seemed to be split into two distinct camps: Apple users who weren’t so thrilled to be using Apple Maps and Android users who experienced general interface clunkiness.
Others who reviewed the AVH-4200NEX negatively also complained of various Bluetooth glitches and problems with the USB ports.
Products on the Market Similar to the AVH-4200NEX
As mentioned before, what sets the AVH-4200NEX from other Double DIN multimedia receivers is its smartphone integration capabilities. That being said, there are still a variety of different brands of multimedia systems that offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality.
A close competitor to the AVH-4200NEX when it comes to design and functionality is the Kenwood Excelon DDX9903S. According to a side-by-side comparison of the AVH-4200NEX and the Excelon DDX9903S compiled by Crutchfield, both products come equipped with high-end touchscreens and audio functionality.
Both also come with built-in hands-free Bluetooth and SiriusXM capabilities well as the ability to download a variety of media files and integrate smartphones via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
While it does not actually function as a DVD or CD player, the Sony XAV-AX100 offers most of the same smartphone and hands-off capabilities as the AVH-4200NEX and the Excelon DDX9903S. According to Wirecutter, it is the best car stereo for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.
So What’s the Final Verdict?
If you consider the hands-free integration of your smartphone to be an integral part of your dashboard experience, then the AVH-4200NEX could be a good product for you. It’s certainly not the only product of its kind, but its user-friendliness, pristine picture and impressive sound coupled with several other nifty features and add-ons give it weight as a top-of-the-line product
As the reviews suggest, these sorts of smartphone syncing capabilities offered by Android and Apple don’t come without frustrations, but no product on the market is safe from the occasional lag and glitch. You may need to do some shopping around to find the AVH-4200NEX at a price that feels more right for you, but with all that it has to offer, it definitely seems worth it.