Pioneer is a leader in quality car audio products. Their “networked entertainment experience,” or NEX, a line of products is no exception. The Pioneer AVIC 8200NEX review and the 8201NEX review are two incredibly impressive aftermarket head units in the car stereo market today.
These two product reviews will seek to answer any questions you may have about these models.
However, if you’re in the market for a new car stereo system, you’ll need to examine your personalized needs. To determine which head unit is right for you.
The AVIC 8200NEX and 8201 NEX are two premier head units for car stereos manufactured by Pioneer.
They are both double DIN head units meaning they can only be installed in cars that have the appropriate harness.
Checking for size compatibility is very easy. Cars ready for a double DIN stereo will have a stereo faceplate about 7 inches tall. A single DIN is roughly half as tall, same width and too small for the AVIC-8200NEX as well as 8201. Both of these models have a nearly 7-inch display which is quite large for in-dash displays.
As far as quality and features go, this series is top of the line!
Additionally, both models have the potential for expansion. They both have Dual Zone Entertainment and iDataLink Maestro. These are important features in the realm of car stereo head units.
Dual Zone Entertainment
Allows for additional monitors or speakers for passengers operating independently of the main unit.
Connects with native features of a vehicle’s stock stereo and retains important features that are lost with lower-end head units.
Aftermarket head units should always be installed by a professional and are dependent on compatibility. Luckily, the labor cost for installing a new head unit is fairly inexpensive. The head unit itself will definitely cost more than the installation costs.
What Makes the AVIC 8200NEX and AVIC 8201NEX Unique?
Both the 8200 and 8201 models from the NEX series are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible.
This means, if you own a compatible iPhone or Android phone, you can access important apps through your stereo. Without using your phone while driving. Access to music streaming apps, phone calls, messages, GPS navigation, and more all become available in-dash.
The 8200NEX switch between Android Auto and Apple CarPlay automatically by detecting what type of phone is plugged in.
It has been proven that distracted driving is a cause of vehicle accidents in the U.S. The Department of Motor Vehicles reported in 2014 than 26 percent of motor vehicle crashes were because of cell phone use while driving.
It’s no doubt that having hands-free access to important phone features is valuable.
Both models have Eyes Free Siri functionality. This means that, if you have an iPhone, the popular virtual assistant is available for use - integrated with your car stereo. With just a touch, questions are asked and answered, all without taking your eyes off the road.
For more ease of use, both units come with a remote control to adjust volume, brightness, channel and unit-specific controls.
The large, 7-inch screen on both of the units is called a capacitive touchscreen. This means the touch commands rely on static electricity from the body as opposed to pressure from your finger. This is the type of touchscreen that iPhones and many Android phones are equipped with.
Capacitive touchscreens are easy to manipulate than their counterparts called resistive touchscreens. This makes interacting with your head unit a breeze and ensures you can keep your eyes on the road as much as possible.
Wide Band Speech Recognition
The 8200NEX is equipped with what’s known as “Wide Band Speech Recognition. One reviewer on an unofficial Pioneer Car Stereo blog explained what the technology does.
“It gives you much crisper, cleaner, clearer conversation with your person – whoever you’re talking to. They chalk it up as the difference between FM and AM. AM would be the old, and FM would be new, and these things sound nice now when you’re having a phone conversation.”
When driving, it’s always helpful to know the current weather and traffic conditions. Pioneer has partnered with HERE® for lifetime access to map databases and Clear Channel Broadcasting Inc., now iHeartMedia Inc., for weather and traffic conditions.
Both models offer turn-by-turn navigation with updated map databases and real-time traffic and weather data, right on the large display. The map databased provided over 7.9 million points of interest like hotels, gas stations, and restaurants built right in. Navigation features on these units include lane detection, parking assistance, and updated maps for life.
Both models are backup camera ready but, if you buy the 8201-NEX directly from Pioneer, the unit comes with a Pioneer backup camera included. The units also have parking assist. This feature allows you to setup guides on the head unit display that will overlay on the backup camera feed, if you install a backup camera. It is so helpful to have this capability built into a head unit.
VIDEO: Pioneer AVIC Navigation Settings and Features in Depth
As previously mentioned, both models come with a feature enabled called iDatalink Maestro. It connects with features of the car stereo to retain them for use on the new head unit – features like Sync®, uConnect®, SiriusXM, OnStar®, and Bluetooth®.
Both units have Dual Zone technology which allows any of the inputs to play out of the unit to a separate display. This is separate from what is played on the dash unit. This way, if you have additional rear displays, you could play video in the rear and use the navigation or stream music on the dash unit.
In addition to standard stereo features such as an AM/FM tuner and Auxiliary input, both models are HD Radio™ and Sirius/XM Radio ready. The units have a built-in, Pioneer exclusive feature called Mixtrax® that seamlessly blends tracks like a professional DJ.
The units are also compatible with high-res, lossless specialized audio files called FLAC files. These files can be played via the front USB port and will produce some of the highest quality sounds you will hear in a car stereo. Both units are equipped with built-in Auto EQ and Time Alignment, a multi-touch graphic equalizer, and built-in high and low pass filters for the finishing touches on getting the perfect sound. Lastly, the units have a standard CD and DVD functionality.
Users report that the user interface, specifically of the 8200, is impressive and easy to use. A reviewer at ForAudioGeeks.com said, “The Pioneer AVIC-8200NEX user’s interface is smooth, quickly processing every command. Moreover, its screen quality is simply one of a kind.”
Both the 8200NEX and the 8201NEX have motorized screens. This means a small motor will adjust the angle of the screen for optimal viewing and to avoid glare on sunny days. The system remembers the last angle the screen was adjusted to and will revert to that angle every time the car is started.
The audio, navigation and display, technical specifications are identical between the two models. Both units have four 50 watt preamps, 3 RCA pre-outs, built-in HD Radio™, 16 GB of map data memory, and a 7-inch display with an 800 x 480 resolution.
Average Pricing of These Units
The AVIC-8200NEX is the more expensive of the two models by $300. The 8200 retails for around $1,400 while the 8201 goes for around $1,100. Both of these units are relatively expensive as far as stereo head units go, but for many, it is worth it.
As mentioned earlier, the specifications between the two models are largely the same. The screen sizes and resolution are the same, they both have the same 200-watt, built-in amplifier, and both are expandable in the same ways.
The only reported specific differences between the two, other than cosmetic, is advanced phone support for newer models of phones on the AVIC-8201NEX, which is actually the cheaper of the two and includes a backup camera.
The prices of the two units is to be expected considering the high quality that Pioneer has provided in these two units. There is no doubt that they are high-end head units, but the quality justifies the price.
Annie from CarStereoChick.com wrote on the AVIC-8200NEX saying, “Overall, the Pioneer AVIC-8200NEX packs in most of the features consumers are looking for these days in a nice easy to use a product at what I think is a fair price.”
Other Pioneer AVIC 8200NEX Reviews and AVIC 8201NEX Reviews
A tech reporter for Quality Mobile Video reported on the 8201NEX from the Consumer Electronics Show in 2017 when Pioneer released it.
“What did Pioneer do to improve or change the next line? Yes, go ahead and say it – nothing.”
While the two units might not be that different, in general, they receive great reviews.
“The Pioneer AVIC-8201NEX is Pioneer's flagship GPS navigation receiver because it offers a range of features that collectively outshine and outperform many others in the market….It also features an intuitive and user-friendly interface that cannot be easily matched by other navigation receivers…. The catch for all these amazing features is the higher price tag, but if you happen to spend a lot of time in your car (long trips, traffic, bored children), the AVIC 8201NEX will be your best buddy on the road. The 8201NEX is the complete package.”
GreatestSpeakers.com offered a glowing comment in their Pioneer AVIC 8200NEX review
“If you are an avid reader of our website, you will already know how much we love to play around with new car audio and multimedia equipment. We test head units all of the time, and there are several on the market that we would recommend to our readers, but if we had to choose one that takes the bill, it would have to be the 8200NEX.”
How It Compares
One head unit that this series is commonly pinned against is the Kenwood DNX893S. This unit retails for around $530, so it is considerably cheaper than both of the Pioneer units. However, it is also not as impressive.
The Kenwood model is severely lacking as far as GPS navigation goes by not providing live updates and reroutes according to current traffic conditions. Additionally, its commonly reported to have technical issues and require frequent maintenance.
Two forum participants shared their insights about the units.
“I'm so happy with it. You want this over the Kenwood,” said one. “I sell both, Pioneer is much more reliable,” said another.
What We Think of the Pioneer AVIC 8200NEX and 8201NEX
Pioneer has created two truly remarkable car stereo head units in the AVIC-8200NEX and 8201NEX. They both with features that work flawlessly with constant touch and multi-media display.
The price seems high but a high-quality double DIN unit with features like these offer an investment in improving your vehicle overall. The quality of audio, quality of in-dash data, and overall features are very impressive.
The Pioneer AVIC-8201NEX is a better deal because it comes with a backup camera and still offers at a lower price, but you may find the AVIC-8200NEX fits into your specific car stereo system better because of appearance or features.
This series came out last year and is, to-date, some of the more impressive head units on the market currently. We are excited to see what progress made with consumer car stereos in the coming years but as of now highly recommend the Pioneer AVIC-8200NEX and 8201NEX if you are looking to replace a double DIN stereo in your car.
Coupons and Deals
As mentioned previously, the Pioneer AVIC-8201NEX comes with a Pioneer brand backup camera included when purchased directly from the manufacturer. It's at $100, and the price for the bundle is $1,100.