Sony’s new $500 in-dash receiver looks like the best value for Android Auto and CarPlay

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Sony’s XAV-AX100 in-dash car stereo system might be the best way to get your hands on Android Auto or CarPlay without plunking down a fortune for a new car. The new receivers will retail for $499.99 when it hits stores in late November, and boasts a 6.4-inch, 800 x 480 touch screen, along with NFC support, Bluetooth, aux input and a dedicated hardware button for triggering voice input.

The XAV-AX100 has some decided advantages compared to the competition, at least on paper. The closest competitor from Pioneer is probably the AppRadio 4, which has a 6.2-inch screen, lacks physical buttons and only supports CarPlay, not both – plus it’s $600. From Alpine, you’re looking at paying similar prices or more.

Sony’s decision to offer up a device-agnostic, affordable in-dash receiver with a generous touchscreen is smart, especially in a space where there was a flurry of early activity by aftermarket system makers, but not much in the way of competitive offerings since then.