Nowadays, it is somewhat old-fashioned to have a single-din head unit with a small display in your vehicle. Without a sizeable screen, you won’t have access to GPS navigation, video playback or streaming, or have an infotainment system with multiple options at your disposal.
Large displays like the ones found in Tesla car models make vehicles look cool, futuristic, and they’re fun to use. The next generation of Apple CarPlay is designed to function across multiple screens in your vehicle! And you’re telling me you don’t even have one screen in your vehicle? It’s time to catch up!
Double DIN head units are the best because they have a seven or eight-inch display, sometimes even nine – and with a big screen comes broad functionality.
However, upgrading to such a system requires a wide slot on the dashboard, something you won’t find on every vehicle and especially not older models.
So how do you get a big screen in an old vehicle?
Flip out head units have large displays, just like the double DIN type, with touch screens and all the advanced features accompanying the large stereos.
But they fold into the dashboard to occupy a small space, like a single DIN type. Therefore, you get the best of both worlds.
The hybrid technology of a flip out car stereo comes in many forms – and it can be hard to pick the most suitable one.
Luckily, we have listed and reviewed the best flip-out head units to buy online, so read through and take your pick!
Best Flip Out Head Units in 2023
The right flip out head unit can improve your driving experience and change the interior of your dashboard. With that in mind, consider the following top eight products on the market now.
1. Pioneer AVH-3500NEX – Best Overall Head Unit
Pioneer AVH-3500NEX’s flip out head unit features a super-responsive touch screen and loads of functionality with your smartphone connected.
There’s also the USB direct control for iPhones to enable access to music and video files on your device. You can use the power of Siri Eyes-Free to let the assistant listen through the unit’s external microphone, then respond to your requests and questions over the car speakers.
The NEX is also WebLink (Android, iOS) compatible, so you can take Pioneer AVH-3500NEX up a notch and include Amazon Alexa as an additional assistant. You only need to download the Vozsis app (Android, iOS) to use it with Alexa. Not forgetting, there is the Bluetooth audio streaming and hands-free calling feature, which lets you wirelessly link any of your Bluetooth-enabled devices to the unit.
When it comes to the listening experience, Pioneer AVH-3500NEX features Pandora internet radio and is SiriusXM ready. The latter gives you over 140 channels of satellite radio, which are accessible wherever you go.
We all have different preferences in sound quality, and Pioneer AVH-3500NEX features a 13-band graphic EQ, an auto EQ & time alignment, and a low/high pass crossover with adjustable slopes & points. All these options help to tailor your listening experience.
Four 22-watt channels and 6-channel RCA preamp outputs provide the signal for running the car speakers and external amplifier, respectively. However, Pioneer AVH-3500NEX lacks Wi-Fi connectivity and is quite costly. But the stereo worths the money.
2. Power Acoustik PTID-8920B – Best for Subwoofer Connectivity
Power Acoustik PTID-8920B stands out as one of the best stereos for hooking up to a subwoofer due to its low-pass 80Hz frequency RCA output.
The breakdown of sound into the component frequencies helps to improve the audio quality, and the most common subwoofer crossover frequency is the 70 – 80Hz range. Therefore, you can get good, deep bass with Power Acoustik PTID-8920B.
On top of that, Power Acoustik PTID-8920B features a 3-band equalizer with several presets to tailor the sound quality to suit your listening experience.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are missing in the system, but Power Acoustik PTID-8920B has Bluetooth 2.0 for mp3 streaming, contact scrolling, and hands-free calling.
Android users have an advantage because Power Acoustik PTID-8920B features PhoneLink, which mirrors your phone to the large 7-inch screen. The 2-way communication enables phone control without handling the distracting devices. If you don’t want to use your Bluetooth-enabled device, you could try loading your MP3 or MP4 (in 720p/720pixel) files into an SD card, then slot it into the SDHC card reader (it can read 32GB max). There’s also a USB playback option, or you can switch to the old-school AM/FM tuner.
A SmartSense clear-glass resistive 7-inch touchscreen of Power Acoustik PTID-8920B makes it easy to navigate the menu and settings, and you can connect it to rear-seat screens via the RCA video output.
With Power Acoustik PTID-8920B, there are 5-channel pre-amp RCA outputs for external amplifiers or subwoofers, plus four channels for the car speakers, each churning out 75 watts max. Power Acoustik PTID-8920B is an amazing head unit for customized aftermarket sound systems.
3. BOSS Audio Systems BV9976B – Best Multi-Color Flip Out Head Unit
As your mood changes through the week, you need a BOSS Audio Systems BV9976B that can adapt to your situation and get you rolling. Feeling blue? BOSS has got you covered. Hitting the road red hot? Let’s go!
The BOSS BV9976B has an extraordinary 16 million color combinations to customize the backlighting. It illuminates all the controls, including the volume knob, creating a beautiful accent lighting on the dashboard.
Flip out head units are a great choice to modernize your dashboard and this BOSS Audio Systems BV9976B does a great job. Additionally, there is a built-in EQ with preset curves that you can use to customize the sound quality to match your mood or preference. You can make these adjustments on the touchscreen or use the included remote control inside or outside your vehicle.
The connectivity options of BOSS Audio Systems BV9976B are pretty diverse as they include an AUX input that is compatible with audio from mp3 players and smartphones.
There are also USB inputs and SD card ports, while the outputs include front & rear pre-amp channels to connect to up to three external amplifiers or signal processors. On the other hand, the video output links the unit to rear-seat screens.
Steering wheel control is possible because BOSS Audio Systems BV9976B has inputs for this option to enhance safe driving. And the speaker outputs are pretty powerful (85 watts x 4), so you can get pretty sound even without an amplifier.
If you prefer streaming over FM radio, pair the Bluetooth to your wireless devices to play music from Pandora, Spotify, or other streaming services. BOSS Audio Systems BV9976B is also ideal for hands-free calling when driving.
However, the BOSS Audio Systems BV9976B’s 800 x 480 screen resolution is not the best quality, and you don’t get Apple CarPlay & Android Auto.
4. ATOTO S8 Gen2 – Best Large Display Flip Out Head Unit
In addition to having a dazzling 1280 x 720 pixel HD (high definition) screen, the ATOTO S8 Gen2 has a large 8-inch display that gives you one of the best viewing experiences around.
The 5-touch capacitive IPS (in-plane switching) touchscreen tilts to a 178° full-viewing angle to ensure you get crisp, color-saturated pictures when looking at it from any side.
And the ATOTO S8 Gen2 runs on a deeply customized Android Q operating system, so it has most of the features you would expect to find in an Android tablet, there’s deep functionality here. These include Wi-Fi connectivity for web browsing and music/video streaming, map apps for navigation, and dual Bluetooth (4.1 & 5.0).
ATOTO S8 Gen2’s Bluetooth technology allows for up to three simultaneous connections, one for audio and two for data communication. It has a noise cancellation feature to suppress background interference when on a call. Say goodbye to “Hello? Hello?” on bad quality calls. You can use either Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or USB tethering to access the internet, but the last two options are more energy-efficient for your connected device.
ATOTO S8 Gen2 is quite clever as well. It has a Speed Compensating Volume Control that adjusts the system volume automatically as you drive. The purpose is to compensate for wind and road noise, so it goes higher the faster you go and vice versa.
A fast boot time ensures you get access to ATOTO S8 Gen2 stereo two seconds after starting the car. Once on, you can split the screen in two to run one application like YouTube on one side and maps on the other.
The only downside of ATOTO S8 Gen2 is not having a CD/DVD player, but not many people use these receivers nowadays.
5. Pyle PLTS78DUB – Best for Hands-Free Operation
Like its sibling, the Pyle PLT85BTCM, this Pyle PLTS78DUB stereo features a 7-inch 800 x 480-pixel touchscreen monitor with a multicolored display and a rear camera.
Pyle PLTS78DUB also has Bluetooth connectivity that works hand-in-hand with the built-in microphone to let you answer calls while keeping your hands on the wheel.
A digital phone dial pad makes Pyle PLTS78DUB even easier to use the hands-free feature by simplifying the process of importing contact lists from your phone.
The Bluetooth is version 2.0 with EDR (Enhanced Data Rate), so you can expect a solid and reliable connection for a range of up to 15 feet. You can use this feature for wireless audio streaming by connecting your smartphone or any enabled device for music playback.
Aside from Bluetooth, the Pyle PLTS78DUB has a 3.5mm AUX (auxiliary) jack and a USB port on the front panel, while RCA input and output ports on the rear side form the AV interface.
Although the Pyle PLTS78DUB lacks internet connectivity for Pandora or Spotify music streaming, it has an AM/FM tuner with 30-station presets for storing all your favorites.
Additionally, Pyle PLTS78DUB face detaches to deter theft in risky areas and features multi-color backlighting to adjust to your preferred mood when driving.
Durability is also incorporated into its design because the Pyle PLTS78DUB has an ESP (Electronic Stability Programme) function that protects it from damage by acting as an anti-shock mechanism.
6. Pyle PLT85BTCM – Best Accessorized Flip Out Head Unit
With remote control and a backup camera that includes the wiring hardware and mounting bracket, Pyle PLT85BTCM gives you a complete, accessorized set.
The Pyle PLT85BTCM’s bracket mounts above the license plate, while the camera features digital scale lines, night vision, and a tilt-adjustable lens angle. That means you have a crisp display at all times.
Marine-grade construction with water and fog resistance makes the Pyle PLT85BTCM’s camera highly durable. On functionality, it gives true-color reproduction with automatic white balance to ensure you get a clear video when backing up.
Pyle PLT85BTCM head unit has a high-resolution 7-inch LCD/TFT (thin-film transistor) monitor with touchscreen control operation. One of the apps on the homepage of the display is the FM radio, and you can store up to 30 stations in its memory.
If you prefer listening to a personalized playlist, Pyle PLT85BTCM offers several media playback options, including a micro SD reader, USB flash, and a CD/DVD player.
Pyle PLT85BTCM is also Bluetooth compatible, so you can stream music or call hands-free from any latest Android or iOS device. All the controls are in an easy-to-use digital interface.
Pyle PLT85BTCM’s rear panel RCA ports make it possible to expand the system by connecting to an external subwoofer. As for the four-speaker outputs, each sends a powerful signal of 80 watts goes to each speaker.
7. Soundstream VIR-7830B – Best Detachable Flip Out Head Unit
Soundstream VIR-7830B has a detachable faceplate that effectively deters opportunistic theft, so if you live in an unsafe neighborhood, or regularly park in one, this stereo might be the best option.
The faceplate hides a 7-inch LCD capacitive touch display from which you can control the Bluetooth, FM radio, SD card, USB settings, and many others.
Soundstream VIR-7830B is iPhone and iPod ready, but you will get better integration if you hook it up to an Android device.
With the Android MHL PhoneLink integration, the Soundstream VIR-7830B gives complete control of select phones from the touch display. Connect your device via the USB port to use the feature, and you will get a screen mirror of your phone on the large screen. Right below the USB port is a 3.5mm AUX port that provides another input option to link your personal media devices.
You can also use Soundstream VIR-7830B to set the mood by adjusting its backlight to any of the seven different color combinations.
As for the output, Soundstream VIR-7830B churns out 208 watts in total distributed in four channels (52 watts on each one), which is certainly sufficient for most car factory speakers – but might be underpowered for aftermarket sound systems.
However, Soundstream VIR-7830B offers no navigation system, SiriusXM, or Wi-Fi connectivity for streaming services like Pandora radio and Spotify.
8. Hikity Android Car Stereo – Best Budget Flip Out Head Unit
Not only is this Hikity Android Car Stereo the most affordable one in our review, but it also runs on an Android operating system. As such, it gives you access to a wide variety of applications in Google’s Play Store, including multiple maps for online and offline navigation.
Hikity Android Car Stereo very much resembles a tablet because it supports Wi-Fi and mobile hotspot connectivity, so you can browse the web and watch YouTube videos or movies online in 1080-pixel quality.
Even though the IPS (in-plane switching) screen resolution is 1024 x 600-pixel, Hikity Android Car Stereo supports 1920 x 1080-pixel formats, plus most audio & video files.
Suppose your internet subscription runs out – No need to worry, Hikity Android Car Stereo offers built-in FM radio with 18 preset stations. You can also plug in an SD card, USB flash drive, or connect your phone/MP3 player via the Aux port.
Although there is no Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, Hikity Android Car Stereo features a mirror link that supports one-way projection for iOS 5s – 7s and a two-way connection to Android 4.0 – 7.0.
Steering wheel controls reduce distractions significantly, and Hikity Android Car Stereo flip-out car stereo supports the steering-wheel button controls for safe driving.
Once the sound starts pumping out of the speakers, you can play around with the EQ settings to enhance your listening experience. Hikity Android Car Stereo has several presets, including jazz, rock, pop, classical, standard, etc.
A backup camera is part of the Hikity Android Car Stereo package, so you can set it up to give you a rear view on the screen when reversing.
The Buyer’s Guide to Choosing Right Best Flip Out Head Unit
So, how do you pick the most suitable flip-out head unit? The stereos we have looked at in the review section above are all great, but consider these factors when narrowing down your choices.
Of course, one of the most critical features of a flip out car stereo is sound quality. The two main factors to consider here are the power output and equalizer.
You have probably come across the terms max power and RMS when looking for a flip-out head unit or any sound system, and these specify the power output.
The most important of the two is the RMS value because it shows the regular/standard power output, while max power indicates the peak output that occurs occasionally.
A high RMS value is better because it will transmit more power to the car speakers, resulting in better sound quality. If you have OEM (original manufacturer equipment) speakers then around 50 watts on each channel should be sufficient – but for aftermarket sound systems, look for more or prepare to install an amplifier.
An equalizer lets you adjust the sound output to suit your preferences. Most have presets like rock, jazz, classical, pop, and the like, which alter the sound output by controlling the frequencies. The more equalizer bands, the better for customizing your sound.
Most flip out head units feature 7-inch screens, which are adequate. But if you get a large eight or nine-inch size, you’ll notice the difference when watching videos in the cab. However, size does not affect the video quality. You need to check the screen pixel resolution.
HD screens with 1280 x 720 pixels give a crisp and clear picture quality. The resolution might not be as important if you usually play MP3 files, but it is a critical factor to consider if you play or stream videos. In this case, the higher the resolution, the better.
Almost everyone has an Android or iOS smartphone nowadays, and there are risks involved if you use your phone when driving.
Luckily, most stereo manufacturers include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto into their car flip out head units for safe driving while still having access to your phone. These systems transfer vital functions like calling and navigating apps to the large screen.
Some units have other technologies that mirror the phone to the command center, but Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are the best for the job.
Most stereo units support Bluetooth connectivity for audio streaming and hands-free calling. USB and Aux ports have also become standard, but one option puts a few car head units above the rest.
Wi-Fi connectivity changes the whole infotainment system because it opens all the available video and audio streaming service options. You can also browse the internet and generally use the system like a personal tablet.
While you can use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto to mirror the navigation apps, some advanced units have built-in navigation systems.
It is pretty convenient, especially if the unit runs on Android OS, because you can access the Play Store to download the navigation system you prefer.
Google Maps is a popular option because it will get you to your destination using the shortest or fastest traffic-free route.
A car flip-out head unit should be part of a more extensive system, so the best one must have expansion ports. For instance, if you have a backup camera, the stereo should have an input to plug in the feed.
Similarly, if you have screens for the rear seats or external amplifiers and subwoofers, ensure the unit you pick has the required ports to connect to these components.
A car flip-out head unit might be purely functional in your vehicle, but it also sits in the middle of the command center, so design matters. In addition to the aesthetics, consider getting a product with customizable lighting to set the mood for your drive.
If your car already features accent lighting around the dashboard and door panels, a stereo with illuminated controls will match the ambient glow, and the more color combinations you have the better you can match it to your mood and interior.
Ease of Use
Having a good-looking stereo with multiple features is one thing and having an easy-to-use system is another.
The last thing you would want to experience when driving is to contend with an interface that is difficult to navigate through. Touchscreens have made controls simpler, but a voice command feature will completely change your driving experience.
Intelligent assistants like Siri and Alexa can make it easy to make calls, search for navigation routes, or adjust the settings without taking both hands off the steering wheel.
The primary item you are after is the flip-out head unit, but getting a few extras as part of the package will not hurt.
Remote controls are standard and not considered accessories anymore, but you might get a backup camera plus all the wiring hardware and mounting brackets. That is a pretty sweet deal, especially if the cost is not too high.
Installing your own flip out head unit should be achievable for anyone with patience and basic DIY skills – but installation manuals can differ dramatically from brand to brand. Choosing a flip-out head unit from a reputable manufacturer with a thorough manual and installation guide will make the job considerably easier.
You’ll also need to adapt the wiring of your dashboard, usually through a wiring harness. These can be bought additionally, but to ensure compatibility you can opt for a flip out car stereo that comes with all the wiring necessary.
Of course, you can always employ a professional to install your flip out head unit too. It’s a simple job for a pro, and won’t cost a fortune.
There you have it! Flip-out head units occupy a small space on your dashboard, but they pack tons of features to enhance your driving experience.
If you only have enough space for a single din head unit but still want a large display for navigation and entertainment, the Pioneer AVH-3500NEX stands out as the best of them all.
It has convenient features, including Siri and Alexa virtual assistants for hands-free operation.
And the Hikity Android Car Stereo proves that this stylish hybrid car stereo doesn’t have to break the bank. This ultra-affordable flip out head unit supports a wide range of media formats for full infotainment.
So a flip out car stereo is an affordable and compact option and proves you don’t have to be stuck in the past with a dingy dashboard. Upgrade today for a flipping marvelous car stereo solution!