Unless you drive a luxury car, it is probably safe to say that your car’s stereo receiver lags way behind your smart phone in terms of capabilities and features. Many of us just ignore our car stereo completely and just use or smart phones in the car with the help of a car dash mount. This is quite a pity because some car receivers do come with a nice and large LCD screens that would be great for GPS navigation or for watching a video. The Pioneer AppRadio 3 Smartphone CD/DVD Car Stereo Receiver is designed to compliment your smart phone and acts as an extension of it whenever you get into your car.
First of all, the Pioneer AppRadio 3 works just fine even when it is not paired to your phone which is important. You can play music from a CD or listen to your favorite radio station. You can watch DVD video from the rather cool hidden DVD drive or you can hook up your car’s rear view camera to the display.
However, you can only fully take advantage of the Pioneer AppRadio 3 features when you connect your smart phone to the receiver. The AppRadio 3 receiver supports a limited range of phones but it does include the most popular ones like the iPhone 4 and newer and Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy S5, Note 3 and HTC One. However, a quick check online shows that phones not listed as officially supported like the Google Nexus 5 works perfectly fine as well so you may want to do a little research if your current phone is not listed as officially supported.
Connecting your phone does require additional cables that are not supplied with the player. This may be a hassle but it also means that you are not paying for cables that you are not going to make use of. Once connected, the Pioneer AppRadio 3 will be able to access compatible apps that are on your phone and display them on the receiver’s display. You can interact with the apps via the AppRadio 3’s touch screen. The number of supported apps are limited but it does include favorite in-car apps like Waze, Sygic and iGo for GPS navigation; iHeartRadio and Pandora for music streaming; and DashCommand for driving performance monitoring. Apps that uses GPS can make use of the included external GPS antenna for more accurate GPS positioning. It is also worth noting that you do not have to separately install apps on the receiver itself. Any compatible app will automatically be displayed on the AppRadio 3 while incompatible ones will just blank out the screen. In our opinion, this is preferred over other Android powered receivers that require that you download and install apps on the receiver itself.