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- Pioneer AVH-X490BS in-dash receiver -
- Power output: peak: 50 watts x 4 channels/ RMS: 14 watts x 4 channels
- Mixtrax blends songs together dj-style
- Time alignment optimizes music for where you're sitting in the vehicle
Do you love listening to music? Do you want the best sound quality possible on your car stereo system? If so, then Pioneer AVH-X490BS is the perfect choice for you.
Pioneer AVH-X490BS is Pioneer’s latest and most advanced car stereo. Not only is it compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (both of which we’ll get to in a moment), but it features the company’s best sound quality system ever – the MIXTRAX & AppRadio 4 app, Pioneers answer to the age-old question “What if my phone ran out of juice while I’m driving?”… or something like that. This article will be similar to our last few – an overview of this new model, followed by some screenshots from the Pioneer website on all its various functions.
It doesn’t have any video reviews yet, but probably by the time you read this, there will be a few. You can also lookup our previous articles on Pioneer’s AVH-X4800BS model for more comparisons of old vs new Pioneer models.
The updates start with the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Apple CarPlay is one of those features that has become something of an industry-standard after its launch two years ago. It allows your phone to use its touchscreen to display apps like Waze or Google Maps on your car’s screen (all while charging your phone).
Pioneer has added its spin to it by allowing you to display not only navigation apps but other music apps like Spotify, Google Music, or Apple Music. This would be extremely useful for people who rely on music streaming services for their daily drive, as the radio reception might not always be reliable enough to pick up something you want to hear.
Android Auto is based on the same idea, except it works with Android phones rather than iPhones.
It touchpointsforoes everything Apple CarPlay does (as expected) but because it’s based on Android instead of iOS, it also allows you to use voice commands – something that Apple’s system doesn’t allow for whatever reason. The Pioneer AVH-X490BS allows both these features without having to sacrifice any power thanks to its powerful 7-channel amplifier and 9 speaker components.
Built-in Bluetooth for hands-free calling and audio streaming. The unit also allows you to wirelessly download phone apps, music, and other audio content from your smartphone. It can even support up to 5 different phones at once! On top of that, it has USB connectivity which means you can charge devices or play music from USB sticks or SD cards.
CD/DVD player, a video source that’s been dying for the past 10 years but still manages to be supported by most car stereos out there. Added on top of this is a front and rearview camera input, a feature some might find useful when trying to park their cars in tight spots. There are also three RCA pre-outs (front, rear, subwoofer) which means you can add additional amplifiers to power even more speakers if need be.
What’s in the box?
Depending on where you buy it, the price will vary by at most 30 bucks. It’s pretty much a given that if you do plan to get one, just get it from Amazon because they’re known for their low prices and free shipping (since this is weight-heavy).
The package includes the actual Pioneer AVH-X490BS stereo head unit, wired microphone for hands-free calling, 12V car power cable/wire harness, USB extension cable (for the rearview camera), remote control w/ir transmitter, two pairs of 2V RCA cables (front, rear), user manual. Once again, if you’re getting it from amazon then you’ll also receive an installation guide included in the box.
The installation process is pretty straightforward and similar to other double-DIN stereos out there. The first thing you’ll need to do is pop off the front panel which is held by four clips on the bottom of the unit. There’s a hidden screw behind a flap that needs to be removed as well.
After taking off this panel, you can proceed with wiring up your new stereo head unit – something that I’ve covered enough times in previous articles so I’m going to skip doing it again. You can check out our Pioneer AVH-X4800BS installation article here.
Once everything’s wired up, slide back the front panel and align its clips with those around the main unit before snapping them into place. Reattach the screw in the middle and you’re done!
Design and Appearance
The Pioneer AVH-X490BS has a very modern design, complete with 2 full-sized touchscreens and no buttons. While this might look really cool and sleek, it also makes for a problem: accidental taps. Since there are no physical buttons on the face of the unit itself (just touch points), you’ll often find yourself tapping one part or another when trying to operate the stereo. These can be extremely frustrating when in an unfamiliar vehicle because it takes some getting used to – something that shouldn’t be necessary in order for you to use your car’s audio system properly.
Another gripe that I have has to do with the placement of the USB port at the back of the unit where you would usually connect your rearview camera. This means that if you want to use the touchscreen while your car’s in reverse gear (a pretty useful function during parking), then you’re forced to look away from what you’re doing and towards the road.
Interface and Controls
The Pioneer AVH-X490BS interface is very user-friendly, although it does take some getting used to because of its lack of physical buttons. The Home screen makes for a good starting point when trying to access certain features or settings which are represented by large on-screen icons. For example, if you need to change the sound settings while listening to music, simply tap the “Music” icon on the home screen which brings up an options menu with those settings.
In terms of control, the unit comes with a neat touch-sensitive slider on top of the screen so you can swipe your way from one menu to another without having to take your eyes off the road – something that is much more useful than scrolling through menus via a touchscreen’s directional pad. The only problem I have here, as I mentioned earlier, is accidentally tapping these areas while trying to operate the stereo fully.
Some other things worth mentioning
You can activate a full map view by sliding down from the status bar which features a “traffic signal” icon where you can see your current traffic conditions and how it affects your route (if at all) You can also adjust the resolution for either camera or GPS In case you have a phone connected to the unit, you’ll find that there’s a dedicated SD card slot in which you could insert your USB flash drive or microSD card.
- Screen size: 6″
- Resolution: 800×480 pixels (non-HD)
- Aspect ratio: 16:9
- Dual front cameras supported (not included in the box)
- GPS: yes
- Bluetooth: yes
- Aux-in: yes (2 RCA jacks)
- USB: 1x 2.0 port
- SD card slot: 1x microSD/USB flash drive (only in the US model)
- RCA pre-outs: 3 pairs (Front/Rear/Subwoofer)
- Wired remote input: 1x 3.5mm jack
- Remote controller included: yes
- Compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto? Yes, via a firmware update.
The Pioneer AVH-X490BS does have a few new features that are worth mentioning. The first of which is the inclusion of external video input support which you can use to connect up front or rear-facing cameras. This allows GPS navigation directions to be overlaid on top of your videos – something that’s great for those who want to record their car stunts without having to look away from where they’re going.
Secondly, there’s the dual-camera view system which lets you display both front and rear cameras at any given time. You also have control over whether or not these cameras are used with the GPS navigation system. If turned off, then only one camera will play as you set out on your way (either front or rear depending on your setup).
Sound Quality and Performance
The Pioneer AVH-X490BS is packed with audio technology that aims to deliver richer sound reproduction. The manufacturer claims that this unit incorporates their new “Multimedia” EQ feature which expands the system’s range by up to 4dB at 80 Hz. This results in improved speech intelligibility when using low frequencies for things like dialogues in movies, songs in music videos, etc. I would say this works quite well! You can’t tell too much of a difference between the performance on the AVH-X4800BS and the AVH-X490BS, but it does sound richer than my other car’s stereo.
One of the coolest things about this unit is that it has both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support which you can enable by simply connecting your phone to its USB port via an appropriate cable (see picture above). After which, you should be able to access either system by pressing the appropriate button at the bottom of the screen (swipe left or right) if it’s available on your device.
There are also several video inputs available including HDMI input & 2 cameras – one for backup purposes and another to act as your default reverse camera. I’ve always wanted to have a backup camera on my car ever since I got my first car back in 2012. It’s just so much easier to park your vehicle when you can see that there’s nothing behind you – especially when the visibility is not the greatest during early morning or late night hours.
The HDMI input functions quite well, even if for some reason it does feel like it takes more than average time to detect input signals from HDMI ports (it usually only takes a few seconds though). But this might be due to how old my source device is because most reviews online seem to indicate that it’s fast for this functionality.
I’m honestly quite impressed with Pioneer’s ability to display high-definition videos from my USB flash drive. I used a 32GB microSD card for this purpose, and it even supports 1080p (1920×1080 @ 30 Hz). If you’re looking for something that does support 4K video playback then you’ll want to look at other car stereos in this price range because there aren’t many options available right now besides Sony’s, JVC’s, and Kenwood’s models (although Kenwood has recently announced their new line of double-DIN receivers which include the KD-X65M which is supposed to feature 4K upscaling, although it isn’t available yet).
Pros & Cons
- Excellent video playback performance.
- Comes with Android Auto out of the box (no need to connect your phone, but you do need to pair it via Bluetooth first).
- It has separate physical buttons for easy access to each key function.
- Cannot adjust the volume using steering wheel controls or remote controller.
- Cannot play music stored on a microSD card or USB flash drive without powering up the device.
FAQs [Pioneer AVH X490BS]
- I cannot find the USB port on my Pioneer head unit. Where is it?
It’s usually located at the bottom of your radio. Here’s a picture that should help you locate it more easily:
- Where can I get more information on using Android Auto?
You can check Pioneer’s website for additional information here. Alternatively, you could also view our official Android Auto thread on our forum by clicking this link.
- I have a question that’s not listed here. What should I do?
Feel free to post your questions in the comments section below and we’ll answer them as best as we can.
Conclusion [Pioneer AVH X490BS Review]
The Pioneer AVH-X490BS is one of the best head units I’ve ever used. It does everything pretty much flawlessly, even if some minor annoyances stand out occasionally – for example, lack of direct volume control on your steering wheel or remote controller.
Otherwise, I would highly recommend it to anybody interested in a full double-DIN multimedia car stereo. The fact that it comes with Android Auto support makes this thing shine bright! If you want something with removable faceplates then I suggests looking at Sony’s XAV-AX100 – although you’ll have to buy the CarPlay & Android Auto features separately. Plus, you’ll be limited to using your smartphone as the main display source – although I believe this model is superior in terms of video playback.