In this guide, you will get to know the Sony XAV AX8000 Review and other detailed information. So relax and keep on reading to know more. Sony’s latest multimedia receiver, the Sony XAV AX8000, is a unique device. It offers an impressive set of features that are impressive even for stereo use, but it also includes a powerful amplifier section with enough power to take on any motorcycle audio system.
- Oversized touchscreen- A huge anti-glare 8 95-Inch (22 7 cm) display gives you more intuitive and safer control over music playback and smartphone functions
- Apple CarPlay- easily access the iPhone features you know and love just by talking to Siri Music maps phone calls and messages are all under your control
- Multiple customization options let you adapt the audio experience to your liking And with the built-in 4 x 55 w amplification music sounds clear even at high volumes
- Three-way adjustable mount- The sturdy mount adjusts in three directions enabling flexible installation
- Rear view Camera ready-have a rear camera installed? View its feed through the screen along with customizable guidelines that help you back in safely
As you might expect from Sony, this unit has many clever extras and comes with the promise of Android Auto compatibility in the future (albeit without details). But its most important feature has nothing at all to do with what it does it’s where you can mount it.
The XAV AX8000 is small enough to fit in a pocket and capable of running on a measly 9 volts. It’s the only motorcycle audio system we’ve seen that can be mounted virtually anywhere you can strap or clip a magnet. And it does at least as good a job at music playback as every other Bluetooth stereo we’ve tested.
In short, this device represents an entirely new generation of motorcycle sound systems from Sony, its closest competition being the V Stream from Alpine (known in North America as the Sound Storm). In our testing for this article, both devices performed almost identically when playing music through their Bluetooth connections. The difference came with HD radio reception (more about that later). But both units charged our phones and played music from USB sticks, making them equally good for motorcycle use.
In fact, the most significant difference between the two units was their physical appearance. The VStream simply looks like a small black box with a display on its face. Its rough-and-tumble design belies its veneer of sophistication. In contrast, the AX8000 looks more like a piece of modern art or sci-fi gadgetry that belongs in the cockpit of a fighter jet rather than under your handlebars (or anywhere else away from home).
The unit is alarmingly light but feels solid enough to withstand years of hard riding and even an occasional drop onto concrete. And it’s made even lighter by virtue of the fact that the AX8000 has no removable parts. This device is solid-state all the way, which makes it ready for travel anywhere in any weather condition.
The only physical controls on the face of this unit are two large capacitive-touch buttons under its 6″ display. The left button turns the unit on and off, while the right button is the “back” control, sending you one step back in a menu tree. This simple design makes controlling this device a cinch even while riding in full gear and with gloves on—not that we recommend operating any kind of audio system while riding unless it’s attached to your handlebars (more on this later).
The AX8000’s angular lines and shiny, reflective face make it a favorite of the fairer sex. In fact, we’ve been told that several women have purchased this device just because they like how it looks on their mirror or windshield.
And once you start looking closer at the AX8000’s design, you’ll appreciate its smooth curved edges and minimalist approach to buttons and knobs. On the top of this device, you’ll find a power output for your amplifier as well as a standard 3.5mm auxiliary input jack. There’s also a USB port here but it’s reserved for future Android Auto connectivity rather than being used to charge your phone or play music from a flash drive now.
What’s in the box?
The XAV AX8000 comes equipped with a number of mounting accessories, the most clever being the wire-frame adhesive mount that fits into a gap in its frame. You can then attach this wireframe to any flat surface using two included magnets (this also explains how you can use this unit as a makeshift computer monitor on your desk). We found that this wireframe mount even attaches to the top of our helmets, though we don’t recommend riding with anything mounted on your helmet so it’s more of a novelty than a serious mounting option.
A quick-release portable unit that you can stick anywhere comes in very handy for many types of mount fit perfectly into a gap just below the XAV AX8000’s screen on our center console.
The kit also includes a stick-on mirror holder and a large suction-cup windshield bracket, both of which work well for mounting this device to your bike (more on how we mounted it later). There’s also a USB cable, an 18V DC power adapter with clips for attaching to your bike’s battery (or the motorcycle accessory lead coming out of your fuse box).
An owner’s manual is supplied on a CD ROM along with manuals for some popular HD radio tuners (you can use these as a reference if you need more help setting up its WiFi connection.
One of the biggest attractions of the XAV AX8000 is its ability to connect wirelessly with your Android phone—no complicated installation and no need to touch any wires. Just pre-pair the unit and the rest is automatic. We’ll cover this feature in more detail later but we can say right now that this is a brilliant use of WiFi technology.
The unit also has a built-in GPS receiver and Bluetooth wireless capability, so you could connect your phone over Bluetooth and listen to music from it without even connecting to the XAV AX8000’s Wi-Fi. However, we found that this streaming audio feature doesn’t work as well as hoped perhaps it’s the fact that our phone is older and doesn’t handle Bluetooth audio all that well, but even after checking various compatibility lists we still had some issues.
One feature that the XAV AX8000 does not have is an internal HD Radio tuner (an option on most Sony head units). You can pair this unit with an HD tuner.
Sony has always been on the frontlines of new technology and its XAV AX8000 is sure to impress with its cutting-edge capabilities. For starters, this unit can connect wirelessly with your Android phone, iPhone, or any other WiFi-enabled device. This can be a great convenience when you’re riding, especially since it’s very easy to make a connection and the AX8000 does most of the work for you. You can also play music from your phone or connect virtually any other device using its auxiliary input jack.
The XAV AX8000 has a built- or tablet for streaming audio (and even video). If you don’t like that feature then you can simply pair your device via Bluetooth and play your device’s songs over the speakers. Some other features include a GPS receiver, an internal HD Radio tuner, and everything you need to have this head unit installed in your motorcycle’s dash panel or elsewhere using its wire-frame adhesive mount.
Pros and Cons
- Wireless connectivity to iPhone/Android phones is very convenient for safe riding Multiple input options
- Wi-Fi connection to phones and other Wi-Fi devices is very convenient Location-based programming Feature categories are well designed.
- Very easy to connect to your phone, tablet, etc. Setup is automatic when you’re in range of a saved SSID GPS locks onto.
- Very easy setup Attractive design is molded to fit most motorcycles GPS locks onto
- The Bluetooth has some issues when streaming audio (not conducive for in-helmet use) You can’t make calls using it or stream them over the speakers GPS can be slow to lock onto satellites
- Screen is not touch-capable Dual-zone options for entertainment/navigation are lacking
- GPS information is slow to appear on the screen and sometimes isn’t accurate enough Not intuitive—takes a little while to learn the layout of the buttons and menus
- No RDS information displayed in HD Radio mode No backlight on the touchscreen microphone/accessory port is in an awkward location.
Design and Appearance
The XAV AX8000 is a head unit that’ll hold your attention the first time you see it. The bright, attractive colors and large buttons draw your eye toward its screen and give it a sleek look. The 4.3-inch touchscreen is large enough to be legible yet small enough to keep from being an obstruction when you’re riding.
There are a lot of buttons but most will feel intuitively right where they should be—for example, the screen brightness and display mode controls are conveniently located on either side of the screen.
The GPS receiver mounts onto your dashboard or wherever it’ll have a line of sight with the sky so its antenna can acquire satellite signals easily. It’s removable, so if you want to take it off for safe storage you can do that, too. Speaking of removability, this unit has a wire-frame adhesive mount that doubles as a storage stand for those times when you aren’t using it in your motorcycle.
Installation of the XAV AX8000 is very straightforward—it’s just like wiring up any other aftermarket radio. You have to mount the hardware in place using double-sided tape or screws, connect wire harnesses from the back of the unit to your motorcycle’s battery, ignition switch, accessories routed through relays (so make sure your kit comes with one if you don’t already have one), and ground wire (fastened elsewhere on your motorcycle) and then plug everything together.
Ease of Use
This can cause some frustration when using the GPS because it takes quite some time for it to settle on your location, especially if you’re moving. It also doesn’t have many options for the dual-zone feature—for example, there’s no way to route music from just one source through its speakers while providing navigation directions through another.
This means that you’ll always be listening to both entertainment and navigation instructions simultaneously which will disturb any concentration you’ve already built up with spatial orientation skills. The touchscreen seems like it’s supposed to make operating this unit easier but unfortunately often makes things more confusing. If the screen isn’t easy to see while you’re riding then it’s not very practical for use in a car either. Many of its buttons are on the side of the screen which makes them awkward to press on this reasonably sized display.
The XAV AX8000 does have very good audio quality, but it’s also pretty loud. This can be a problem when listening to music because it’s difficult to hear anything over the noise of your engine or wind blowing past your head. You’ll probably have to turn down the volume quite a bit if you want to enjoy what you’re hearing without being overwhelmed by background noise…
Where to Buy
The Sony XAV AX8000 costs around $360. You might be able to find this unit at a lower price if you’re willing to buy an open box or refurbished model. eBay is one of the best places to look for that—the link below will take you directly to this unit’s page on eBay.
If you’re looking for the best aftermarket head unit available today then start and end your search with the Sony XAV AX8000. Other manufacturers may make similar products, but none can compare to this one in terms of functionality and usability.
With that said, you’ll still want to think about how it will work on your motorcycle as we’ve outlined some things you should consider before making your purchase (and if you’re looking for something a little cheaper then check out our review on the best motorcycle stereo ).
When choosing an aftermarket radio for your motorcycle there are a lot of options to consider. We recommend the XAV AX8000 because its screen is big and bright enough for use in weather conditions where you can’t see well, it has a great range of features including navigation, Bluetooth streaming, iPod playback—as well as HD radio, which you won’t find on most other radio units—and it looks good even with all that functionality packed into its display.