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Chinese Replacement Head Unit.. Cheap and Fantastic!

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  • Chinese Replacement Head Unit.. Cheap and Fantastic!

    I don't own a Prado but thought I would post here about my experience with Toyota head units and a Chinese unit I fitted as quite a few here have mentioned doing this as an alternative to paying the crazy cost of updating their factory unit's software.
    We own 2 Toyotas, a 2012 Kluger and a Nov16 Aurion with the expensive and disappointing JBL system upgrade.
    The radios in both cars were very average and very outdated and featureless compared to what is available on the market today. It seems Toyota lives in a time warp when it comes to modern day audio/navigation systems? As many here have also found, they don't mind making a hefty profit from selling map updates either. Many have chosen to avoid this rip off by fitting a Chinese Android unit and that is the reason for my post... to pass on my experience in doing so (but in a Kluger).

    Almost all head units are made in China these days so turning your nose up at the mention of a Chinese made car audio product these days is pointless.
    In saying that, there are still different grades of quality amongst their products and personal research is the best way to avoid the bullshit, brand name rip offs and junk units that do exist.
    Be warned... many of these units look similar but some are just junk copies of the good ones. I wanted good build quality with the most features that were user "flexible".
    I soon realised the unit must be Android based and have at least a fairly recent version capability as older versions of the OS will not run some of the latest apps.
    Avoid any that run the old WINCE type OS or any of the other lesser known OS's as you will be very restricted in software choice and possibly reduced unit performance and connectivity.
    I went around to several retailers and looked at the common brand names that are popular here in our very small market. You know the brands... the ones you have seen and trusted for years.. Most were a disappointment... flimsy buttons and framework with dull and slow responding screens. The prices were an instant turn off.

    Then I went to plan B., a Chinese unit via the internet. I found one that had all the features I wanted... and at a price about a quarter of what some of the big name units were asking. It had mostly impressive reviews. The US market is one that is good to get feedback on this type of thing purely for their larger consumer base. The Toyota Nation site was one great source of detailed user responses along with the many fitting guides I found elsewhere. YouTube etc..
    The brand I finally chose was a Joying unit. A name generally unheard of here but popular in the US as a replacement unit and very much so in the massive market of the Asian region.
    They have a warehouse in Sydney which stocks common models to avoid the longer shipment time from Asia. My unit was in stock there and arrived in a couple of days.

    When ordering they like you to make very sure that you are ordering the correct unit and you can send them your vehicle details including photos of your dash and they will confirm the compatibility prior to purchase. They supply the correct wiring loom to suit your vehicle which is included in the price. With what they provide the whole process is virtually plug and play. The installation process is very easy. Unclipping the dash panels was my biggest worry but when you see how it is done it too is very easy. Two bolts release the old unit and the connectors are only a few and easily undone. The steering wheel controls are as per default settings or can be easily reallocated to other functions within the units setup panel if you want to do that.

    A TIP.... Most Toyotas built in the past 10 yrs have what is called a dual diversity antenna system which includes a reception booster hidden in the vehicle. This system does not use the usual antenna connector and in my case was the only thing that was not supplied in the kit. I got an adapter off Ebay for about $4 delivered. You can still just plug in the regular antenna plug but reception is much better when you utilise the Toyota built in system. Type in dual diversity antenna adapter in google to see what the adapter looks like. Joying may include them in the kits now.. I am not sure.

    Anyway... here are the benefits..
    Radio reception: The $800 JBL unit will drop out stations sometimes at 20km... the Joying will be crystal clear at 4-5 times that distance on the same station.
    Navigation: As it is a pure Android unit you can install any of the great 100% FREE navigation apps and associated maps that are frequently updated FREE from the Google Play Store. I have 3 navigation apps installed but so far have found one called "OsmAnd" to be the best. You can install as many as you like and allocate your favourite app to be the default navigation app in the head unit settings. The others can be manually started from their own icon if needed. I installed the GPS receiver supplied with the unit under the top of the dash and it works perfectly there... also it is out of the way. It locks on much faster than than the JBL unit and also maintains a signal where the JBL will drop out.
    Sound: I was expecting the typical cheap tinny sound at this price but not so.... it is much better than the original Kluger unit and even better than the $800 JBL unit in the new Aurion.
    Configuration: The settings allowed are extensive but are easy to follow and use.
    Shut Down: Just like a mobile phone's screen you can set the shut down time so that the unit does not have to fully boot each time you start the car. I have mine set to 30 min in standby before full shutdown. The unit has many makers logos built in so you can select one to match the make of your car to give that original fit look on start up.
    Connectivity: Multiple bluetooth connections are not a problem as is tethering internet access via mobile phone or home wifi. You can make and receive calls via the unit when linked to your phone as well as receiving and sending txt messages direct to/from the screen. If you want permanent stand alone internet access you can connect a dongle to the unit. The kit comes with an external microphone but I found it is not needed as the one built into the face of the head unit to be perfect and again better than the one on both Toyota head units.
    Applications: You can install and use apps just as you can with your smart phone.
    Data Storage: I think the current units may come with 4G of ram and 32G? of built in storage. My unit also allowed for two micro SD slots, one dedicated to navigation apps and the other for apps and saved data. You can also plug in usb memory sticks.
    Reversing and Dash Cam. My 3y/o unit has provision for reversing cam input and I think the newer models may even allow direct viewing of dash cam via external cable to the usb ports.
    Appearance: Mine fitted perfectly and did not need any extra fill in panels. My unit was 200mm x 100mm which is a standard size for most Toyotas and looks like a factory fit.

    There is probably more that I have overlooked... but do some searching around and you will be amazed how much these things can do compared to the units supplied with your new (or older) Toyota. Toyota are very much behind the times with the units they provide... and the navigation update cost is just a joke. For less than the cost of one lousy update you can get a unit that gets rid of that headache once and for all.

    I hope this helps anyone considering replacing their head unit?

  • #2
    Hey mate, nice write up.

    it is always hard to workout which unit to go with.

    can you also put up a link to the website and a price you paid


    • #3
      We bought a Joying for our 79 series. 2 din 9 inch 4gb car stereo, OziExplorer app and runs well.

      Need to choose the unit that you want and fit your vehicle. Ours was just under $500
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      • #4

        With these android based systems, what is the boot time (when you first turn the car on, to the time you can use it) like ?

        I had a Windows CE based unit on my old Prado, and the boot time was about 10-15 seconds. A bit long for my liking.



        • #5
          Mine is basically instant- I've got a pumpkin branded one which also come well reviewed, I choose not to wire it into my ignition so it has to "hard boot" every time I turn the car on, boot up time is probably around that 15 second mark, doesn't bother me as I've only got it in the car to run Torque and Hema.


          • #6
            Thanks for the link mate, they look pretty good quality, Ive added one of these to the list


            • #7
              We have an Eonon branded unit to fir into the wifes tiguan which runs headrest lcd screens for the kids. Probably a 10-15 sec startup. Never had an issue after 2years use

              works well so i purcharsed another eonon unit to go into my 120.


              • #8
                I also had a Windows CE unit and a early Android unit in the past and the sound quality from them was ordinary. Im sure the new ones are much better.
                The boot up time was also a factor which led me to binning the units.


                • #9
                  I installed a Dasaita unit in my 120 and it is fantastic. Everything works and sounds great on it. I purchased one to suit a Nissan as I wanted the hard buttons and volume knob.(not available on the Toyota specific unit), There are fascia plates that fill in the gap, but it was not an straight forward fitment and was a lot of trouble in the end to get it to fit and look right. I am very happy with the final result. I fitted a reverse camera that replaced the number plate light, but would not recommend that as the wiring going into the door was difficult to do,and the fact that the angle of the camera is not ideal for me would see me fit one to the bumper next time. Only thing I don't like about the unit is that if you go to another screen the GPS not longer gives speed or road warnings in the background like my win ce unit did.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Atherton View Post
                    Mine is basically instant- I've got a pumpkin branded one which also come well reviewed, I choose not to wire it into my ignition so it has to "hard boot" every time I turn the car on, boot up time is probably around that 15 second mark, doesn't bother me as I've only got it in the car to run Torque and Hema.
                    Do you know the model please? Any photos of it installed? I was considering getting one of the 4gb RAM models running Android 8.0 Oreo. Is that what you have?