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Discussion Starter #1
Thank you to this forum, as it has been a terrific resource with providing answers and equally ideas. Obviously, I'm in the "new owner" phase of my Sky owning relationship, so of course I keep thinking about all the things I would like to do to make it "mine". Including the usual checklist of course and some of my own;
  • Remote Start
  • GM's Stage 1 LNF Kit
  • Window Tint (#Texas)
  • Backup Camera
  • Convertible Top Restore
  • New Head Unit to Support Backup Camera and BT/NAV/Etc.
I will eventually get to most of these I imagine, but the most apparent upgrade and biggest impact, to me anyway, is to upgrade the stock head unit. In full transparency, I am extremely OCD when it comes to the appearance of things. My wife really appreciates this quality in me btw :LOL:. That being said, I really dislike the appearance of aftermarket HU's surrounded by a bezel that just doesn't "look right". I was discussing recently this similar peeve with one of my coworkers, and he recommended the installation of a factory fit style android HU that he has installed in his BMW and is apparently very popular with the European car crowd as they have much more intricate bezels from the american variety. I've done some research the last several days and read a bunch of reviews. I'm not sure if anyone here has familiarity with these units, but I think these could be a viable option to alleviate my OCD'ness. Although the Sky is not listed as compatible, according to the seller these units are compatible with the HHR, and from my understanding the HHR radio and SWC's are comparable to our units. From what I have found there is really two variants to choose from for the GM install.

112746

The one above has a very factory look to the GM Nav units that were installed in that era of the late 00's. With the bonus of a fully functional Android interface.
112747

The other variant appears much more modern with no analog buttons or dials with a full touchscreen and minus the DVD/CD ROM, not that I would even use it.
The review Pro's for these HU's include:
  • Use the Android platform so it is highly customizable including the launcher.
  • They are direct fit and do not require a bezel so they utilize the full face opening for an OEM look.
  • They come with a wiring harness including the canbus
  • BT/NAV/USB/Pandora/Torque App/Etc.
  • SWC Retained
  • Price point $300 for everything included
The review Con's appear to include;
  • Cheap Chinese parts, so who knows on longevity
  • Units w/o DSP chip lack quality EQ functions
  • Audio SQ is not a premium
  • Chime sounds are poor quality to terrible from reviewers
  • Laggy or glitchy with lower RAM units
  • OS upgrade difficult
Considering all of this, I think the best course of action to mitigate Con's would be to purchase a unit with the newest OS, 4GB RAM, Octa-Core, and DSP Chip installed, both are essentially the same HU, so I'm left to consider aesthetics after that. There are several "manufacturers" of these that appear to be mostly the same, but are simply re-branded and have some different hardware, components, and software.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It is expensive, but the best I found. A separate satellite module is required for XM. Kenwood Excelon DNX996XR
You’re right in that it’s a great unit, but I would have to use a filler bezel which I‘m not a fan of and would prefer to avoid.
 

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Meanwhile, here I am, and I love the bezel I have for my single DIN unit as it has a little cubby in it that I use to hold my wallet.

Let us know how the factory-fit ones work out, though!
 

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My concern about the Android HUs is always boot time. These may not have that problem, but some of the older ones had a long boot process.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Meanwhile, here I am, and I love the bezel I have for my single DIN unit as it has a little cubby in it that I use to hold my wallet.

Let us know how the factory-fit ones work out, though!
On some cars, especially those from the 90’s with all of those blanks for missing options, I can accept the bezel. On newer cars I think they just look cheap. Which is sad when you just spent $800 on a new HU.

My concern about the Android HUs is always boot time. These may not have that problem, but some of the older ones had a long boot process.
I have similar concerns, from what I have gathered though, is that the newer ones have improved a lot. I believe I read the specs on these that said a cold boot was <20s. I can live with that, if that’s true. My stock 2015 Silverado sometimes takes that long, although infrequently.
 

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My issue with the android headunit is transcoding quality. We have some audiphiles on here that can explain it better, but ive used them. They just output bad sound. Compare it to a higher end Sony, Phillips, or Kenwood unit and its obvious which is better sound to anyone listening.

They may be more expensive, but they are worth it.
 

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My issue with the android headunit is transcoding quality. We have some audiphiles on here that can explain it better, but ive used them. They just output bad sound. Compare it to a higher end Sony, Phillips, or Kenwood unit and its obvious which is better sound to anyone listening.

They may be more expensive, but they are worth it.
I have an Android radio so that i can run Torque and have a backup camera. Between road wind and engine noise sound from a radio is pretty superfluous in a convertible.
Sometimes when I am driving I can actually tell which song is playing on the radio, but usually not.
 
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Discussion Starter #9
My issue with the android headunit is transcoding quality. We have some audiphiles on here that can explain it better, but ive used them. They just output bad sound. Compare it to a higher end Sony, Phillips, or Kenwood unit and its obvious which is better sound to anyone listening.

They may be more expensive, but they are worth it.
I've read this quite a bit from the reviews and forums. As they all seem to have same hardware the biggest upgrade is the DSP chip option that some state to have. I don't consider myself and audiophile, but I do like it when things sound good, which of course is subjective.

I have an Android radio so that i can run Torque and have a backup camera. Between road wind and engine noise sound from a radio is pretty superfluous in a convertible.
Sometimes when I am driving I can actually tell which song is playing on the radio, but usually not.
I'm in the same boat, I think the technology convenience of the Android units slightly outweighs the SQ. I'm not opposed to the stock unit, I have the Monsoon system and I think it sounds fine. With the top down it's difficult to hear let alone pickup clarity, but as our DD's have infotainment systems with BT/Nav/Camera/Etc. the stock unit just lacks those comforts we've grown accustomed to.
 

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My Atoto head unit avoids the boot delay by staying partially powered all of the time. If there is no activity after seven days it powers off completely. The system works great for me, and hasn't caused any dead battery conditions.

The Atoto description is that the system is "reliable enough" which was not terribly reassuring but so far seems correct.
 

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the stock unit just lacks those comforts we've grown accustomed to.
What we grow accustom to is exactly the case.
The comments on road/engine noise i understand and do remember from the days that i had the factory head unit.

Now though, when im on the highway my stereo is usually up so loud i cant hear the engine or wind. And thats with my full magnaflow exhaust system and driving 80mph. lol
Keeping in mind no distortion of sound at that volume. Good amps, good head units, and great speakers. They mean a lot more to some of us than others. Plus i love that i start the car and my stereo automaticly starts spotify on my playlist off my phone through bluetooth. Im very spoiled to that now.
 

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What we grow accustom to is exactly the case.
The comments on road/engine noise i understand and do remember from the days that i had the factory head unit.

Now though, when im on the highway my stereo is usually up so loud i cant hear the engine or wind. And thats with my full magnaflow exhaust system and driving 80mph. lol
Keeping in mind no distortion of sound at that volume. Good amps, good head units, and great speakers. They mean a lot more to some of us than others. Plus i love that i start the car and my stereo automaticly starts spotify on my playlist off my phone through bluetooth. Im very spoiled to that now.
I don't want my radio that loud.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I am still doing some research on different HU's, so I still haven't pulled the trigger on that upgrade yet. While I wait I figured I would get a couple of quotes for window tint as the summer is now in full force here in my part of Texas. We're supposed to have our first 100* + day of the year here locally tomorrow. I called my usual shop were I got my truck done a couple of years ago, but no answer. So I called a new company that's closer to home. They quoted me $449 for Rayno Phatom S9 tint. I'm not sure what others have paid, but that price seems pretty steep for 3 tiny windows. Apparently though, the price drops by a $100 for each IRR percentage level apparently though. S7 = $349 and S5 = $249. That still seems crazy to me considering the shop that did my truck a couple of years ago charged me $90 to do my front windows with Huper Optik XT that's also a ceramic tint. I'm going to try and give them a ring again tomorrow and see if I can't get a better price.
 

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One thing that has kept me from swapping the stereo is that I don't want to lose having a proper volume knob. I also like real buttons for quick use. Those touch screen only units just seem like they would be frustrating to use. The first one you linked looks nice. Keep us updated on what you do. Are you planning to do the install yourself?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
One thing that has kept me from swapping the stereo is that I don't want to lose having a proper volume knob. I also like real buttons for quick use. Those touch screen only units just seem like they would be frustrating to use. The first one you linked looks nice. Keep us updated on what you do. Are you planning to do the install yourself?
I’m leaning towards the knobs and buttons personally. One, I like a knob when you need to turn the radio down quickly and two, I think the appearance is a better match to the era of our cars. It doesn’t scream aftermarket HU and is a very close replica to the GM Nav units of that time. The downside though, is the black plastic is a matte finish vs the gloss of the factory unit. It’s knit picky, but as I said earlier I get really OCD about the way things look. I’ve done several radio and speaker installs over the years so I don’t think installing myself will be a problem.
 

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One thing that has kept me from swapping the stereo is that I don't want to lose having a proper volume knob. I also like real buttons for quick use. Those touch screen only units just seem like they would be frustrating to use. The first one you linked looks nice. Keep us updated on what you do. Are you planning to do the install yourself?
For what its worth, the one I have has buttons that I have never used. At first i thought that I would miss the volume knob, but I really haven't.

I’m leaning towards the knobs and buttons personally. One, I like a knob when you need to turn the radio down quickly and two, I think the appearance is a better match to the era of our cars. It doesn’t scream aftermarket HU and is a very close replica to the GM Nav units of that time. The downside though, is the black plastic is a matte finish vs the gloss of the factory unit. It’s knit picky, but as I said earlier I get really OCD about the way things look. I’ve done several radio and speaker installs over the years so I don’t think installing myself will be a problem.
The finish is likely to bother you more than anything else. Mine came with a matte adapter ring that bothered me so much against the piano black that I designed and 3d printed an entire plate that i lacquered and polished for the matching finish.
 

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For what its worth, the one I have has buttons that I have never used. At first i thought that I would miss the volume knob, but I really haven't.
I agree, don't miss the volume control.

When you hook up the interface for the steering wheel controls, be sure to solder everything. The inference manufacturer recommends soldering as opposed to crimping the connections. The system relies on various resistances to work correctly, a poor connection on a crimp can cause the interface to fail. Solder everything and everything will work well for the long term.
 
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