Be Connected. Unite your life.
That's the latest tagline from Pioneer. Just what do they mean? From what we gather, Pioneer is aware that smartphones are now part of everyone's life in such a big way that they could not neglect this fact in their product development. So we see them innovating smartphone integration into their car receivers in order to achieve a better overall user experience. Things like calling, messaging, music streaming, navigation and such while driving seem to be at the center of their focus. Oh, and not forgetting safety of course.
In the pursuit of seamless integration, they have recently launched their Z Series head units. What does that mean to us? Well, most obvious would be the usage of the Z letter in their newest models. The all familiar AVH-X are now AVH-Z followed by the model numbers and letters.
What Does the Z series models have to offer?
Firstly, lets acknowledge the fact that there has been a gap in the models offered by Pioneer before this. Only the flagship AVH-X8850BT has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. So the cheaper AVH-Z1050DVD is a welcomed addition for those of us with not so deep pockets. Even the most expensive AVH-Z7750BT is still well below the flagship price. Besides the obvious lower price point, there are a number of improvements made over the previous models besides the additional features.
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto - All 4 models have Apple CarPlay but only 2 models (AVH-Z5050BT and AVH-Z7050BT) have Android auto. This smartphone integration makes using your smartphone while driving a whole lot safer. Learn more about Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
- AppRadio Mode+ - Unique to Pioneer AV receivers, AppRadio Mode+ allows for more apps to be integrated to your receiver. Pioneers very own AppRadioLIVE app specifically focuses on Navigation, Media, News and Calendar. This supposedly should cover all you need when on the go.
- 24-bit True Color Display - The new Pioneer AV receivers reproduce high-resolution images with greater range, smoother gradations and richer tones of color than ever before boasting up to over 16 Million colors. This is new to Pioneer receivers, even the flagship AVH-X8850BT doesn't have it.
- Full HD Playback from USB devices - Another feature it has that even the flagship model doesn't is the ability to play Full HD (1080p) video from files encoded in various digital formats (except MPEG-2 and DivX) from USB devices.
- Improved Graphic User Interface - The UI on the Z series definitely looks much different than previous models. There is now one touch switching between apps, easy app switching and easy device switching so that users spend less time fiddling with the controls and more time paying attention to the road ahead. The UI is now also less cluttered and customisable allowing for the user to configure it to their preference.
- Works with Spotify - Being massive Spotify users our self, this is definitely one very appreciated feature. Now all our music is easily accessible from the receiver.
- Setup-free Smartphone Connection - Smartphone connection is no longer complicated an clunky. Just plug in and go. Higher Quality
- Pioneer tuned parts for improved sound quality - We never doubt Pioneer when it comes to sound quality and the Z series doesn't disappoint.
The Z Series Line up
From left to right AVH-Z7050BT, AVH-Z5050BT, AVH-Z2050BT and AVH-Z1050DVD.
Here is a summary of the differences:-
- 7" Motorized display - AVH-Z7050BT, AVH-Z5050BT
- 6.2" fixed display - AVH-Z2050BT, AVH-Z1050DVD
- Android Auto - AVH-Z7050BT, AVH-Z5050BT
- Bluetooth - AVH-Z7050BT, AVH-Z5050BT, AVH-Z2050BT
- 2 DIN - AVH-Z5050BT, AVH-Z2050BT, AVH-Z1050DVD
- 1 DIN - AVH-Z7050BT
Which Z series is right for me?
To figure this one out, we have listed down a few questions. The answer should help determine the right model for you or at least exclude the one that doesn't suit you.
Q: Can your car fit a 1 DIN or 2 DIN unit?
A: If you answer only 1 DIN, the AVH-X7050BT is the only unit that will fit unless you plan on doing major customizations.
Q: Can you live without Mirror-link, SD/SDHC, HDMI input and Dual Zone Audio/Video?
A: If you answered no, then your only choice is the Pioneer AVH-X8850BT, give the Z series a pass then.
Q: Do you use an Android device?
A: If yes, then only the AVH-Z5050BT and AVH-Z7050BT will support your device.
Q: Is a 7" screen size a must?
A: If yes, then only the AVH-Z5050BT and AVH-Z7050BT has it.
Q: Do you dislike having Bluetooth connectivity?
A: If Yes, then the AVH-Z1050DVD is for you
Those couple of Q & A's should lead you in the right direction and help you decide on the right Z series head unit. Do comment below if you have any questions.
All the Best!