Voice control with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
The Sony XAV-AX100 receiver is compatible with both Apple and Android smartphones through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto respectively. The receiver automatically detects the type of phone connected. So, your iPhone or Android smartphone will get synced with the car’s audio system and allow you to answer calls, check voicemails, dictate text messages, access maps for features like real-time traffic information and navigation, and lane guidance via Apple Maps or Google Maps, or play music via voice commands. It is also compatible with Siri Eyes Free and supports Pandora control with iOS and Android.
All other iOS apps such as iTunes to listen to your favourite playlists or Siri for voice commands to dictate text messages or hear directions to current destination will be available through the XAV-AX100 receiver. You’ll be able to hear Siri’s directions on the car’s speaker. Similarly for Android smartphones Android Auto has voice command feature for replying to text messages, asking for directions to the destination, among others.
10-band graphic equaliser
Sony is known for it’s quality of sound and the XAV-AX100 is no different. It’s powerful amplifier (17 watts RMS CEA-2006, 55 watts peak x 4 channels) will add to output of the car’s speakers and Sony’s Mega Bass will ensure that the subwoofer’s thump lifts the mood in the car (to learn how to tune the subwoofers to perfectly match the amps check here). In addition the XAV-AX100 receiver is equipped with a 10-band graphic equaliser, high- and low-pass filters, and subwoofer controls to customize the acoustics inside the car. If you don’t want to tinker too much you can always choose from one of the preset options for particular types of music. Plus the Dynamic Stage Organizer feature allows you to create virtual speakers on the dashboard, which basically recalibrates the frequency output to create the impression that the speakers are placed on the dashboard.
Ease of use and access
The receiver’s rotary dial, which controls the volume, is easily accessible from the driver’s seat. A gentle push on the same knob provides access to the variety of sound controls the Sony XAV-AX100 has to offer, while holding down the knob activates the voice command mode. It is equipped with a 6.4-inch colour touchscreen display for all onscreen functions. This ensures that you’re eyes never stray from the road ahead.
The XAV-AX100 provides a dedicated rear-view camera input, which has become a must these days because of convenience and safety it offers. You can not only take help of the rear-view camera while backing out of a tough spot or while parking the car, it also provides a view of what’s happening behind the vehicle at all times and avoid any untoward mishaps. This receiver also allows you to retain the audio controls on the steering wheel, if you choose to, by simply connecting an adapter.
The Sony XAV-AX100 is priced at Rs 26,999 (inclusive of all taxes).
Sony has done an excellent job by ensuring that non-Apple CarPlay or Android Auto user interface (UI) of the receiver is a mix of iOS and Android, including the iconography and design. So, when you’re controlling the equaliser or using the rear-view camera the UI maintains a level of continuity. This isn’t the norm for aftermarket infotainment systems, so kudos to Sony.
However, there are a couple of issues that need to be addressed. Firstly, it would have been great if Sony offered a 7-inch screen instead of the 6.4-inch screen, especially because most top-end car infotainment systems have that. It significantly improves visibility and legibility of onscreen information. Plus, it’s surprising Sony opted for a resistive touchscreen instead of a capacitive touchscreen, which is the norm these days because of better touch response and better visibility in sunlight.
Finally, note that the XAV-AX100 is a wired receiver, so every time you need to physically connect the smartphone to the receiver over Lightning.