Last updated on October 21st, 2021 at 01:29 pm

In this article: We'll review 5 of our best pick iDatalink compatible head units for your car or truck with quick reviews, photos, opinion and price comparisons to help you save money.

Most car owners want to upgrade the stereo in their car at some point without losing key factory controls. With vehicles staying on the road longer than ever before, the technology that was once top-of-the-line is now antiquated. But upgrading from a factory head unit to an aftermarket stereo is more complex than ever before too. Today, our vehicle’s factory head units incorporate numerous features, from steering wheel controls to built-in navigation, to climate control functions. Many aftermarket stereos are fully capable of integrating these features, but actually making the connection and getting all the desired features to work requires significant alteration of factory wiring.

To answer the call of needed connectivity, iDatalink created the Maestro module adapter. The adapter simplifies the connections necessary between factory wiring and an aftermarket stereo head unit. While many aftermarket stereos can be set up to use an iDatalink Maestro module adapter, only a few are designed specifically to make the connection.

Five companies build stereos that are out-of-the-box ready for the iDatalink Maestro unit. Alpine, JVC, Kenwood, Pioneer, and Sony provide numerous options for the aftermarket stereo enthusiast wanting to install a modern stereo in an integrated car.

Picking out the best iDatalink-ready head unit can be an overwhelming task. Many of the head units are similar, but which are the best? We did the tough task for you and dug through thousands of reviews, contacted manufacturers, and narrowed down which head units are the best.

Most of the companies that make iDatalink Maestro-compatible head units also make head units that are vehicle specific. If you own a 2014-newer Dodge Ram, Jeep Wrangler, GMC Sierra, Chevrolet Silverado, or a Toyota truck, start your search for a great upgrade by looking at head units designed to fit the dash of your truck for a factory appearance.

Below, we will look at the best iDatalink Maestro-ready head units from each of the manufacturers.

Looking for a different type of car stereo? Check out these lists!

Key Features

  • 10.1” LCD resistive touch screen
  • 1280×780 screen resolution, 16:9 aspect
  • Tilt, up, out adjustability
  • Single-din double layer chassis
  • LDAC-equipped
  • ESS D/A converter
  • Audiophile-grade components
  • 55wx4 factory power rating
  • 14-band EQ, 8-band parametric EQ per channel
  • Three sets of 5v pre outs (Front L&R, Rear L&R, Sub L&R)
  • Dual camera input
  • Rear USB-C
  • iDataLink Maestro-ready
  • Built-in WiFi, Bluetooth, includes GPS antenna

Latest Prices

Sony XAV-9500ES Quick Review

See our Sony XAV-9500ES unbox and feature review article for the full review.

The world of high-fidelity stereo is finally almost upon us. For audiophiles who lament the lack of depth, clarity, and realism from car audio, Sony is bringing the XAV-9500ES to market in November 2021. This brand-new, massive receiver incorporates Sony’s proprietary LDAC technology that enables decoding of wireless content from a compatible source. This Sony XAV-9500ES in-depth review will share all of the features we already know about ahead of the release date.

High Resolution Audio

If you are one of those people who can barely stand to listen to streaming music in the car because of the lack of quality, this receiver is going to be one of your favorite new products. Even though many devices on the market are capable of playing lossless files like FLAC, very few receivers have the power to properly decode the source signal to take advantage of all the extra data included.

The 9500ES is capable of playing audio files up to 192 kHz/ 24 bit for unbelievable realism and dynamic sound unlike anything you’ve heard in a car stereo before. The LDAC technology was developed through Sony’s extensive experience in home theater sound and it’s perfect for the discerning listener that demands the finest quality of audio around.

Sony uses an advanced ESS digital-to-analog converter that processes information at 32 bit and eliminates timing jitter. The chipset allows this receiver to produce more full sounding bass notes without harmonic distortion. Throughout the construction of the unit, Sony has gone the extra mile to ensure the highest quality of audio playback. Dedicated choke coils enhance bass while stopping unwanted frequencies and audiophile-grade capacitors and multi-layer polymer capacitors provide the most natural sounding audio you’ve heard from a car stereo.

Display

The 9500ES sports a massive 10.1-inch floating touch screen that’s gapless for a smooth viewing experience and to maximize the usable screen. The LCD display is bonded to the protective glass screen with a special adhesive that gives the user a smoother and more precise touch experience. The display mounts to the receiver with a slick, adjustable bracket. The screen can be adjusted up, out, and tilt to accommodate a variety of dash designs and user seating positions.

Chassis Design Features

The 9500ES takes the task of producing hi-res audio to an extreme. The chassis is a dual-layer design that eliminates resonance and prevents electro-magnetic interference. The single-din chassis makes installation simple in a variety of cars and trucks.

Customizable Installation

You can really tell the direction that Sony engineers wanted to take this receiver when you look at the functionality of the connection options. The ESS and other processing chips allow for independent channel processing and time-alignment, which means you can tailor your front, rear, and subwoofer speakers perfectly so that sound reaches you at the same time, regardless of how far from the speakers you are.

The 9500ES has a built-in 14-band equalizer that adjusts the entire sound from the system while each of the available six channels have independent 8-band parametric adjustability. A built-in three way crossover gives you even more control over which speakers are fed the proper frequencies to allow for one of the most custom installations possible in a sleek package.

Advanced Connectivity

Many stereos out there have built-in access to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but few can do it entirely wirelessly. The receiver uses built-in WiFi along with an included GPS antenna to wirelessly connect to your compatible phone. That means there are no more wires and cables cluttering the console and no more fumbling with the phone to press the voice button.

The connectivity ease makes using navigation, answering your phone, and responding to text messages through Siri or Assistant pleasurable.

iDataLink Maestro Ready

Installation of aftermarket receivers continues to become a bigger challenge due to the integration of various factory functions with the factory head unit. The 9500ES is ready to use iDataLink Maestro adapters that are engineered specifically to work with your vehicle. The adapter offers even more than just connectivity, it can allow you to display a wide range of metrics on your display, including things like oil temperature and pressure, tire pressure, transmission temperature, along with real-time monitoring of check engine light alerts. This is a simply amazing accessory for any modern car.

Pros
  • Amazing, huge screen that is simple to use
  • Hi-res car audio at last
  • Excellent range of features mimic home theater equipment
Cons
  • No video/multimedia features

Alpine Halo9 iLX-F309

Alpine Halo9 iLX-F309 vehicle controls and accessory switches
Alpine Halo9 iLX-F309 apple carplay apps on screen
Alpine Halo9 iLX-F309 android auto apps on screen
Alpine Halo9 iLX-F309 making a phone call
Alpine Halo9 iLX-F309 vehicle data with tire pressure and voltage on screen
Alpine Halo9 iLX-F309 music playing
Alpine Halo9 iLX-F309 side tilted with single din casing

Key Features

  • Single-Din iDatalink Head Unit
  • Power Handling:
    • RMS: 18W x 4
    • Peak: 50W x 4
  • Screen Size: 9″
  • Screen Type: Capacitive Touchscreen

Latest Prices

Buy on Amazon.com $1,299.95
Buy on Crutchfield.com
Buy on eBay $999.95
Last Amazon price update was: October 21, 2021 4:23 am

Alpine Halo9 iLX-F309 Quick Review

As mentioned above, if you drive a truck from Jeep, GM, Ford, Toyota, or Dodge, look for a unit designed to integrate seamlessly with your dash. Alpine has got your back with numerous iDatalink-ready head units through their i200 series.

The most popular head units from Alpine featuring iDatalink Maestro compatibility that are intended for a universal fit are the iLX and X300 series. Select Alpine receivers are iDatalink compatible across the range of touchscreen head units on the market today.

Alpines iLX-F309 is a single-din chassis with a “hovering” monitor. Okay, it’s a ridiculously massive 9” monitor. The floating screen is unlike anything else on the market. It allows for numerous positions and angles to fit in most dashes. This thing looks so cool, the actual features almost don’t matter.

The iLX-F309 is rated at 18 watts RMS per channel with a peak of 50×4 watts. It has a total of five 4 volt preouts. A single rear USB port allows for screen mirroring on Apple and Android devices, though many Android devices will require an adapter.

A single camera port allows for connectivity to a backup camera. Optional adapters can be used to enable multi-camera applications.

The consensus among users is very positive. The biggest issue that many users reported was the lack of wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and a tendency for the screen to seem “washed out” when viewing maps. The solution to the washed-out appearance seems to be switching to satellite view.

JVC KW-V950BW

JVC KW-V950BW front Apple Car Play with apps
JVC KW-V950BW tilted apple carplay
JVC KW-V950BW tilted android auto
JVC KW-V950BW maps view
JVC KW-V950BW back

Key Features

  • Double-Din iDatalink Head Unit
  • Power Handling:
    • RMS: 22W x 4
    • Peak: 50W x 4
  • Screen Size: 6.95″
  • Screen Type: Clear Resistive Touchscreen

Latest Prices

Buy on eBay $499.99
Buy on Amazon.com
Buy on Crutchfield.com
Last Amazon price update was: October 20, 2021 9:23 pm

Kenwood DMX09706S Quick Review

Kenwood and JVC merged in 2008, so it is no surprise that both companies provide similar, broad iDatalink Maestro compatibility across product lines. Almost every line of touchscreen-equipped head units from Kenwood offers at least one unit that connects directly to iDatalink adapters.

Our pick from Kenwood is the DMX-9706S. This is a feature-rich head unit that provides Bluetooth connectivity, built-in wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay along with dual USB inputs that double as high-speed charging ports.

What really sets the Kenwood KMX-9706S apart from competitors is the use of a widget-based user interface. This allows for some of the best customization options of any touchscreen head unit on the market. While all of the units on this list have some degree of personalization available, nothing comes close to the ability to use widgets, especially when connecting through the iDatalink Maestro adapter.

This Kenwood head unit allows for multiple split screens, so you can really take advantage of the options iDatalink Maestro adapters provide. When connected, users can display diagnostic information, gauges, the music currently playing, and a nav screen at the same time. No one else does this.

The DMX-9706S produces 22 watts RMS per channel with a peak power of 50 watts x 4. In addition to dual rear USB connections, the DMX-9706S has three camera inputs for rear, front, side, or any other combination of cameras. This head unit is also accident dash-cam ready and can record instantly to the removable 8gb SD card.

Three pairs of 4 volt preouts offer great upgradability for advanced speaker configurations. Built- selectable two-way or three-way crossover technology allows for even greater customization of speaker setups. Kenwood Stage EQ controls allow for customized settings to increase performance of speakers by selecting the installed location.

Kenwood DMX-9706S

Kenwood DMX-9706S main screen
Kenwood DMX-9706S media tilted view
Kenwood DMX-9706S carplay maps view
Kenwood DMX-9706S screen off view
Kenwood DMX-9706S back view with rcas

Key Features

  • Double-Din iDatalink Head Unit
  • Power Handling:RMS: 22W x 4
  • Peak: 50W x 4
  • Screen Size: 6.95″
  • Screen Type: Clear Resistive Touchscreen

Latest Prices

Buy on eBay $499.99
Buy on Amazon.com
Buy on Crutchfield.com
Last Amazon price update was: October 20, 2021 9:23 pm

Kenwood DMX09706S Quick Review

Kenwood and JVC merged in 2008, so it is no surprise that both companies provide similar, broad iDatalink Maestro compatibility across product lines. Almost every line of touchscreen-equipped head units from Kenwood offers at least one unit that connects directly to iDatalink adapters.

Our pick from Kenwood is the DMX-9706S. This is a feature-rich head unit that provides Bluetooth connectivity, built-in wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay along with dual USB inputs that double as high-speed charging ports.

What really sets the Kenwood KMX-9706S apart from competitors is the use of a widget-based user interface. This allows for some of the best customization options of any touchscreen head unit on the market. While all of the units on this list have some degree of personalization available, nothing comes close to the ability to use widgets, especially when connecting through the iDatalink Maestro adapter.

This Kenwood head unit allows for multiple split screens, so you can really take advantage of the options iDatalink Maestro adapters provide. When connected, users can display diagnostic information, gauges, the music currently playing, and a nav screen at the same time. No one else does this.

The DMX-9706S produces 22 watts RMS per channel with a peak power of 50 watts x 4. In addition to dual rear USB connections, the DMX-9706S has three camera inputs for rear, front, side, or any other combination of cameras. This head unit is also accident dash-cam ready and can record instantly to the removable 8gb SD card.

Three pairs of 4 volt preouts offer great upgradability for advanced speaker configurations. Built- selectable two-way or three-way crossover technology allows for even greater customization of speaker setups. Kenwood Stage EQ controls allow for customized settings to increase performance of speakers by selecting the installed location.

Pioneer AVIC-W8500NEX

Pioneer AVIC-W8500NEX apple carplay apps on screen
Pioneer AVIC-W8500NEX turn by turn instructions
Pioneer AVIC-W8500NEX maps on screen with instructions
Pioneer AVIC-W8500NEX imessage on screen
Pioneer AVIC-W8500NEX back view

Key Features

  • Double-Din iDatalink Head Unit
  • Power Handling:
    • RMS: 14W x 4
    • Peak: 50W x 4
  • Screen Size: 6.94″
  • Screen Type: Capacitive Touchscreen

Latest Prices

Buy on Amazon.com $669.97
Buy on Crutchfield.com
Buy on eBay $649.95
Last Amazon price update was: October 21, 2021 5:24 am

Pioneer AVIC-W8500NEX Quick Review

The Pioneer AVIC-W8500NEX is a top-of-the-line head unit that features iDatalink Maestro compatibility. This head unit has a 6.94” capacitive touchscreen that has built-in wireless connectivity to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and can run numerous apps for music streaming.

The W8500NEX is a navigation receiver that allows for a fantastic, integrated driving experience. Pioneer engineered the nav system to account for live traffic updates using the most up-to-date maps of the United States, Canada, and the territories.

Every aspect of the Pioneer W8500 is designed as an extension of the driving experience. Hands-free voice controls allow for easy use of music streaming and navigational commands. Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and Dual USB connections make it simple to enjoy listening wherever you drive. This head unit supports Siri Eyes Free Control, MiraCast for Android, and WebLink for Apple users.

The head unit produces 14 watts of power RMS with a peak of 50W x 4. Six pre outs of 4 volts each allow for expandable listening options, while low- and high-pass adjustable crossovers provide easy customization for the perfect experience. Need more connectivity? The W8500NEX includes a mini and RCA AUX inputs, HDMI input, and supports multiple cameras. This head unit can even play a DVD on your headrest screen while running Android Auto or Apple CarPlay on the front monitor.

The Pioneer W8500NEX is at the top of the price range for the units compared here, but is the only head unit with a dedicated built-in nav system and is the only one that supports rear DVD playing. These features probably justify the price for many buyers.