A lot of car stereos are hard to use and take a long time to set up. It’s frustrating when you want to listen to music quickly, but have the hassle of setting up your stereo first.
That why, when it comes to car stereos, most consumers are willing to settle for whatever comes standard with their car’s model line. Even if you enjoy your music as much as I do, chances are that you have never considered taking things further by adding some type of aftermarket sound system into your ride – myself included before this review!
In fact, I was blissfully unaware of just how important audio really can be until I installed a new Alpine ILX-W650 head unit into my own vehicle.
Don’t forget about the pros & cons. It’s at the end of the article. If you are serious about this deck read that part as well.
Let’s get this Alpine ILX-W650 review started.
What Will I Learn?
- Who is the Alpine ILX-W650 for?
- What can the Alpine ILX-W650 do for you?
- Alpine ILX-W650 shortcomings
- How To Get The Most Out Of It Alpine ILX-W650?
- Alpine ILX-W650 Review Conclusion
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
- Where is the USB port located on the Alpine ILX-W650 digital media receiver?
- Can I use my steering wheel controls with the Alpine ILX-W650 car stereo?
- Who are the biggest fans of the Alpine ILX-W650 car stereo?
- How many video ins does the Alpine ILX-W650 digital receiver head unit have?
- How can I get more power with my Alpine ILX-W650 car stereo?
- Can I use Apple Carplay and Android Auto with this vehicle tuner?
- Should I consider the Alpine Halo9 iLX-F309 an alternative for Alpine ILX-W650?
- How many camera inputs does this digital media receiver come with?
- What can I connect to the camera input with this vehicle tuner?
- Is Google Assistant available with this digital media receiver?
- Any type of USB cable works with the head unit?
- Do I need a parking brake bypass with this head unit?
- Do I have factory steering wheel audio controls?
- Does it have a USB port?
- How can I use the car audio video input output in this in dash radio?
- Can I listen to HD radio with this head unit?
Who is the Alpine ILX-W650 for?
This stereo is for people who want something inexpensive, which does a few things best. It has shortcomings, which would be a deal-breaker for a few. I’m talking about who like to personalize everything. Sadly this Alpine double DIN head unit doesn’t have those capabilities.
Families can put this double DIN unit for good use. It supports both Apple and Android phones. This is why I’ve picked this head unit for my family. Apple and Android phones are divided equally amongst us.
Whoever wants to put the music on they can because Alpine has Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The music is great, and the look is cool. It’s a tactful head unit that works with most cars. Do remember it requires a double DIN slot. If you only have a single DIN, then you need to pick something equivalent.
What can the Alpine ILX-W650 do for you?
Since you can connect both Android and Apple phones, you can use hands-free driving.
Do you have teenagers getting their driver’s licenses?
This head unit can keep them safe. So many people are texting and driving that it’s dangerous. This is why, with the help of Siri, you can get messages read, not only that you can reply to them as well.
Hot tip: if you love to listen to SiriusXM, you need the SiriusXM receiver. Sadly it doesn’t work without it. Once you get the digital receiver you can listen to satellite radio.
Radio and music are clean. For example, I love listening to podcasts and audiobooks during my commute. It makes the trip faster. After the first week of listening to something educational, I felt that my time isn’t wasted.
The touch screen is 7 inches wide. Easy to navigate, and it’s responsive to touch. The touch screen works as good as a tablet.
Secret: I’ve rooted my Android phone. Now I can fully mirror everything that’s going on.
The Alpine head unit supports two video inputs. The package doesn’t contain any cameras, so you have got get them separately. Once you install them, you will have a rear view camera (backup camera) and a dash cam.
- Shallow-mount chassis design (2-13/16″ deep), does not play CDs
- Built-in amplifier (18 watts RMS/50 peak x 4 channels)
- Outputs: 6-channel preamp outputs (4-volt front, rear, subwoofer)
- 7″ capacitive touchscreen mech-less receiver compatible with Apple Carplay and Android Auto
- Works with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, hands-free control
Alpine ILX-W650 shortcomings
There are a few issues with this model. Here you can find the list.
First of all, you can’t customize the head unit. This simple fact is a deal-breaker for many. This is why I have mentioned it first. Sadly you can’t upload custom background or even change the backlight colors. The screen doesn’t have any animations or transitions.
What you see is what you get.
There’s only one USB slot. So you either plug your phone in or the USB stick. Plus, if you want to use Android Auto or Apple Carplay, you have to plug your phone in. There’s no way around it.
It doesn’t have a CD player. It’s time to transfer all CD’s onto a pen drive. By eliminating the CD player feature, the head unit is lighter. Plus, it’s shallower so you can hide the wires behind it.
The digital receiver is slow at startup. It usually takes around 15-20 seconds to boot up.
I can’t finish the shortcomings without the annoying safety feature. You can’t change the settings while you’re driving. You need to be standing still and have parking engaged. Otherwise, it will lock you out. It’s not easy to connect to the parking break wire. If you are not sure about yourself let a pro do the parking brake wire install.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, it’s not SiriusXM ready. It can do it once you buy and install a receiver.
And my final is that it rejects phones a lot. This happens because of faulty USB wire. Make sure you have a high-quality USB connector.
- digital media receiver with AM/FM tuner (does not play CDs)
- shallow-mount chassis design (2-7/16" deep)
- touchscreen swipe controls
How To Get The Most Out Of It Alpine ILX-W650?
It’s odd that, for some, the install was easy for others were painstakingly slow. There’s a simple solution to this problem. You need to have a wiring harness. If you get it like that, then it will be plug and play.
Some people have experience with car tinkering. For them figuring out the wires and connecting them is a hobby. For others, a pro installation would work best.
I always vote for pro work. At least then, I know for sure it will work.
Don’t forget to update to the latest firmware. Many bugs have been ironed out in the new software update.
From time to time, screen glare appeared as an issue. Luckily with polarized glasses, it works perfectly. As in the screen is visible through them.
You have to spend extra money if you want to listen to SiriusXM.
I almost forgot to mention that Alpine has its trademarked amp which is called dynamic peak power (DPP). It delivers 400 watts of power.
Alpine ILX-W650 has a built-in Bluetooth. You can take phone calls hands-free. With the help of the apps, you can not just make phone calls but reply to texts. I had no issues with the built-in Bluetooth no lag no nothing.
Let’s talk about the sound settings. There’s a 9-band parametric equalizer. You can tweak this to you liking. Do play around with the volume scale so you get the most out of this unit. The customer reviews are great. It’s nearly 5 stars so this is one of the most loved stereos by customer rating.
Alpine ILX-W650 Review Conclusion
All in all, I love the Alpine ILX-W650 digital media receiver. It does as advertised. It’s a family-friendly unit. No matter if you have Apple or Android phones, it will work. You can enjoy both Apple Car Play and Android Auto at the same time.
It’s simple to use and gives great audio experience. The apps work perfectly. Navigation is easy with the help of Waze or Google maps, satellite view.
The biggest gripe with this is the safety feature. Most importantly, you have to have the wire connected to the emergency brake, or it won’t work. While sitting at the stop sign, you can’t change settings — what a shame. Now if you want to keep your factory steering wheel buttons I suggest adding the Maestro RR device. The built-in Bluetooth works great but you will have to touch the phone if you want to take calls. This is where the Maestro RR comes into play it will allow you to keep your factory steering wheel settings.
I’m about to end the Alpine ILX-W650 review. I hope you have found it both educational and entertaining. Do reach out if you want me to review a different stereo.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Where is the USB port located on the Alpine ILX-W650 digital media receiver?
Like with most car stereos the Alpine ILX-W650 double din digital media receiver has the USB port in the back.
Can I use my steering wheel controls with the Alpine ILX-W650 car stereo?
Yes, you can use your steering wheel controls with the Alpine ILX-W650 car stereo. For this, you need an additional module. There’s is this universal module idatalink maestro which will help you achieve steering wheel control. Once you have it installed Apple Carplay and Android Auto will become truly hands-free.
Who are the biggest fans of the Alpine ILX-W650 car stereo?
To my knowledge, the greatest fans of the Alpine ILX-W650 car stereo are Jeep Wrangler owners. iPod iPhone users particularly like this stereo.
How many video ins does the Alpine ILX-W650 digital receiver head unit have?
The Alpine ILX-W650 has two videos in. You can mount a dashcam and a backup camera.
How can I get more power with my Alpine ILX-W650 car stereo?
The Alpine ILX-W650 digital media receiver was designed to be compatible with the Alpine kta-450 power pack amplifier. This compact app has 50w of power. More than enough to increase the car audio. It’s good to know that the kta-450 power pack amplifier sold separately from the main unit. This unit beats the factory amp.
Can I use Apple Carplay and Android Auto with this vehicle tuner?
Yes, both Apple Carplay and Android Auto works. With Apple Carplay and Android Auto you can use your favorite streaming apps like Spotify and Pandora. With wireless Carplay you can use iPod iPhone, Apple maps. Don’t forget with the ilx w650 you’re getting quality sound.
Should I consider the Alpine Halo9 iLX-F309 an alternative for Alpine ILX-W650?
Yes, it’s one of the best alternatives. Take a look at the Alpine Halo9 iLX-F309 review for more details.
How many camera inputs does this digital media receiver come with?
This mode has two camera inputs, unlike a factory unit which usually has none.
What can I connect to the camera input with this vehicle tuner?
To the camera input you can add backup camera or a dash cam. The price tag is not too low or too high.
Is Google Assistant available with this digital media receiver?
Yes with this with these din units you can use Google Assistant. It can search for both audio video.
Any type of USB cable works with the head unit?
It’s recommended to use a high quality USB cable. If not you might find some difficulties. Since the USB port is way in the back you can easily hide the output in the center console.
Do I need a parking brake bypass with this head unit?
If you would like to make settings changes on the go then the parking brake bypass is a must. It’s the law that you can’t watch movies while driving. I understand that but why am I locked out from the EQ settings? This is why you need the parking brake micro bypass for this head unit. Alpine is actively combating this trick by measuring voltage change. It’s getting harder and harder to beat the system.
Do I have factory steering wheel audio controls?
Yes if you get the Metra dash kit. You will be able to have full hands-free voice control.
Does it have a USB port?
Yes this head unit comes with a USB port and you can connect thumb drives or USB drives to it.
How can I use the car audio video input output in this in dash radio?
Since this head unit comes with both car audio video input output you can put a backup camera to it. All you need is to plug in the right wire into the backup camera inputs. There are multiple uses for car audio video input output do contact customer support for more info.
Can I listen to HD radio with this head unit?
Sadly only standard radio is available. Now you could get access to HD internet radio. You can use Applecar Play or Android auto for that. Maybe google play might have some options as well.
Last Updated on March 11, 2021
Last update on 2021-04-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API