Sony XAV-AX5000 Review – The best of the best?

Sony XAV-AX5000 7" Apple Car Play, Android Auto, Media Receiver with Bluetooth

Pure elegance no shiny black plastic, no over the top lighting or futuristic fonts…

The reason why many people installed this head unit is because of the looks. It has no over the top rainbow colors. It doesn’t give the cheap shiny plastic feeling. It doesn’t try to catch your eyes with hard to read futuristic fonts.

On the other hand, it looks like a premium item. The interface is clean and simple. It has real buttons that give a world of satisfaction to costumers. The colors are reserved, so they go perfectly with car interiors.

This is why I’ve created the Sony XAV-AX5000 review. So you know what’s a good stereo in this sea of never-ending lookalike products.

But before we get to the review par, we need to talk about something.

Let’s get this out of in the open: some call it an overpriced starter double din head unit. Yes, it has some features which I will discuss in the shortcomings section.

Here’s a quick preview: Both major smartphone OSs are supported. Although if you own an iPhone, you will get more out of it. The reason why Android phones don’t work well with stereos comes from slow Google. Both phones have to be tethered to work.

You will have two USB ports at your disposal. And the head unit comes SiriusXM ready.

If you are looking for the best double din head unit, by reading this review, you will understand why it deserves the premium price tag.

At the end I’ve compiled the pros and cons for this head unit. Make sure you don’t miss it.

Now let’s get this Sony XAV-AX5000 review started.

Who is the Sony XAV-AX5000 for?

The Sony XAV-AX5000 car stereo is for those customers who want something elegant and upscale. People who want something that doesn’t scream aftermarket and has some key features.

Everybody wants hands-free controls plus many music options. This is where this head unit delivers. Since it’s compatible both with Apple Carplay and Android Auto (Google Maps), all the apps can be mirrored to the screen.

Did I mention that there are fewer fingerprints on the screen?

Car stereos are notorious for being fingerprints and dust magnets. That’s not so with this Sony stereo.

 

What can the Sony XAV-AX5000 do for you?

Let’s see what kind of great features the Sony XAV-AX5000 double DIN has for us.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s compatible with Apple Carplay and Android Auto. Sadly it’s not wireless. You need to tether it through USB. The good news is that the stereo comes with two USB ports.

I have one port of the phone and the second one for the flash drive. I like to keep my phone memory free of music. Plus the sound quality is phenomenal.

I love the 6.95” capacitive screen. The response time is fast. The whole menu is simple and easy to use. There’s no learning curve. It has large icons and easy to tap them. The whole touch screen gives a modern look.

They have done this right the brightness and dimming work great. Once you dim your head unit, all the apps (Siri, Spotify, Waze, etc.) are switched to night mode.

Don’t get me started with the physical buttons. Other stereos don’t have it. It’s so satisfying when you feel the feedback of that click.

It lacks in the personalization department. You can choose from a few background images, and that’s it.

Key Features:

  • Digital multimedia receiver with AM/FM tuner
  • 6.95″ touchscreen
  • Dual USB ports
  • Pandora and Spotify control with iPhone and Android
  • Built-in 4 x 55 W amplification

 

Sony XAV-AX5000 shortcomings

The Sony XAV-AX5000 isn’t the perfect radio if it has flaws. And if you’re familiar with my writing style, you know that I don’t hide them. So let’s see if these issues are deal-breakers for you.

Two features are dearly missed. This double DIN car stereo doesn’t come with HD radio and HDMI. I mean, like almost everybody is offering HD radio. What’s the problem?

Another feature that is missing is time alignment. Pioneer is the leading company in this. Sony, it’s time to wake up.

Android users reported problems with the app. It seems that Android Auto is not working. The standard response was to either get a high-quality cable or change the phone. I believe a good firmware update would’ve fixed the whole issue. But Sony is notoriously slow with updates. That’s life in corporate.

You can’t upload your custom background image. There are like 6-7 to choose from.

There’s no album art. What? Why? How could they miss this?

I also have beef with the EQ. First of all, there are only 6-bands to adjust. Now there are some presets which are good, but if I could tweak it a bit more, then it would be perfect. Sadly the presets are locked, so you have to start from scratch.

We’re in 2020, and car stereos are still using 480p resolution? It’s time to evolve 720p would be the bare minimum.

So these would be the shortcomings of this car stereo. Are you still here reading? Or did you abandon this digital receiver?

 

How To Get The Most Out Of Sony XAV-AX5000?

Now we are going to get technical. Just kidding, I’m not a gear-head, and this is why I recommend pro installs. It’s such a time and nerve saver.

You might want to consider another add-on item for your purchase. If you want to keep you stock steering wheel controls, you need something like the iDatalink Maestro. By adding it next to the stereo, you can use the steering wheel buttons. Not only will that, but it will give you vehicle diagnostic info. One thing that makes the install easy is getting a wiring harness.

I never hit the road without checking them. The first thing I check is the tire pressure, and there is other info as well, like temperature gauges and voltage.

Last but not least, do consider installing a backup camera (rear view camera). I know I was against it, but once I got used to it, I can’t live without it. I can park in much tighter spaces. It beats circling the block a few times for sure.

Here’s the bird’s eye view for this head unit.

Pros
  • Elegance that looks great in an older luxury car
  • Fast loading capacitive touch screen
  • Finally a stereo with a great dimmer
Cons
  • Might not work as advertised with Android Auto
  • Missing features: HD radio and HDMI

Does it fit in my car? Click Here to Check
Who can help me install it? Click Here to Check

 

Sony XAV-AX5000 Review Conclusion

All in all, the Sony XAV-AX5000 seems to be a good car stereo. It has some cool features, and it lacks a few. There’s the issue with Android phones will it work or not. All this can be solved with a firmware update.

We have reached the end of this Sony XAV-AX5000 review. This car stereo is polarizing. You either love it or not. It’s time for you to decide.

I love hearing your feedback about this Sony stereo. What do you think? Do you have it installed? What were your experiences? Reading customer reviews highly recommend it.

Comment below.

Catch you next time.
Sony XAV-AX5000 7" Apple Car Play, Android Auto, Media Receiver with Bluetooth

Does it fit in my car? Click Here to Check
Who can help me install it? Click Here to Check

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I install the Sony XAV-AX5000 digital media receiver in a Jeep Wrangler?

Yes this car stereo is compatible with the Jeep Wrangler.

Will this satellite radio work with Apple Car Play?

Yes the Sony satellite radio supports Apple Car Play Android Auto.

Can I use Google Maps as navigation?

Yes this stereo model works great With Google Maps.

Is the Sony XAV-AX200 a good alternative for the Sony XAV-AX5000?

One of the best alternatives is Sony XAV-AX200. The Sony XAV-AX200 Review will explain it detailed.

How good is the sound quality after the install?

What I’ve noticed is that the sound quality significantly improved. I mean the speakers are the same and still the sound quality is way better. Making phone calls will be never clearer.

How many USB ports does this touch screen radio have?

This deck comes with dual USB port. They are located in the rear. To access it you need to get a USB be cable this is sold separately.

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About Danny Reid
About Danny Reid

Danny here, no matter in which market you’re in it’s flooded with products. Maybe you want a new stereo, amps, speakers or subs? This is why the blog exists to cut through the clutter.
My goal with the reviews is to inform you of the best possible to make the right decision.
Plus if you’re stuck with “the blue wire is connected to???” I have many hot tips to get you out of a jam.