PROS / It has 11 million points of interest, the most of any unit we reviewed.
CONS / It doesn't support Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
VERDICT / The Clarion NX605 has everything we look for in an aftermarket navigation system except the latest in smartphone connectivity.
The Clarion NX605 is an in-dash navigation system that has smartphone connectivity and maps of the United States. With good smartphone integration and excellent navigation, it's one of the better values on the market.
Like all the other aftermarket navigation systems we reviewed, the NX605 can play CDs and DVDs. It ships with TomTom maps of the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, and it includes 11 million points of interest, which is the most of any brand that we reviewed. It also includes free traffic, so you can check the traffic conditions along your route without using your smartphone.
There are two main ways to connect the NX605 to your smartphone. The simplest way is to connect via a HDMI cable and mirror your smartphone's display on the in-dash navigation system's display. You'll still have to use your smartphone's touch interface to interact with apps, but everything you do on the smartphone is displayed on the 6.2-inch screen of the NX605. HDMI mirroring is particularly useful for watching movies and videos.
The other way to connect your smartphone to the head unit is through Bluetooth. Bluetooth facilitates several different functions on the NX605. First, you can make and receive hands-free calls directly on the head unit. Second, you can play music wirelessly from your phone on the car's speakers. Third, you can connect your smartphone to the in-dash navigation unit using Clarion's smartphone app.
The app allows you to actually use a few smartphone apps, like Twitter, Facebook and iHeartRadio, directly on the head unit. Although the best in-dash GPS units have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Clarion's approach at least lets you use a few popular apps without having to consult your smartphone's screen. One of the most useful apps is called Intelligent Voice. This enables you to speak naturally to the head unit in order to get directions to wherever you want to go.
The NX605 has a built-in HD radio receiver, so you can receive the high-definition signals of your favorite FM stations. It also can play FLAC files, which are high-fidelity music files with superior audio quality to MP3s. It even has a satellite radio receiver, but you'll have to subscribe in order to receive those channels.
One of the most unique features of this head unit is its front-facing auxiliary port. This allows you to easily connect any device with a headphone-out jack to the stereo. It's especially useful if you have friends in the car and want to listen to their music without having to connect their phone via Bluetooth.
The Clarion NX605 has above-average smartphone integration and premium maps navigation. Although its smartphone integration is not cutting-edge, it's still good enough to make the NX605 one of the better values on the in-dash navigation market.