PROS / It has unmatched Apple and Android integration.
CONS / Its navigation database has 7.9 million points of interest, slightly fewer than some competing databases.
VERDICT / The Pioneer 8100 NEX is the best in-dash navigation system we reviewed, featuring excellent smartphone integration and free navigation and traffic.
The Pioneer 8100 NEX is an in-dash navigation system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, free lifetime traffic and more. For its exceptional connectivity and premium design, the Pioneer 8100 NEX is our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award winner.
Using the Bluetooth connection, you can control Pandora directly from the unit's screen. This feature is redundant for Apple and Android users, because Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support Pandora, but Windows Phone users will welcome this functionality.
Pioneer also includes a few features aimed at audiophiles. This unit can play FLAC music files from an SD card or USB thumb drive. FLAC files are audio files with superior fidelity. The 8100 NEX also has a detailed EQ, which allows you to tailor your vehicle's sound to your taste. There is also the Mixtrax feature, which blends your music library together with DJ-style transition sound effects and pulsing visuals on the screen. Mixtrax is a bit gimmicky, but it is a fun way to listen to music.
This unit can receive satellite radio, but you'll have to purchase a subscription. It supports HD radio, which means you can listen to many of your local radio stations at a higher quality.
Measured diagonally, the 8100 NEX has a 7-inch screen. This is on par with the largest screens currently offered. It's a double DIN system, which means the unit totals 7 inches wide and 4 inches tall.
One of the best features of this in-dash GPS is that it has a capacitive screen rather than resistive. This means it works like a smartphone and is more sensitive to touch input than the resistive screens found in cheaper units.
Like all the in-dash navigation units we reviewed, the 8100 NEX plays CDs and DVDs. It also has an HDMI input. This means that if you have a movie on a tablet or laptop, you can directly connect the device to the unit via an HDMI cable.
Help & Support
Pioneer offers a one-year warranty, provided you purchase from an authorized dealer. It also offers email and phone support. Additionally, Pioneer has an active social media presence, which can be helpful for getting questions answered quickly. Pioneer has service centers in most major cities, so you should be able to get your unit fixed locally if you have a problem.
In terms of features and functionality, the Pioneer 8100 NEX is well ahead of the competition. Its inclusion of CarPlay and Android Auto give it unsurpassed smartphone integration, and its lifetime traffic and navigation services are also top of the line. It is absolutely the best in-dash navigation system on the market.