How to choose a head unit in a car: Pioneer AVH-Z5000BT review

Does the Pioneer AVH-Z5000BT multimedia system meet these modern requirements? Check it out!


The AVH-Z5000BT system can be installed in a regular place of almost any car. The set includes: instructions, a “basket” for installation, a set of fasteners, a slide for removing the radio, standard pinouts for connecting to wiring, a microphone, adapter frame and one USB extension cable. Installation in the standard case does not take more than 20-30 minutes, but I had to tinker with Smart fortwo for several hours.

Options AVH-Z5000BT

The microphone is displayed in any place convenient for the driver (the length of the wire allows). It is sensitive enough and picks up any commands spoken by Siri or a Google assistant. We remember safe driving and we answer calls using a headset or a “head” microphone. Functionality can be controlled not only by voice, but also from the steering wheel, AVH-Z5000BT supports button customization. And you can connect a rear view camera to the Pioneer AVH-Z5000BT. I did not need the last function.

Self-installation of the "head" does not take more than 20-30 minutes.

Smartphone connection

Without the possibility of using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, no car or multimedia device can be called full-fledged. Some manufacturers already integrate such an opportunity into their cars from the factory, and for all the rest there is only one option left - to purchase the device separately. Our tested 2-DIN multimedia system fully supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Shell interfaces of all automotive manufacturers do not differ in convenience and speed of work. This problem is partially solved by flashing to the latest software version. As a rule, the initial version of the firmware is enough to configure, turn on the radio or any other signal source.

Pioneer has developed software like AppRadio, which seems to work in tandem with the phone and even allow you to use the Waze navigator, which is good for Russia, but it's all morally outdated. My choice is Apple CarPlay. Clear, beautiful and fast interfaces that work flawlessly and without delay. Complete voice control integration through Siri, my favorite music collection and comfortable calls. And most importantly, navigation.

Apple CarPlay interface with a connected smartphone via Lightning. I chose English, but the Pioneer AVH-Z5000BT also supports Russian.


Apple cards leave much to be desired, but they are enough to orient themselves on the ground and they become better from year to year, even truthfully show congestion on the roads. As a result, I am in a convenient ecosystem of devices that make driving comfortable and, most importantly, safe. The modern driver is obliged to accept the fact that you can not use the phone in your hands while driving.

Navigation from Apple, although not perfect, but performs the main task - arrived at work without delay.

Somewhere on the horizon Yandex.Auto is visible, but it is not yet known when we can use it in our cars and devices from, for example, Pioneer. For Russian drivers in terms of navigation, this would become very important. And, in addition to safety recommendations, try to get rid of these terrible holders of incomprehensible design on the windshield or air duct - this is unaesthetic and not very practical. Tablets that cover the view of the road, I would generally forbid.

Screen and setup

In case you are a big fan of hard drives, the device has a built-in drive hidden behind a retractable screen for playing CD / DVD discs. The screen itself is 7 inches in size and with a resolution of 800x480 pixels in appearance is very high quality, but it is resistive, which at the same time gives a good response and the ability to use the device even with gloves on. Such a screen slightly reduces the sharpness of the image, but most likely you will not notice it. In addition, the Clear Type film will help to smooth the situation, increasing the contrast, clarity and anti-glare of the screen.

Under the screen there are a number of physical buttons - changing the sound level, switching between applications, switching to the home screen and turning on the microphone for voice control. The buttons are intuitive, easy to grope, pressed confidently and clearly. The backlight on them changes to any favorite color of the car enthusiast (a total of 210 thousand colors) and the brightness level. I decided to adjust it to the color of the car panel.

Audio & Video

Frankly speaking, my hearing is difficult to understand in sound quality. But after installing this multimedia system, I catch that it has become more pleasant to listen to music. And, imagine, all this on the regular columns of my car! Yes, this is not a domestic car, but I do not think that Mercedes-Benz, which launched my little Smart in 2015, installed something supernatural there. The sound processor provides clear sound, while not sparing bass. Add here the built-in 13-band graphic equalizer, time delays, crossover, filters and in the end we enjoy Pink Floyd in the car! In addition to CD / DVD, the sound can be "released" via wire (USB) or Bluetooth, which supports up to two devices. Everything is standard in file formats: MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV and FLAC (up to 192 kHz / 24 bit). You can run FullHD video (H.264, MKV, FLV and MPEG4), but it's better to look at the road while driving. "Head" recognizes media formatted in the NTFS file system for files larger than 4 GB - for listening to music, watching movies and photos on long trips.

To summarize

The purchase of such a device is definitely cheaper than buying a new car with the best full-time acoustics, and more profitable than flashing your current multimedia system to support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto from an authorized dealer (and only if your car was not released 3-4 years ago, and earlier).


  • Support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto;
  • high-quality sound;
  • support for reverse camera;
  • good screen.


  • there is no slot for SD cards (they fit CD / DVD, but forgot the more modern format);
  • one USB (the passenger is left without the possibility of charging).

A complete list of technical specifications of the device can be found here.


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