Should I get a universal double din or a custom-fit Android headunit?

Sometimes the choice is out of your hands. If the Android headunit manufacturers don’t make a custom fit for your vehicle, you can’t buy one.

Older Vehicles

Older vehicles often have a single or double din mounting, and the Pumpkin of choice is often fitted to these vehicles as the best choice for a universal Android headunit. If you have a double din mounting, you also probably have the standard ISO connectors in the vehicle that matches the Pumpkin well.

Modern Vehicles

More modern vehicles and some manufacturers have been doing their own thing for a long time. Recognise the older Ford headunit? Found in early model C-Max, Mondeo and Focus. It doesn’t fit a standard double din, but a huge choice of custom-fit Ford android headunits is available, giving a factory-looking finish, including the square shape Ford shown below.

The Vauxhall trapezoidal factory radio is also fitted in Corsa D and other early Vauxhall cars. Luckily there are custom fit android headunit versions of these to make a Corsa D, Astra H or Zafira B install look like it was fitted in the factory.

Custom Fit

One of the other biggest advantages of a custom fit is…
Factory-style connectors. This should not be overlooked. The factory connectors on the custom-fit Android headunit match the vehicle perfectly. No need to splice or solder, and no mistakes to make. Cut the red or the yellow wire? Not a problem. Don’t cut any! There are no extra adaptors to buy or choices to make over which adaptor to get.

CAN BUS

Custom fits are also useful for modern vehicles with computer integration with the factory headunit. Changing car settings via the factory headunit or car information displayed on the factory headunit screen is a good sign of a computer connection between the two. This connection is often referred to by its common communication name, the ‘CAN’ bus. The controller area network bus was introduced in 1983 and is often used to link car computers to the headunit.

A universal android headunit would not know how to communicate with every possible CAN bus-enabled vehicle it could ever be fitted in.

The custom-fit Android headunits are designed for a specific make or model, and the CAN interface is matched with communicating with its host. This level of communication over the CAN bus between the custom Android headunit and the host vehicle can keep the original feature options available.

Ford Focus custom fit android headunit showin CAN bus and factory connectors
The CAN bus decoder box and Ford style connectors with a custom fit Ford Focus android headunit.

Other options are to fit a fascia and then convert an odd shape mounting space to a standard double din that will take the Pumpkin and other universal double din android headunits.

So, from top to bottom, your choices are below in order of preference to fit an Android headunit as either a custom fit or a universal.

This will be the best fit if a well-specified and good-performing custom-fit Android headunit is available for your vehicle model.

If a custom-fit is unavailable and you have a double din 7″ style hole. Fit a universal, like the Pumpkin. The Pumpkin is a very popular choice for this situation. Its standard ISO connectors make adapting these to the vehicle very easy.
Add any ISO to vehicle adaptors (never cut factory plugs) and an SWC adaptor if you want to continue using the factory steering wheel, which controls for volume and tracks. Some plastic may need cutting to make a flush fit, but a craft knife or junior hacksaw can sort this.

If a fascia can adapt the space to make it a standard double din, then use the fascia and fit a universal double din, like the Pumpkin.

If you have a single din hole and there is no way or inclination to expand to a double din, or you want a 10″ screen, fit the fastest universal headunit 10″. It has ISO connectors, and an interface to the vehicle is available. Do not cut any factory plugs or wires. Or try something a little bit different?

Marshmallow
Marshmallow
I am an android-headunits.com staff blogger. I have been using Android on my devices for many years and have learned a lot about the features and best hardware to keep up with the latest Android versions. I also make the coffee ☕

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