We’re heading into the third month of 2019 and of course every manufacturer is trickling out their updated models for the year. But while some companies are just changing model numbers, others are changing the game. One of those companies on our car audio side of the store has dropped a new radio into the market that is sure to cause some waves and carve out its own territory.
Alpine Electronics released their new iLX-W650 radio in early 2019.
The iLX-W650 is a full 7” digital media receiver with touchscreen swipe capability.
First and foremost we have to mention that this is what we refer to in the industry as a “mechless” radio. Meaning there is no CD/DVD player built into it. A lot of newer vehicles aren’t even coming equipped with a CD player anymore. While that may be a deal breaker for some consumers, it’s clear that Alpine is thinking ahead and moving with the market.
Not being able to play CDs or DVDs also gives this radio a few positive attributes. One of which is..
The Alpine iLX-W650 boasts a shallow depth just under 2.5”
Anyone that has been in the business of vehicle radio replacement knows that not every car is just like the one before it. There are a few “problem” vehicles when it comes to replacing the radio, some of which have to do with how much room you have to work with after you have pulled the OEM radio out.
Most of the time we can professionally remove/relocate enough behind the OEM radio to install a new one. That not only comes at a cost of time needed for the install, but a higher labor rate to the customer.
Now, we know what you’re thinking. Mechless radios are not a new thing. They have been on the market for a while. However, we wouldn’t be writing this article just because it solves some installation time and labor costs.
So what else makes it special?
Equipped with BOTH Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
That’s right, both of them. So whether you’re an Apple or Android fan, this radio doesn’t play favorites. While there are other screens on the market that can say the same, the shallow depth of the iXL-W650 plays in Alpine’s favor.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are becoming increasingly popular over traditional navigation units not only because of the cost difference but because of the accuracy on maps (we won’t mention Apple’s map update that made the headlines). Over the years navigation units need to be manually updated, which can be a headache.
You also get all the voice control you can ask for. Talk to text, voice commands, everything you do with either Siri Eyes Free Control or Google Assistant you can now do with the radio. It isn’t just convenient, it’s also ten times safer for both new and experienced drivers.
What else? Well we are glad you asked!
Designed to pair with the 2019 Alpine KTA-450 Power Pack
There is no other radio that can boast this. Alpine has had a Power Pack out for a while now, but it has always needed to be installed inline with the vehicle's speaker wiring and still needed power and ground wires ran. The small footprint helps installation, of course, and aids in being a stealthier option for adding some real power and volume to your vehicle speakers.
But the iLX-W650 is 100% designed to work with the KTA-450 without the need for running a separate power and ground. This adds a true 50 watts per channel (compared to the 16 watts per channel with the radio by itself). So not only does that save shops time on an install, it saves consumers labor costs.
Not only that, but when used with the PowerStack bracket included with the KTA-450 to mount it behind the iLX-W650 it’s still LESS than 4” deep. Talk about a one-two punch.
Of course, other than the main features we pointed out that we believe push the iLX-W650 passed other competitors on the market, it also offers the usual:
Bluetooth and USB
Two (2) camera inputs
6-channel 4-volt preamp outputs (front, rear, and sub)
9 band EQ
This is definitely going to be a game changer for some shops and consumers. Of course you wouldn’t expect much less from a name like Alpine. They have never been known for producing the most affordable mobile electronics. Only quality mobile electronics.
We suppose at this point the price point should be mentioned for both the Alpine iLX-W650 and KTA-450 Power Pack. Compared to other multimedia receivers on the market with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Alpine cut in front of them faster than a 2nd grader going to recess.
Alpine iLX-W650: $299.99
Alpine KTA-450: $199.99
(At time of writing 03/01/2019)
Other competitors easily float anywhere from $349.99 for ONLY Apple CarPlay or Android Auto in a screen smaller than seven inches. To have both at once like the iLX-W650 offers, consumers are pushed upwards of $449.99 or more.
Add into the mix that it’s basically plug-and-play compatible/stackable with the KTA-450 Power Pack and still less than four inches deep, you have Mayweather level combination.
This will be an awesome package for shops to put together across the nation and look forward to seeing the iLX-W650 carve its name into the 12-volt electronics market.