Pioneer SPH-EVO93DAB Alexa, Apple CarPlay & Android Auto Wifi DAB Multimedia Receiver Review

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In this video, I check out the Pioneer SPH-EVO93DAB aftermarket radio receiver.

You can buy this aftermarket receiver for:
$799.99 from Pioneer Directly → https://pioneer.celstores.com/Product/17049/Pioneer-Sph-Evo93dab/ £989.99 from Amazon UK → https://amzn.to/3B4W4r8
€889.90 to €989.90 from Amazon DE → https://amzn.to/3RSjaqW.

The EVO93DAB features a 9” capacitive touch screen, a modular floating screen design, wireless connectivity for CarPlay and Android Auto, and it also features built-in DAB radio, a 13-band graphic equaliser and you can issue voice commands via Amazon Alexa.

Unboxing

Pioneer pre-built this demo pod for us, so I can’t go over what exactly came in the box, but from this image you get some side mounting plates, an external microphone, a USB extension lead and wiring harness, a GPS module and an AV connection cable, some mounting screws and accessories, then there is the single-DIN base unit and the 9” modular floating display itself.

Since my last Pioneer review unit, receiver technology has come a long way since the SPH-DA120 CarPlay receiver that I looked at in 2016! Displays have gotten much bigger, with higher resolutions and their speed and touch input sensitivity have greatly been improved. There is now a deeper integration with your mobile connection with built-in support for apps like Waze and Spotify, Siri Eyes Free functionality and improved wireless and wired connections to iPhone and Android mobiles for Bluetooth streaming, direct media playback, to displaying and playing back your mobile’s app content over Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

Boot-up & Main Menu Interface

From its first initial power on, the EVO93 boots up in 15 seconds and you are shown its default multimedia main menu screen. From here you can choose to go straight to your favourite input source, be it your mobile via a connected cable, or wirelessly over Bluetooth, go online and connect with Amazon Alexa, listen to DAB digital or analogue radio, listen to Bluetooth Audio or media off a connected USB drive, to listening to a connected iPod or making a call via Bluetooth calling. You can also turn off the source completely or make the system go into sleep mode and turn the receiver off.

Swiping to the left will slide in and raw overlay with even more functionality, with which you can also replace the stock lineup of options. Additional options include Auxiliary input source, viewing the system settings, toggling night and day dimmer settings, turning the display off, viewing the HDMI input source, listening to WiFi audio, viewing and setting car system features and viewing any onboard cameras, to more online functions like using an online browser, checking the weather and catch up with your favourite sports team.

Further gestures, such as swiping up and down the display will show screens of your favourite radio stations and suggested radio stations, to viewing any notifications from the various connected apps you may have running whilst being connected to the receiver.

Menu Interface contains three customisable panels, one large main panel and two smaller ones that sit alongside it. The main larger panel is used to show the last input source, whilst the two smaller ones can be used for things like time, weather, sports info and much more. Below these panels is a dock of 8 icons, all of which can be moved and their functions swapped and customised to your liking, this dock can also be moved to the top of the screen too. 

Settings & Customisation

In the settings area, there’s plenty here to customise the receiver’s system options, change theme background and button colours, to editing video playback and connect the receiver to a nearby Wi-Fi hotspot. The 13-band graphic equaliser isn’t as pretty as I thought it might be from Pioneer, but it’s functional and it does the job with many preset options and two customisation options.

Some options like HDMI, Car Features and Camera, Wi-Fi Audio and USB weren’t available to me because of the system not being plugged into a vehicle, or media or cables for such features were not connected. 

USB Media Playback

With a USB drive of media connected I was able to playback audio, photos and media to the Pioneer’s 9” display. Video playback was decent, with no noticeable quality issues or framerate drops to report on the high bitrate test files that I tried. Photos can be saved to the system as background wallpapers, which makes for a nice easy way to individually personalise the home and AV backgrounds.

DAB radio and analogue radio sources are present here, although I couldn’t fully test DAB playback or get a decent FM signal on traditional radio when I could, its interface was clean and simple, with easy access to saved preset stations, with album art and metadata for DAB and Radio stations that passed over this info. Both come powered by Gracenote, which is similar to Shazam, in that it can listen out to music playing out over the radio and with an active internet connection it can pull down and display album art, artist and song title info, which I thought was a nice touch and can easily settle any ‘who is playing’ debates in the car.

Apple CarPlay

Plugging in my iPhone for wired Apple CarPlay boots up CarPlay in 4 seconds. From here CarPlay looks and works just great on the vivid 9” high-definition display. Thanks to this higher resolution, CarPlay will display 10 icons per screen, which can save you time swiping between any screens of apps.

Disconnecting and pairing my iPhone to the Pioneer over Bluetooth for wireless CarPlay, I was able to connect to CarPlay in 8 seconds. Which was a decent speed for an aftermarket receiver and once in I found the Wi-Fi lag to be a little less than most wireless dongles and AI Boxes I have tried, giving the Pioneer more of an integrated wireless CarPlay experience.

Navigation, audio playback and navigation felt a lot more rapid and smooth. Its mic quality will vary on where you position the external microphone.

Android Auto

Swapping to my Google Pixel for Android Auto, the connection over a USB-C cable booted up within 5 seconds and its experience was fast and responsive, with similar speeds as you would expect over a wired connection. The icons in Android Auto didn’t take full advantage of the higher resolution but I thought Android Auto looked and performed great.

Switching to Bluetooth for wireless Android Auto, wasn’t as smooth or seamless as wireless CarPlay, but this is a common experience for Android Auto in general. After a few interactions and after checking I was soon connected to wireless Android Auto in 8 seconds. Like wireless CarPlay, Android Auto felt snappy and there was less lag than on wireless dongles, again the Pioneer EVO93DAB gave a more native factory experience overall.

My Impressions

The Pioneer SPH-EVO93DAB retails for £799.99 from Pioneer directly and considerably a lot more on Amazon UK and DE for £989.99 or between €889.90 and €989.90. So it pays to shop around if you’re interested in picking up this receiver, and you can check out my direct links to buy from these retailers above if you want to find out more and buy it yourself.

Overall, I am impressed with the Pioneer SPH-EVO93DAB. Head units are beginning to integrate with either a personal hotspot or dedicated Wi-Fi connection to bring a lot more features than what they could only dream of just a few years ago.

I like its higher resolution, which many makers are slowly taking to now, which means a much more vivid and sharper display that creeps closer to a similar quality and experience that we all are accustomed to on mobile phones from the past decade.

The Pioneer packs a lot of punch, even for the demo pod it’s been installed into, with plenty of customisation that would be too much to go into in this video. I found the small panels of the main menu a little redundant without an internet connection, however once hooked up to a vehicle you can begin to display more vehicle-based widgets here instead of internet-required metadata.

Alexa for example is one such feature that requires an internet connection, and once connected it behaves similarly to its Echo show displays, offering additional metadata and content when asking particular questions, such as the weather, supplying you with a forecast for the week ahead whilst it tells you the day’s weather. This is handy for solving questions whilst in the car, but at the burden of making sure an internet connection is supplied to the Pioneer head unit.

If you’re on the lookout for a high-definition aftermarket stereo that comes with a wealth of toys and internet-connected gizmos, the Pioneer SPH-EVO93DAB might be an aftermarket stereo for you.

TIMESTAMPS:

0:00 – Brief overview
0:34 – Unboxing
0:54 – Features
1:32 – Boot-up & Main Menu Interface
2:57 – Settings
3:31 – USB Media playback
3:55 – DAB radio
4:33 – Wired Apple CarPlay
4:50 – Wireless Apple CarPlay
5:39 – Wired Android Auto
5:57 – Wireless Android Auto
6:25 – My Impressions
6:54 – Browser for YouTube video playback
7:46 – Amazon Alexa

You can view this video and many more on my YouTube channel. If you like what you see, please do Like and Subscribe to our channel so you can be alerted when our next video goes live.

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