Driving Entertainment

In car entertainment

  • Double Din Car Stereos – Are You Tuned In?

    If you’ve ever felt excluded amid a discussion about cars, technology and their specifications, you’re not alone. Car terminology can be quite obscure and tricky to keep track of, especially when people start throwing single and double DIN’s about. But don’t worry, we’re here to help.

    DIN is an acronym for Deutsches Institiut für Normung, which is the German standards organisation that created the original standard for car head units that we still use today.

    The only difference between single and double DIN car stereo is the size of the unit itself.

    Spot the Difference

    d24v01-1 - single din car stereo td699gdv-1 - double din car stereo Double DIN car stereos are noticeable dissimilar to single DIN car stereos.

    To decipher the difference, you’ll need a measuring tool. If the faceplate of your current head unit comes in around 7 inches long by 2 inches tall, then it’s a single DIN all day long. This means that if you ever wanted a new head unit, you’d have to replace it with another single DIN unit. Double DIN car stereo units are twice as tall (4 inches). This is because they have added features such as larger interfaces with touch-screens, DVD players and GPS meaning it requires the extra space. However, you can replace a double DIN with a single Din, should you want to.

    Which is Better - Single or Double DIN Car Stereos?

    This debate boils down to personal preferences and it depends entirely on what sort of head unit you want for your car.

    Naturally, single DIN car stereos are cheaper because they don’t have all the additional extras. Despite this, the audio quality is often exactly the same. So, if you’re not interested in all the shiny extras, sing DIN will suit you just fine. Plus, they are compatible in a wider range of vehicles.

    Having said that, in this day and age, with modern technology rising to the fore in all industries, double DIN car stereos are desirable.

    With more internal space for components like built-in amplifiers, it’s easy to understand why. But the main benefit of double DIN head units is typically in the display. With twofold the size of single DIN screens, the double DIN car stereos offer a real visual appeal, allowing features such as HD, touch screen and screen mirroring to really shine through. There are some other benefits here.

    Double DIN Car Stereos at Xtrons

    tl702ap-1 - Android Double Din Car Stereo Xtrons double DIN head units have all the spec of a premium product at a realistic price.

    They are designed to a standard size of 178mm x 100mm, accommodating most vehicles, and fitting accessories for specific models are included.

    Premium features such as Bluetooth, touch screen functionality, CANBus, FM and AM radio, iPod connectivity, and GPS are standard in most our double DIN units. Individual models can include additional features such as TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems) and can be personalised to your taste through integrated Android OS technology, including the new Android Marshmallow 6.0 & Octa-Core ranges.

    Frequency Found

    Hopefully, you have found this information on double DIN car stereos educational. We’d fully expect you to be able to join in any technical conversation about these head units and throw some stats around of your own!

    pb76fsfap-b-1 - Android 6.0 octa-core, double din car stereo
  • Android Octa-Core at Xtrons

    Octa-Core-Social

    Yes, it’s arrived; the Android Octa-Core car stereo range. Yes, it’s quicker, smarter and smoother but the questions everyone wants to know the answers to are:

    Is eight better than four?

    It would seem that the Octa-Core (eight) suggests that it possess double the qualities and abilities of its Quad-Core (four) predecessor, however, it’s not a straight forward as that.

    Although it is an eight-core configuration, it doesn’t mean it has double the performance. Instead, the approach is to have one cluster of four high-powered cores which don’t prioritise energy efficiency, and four low-powered cores which are much easier on the battery. This allows the two clusters to alternate at rapid speeds, depending on the amount of work the processor is demanding.

    Though it is possible for the processors to operate at the same time, (a process known as heterogeneous multiprocessing), the idea is for them to counteract one another according to the enactments of the device. This, in turn, allows the device to be more responsive; making multi-tasking feel fast and fluent.

    Beforehand, the applications had to wait for resources to be allocated to them. Now, unlike before, the cores that are not in demand can shut down completely to minimise their impact on battery life. Alternatively, cores can be drawn upon to better respond to the user’s excessive instructions.

    Is eight four too may?

    Some argue that it’s overkill. The concern is that if the Octa-Core processors are compensating for one another, are half of them left idle most of the time?

    In short, yes. But, there are also several other technological factors to be considered beyond the number of cores on their own. One of which being the core architecture itself.

    Each component has its own unique place and role. Often configured in even numbers to assist the likes of: the manufacturing process, power, efficiency, speed, heat displacement, size and overall performance, the number of cores will never be sporadic. Not with the main contributing factor of cost often at the heart of any technological development.

    That being said, it’s the technological development that is the single most important aspect to consider.

    So, what’s better about it?

    The fact of the matter is that the Android Octa-Core is a new generation of high-end processors, so it’s bound to be better, right?

    We’re certain that even the most tech savvy users will identify with the obvious upgrades.

    For starters, it’s faster (CPU 64 bit). Not just in terms of the swiftness of navigation or loading of applications but in the actual boot to power too (10 seconds faster than quad-core). It also works faster with the internet meaning that downloading and video decoding is pacier than ever.

    Remember it’s got more memory too (32GB ROM + 2GB RAM). More memory to store more of your favourite things like 3D games, especially as the availability of these has increased too. The more memory the you have, the more space you have – which allows for more fluidity for browsing, downloading or watching stuff.

    It also comes equipped with a car-standard radio module which boasts strong anti-interface ability and improved radio signal receiver. This is further enhanced by the power amplifier chip which produces high-fidelity audio effects.

    Our TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring System) can also be intertwined with our Android Octa-Core units, giving it smarter and safer functionality to be taken advantage of.

    Finally, the Android Marshmallow 6.0 sophistication still shines through on all our Octa-Core units.

    Octa-Core Concluded

    It’s a step in the right direction regardless of the sceptics. The demand has been met and, as a result, we have an improved piece of technology.

    For any further information but our Octa-Core units, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow Car Stereo

    Although Android mobile phone users have now become accustomed to the latest features of Marshmallow 6.0 since its release late last year, we’re still celebrating its arrival on to some of our in-car entertainment systems.

     

    This new software has been installed across a range of our devices and includes a screen mirroring function with your phone or tablet, allowing you to benefit from many of the latest features.

     

    Like any software update, on top of aesthetic changes, functionality is usually at the forefront and Android 6.0 Marshmallow is no different.

     

    Android 6.0 Marshmallow Features - Google Now

     

    The most noticeable, and significant, change in Marshmallow is the transformation of Google Now. ‘Now on Tap’ scans whatever content is on your screen and supplies you with additional, related information. For instance, if you’re perusing news on your favourite brand, activating ‘Now on Tap’ will give you direct links to their social media pages and music videos on YouTube. The same applies if you’re on a restaurant’s website; you’ll be prompted with directions and links to their menu. Essentially, it’s a shortcut, rather than performing an additional web search or switching between search pages in whichever browser you’re using.

    Marshmallow’s Google Now voice has been enhanced too. It was always useful for those with disabilities or whilst driving but the most prominent aspect is that, unlike Lollipop, it now responds to ‘OK Google’ voice command without the need for any other interaction.

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    Android 6.0 Marshmallow Features - Home Screen

     

    Continuing in similar fashion to Android Lollipop, the visual framework is still under the Material Design influence from Google ensuring consistency and familiarity, making it less drastic than the Android 4.4 to KitKat 5.0 transition. 

    Although there are no glaringly obvious changes to the layout of the home screen, there are some subtle differences in the design and appearance of the icons giving them a cleaner, more modern feel. Additionally, the way the app folder is presented lends itself to a neater, much tidier option.  

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    Android 6.0 Marshmallow Features - Apps Drawer 

     

    Visually, it may appear unchanged. But, trust us, the Android Marshmallow 6.0 app drawer is different – it now scrolls vertically. It’s non-paginated too, meaning its fluent without any breaks. The apps are also arranged alphabetically, as a further way of speeding up the navigation and browsing process, especially for large app collections where you can skim through the app by letter.

    Further consideration has been put in to the search navigation too. The top of the screen now features a search bar along with your ‘frequently used’ shortcuts. Whereas the top row of apps is now specially reserved for your most-used apps, rather than the last apps added. In fact, it’s a smart balance of your ‘most-used’ and ‘most recently-used’ auto-filled by an algorithm.

    Whilst mirroring your phone to the head unit, you will also notice changes to the lock screen and clock, amongst other things. Yet, the most impressive part of all of this is the software itself and the ability it has to perform as it does from within your car. The advancement in technology is truly astounding; the Android Marshmallow 6.0 is literally better than some desktop computers.

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    Android 6.0 Marshmallow at Xtrons

     

    Whilst these new features of the Android Marshmallow 6.0 software are lovely little additions, some of our Marshmallow units bring much more than a tweak of aesthetics and functions to the fore.

    PC76MTWA - Android 6.0 Marshmallow Custom Fit for Volkswagen, Skoda & SEAT

    This unit, custom fit for Volkswagen, Seat & Skoda, boasts a 7” HD 1080P digital, touch-screen with a built-in DVD player. Combine that with OBD2, screen mirroring, a dual channel CANbus and full RCA output, you’re looking at a complex and intelligent car stereo with all the mod-cons.

    In other words, this type of technology was only ever found in desktop computers but now it can be installed in your car, providing the fastest, smoothest user experience to date.

    pc76mtwa-1_1

    PCD76QSFA-S - Android 6.0 Marshmallow Custom Fit for Ford

    Formulated for Ford, it’s clear to see why this unit is one of the best on the market. Stunning in its design and steeped in software which screams sensational, this 7” Android in-car stereo & DVD Player speaks the language or every car enthusiast.

    pcd76qsfa-s-1_3

    PCD66HGTA - Android 6.0 Marshmallow Custom Fit for Toyota

    This unit carries a certain X-factor about it. Despite its smaller 6.2 screen, it still possesses 1080P resolution and all the specifications of its larger-screened counterparts. The vibrancy in its design coincides with the model of car it’s custom built for…Toyota.

    pcd66hgta-1

    For more on our Android 6.0 Marshmallow range, visit our website where we have select units with the software installed and ready to go. We will also be releasing more units over the coming weeks. Keep an eye on our Twitter & Facebook pages for any updates.

  • ‘New Year, New Me’ – but which car accessory says the most about you?

    We’ve all heard the expression ‘new year, new me’ and there’s a little part of each of us that is determine to make changes just as soon as the new year begins…or maybe after the first day back at work at least.

    Regardless of when you decide to start, the question that is often left begging is ‘who or what is the new you?’

    It may be that you’ve decided a new car will truly reinvent who you are, and in terms of stereotypical car owner comparisons,  you may want to avoid buying an Audi if you’re looking to win a popularity contest.

    This in mind, we thought we’d help you discover yourself through our chosen car accessories. It may be that you opt to be more like one than the other or adopt something new to help redefine who you are.

    The Leather Driving Glove

    Quite often associated with the wealthy and the elderly, why not break the mould and show that money and experience isn’t everything when it comes to handling day to day driving situations?

    Slipping your hand into a well-stitched leather glove is essentially one step closer to becoming a superhero and one step further away from the icy cold of your steering wheel.

    What’s more, the leather glove shows confidence and a strong will to deflect the inevitable criticisms you will face. Wear it with pride and become the leader of your very own pack.

    mens-leather-gloves-1194450_1920

    Satellite Navigation System

    If you’ve never experienced the soothing robotic voice of GPS, it’s probably because you’ve been living life frivolously and care free whilst avoiding any form of instructions and rampaging on the roads however you wish.

    Perhaps it’s time for a change. Allow a little more structure and routine in to your world and employ a satellite navigation system to map out some stability in your life.

    Alternatively, you may be looking to break free from the anxiety that’s been driving you around for years. If you’re one of those who require complete silence whilst driving, just in-case your friendly Sat-Nav wants to enlighten you about which turn to take next, you need to escape the fear of getting lost and add an element of risk and surprise to your routine.

    navigation-1726067_1920

    Air Freshener

    If your car has more than one air freshener, let’s face it, you’ve probably got some OCD tendencies. If you’re conscious of how your car smells, you’re more than likely to be obsessive about the appearance of the rest of your car too. The floor is probably clean enough to eat from (but you wouldn’t allow food in your car) and most passengers assume it’s a hire car (which makes you burst with pride).

    On the contrary, it may be time for you to freshen up your interior with a familiar looking fruit shaped air freshener. Mask the smells of old and set a new essence for the year ahead.

    car-air-freshener-in-2015-1-e1425049513424

    Sun Glasses 

    If you’re naturally insecure behind the wheel sunglasses could be the key to a new, more confident, you.

    Whatever the weather, add that element of mystery to your persona and wear your sunglasses at any given opportunity. Intensify the drive and increase the amount onlookers who question what lies behind those reflective shields. And, if you feel like it, give them a sneaky glimpse by tipping your glasses down to the tip of your nose and imagine you’re James Bond, just for a moment. 

    Just don’t wear them in the dark; it’s not safe and it’s certainly not cool.

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    Emergency Tool Kit

    Paranoid or prepared? Here’s how to decipher between the two:

    If you’re constantly concerned about the potential failings of your car, so much so that your car boot looks like a mechanics garage, it’s probably time for a new motor.

    That is unless you’re trying to impress a certain someone by offering an insight in to your extensive knowledge of tools and the ability to rescue any sort of premeditated car break-down situation. In this case, pack your tools, add a little engine oil to show usage. Nobody is impressed with virgin tools.

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    Digital Dash

    You’re the master of control. You’re organised, efficient and in tune with modern society and its technological developments. Your all signing, all dancing HD touch screen, DVD playing GPS, Bluetooth system is proof of this.

    You’re not quite Tony Stark but you like to showcase your in-car entertainment as if you were a multi-millionaire inventor genius. 

    If this isn’t you, then it could be, just browse our store and find the device that suits you. 

    Although we’re not psychological experts, and there is no evidence of car accessories reflecting personalities or traits, we hope you’ve found some common ground and inspiration from some of the car accessories above.

    All the best for 2017.

  • 10 Tips to Cut Driving Costs

    Those irritating individuals who claim that they’re ‘born to be driven’ will never feel the full force of annual driving costs. As it happens, they’d rather beg, borrow or linger around for lifts and allow us to feel the pinch in our own pockets for the likes of petrol and parking. Couple that with Christmas and you’ve got a recipe for a very expensive festive period. 

     

    This time of year, tends to be the time of year where our finances are stretched the most. It’s also the time of year where we tend to ferry our friends around the most too as part of the extended good will gesture. Therefore, we thought we’d put together 10 ways we can help combat the increasing costs of running a car.

    1. Driveways Paved with Gold

    This is a perfect way of generating some extra dividends whilst you’re off visiting distant relatives this Christmas (if you have a driveway, that is). And said driveway is preferably near a city centre, train station or airport for it to be profitable.

    The idea is to rent out your driveway and make it an alternative, but attractive, parking space for holiday makers, commuters and visitors alike, whilst you’re away. 

    This little money maker could earn you around £200 per month; sites such as Just Park & You Parking Space are great place to start.

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    2. Cashback

    For us car owners, the single most regular, and irritating, expenditure is fuel. With its fluctuating prices and rapid consumption rates, grabbing some financial relief is rare. But it can be done.

    There are some cash back credit cards out there that love to reward you for your spending behaviours. So, if you’re filling up on a regular basis, get some financial gains!

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    3. Driving Style

    It’s a well-known fact that once we’ve finally passed our driving test we automatically adjust to our own preferred driving style. 

    That being said, it’s never too late to change back to styles of old, and potentially save up to 30% on fuel costs whilst doing so.

    Accelerate gradually, driving in the correct gear and slowing down naturally are just some subtle changes that can save on fuel consumption. There are some more tips on driving efficiency here.

    4. Weight Reductions

    We’re very familiar with the term ‘less is more’ but, in this case, less really is more. 

    Declutter your car. Instead of using it as a storage facility, take out anything that doesn’t need to be in there. It’s not rocket science; the lighter your car is, the less effort it needs to accelerate. 

    The same applies for roof racks; they cause drag and make the engine work harder. So, if you’re not using it, take it off. 

    Again, filling your tank up to the brim is only adding weight so try putting less in and refuelling more often.

    5. Petrol Station Nation

    Nowadays, you don’t have to travel far to find a petrol station. Yet, some of us are willing to travel a little further than the nearest, to save a few pence per litre.

    A quick-fire way of finding the nearest and cheapest petrol station to you is to use www.petrolprices.com. All you have to do is enter your post code and the cheapest petrol prices will be positioned in a list for you.

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    6. Supermarket Sweep

    Petrol and supermarkets go hand in hand. The major supermarkets are always competing with one another to secure your custom. That’s why they’re always offering fuel vouchers with grocery purchases. Some have even seen a saving of up to 12 pence per litre!

    To finds out which supermarkets are promoting what offer, you can do a sweep on www.petrolprices.com, to find the best deals. It’s often worthwhile subscribing to the weekly email, so you don’t miss out.

    7. Pothole Claims

    Those pesky potholes, where do they appear from? Well, it’s usually around this time of year that they start sprouting out of the ground, due to adverse weather conditions. And, as we know, it can take an eternity for your local council to repair the roads, meaning you have to avoid them at your own, and other driver’s, peril. 

    However, if your car does happen to concur damages due to potholes, you can claim back the cost of your repairs. It’s a lengthy process, as you can imagine, but it does pay off. 

    Here’s The Money Savings Expert’s more detailed guide to potholes claims.

    8. Car Share Clubs

    This service doesn’t need an expert explanation about how you can save money by collaborating and commuting together. It has got its pros and cons but it’s guaranteed to save you money as you’ll be driving less.

    There are a few platforms that seem to be popular within the car share community and they are www.liftshare.com/uk & www.blablacar.co.uk

    Try it, you might like it.

    9. Public Transport

    Granted, this could be one of the reasons you decided to pass your test and buy your own car, but it is an economically efficient way of getting about.

    If searched for and purchase early enough, train tickets can be bought on the cheap and are now actually quite a pleasant way to travel. With railcard discounts and other offers readily available, it’s always worth checking if you have a journey in the diary.

    For long distance bus journeys use www.megabus.com where tickets can be bought for as little as £1.

    Alternatively, wheels without engines (skateboards, rollerblades, bicycles etc.) are ideal for saving cash on shorter journeys.

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    10. Stop Driving

    You may not want to hear it but it could be worth considering, especially if you have more than one in your household. Selling your car and discovering alternative modes of transportation can save you thousands of pounds a year – that’s a fact. You would also be taking a step towards an eco-friendlier environment.

    Hopefully, some of the tips we’ve suggested can guide you towards saving a few pounds this Christmas, as well as reducing your overall carbon footprint. 

    Why not share this blog with your friends and family and see who can make the most dramatic savings? 

    If you have any other tips to cut driving costs, we’d love to hear those too!

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