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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know there are a lot of purists on this site that would not let anything like this near their Passats, but when I got a great deal on my Passat, I was too excited about the manual transmission and turbo to realize some of the finer driving aspects didn't come with the car.

So I went ahead a few years back and added a Chinese head unit with all the goodies - DVD, Nav, Bluetooth, backup camera, etc. and figured I was done making the car feel new. Until I upgraded my head unit to an Android version without any knobs like I had before. I really like the new functionality, as I have Internet with Google voice search and Google Maps in my car now, but mashing volume +/- on the unit is just not the same as the knobs used to be.

I looked at a thread that adds the steering wheel controls from VW, but adding the required modules and connections just seemed like too much work at this point. I found an alternative on Amazon for $35 US here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01EA7BQ3S/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It took about 20 mins to install, and really works well. If you're like me and have the basic Passat model, you might like this little mod as much as I do. I've already ordered a leather steering wheel cover to better hide the mounting bracket.

Here's a pic:

Steering control

And the head unit with custom Nova Prime Launcher:

Android Head Unit
 

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What headunit is that? Looks factory with the buttons on the sides. I wanna put an android HU in my b5.5 but still on the fence about some's features and functions.

How's the sound and adjust-ability like eq and crossover and stuff?
How well does it integrate with your phone?
Does google maps work accurately?
Does the torque app work properly from the unit?
Radio stations come in clear?

Sorry for all the questions, but I've wanted to try one before I spend the money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The stock look was intentional - I found the VW background for the RNS stereo and customized my launcher around it, borrowing some icons from Android Auto. It's basically a mutt.

The stereo is an Xtrons PL82MTVA Android 5.1 model. I got this one because of the "buttons" on the right and left sides, because it more matches stock. They do have models with real buttons and volume/tuning knobs that really look stock. They sell these on Ebay and Amazon - I paid $240 for mine.

To answer your questions, overall the unit works good. It has Bluetooth 4, so pairing with my phone and general use has been great. When a call comes through, the screen grays out and answer/reject buttons display at the bottom of the screen. You can set the BT volume in settings as well to match what you like.

I get good radio reception, but I had installed an inline amplifier ($10) for my old stereo, so I just used it with this one. I recommend buying one of these amps for any Chinese radio. The radio has RDS and displays the song title and artist. The built-in music app works pretty good, but the best part of Android is adding your own. I habe Spotify, Pandora and the Black music player also installed.

GPS works great. No issues with the antenna or Sygic. I got Sygic on sale for about $20, which gives offline navigation if I don't want to use data for Google Maps.

I also have a DVR that records to its own SD card, but have it connected to the spare video in jack to check recordings or just the road.

It has a video-in and separate power connector for a backup camera, so you don't need to tap into power from the tail lights. I found a backup camera that also displays distance in feet/inches and beeps when something is close, which is pretty close to stock.

Torque is probably my biggest frustration. Xtrons sells their own OBDll adapter for use with Torque, and I just don't want to spend the $12 for something with really bad online ratings. There's a workaround using another connection app, but I haven't had time to try it yet.

When I first installed it, I felt it lagged really bad. I was about to return it. What I found was causing my lag issues was apps like Gmail and their notifications. Without an Internet connection, these apps time-out and eventually display in the status menu. In the process they slow everything else down.

Before I disabled notifications, it took over a minute before the stereo was usable. After disabling them, I'm up and running in about 30 seconds. This does not include the backup camera - that works right away without any lag.

There's also an option to connect your phone and mirror the screen or just run apps from your phone directly on the stereo. I haven't played much with this, but a lot of people like it.

Overall I'm really happy with it. If you have the basic stereo like I did, this is a major improvement.
 
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