In-Depth Review: Kenwood DDX Double Din Head Unit

Kenwood DDX 2 Din Monitor Receiver
When you need a new stereo receiver for your car, how do you know what to look for? There are so many out there that making this decision might feel overwhelming.

After doing a lot of research, I decided to buy Kenwood’s DDX 2 Din Monitor Receiver for a variety of reasons. It works with Apple Play, people like its touchscreen interface, and its overall simplicity means that updating your car stereo doesn’t have to be a hassle.

Why You Should Consider This Receiver

Who takes road trips without lots of good music? 20 years ago, you had a CD changer in your car and you could only have up to six CDs in it at any one time.

Before the days of built-in CD changers, you listened to cassette tapes or CDs on a Discman with a tape adaptor whenever you were out of range of radio stations.

If you’re a road warrior, as in, you prefer road trips to flying, you’ll find that this receiver works well for you. It works with Apple Play and Android Auto, along with rapid charging for Android phones.

Its Bluetooth capabilities also allow you to play music from your custom playlists via apps like iTunes. What road warrior wouldn’t love all these features?

You may also be interested in: Our Guide to the Best Android Auto Head Unit in 2020

What If You’re Not a Road Warrior, Though?

This receiver may still work very well for you. Even if all you do is your daily commute, having easy access to a wide variety of your favorite songs can make your drive less tedious. I hate driving in a quiet car and I like to listen to podcasts and music while I drive, even if it’s just a short trip to the grocery store.

Music isn’t the only reason for commuters to buy this receiver, though. While many cars these days come with backup cameras, Kenwood’s DDX 2 Din Car Stereo Receiver overlays guidelines on your cameras, enhancing your camera’s functionality.

The rearview camera input is a massive help for those who have to parallel park every day.

You don’t need to be a road warrior to make good use of this receiver. It’s a good buy for anyone who drives regularly.

Everything You Need To Know About Kenwood’s DDX 2 Din Receiver

I’ve already discussed some of the best features, but what else comes with Kenwood’s DDX 2 Din receiver?

  • 6.95-inch LCD backlit display
  • Motorized angle adjustment
  • HD radio
  • HDMI connection (optional cable available)
  • Rapid-charge for Android phones
  • Built-in Bluetooth connection
  • XM/Sirius satellite radio-ready
  • Detachable USB interface
  • RCA input for front and rear cameras
  • Vehicle information display
  • Interface with factory information and entertainment features
  • Variable illumination
  • Clear resistive panel
  • Graphic equalizer for customized sound quality
  • Menu available in multiple languages

There are many more specs and features about which you may want to know, too. It does require a lithium-ion battery. Also, if you don’t have a backup camera to which to connect, you’ll have to make sure you buy one.

Check out Kenwood’s specs and features page for the full list.

My First Impressions on the Kenwood DDX Receiver

Every time I buy an electronic device for my car, I’m usually a little cautious (if not a bit skeptical). While I love anything that can enhance my driving experience, I also know that many products and devices are too good to be true or are prone to breaking much earlier than I’d like.

When I unpacked my receiver I immediately loved the sleek design and it looked relatively uncomplicated. I knew it would blend in nicely with my car’s interior. As I paged through the instructions manual, I couldn’t wait to get it hooked up and running but I had to wait until my friend came over to help me install it.

My installation knowledge is limited and I didn’t want to risk the chance of destroying my new receiver or worse, ruin the chances of having music in my car ever again. I strongly recommend that if you are planning on installing the receiver yourself, you should watch installation videos online or hire a tech-savvy friend to help you out. Improper installation could void your warranty or cause more costly issues.

The installation took about an hour and programming my receiver took about the same amount of time. The instruction guide is loaded with valuable info, so I suggest you stow this in your glove box after you get the receiver up and running.

I did notice, when setting up the receiver, that Bluetooth pairing is a little slow and there was a slight lag during the option selection. These were not consistent issues, but might irritate someone who wants a flawless experience every time.

Another thing I noticed was a sun glare at certain times of the day. While this made it more difficult to see the display, it’s no different than other factory installed receivers or infotainment systems.

Results

Generally, Kenwood’s DDX 2 Din receiver improves most people’s stereo capabilities beyond what they already have in their cars. For some, that’s true even with newer cars. As someone with a decade old vehicle, the receiver is an excellent addition and upgrade to my listening experience while driving.

For cameras, people have found that the guides this receiver provides help to avoid hitting objects when backing into parking spaces or parallel parking, especially those who have trailer hitches. I haven’t used this feature much, but all the reviews I’ve read give it good ratings.

Final Thoughts

After using my Kenwood’s DDX 2 Din Monitor receiver every day for a few months I think that it’s a great value with a lot of versatility, even if you don’t use all the features and capabilities.In today’s world, where we use smartphones for everything, it’s essential to have something in our cars that works with both our phones and our cars’ features.

If you’re looking for a good receiver for your stereo, you should give this one a good look. Of course, it’s not perfect, and some things about it may bother you a bit. If you can overlook those things, though, you’ll be happy with this purchase. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Brett Gordon
 

The engine behind editing at Dig My Ride and the brains behind its build. During the day, Brett is a thirty-something dude from SoCal climbing the corporate ladder, but by night, he spends his time contributing to the online world of automotive tech & trends.