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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
tl;dr
Screen replacement with built in os sideloaded, uses same mazda radio base unit.
It works somewhat but may have been missing installation parts and was NOT the same as a full unit, you basically get the mazda system with the option to use android apps which is kinda hit or miss depending on expectations. No native radio app and audio from android is connected by aux.. yikes..

also NO INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS


Edit: confirmed I was missing installation parts. Since seller showed me a picture of the bracket needed to bolt it to the dash which was not included however I ended up returning it regardless. Be prepared to pay return shipping which was 75$+ here from my area to send back to china and customs forms.
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Hello again, its your resident guinea pig of mods here.

Ive been on an ever eternal hunt when i get bored of trying to find a replacement for the cx-3 radio unit that involves an android os system. The reason I am in search of an android os unit and not pioneer etc or many of the us brand name units is because those are just radio software with proprietary features and sub par quality and less freedom of adaptation as installing android apps of your choice like plexamp,newpipe,sygic navigation etc. Besides for the cost of a higher end pioneer unit youre looking at 800+ to a grand maybe where a decent android headunit is like 300-400 with way more functionality.

But that aside I purchased a unit from aliexpress which I wont be naming the company brand of (and no it is not the one i posted in another thread while similar unit, i ended up going with a different company on aliexpress since it was cheaper). The unit promised a few things

-fully retain oem mazda abilities, functionality etc etc; tthe settings in the menu like hud/lighting.
-dual boot style os; meaning you can switch between mazdas unit and your android system.
-retain oem steering wheels control and the 'knob' control unit
-completely plug and play regardless if you have bose unit etc and no wiring needed
-retain oem backup cam which is extremely rare in aftermarket parts.


So basically this promised to run the mazda os with the android os side by side letting you switch by.

These units call themselves dual os hybrid radios for lack of a better term.

So getting the box today I jumped in. Straight away..

Hood Vehicle Automotive tire Motor vehicle Automotive design


If you never removed the oem radio before its rather simple. Use a plastic/nylon trim tool - DO NOT USE A SCREWDRIVER OR ANYTHING METAL/HARD OR YOU WILL DAMAGE THE DASH - to remove the panels in front and rear.

NOTE AND THIS IS IMPORTANT
Tape or put something along the front/side of the radio area. When you pull the radio out it will not pull out all the way because of very short connections and you will have to set the base of the unit down on the dash and the metal of the unit will absolutely tear up the dash if you do not have a towel or foam/cardboard whatever.

Vehicle Hood Automotive lighting Car Automotive design

Remove two 10mm bolts and be wary of thw two white plastic clips next to the where the bolts are. This is holding the unit 'down' and you can use the trim tool to help pry it up from underneath the screen without damaging or yanking the screen in a bad direction. See warning above for damage to trim if you skipped.




I had 5 connections. One white clip by my thumb, the left most of the two gray slots in the bottom left (there are two slots but only had one plug connected so idk. On the bright side you cant mix and match the gray plugs since a little groove on the left or right will determine which hole it plugs into to. FInally the remaining 3 on the right.
Gadget Automotive design Audio equipment Finger Computer hardware

Rear of unit for reference.


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So at this step I took out the old unit and was rather confused on what to do next.. there are no instructions included and a qr code sends you to a chinese yandex drive site with generic instruction, 'remove connections. connect harness. plug into screen. DONE" which are the absolute worst things to ever occur in radio installations. But since I dabbled in radio installs in the past I took the oem unit apart seeing as I had to remove the oem screen.

Long story short, after unclipping more clips and removing the back panel, this is whatt the rear of the oem screen looks like.

Hood Light Motor vehicle Automotive tire Trunk


On the bright side it is REALLY well inforced. The downside however is, the new unit above in the pic, did not have the bracket where we removed the 2- 10mm bolts from and no way for the new unit to be secured onto the mazda box (the gray single din box the screen was connected to-where all the wiring harnesses were removed from earlier)



At this point I was rather depressed seeing as I couldnt see a way to get the new unit to mount up and not fall. It has the slots for the white nylon clips but will still fall over since its larger than the oem screen and isnt be stabilized..


Regardless I went ahead to see if it was worth even attempting to do anything crazy with and installed the connections.

Musical instrument accessory Audio equipment Hood Electronic instrument Gas



So it booted and works however I later found out that the screen is literally just a screen and you can still technically 'ghost navigate' the mazda oem system even without the screen since the box is handling all the inputs and commands.

WHat this new unit does is it can switch between the oem mazda system display (which also throws a mazda logo to fill up remaining space on the right). So everything will work since same connections are kept etc. Reverse camera works, gps and all same as it would in the oem unit but with the extra screen display filled with the mazda logo. To switch between modes you press on the mazda icon and the above picture is part of the 'android system'. they tried to keep the same ui for the launcher which I dont really like but meh personal preference.

Now my main issue here is the android side runs completely independent of the mazda unit.. so independent that to get audio from the android side you have to connect the headunit audio L R out plugs which are split in to the wiring harness to the mazda aux port on your dash... Yea you are basically doing the equivalent of an old mp3 player.. There is no native android radio chip unit and you continue using the mazda oem radio. Now keep in mind, just like in the mazda screen while you are navigating the android side, the system still things its the oem mazda unit and is on whatever function you left it on as hence why the need to manually switch audio to aux to pull sound from the androud unit.

To make matters worse I see absolutely no purpose or use for this unit.. GPS? good luck. it comes with its own typical android gps module and you can run google maps/etc on it but you will not get navigation instructions if you are on the car's radio or bluetooth without going to aux, then in the aux you must play audio from the android side otherwise you will get a quiet awkward drive with only nav instructions..
So why use gps with it if you can just use mazdas oem gps??

Radio? there is none it is still mazdas unit and audio and built in equalizer mmeaning treble/bass in the oem settings only. The android side has no radio app so nothing there and the android equalizer app is tuning for an aux input which is laughable in itself right there..

Whatelse? I mean idk what to even say about the unit anymore at this point. I dont have a part to properly connect it and mount it to the mazda and with the oem mazda functionality all existing within it, there is no plausible use for the android side. Its more work for worse alternatives..

If you are going to replace something either go full radio swap or keep the oem.

Verdict:

I would not buy this unit even if I had the installation parts laying around. Radios of this nature should be a full swap out not a hybrid unit. While the bigger screen is nice, it feels like a half 'butt' effort to use the extra realestate.

On the bright side I found that you can live without the oem mazda unit. I tested a drive around the block with no radio installed and it just kept the last set settings. Hud opened to its set height, and lights and such were all as expected. Now THIS MAY BE DIFFERENT FOR CRUISE CONTROL AND OTHER TECH STUFF WHICH MAY GIVE AN ERROR but for the 2016 version which just had different light settings and hud adjustments its not the end of the world and I will probably be looking into a full radio replacement next time.

Til next time
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for your post!

So my original screen is cracked.
Can I install this screen and keep everything the same but with a new screen?

I don't care about the android part, I already have android auto installed.
Yea in all honestly its perfect to replace an old screen if broken and you still want to use mazda system. Since mazda oem price is probably 4x more given oem proprietary parts. Should carry everything over as is.

Just communicate with the seller to make sure all installation parts are includes specifically the metal bracket to bolt it down to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Just keep in mind these unit feels more fragile than the oem since you dont have the massive metal skeletal frame protecting it and stiffening up the body. The bolt down bracket is just a bottom screwed on piece on the new screen so as long as noone pushes or pulls on the new screen you should be fine. Feel free to post installed pictures here if you get it done, would love to see it installed
 
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