If you own a car, you’d very well know this: cars are not only meant for taking you from Point A to Point B. In a way, cars are no longer cars now. They are smarter and more intelligent than ever.

Car-makers want their beasts to provide all the possible comfort to those who use them. Enter technology. Thanks to the marriage between computing and automobile, vehicles, especially cars, are doing wonders now. Cars speak, cars entertain, and cars interact with you in previously imaginable ways. The humble car is a smart hub now.

But owning a smart car is no easy. It doesn’t fit your bill often. Most new high-end cars come preloaded with smart infotainment systems. But what will you do if you don’t want to change your old car or if you own a small car and, still, want to enjoy a smart experience?

Pioneer India has a solution. Pioneer India has already earned a name for its car infotainment products. Its solutions are known for their advanced features and affordability. An arm of Japan’s Pioneer Corporation, the company – which also makes speakers, DJ products etc -- has introduced a portfolio of web-connected devices aiming to improve private transport experience in the country. The Pioneer SAD-835TAB + SPH-T20BT multi-purpose detachable tablet targets car users in India who wants to add a little extra smart infotainment to their vehicles.


The SDA-835TAB+SPH-T20BT is a two-part infotainment system. The SDA-835TAB is an 8-inch tablet that can be mounted on to the car. The SPH-T20BT is the digital audio-video (AV) receiver and works as the hub. The setup is an easy one. You don’t need an external technician if you are a ‘DIY’ person with your car. Pioneer provides prompt installation services too. You need to open the existing entertainment slot on the car’s dashboard and install the hub there. The unit comprises of a 2-DIN receiver that carries equipped with tablet mount cradle, Pioneer’s home-made amplifier -- MOSFET 50Wx4 – and a 3 RCA pre-out plugs (which helps you connect it to separate amplifiers for the front, rear speakers and the subwoofer channel), input for the rear camera, bluetooth and such.

The installation process does not require much know-how if you can follow the manual. The hub will be hooked to your speakers and navigation systems. Once the hub is installed, the tablet can be attached to the dashboard and it works as a multi-mode infotainment system. When detached it is a regular tab and can then be used as a regular tablet meeting basic computing, for business needs or pastime entertainment. Since the tablet can be detached, the danger of theft is also averted to an extent.

A smart tab for the car

The tablet has a strong thick body with an 8-inch capacitive touch screen. The 5 Points Capacitive Touch Panel gives a decent, though a tad slow, touch response. The Pioneer tablet is designed to withstand harsh conditions, including heat, jerks and falls and temperature changes and extreme vibration. The body feels strong and sturdy in your hands and can easily withstand a good fall. The 1280X800 IPS screen display also looks thick and strong. The tablet runs on Android and you can link it to your Google account and save all your preferences as you do with a regular tab. The device runs on the ARM Quad-Core Cortex A7.1GHZ processor, which is known for its power efficiency and enhanced support for hardware virtualisation. The device has 125 GB memory.

The built-in WiFi can be used out of the car as well. Once connected to the local WiFi or the mobile hotspot in your call, the tab will let you enjoy all your favourite apps, from streaming apps to social media messengers. You can also use maps and other navigation systems. The tab also lets you use virtual assistants and voice commands, which becomes quite convenient while you’re on the go. Since the tablet has its own power supply, it can be turned on without having to start the engine.

The tablet features programs (apps) that let you take smart control of your car. It helps you synch a pack of services to the system, depending upon your car’s smart faculties. The device allows you to take full control of your music and video entertainment system, steering wheel buttons and such. If your car is bluetooth enabled, the tab can be paired to the car and you can enjoy most regular bluetooth powered functions without hassles. The device offers Full HD (1080) video playback.

Impressive audio

The tablet has an impressive built-in speaker backed by Pioneer Car Audio Technology, which has been popular in the market for some time now. The device’s audio playback is hence quite impressive. The tab provides 13 Band Equalizer with multiple audio modes which the user can tweak to get perfect the audio experience. Since the hub is connected to the car’s speakers and subwoofer, the audio optimisation happens smoothly and efficiently. The device gives an audio out that is aided by an Advanced Sound Retriever for high sound quality, which is crisp, soothing and immersive.


The tab can connect to the rear-view camera and the feed from the camera will appear on the tablet screen the moment you shift the shift to reverse. The device can also be linked to a parking sensor if you want. Pioneer’s own ND-PS1 supports this. The tablet also supports a bouquet of entertainment and navigation. The Android OS supports all the Google ‘usuals’ - including YouTube and other apps such as Spotify, Prime Video, Netflix and more.

The device has a 4000mAh battery, which is not enough in our experience and requires a recharge after 6-8 hours of usage, especially if you are using the maps and streaming. If you are going for a long drive, you need to keep a charging cable handy.

To sum up, the Pioneer SAD-835TAB Plus SPH-T20BT car infotainment unit is a powerful multi-purpose detachable device that offers seamless, glitch-free entertainment that can be extended to the living room as well. Given the price, the smart audio, video and computing experience it offers is quite impressive.

Price: ₹33,890

Pros: Strong body, great audio, impressive controls, robust performance, good price

Cons: Battery performance needs improvement, slow touch