Well, this is where my adventure with the Xtrons ends. All in all, it's been a good product but it's time to move on. The final straw for me was something that I've been complaining about since the very beginning - the pathetic way this thing mounts inside the dash.
If you recall, the Xtrons-supplied brackets were complete trash. Cheap metal with one bend, holes that don't align with the E39's dash, and a missing recess that prevents the head unit from sitting flush against the brackets. Even if they'd fit correctly, the mounting is only with 2 fasteners - one in each upper corner. This means the lower part of the head unit isn't secured in any way and since there's no support anywhere else, it has a tendency to move, rattle, etc. Total ****.
As I mentioned way back when, I purchased some 3D-printed brackets from a German enthusiast. While they did resolve a few of the issues mentioned above, they have not withstood the test of time very well. The mounting screw holes are stripped, even with careful tightening. The plastic has warped badly with summer heat and each one is cracked. Better than the metal brackets, but still unacceptable in my opinion. The guy who produces these is no longer willing to ship to the US, but they are available from the iBus app store. I would not
recommend them, but if you already have an Xtrons I suppose this is the best option currently available.
As my brackets deteriorated, the head unit began to squeak over bumps and I decided I'd had enough and it was time for a replacement.
I've also come to the conclusion that Apple CarPlay is the only interface I'm interested in using. It fits my needs better than any hodge-podge Android solution and it works beautifully. With the recent release of aftermarket Wireless
carplay dongles, it was time for an upgrade. My plan is to simply use the Android head unit as a conduit for CarPlay and a display for my Backup camera. I have no intentions of loading any additional apps on the Android side or even connecting my phone to the head unit via Bluetooth.
I'd been eyeing the AVIN Avant 4 for quite a while. The Avant 3 was a solid unit, but it had some very unique hardware and the price was considerably higher than the Xtrons at the time. The Avant 4 however, uses the same PX5 (and now PX6) architecture as the Xtrons and most other popular Android units and is sold at a very competitive price point.
What makes the Avant 4 unique is: t's designed to use the OE BMW aluminum navigation mount, which all US-Spec M5 have. I have this installed now and I'm very pleased with the fit. It's very secure and the reinstallation of the OE bracket has also restored support to both the upper and lower dash pieces. The lack of an optical drive also means this fits the E39 much better. No interference issues with the HVAC box and plenty of room for all the adapters, etc.
Wireless Carplay works like a champ, I'm very impressed so far. The Resler interface connection is integrated into the AVIN adapter harness, so no splicing or soldering required.
If you're in the market for an Android device, the Avant 4 is absolutely the way to go, particularly if you're starting with a Nav-equipped E39. At this point, I see no reason to bother with an Xtrons, Eonon, etc. Just order the AVIN and be done with it.
AVIN on the left, Xtrons on the right