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Best in-car entertainment systems

There are plenty of in-car entertainment options, with everything from your compact handheld device to roof-mounted DVD player and screen.

Great holidays, bad car trips. We’ve all been on those road trips with a soundtrack provided by the kids and their never-ending bleat of  “are we there yet?”  As their whingeing turns into an incessant drone, you can say goodbye to your sanity.

Thankfully, the latest tech has you covered, keeping the iGeneration occupied – and letting you enjoy your drive and the scenery.

There are plenty of in-car entertainment options, with everything from your compact handheld device to roof-mounted DVD player and screen. There’s something to fit every budget, family, car size and interest.

Traditional head-rest screens still get a start in many luxury cars, with various designs, and features still available. Entertaining your kids however is easier thanks to the latest gen of handheld tech.

Compact devices, from the average MP3 all the way to the top-end PlayStation Vita will always be among the kids’ favourites, and along with Apple’s iPod/Pad/Phone, provide an attractive and versatile option.

Here are our picks of six of the best at a range of affordable prices


Teac 7" Portable DVD Player




Starting at the low end of the scale, Teac have a portable DVD player for a touch under $100. Simple, easy, affordable. The perfect combination.

A 7” screen to play your DVDs, and even photos, video files and music, thanks to the inbuilt USB and multimedia card slots.

Did I mention the screen swivels? That will keep the kids entertained more than some movies…

Cadence CHM-7 Headrest




Headrest monitors have been a popular choice for those wanting a permanent solution for those long journey blues.

For only $249 a pop, you can pick up a Cadence Headrest with monitor, and built in speakers, which will fit into a standard headrest slot. Each Unit comes with a remote control, and even a wireless receiver for wireless headphones to connect. Nifty!

Nintendo 3DS




Nintendo have long been the kings of handheld gaming, with the latest compact gaming monarch being the Nintendo 3DS, and it’s slightly larger brother, the 3DS XL.

Both of these retail for just over $250, depending on where you shop, and combine the family orientated Nintendo gaming with immersive 3D gameplay and a touchscreen to keep the kids occupied for hours.

The 3DS is an attractive option, as you won’t have to constantly check over your shoulder, with the bulk of the 3DS’ game offerings falling in the G, and PG category.

Playstation Vita





Sony’s flagship handheld device has fallen out of favour with gamers; however as a long drive distraction it still holds its value admirably.

It may be one more tailored for the older children, due to the nature of its game range, but the Vita provides more than button mashing entertainment.

The Vita allows you to load up your SD card with movies and watch them on what is a surprisingly clear quality screen.

There is even a 3G model, where you can browse the net, download games, and even play games online. More to do when your kids even get bored of playing games.


iPod Touch (16GB – 32GB)

$329 - $439



When someone mentions handheld entertainment, it’s hard to look past the elephant in the room. It comes in six different colours and has a fruit on it.

Apple’s iPod touch is another travel sanity saver, with endless features to keep kids occupied. The rise of mobile gaming means that they can spend hours fiddling around on ‘Doodle Jump’, or ‘Fruit Ninja’, or ‘Draw Something.’

They may even learn something, with a variety of education game titles on the app-store. Two birds with one stone.

iPad (Mini – Retina)

$369 - $1009



The beauty of the iPad is that there is a model to fit every budget, and requirement.

Starting small, for as low as $369 you can pick up a 16gb WiFi iPad Mini. Albeit a smaller screen, the Mini still functions the same as its full sized counterpart. It runs the same apps, games and can play the same movies.

$1009 gets you 128GB Cellular model, meaning 3G data and a huge amount of space. You can fit enough movies to drive to Perth and back.


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