OK, so there is some debate as to whether the cheap car stereos on the market have the quality of the more expensive, well known brands. The answer is sometimes, as with all other walks of life there are good eggs and bad eggs. I’m sure you have all been there where you buy a cheap torch from the local market and 3years later it’s still working, however the top of range torch only lasted a month. The same goes for car audio, the cheap stuff is not always the worst.
I have used many stereos over the years, my favourite probably being the Kenwood units. I have paid large and small for them ranging from £50 to £500. In my experience the price has not always been justified by the quality. I only recently purchased a Beat 275 unit, one of the cheapest head units you are ever likely to see at £45. It was brilliant from day one, never missed a beat (pardon the pun) and had all the features I could ever need.
In the past I have used most types of headunit and my worst experience came from one of the larger car audio brands. It had stability issues and every bump in the road caused the unit to skip. This surprised me as the unit was not the entry level it was quite expensive. It was most probably a faulty unit that slipped through quality control, however it does highlight the fact that even the more expensive units are not always the best built.
By paying the big bucks, most of the time you will get the best but there are the exceptions out there. Have a look around, play with some demo models in the shop and learn what you are buying. Just because the unit is really cheap doesn’t mean it’s going to last a week, just because it cost more than the average family home doesn’t mean it’s going to last forever. When buying a headunit, don’t be afraid of the cheap car stereo on the market but do research it first.