Most of these are not big issues to me.
>Considering it auto syncs my gmail and I couldn't uninstall the app
Umm, you can turn off email sync, 2) you CAN uninstall the app pretty easily on a rooted unit or if using a custom rom like Malaysk's. Zero need for a phone-style screen lock on these units. That is just silly and something you should not be dealing with while driving anyway. You should not really have any data on these other than maps and mp3's.
>Stock launcher is cluttered and laggy,
The stock launchers pretty much only show the current time, and have icons to start apps. They are pretty non-laggy and stripped down already and are designed to be used in the vehicle, which they do well.
>Upper edge of screen bezel flexes about, which is lucky as trying to swipe down from the top of the screen is quite fiddly.
That is not a problem on two Joying's that I have. Must have been a particular model.
>The nav bar along the top edge is cluttered with spurious items and didn't find an easy way to hide it.
The Xposed mtc-statusbar module has an easy way to enable/disable nearly every single thing on that bar.
>Wifi reception merely adequate, had to park my van nose in and have my front door open to get decent Wifi, meaning reversing blind back onto the road
By default most of these don't come with an antenna, they just have a little exposed coax wire on the end with some heatshrink. But, it's pretty easy to solder on a real SMA antenna connector and use a real much better wifi antenna if you want. I have an external wifi antenna on my jeep now connected to the head unit and can get wifi from restaurants outside easily.
>Although the volume is often via proper buttons on these units, nothing comes close to a good old fashioned knob.
Yeah, I would never buy those head units without knobs and with buttons only. In fact I purposely got one of the Joying with a knob. So you could have just picked a different model.
>Couldn't find an easy way to switch between maps/spotify/radio, whilst driving you have to look for and press the tiny home button and then the relevant icon, and then again to switch back.
That is a bit of a hassle, however you should not be doing this while driving anyway. If you need a map, use the map, if you want to listen to music then use the player, otherwise just play the music in the background and live with it. I do believe though you can map a steering wheel control(I don' t have any) to switch between apps I believe.
>No light sensor for night dimming
The new MTCD units have a day brightness and night brightness settings and they are also tied properly into the headlights coming on/off now.
>Similarly, apps will update over your mobile data.
You should disable auto-update in google play, and figure out how to disable stuff in other apps as well such as automatic album art etc. If an app can't be properly disabled to not use the network, then you should realize it is a phone app, and maybe not appropriate to run on these devices.
I use a freedom pop wifi hotpost and I get 500mb/month free wifi for my head unit and it works fine for weather, maps, traffic etc.
>The seller claims you have to buy their own cameras for compatibility
Nah, you can use any camera from anyone that outputs a proper NTSC composite video signal. I have bought probably 6-8 of them (night vision, license plate, stick on, etc) and tested them all and they all worked if you connected the reverse line and the camera power lines correctly. I would say faulty unit. Hopefully you purchased from a decent seller like carjoying who actually provide some customer service, and not just the cheapest you could find on aliexpress.
>The unit runs hot and I've never seen the cooling fan at the back operating. (suspect faulty)
Must be faulty. These units are very low power hardware and using phone processors. They should require no more cooling than a phone handset.
I have installed and have owned two units. A MTCB generation and a MTCD generation one. Yes, these are rough and require some DIY skills. But excellent value for what you get compared to a name-brand. They are usually much more capable in the right hands and not as locked down and limited as well. But that is a two-edged sword, with power comes responsibility.
If you are unwilling to spend some effort on your own to mess with them, from both a hardware and software standpoint, then get a name brand device of some sort.
For me, the fact I could buy about 4 of these for the cost of one name-brand unit that would have 1/10th the functionality, and usually never get upgrades or updates after the first year of the product, etc was a no brainer to me. Your mileage may vary.