70 of 73 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
PROS: Superb audio, terrific bluetooth calling, supports CD, USB and bluetooth music streaming
CONS: Dim display, clunky navigation of music folders
I just got this yesterday so I have limited experience. I will update if my experience changes. I had technicians install this for me. I could have done it myself, but once I reviewed the instructions on installing, I have to say that I'm glad I didn't. Probably would have taken me a lot longer, and a lot more frustration. But if you're into that kind of thing, I don't think this would be a terribly difficult unit to install.
Sound quality is terrific. I put this into a 2000 Accord with the original four speakers. The original stereo wasn't bad, but this sounds much better. Clarity and separation of the instruments is phenomenal. You really get a sense of presence, as if you're in a concert hall. I'm no audiophile snob; I don't need a super high-end stereo. So I when I say the quality is better, you can be sure--it's really better. I'm very pleased by this, but not surprised. It's what I expect from Pioneer. My experience has been that they make affordable, excellent audio equipment.
Bluetooth pairing was a snap. It took a bit of fiddling with the menus, but now I have six phone numbers preset. It read the phonebook from my Droid X without a hitch. Hands-free calling is easy, and the sound quality is perfect. The microphone is installed on the windshield to the left, out of the way but properly placed. The phone pauses the music and plays a configurable chime when someone is calling, and the lights on the stereo flash. I couldn't be happier with bluetooth phone operations.
Playback is good, but it appears that with both Bluetooth streaming and USB, it moves through your folders in the order of the date that the folders were created. You can have a folder hierarchy on your USB drive, but that's not something you navigate through the stereo. This is kind of disappointing. It means that you have to create the folders in the order you want them to be navigated. But that's doable. And I have yet to see any car audio that has a sensible, useful way to navigate through folders. Maybe if I were using an iPod or iPhone through bluetooth, navigation would be better, I don't know.
If you connect your phone to the USB port, it both charges and plays music from the phone at the same time. I did see one time so far when I turned off the car, and turned it back on, and I got an error message when it tried to read the phone. Disconnecting and reconnecting fixed that.
The display is not very bright. You have to set the color to white or some other bright color, and then it's at least visible in daylight. But if direct daylight is shining right on it, you probably won't be able to see anything. I guess that's going to be true of any LED, and points out the value of an LCD display. But I first had the color set to a dark green, and that was almost entirely visible in daylight, even without the sun shining on it. Changing to white made a huge difference. Less than ideal but acceptable.
It has a goofy "Mixtrax" feature that I'll never ever use, so I won't review that.
The menu system is not terribly intuitive, and the volume knob is also the "Master Control", so if you press it when you're adjusting the volume, you jump into a menu, which is not what you intended. You have to press and hold a Source button to turn it on and off, and that's also a bit annoying, but not a big deal. But it should have a simply "on-off" switch.
The unit also has a 3.5mm auxiliary jack that I haven't even tried yet, but it could be handy if you want to hook up an MP3 player that has no bluetooth. I will just have one or more USB drives with zillions of albums and books.
Tuning the stations was fairly straightforward and easy. You get 18 FM and 6 AM presets. This means that I can tune a dozen local FM stations, and then when I drive 90 minutes away for the weekend (as I often do), I still have six presets for stations in that area.
Oh and of course it does have a CD player. My goal is never to use it, though. But if I do, it does support MP3, so I could fit a lot of music on just one disc.
Overall it's a very good stereo for the price, if you can live with the somewhat dim display.
Two things. First, I found that I can make a kind of playlist just by putting whatever I want into a single folder. So that's good.
Second, I have to say that, although the display is too dim during the day, it's too bright at night. You can set a custom color for the "key" color (these are the parts of the unit that put out light, apart from the text), and you can set the brightness for red, green and blue. But at least one of them must have a brightness of at least 20. This is unfortunate and annoying. I would put them all down to about 5 if I could. I have found that I can put red and green at fairly low levels, and leave blue at 20, and I get a kind of pastel, purplish color that may not be the most aesthetically pleasing, but is the least irritating at night. It's just barely acceptable.
I may go so far as to paint over some of the light-emitting "trim" to push down the brightness even further. I can't imagine why Pioneer designed this unit this way.
Oh and by the way, even if you turn the unit off...the light still shines! So short of removing the front of the unit, you have no options.
45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Very happy with this stereo. I installed it in a 2004 Jeep Liberty. The Bluetooth connection is very easy to set up. You go through the pairing process once, and then every time you get into your car with your Iphone (with Bluetooth turned on), it will automatically connect to it when you have the "BT Audio" source selected on the stereo. Pushing in the volume control knob for a second activates Siri, allowing you to make a phone call, send a text, check sports scores, etc, all via voice control.
Comes with an external microphone. I routed it behind my dash and up the pillar to the top of the pillar. Tucked very easily behind the rubber trim.
Pandora works great, you can switch tracks and even thumbs up/thumbs/down right from the stereo's face plate buttons.
My son loves all the color options. You can set everything one color or set different colors for the buttons vs the display.
Highly recommended, I can't imagine a better value for the money.
36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
bought this at Fry's (pricier than at amazon) and I am very impressed.
After trying 2 other bluetooth car radios, I have to say I am very impressed with this unit.
-best BT quality - on par with high end built-in units. routed the external microphone to the factory location by the above rearview mirror light switches after testing different spots. works great on both ends of the call even when driving with the windows open
-BT menus are great. paired 2 different phones and it pulls the phonebook and dialed/missed call numbers from both, with numbers and alpha entries, like a charm. priority given to last paired phone.
-once paired, phones connect automatically without fail
-pandora control works great. stereo music quality is great and it pulls track names and the control functions work great.
All this on Android phones, not only on the apple products it is advertised for.
-key and display colors can be adjusted to match your dash colors
-very easy install. very clear setup. aboslutely no need for consulting the manual
-works great with mp3 cds and with mp3 files on a USB stick too.
-very good radio reception
none, really. they lights can be dimmed and don't bother me at all!
-HD radio is the only thing missing
As I said, I had tried 2 other units, more expensive than this one, and am very happy to have found this one based on the fry guy's recommendation and on the amazon and crutchfield reviews. you will not be disappointed!
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
First, it is a beautiful unit. Like art for your dashboard. Sounds great, Bluetooth pairing is the easiest I've ever seen. The illumination options are unlimited and the included BT mic makes calls from my tiny import without picking up road noise.
Now the two cons. First: I am not a 12yo girl. When I make a menu selection, I don't need stars and sparkles to herald my choice. It's distracting, time-consuming and annoying. With so many customizing options, you need to make turning this feature off one of them.
Second, and more importantly: the whole illumination thing is too darned bright at night. It's like driving with your dome light on. Especially the area around the USB input. The "Dim" selection is a cruel joke. It's three menus deep and dims the display by about 5 lumens. I had to toggle it a few times to make sure it was doing anything.
Here are my suggestions: have a button on the face that steps the illumination output down to a customizable level set in the menu system. Or, have a button that switches it to a night mode that can dim the display and/or change the colors. Or, put a little light-sensing diode on the face that detects ambient brightness and adjusts the display accordingly. My cellphone does that, you can too.
But I'm not returning it. I just set the color to red and it's OK. And other than that, it's a beautiful, high-quality, feature-rich, bass-pumping monster.
36 of 47 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Pros: Great audio, great bluetooth support.
The big one: The normal display is very bright. Setting the so called "dimmer" only turns it down 20% or so. If you set a custom color and try to turn them all down it INSISTS that one of them be set to at least level 20 which is still WAY too bright for night use. What were you thinking, Pioneer?
The small ones: The controls lag a little. You can only turn the knob a medium speed or it won't register. For many operations (like pushing "disp" to cycle between artist/album/track) you push the button and then the display has to do a little swirly dance before giving you the information you wanted. That's just bad interface design. Finally there's no way to get the display to quit scrolling the song titles. I don't like seeing things constantly moving in my peripheral vision when I'm trying to drive.
Pioneer seems to have focused too much on swirly bouncy displays and not enough on getting the basic functions right.
I returned this unit and got a JVC KD-X50BT instead. It has none of these problems.