I purchased this model for my Nissan Versa without doing any homework on it...a local store was offering free installation along with a sale price, and I noticed it had a front panel USB connector so I was hoping it would play my MP3 files from a flash drive. I wasn't expecting much in terms of quality and features...I figured I didn't need to spend a lot of money since I would be using the 4 pre-wired door speakers that came with my car. To say I was blown away by the sound would be an understatement...I can only imagine what this would sound like with a nice speaker setup. In any case, here's my take on the good and the not-so-good.
Pros: - Detaching the faceplate is easy. Attaching it can be a bit tricky, but with a little practice most
should be able to get it on in under 20 seconds.
- It's loaded with many of the same features of Sony's higher-priced players. There are several
ways to locate a specific track when playing CD-Rs or USB devices containing a lot of files.
- While playing regular audio CDs sounds amazing, this unit really shines in its ability to make
compressed (MP3) audio sound as good as the real thing; an improved sound processor
(compared to the model it replaced), a feature called Digital Music Plus Advanced, plus a
customizable equalizer all combine to give your data files excitement you've likely never heard
- For FM radio stations that comply with the standard, the Radio Data System (RDS) will provide
song information, help you find particular types of stations (News, Sports, Top 40, Rock, etc.),
and can even set the clock for you. The radio can also store the stronger stations
automatically (BTM), but I prefer setting them manually...otherwise, you'll end up with a lot of
presets you're not interested in.
- Although I can't comment on its capabilities with an iPod, it does play my USB flash drives
without a hitch and has several shuffle and repeat play options.
Cons: - The user interface and manual could be confusing and frustrating for some. Most of the
buttons and the dial have to control multiple functions, so finding your way around the different
features and displays requires patience and learning. I still find myself accidentally
changing a setting I didn't want to or just plain getting stuck. Since the displays are different
depending on the source (CD, Tuner, USB, Aux-in) selected and how much information is
contained in the source, you won't always see what you might expect to see.
- The preset buttons are smaller than I would like. Some, like the source/off button and the
seek+ button, are together (like one big button), and it's easy to push the wrong one. The
included remote doesn't seem to help control the unit any better and doesn't include the
ability to access all of the track finding features. It seems best suited for a backseat
- Whether it's day or night, you may run into a problem seeing everything clearly. The blue key
illumination takes care of the buttons while driving at night, but the printed lettering above the
keys is almost impossible to read. During the day, bright sunlight can cause glare problems
and wash out the LCD display (in certain vehicles).
- When Daylight Saving Time ended Nov. 1st, even though I had the unit set up to automatically
change the clock, I had to go back into the setup menu, turn it off, then turn it back on again
before the time reset itself (at least it was accurate).
- When using the Zappin feature to hear short clips of songs to find a track to play, you have to
wait about 2 seconds in between each preview on a regular audio CD and at least 5 or 6
seconds on an MP3 Data Disc or USB flash drive loaded with songs.
For me, the pros far outweigh the cons...after all, you don't have to use all the bells and whistles just because they are there. The sound quality of the CD player and music played through the USB port is outstanding, and anyone desiring more from the radio at least has the option of expanding to HD or SAT radio. I recommend this receiver for anyone (including audiophiles), as it offers tremendous bang for the buck.