Pros Great iPod seaching capabilites, good looking, easy to use
Cons Needs more remote buttons for song selection, more audio tuning options
Summary If you are thinking of buying the Pioneer iPod adapter or an iPod FM Transmitter, DON'T! I have used both and they are terrible solutions compared to this new deck. I waited a month for this model to come out, and it was well worth it. The problem that iPod deck adapters from last year had such as limited display text (pioneer) and very slow response or no response at all has been solved with this unit. Scolling through playlists, artist, songs, or albums is a breeze. The only complaints I have is that it is a little more difficult to scroll using the deck if you are used to a remote like me. Also, compared to Pioneer, the audio tuning is a bit limited, but the sound is still great.
Pros HD Radio & Satellite-ready, great quality, sound, and faster iPod search feature verus competitors at this price.
Cons weird ipod search function, no song memory feature, 2-band EQ
Summary Overall its the best in-dash CD/MP3/WMA + iPod on the market at the price level for the iPod but maybe not for the rest. It's audio quality is awesome thanks to Alpine's BBE technology but simple and includes 3 separate RCA channels for amps and subs but only has a treble and bass EQ (wimpy compared to Pioneer's or Sony's EQs) and a fader. The LCD bright-white text is pretty cool and makes text easy to see during the day and includes an automatic dimmer mode for night. Artist Info can be displayed during CD and Radio playback.
The percentage feature of the iPod is very intuitive for Alpine making good use of what it had available. The 6 preset radio stations on the bottom of the deck act as "1/6 sections" for your iPod library. Instead of having to scroll from the beginning to get to the middle of your music, you simply press the 3rd preset button during iPod mode and it takes you there right away and then you can scroll up/down. Nobody else has that feature and the scrolling is already faster compared to sony's and pioneers decks.
Alpine includes an AI-net feature that lets you add on all sorts of stuff like bluetooth connectivity, CD changers, satellite-radio, etc. I've never added any of these on so I'm sorry I dont have a rewiew available for that. As of now there is no i-personalize available for this deck either.
The bad: During iPod navigation, there's no back button or song memory so if you accidentally picked the wrong song you have to start all over from beginning of the Playlist/Artist/Album/Song menu. Notice there is no Genre browsing available. Also, there's a reset period during your iPod library search, meaning if you take too long to choose a song (about 5 seconds from your last input) it resets back to the song info and you HAVE TO START ALL OVER!!! probably the most annoying thing. So if you're listening to a song and a friend wants to pick a different artist make sure the song is about to end before they search for it. otherwise they can keep toggling back and forth for a little while, lol. If you push to eject a CD during tuner/iPod playback the music pauses as it switches to CD mode and then back. Annoying for anyone who's an audiophile, which I imagine you are if you're looking to buy an iPod compatible deck, right? Also some of the dedicated iPod buttons only work during regular playback mode, meaning if you have it set to shuffle songs or albums you have to turn off the shuffle feature before you can browse your music.
The biggest factor for me when I was deciding which one to buy was the iPods speed/connectivity, sound, and looks. I was able to get to the song I wanted faster with this deck compared to anyone else at this price level. I didn't want to justify making one-hundred playlists like all of my other friends have to. While the audio quality is great, its 2-band EQ is hardly justifying. The manual-flipdown faceplate is stylish and removable and comes with a hard case. The rotary volume knob extends either out or in so its flush with the face if you prefer and it still works. Forget about the remote, it's useless but I've never used one that wasn't. Hey CNET, this is my first review and if you like it, I would love to work for you guys! love the site, keep up the good work!Updated
Sorry, I accidentally chose 7 when I meant to choose 8 out of 10. It's not perfect but it's better than the rest at this price.
Currently trying to decide whether to purchase Alpine's iDA-X001 that just came out but the lack of a CD player is holding me back.
Pros Full speed Ipod link cable available, although some shops include. All in all a great all arround stereo with all the options needed.
Cons A bit tricky to use at first, but picked it up pretty quick. May be over some peopls heads as far as all the setting opions.
Summary Exelent head unit with great options! May be a bit hard for some users to set up and use. Most will pick it up quick. A great buy.
Pros Great sound, Intuitive Ipod controls
Cons Equalizer could be better but still not bad.
Summary I installed a JVC KD HDR1 at 11:00am, and by the time I got back from a doctor appointment I knew that I hated it, the Ipod navigation sucked, it was an accident waiting to happen. I went back to the store and saw this unit, talked to a rep and told of my complaints and that I didn't want the JVC deathtrap and I was told how easy this was to navigate through the Ipod and my decision was made simple for me. The store only had a wall model left and I bought that one with NO MANUAL and I figured out the controls in like 10 minutes, that's including setting the date and time, equalizer and Bass Engine! That's what every audio equipment maker should strive for! I love the Ipod functions, and navigation, and intuitive controls, it is the best I have seen for any price. I bought this system specifically for using my Ipod and am not disappointed in the least. If your looking for the best way to use your Ipod in your auto, you just found it.
Pros Build quality, ipod interface, display, ease of use
Cons Tuner reception, Blue leds at night , lack of features.
Summary I have owned many Alpine units over the years and I brought this unit primarily based on my previous units.
Although it's not a bad head unit and has good ipod features and if that's all you're after I'd probably rate it higher.
My main gripes are;
1/ Tuner is pathetic the reception and quality for an Alpine unit is well below par.
2/ The blue leds at night are way to bright and almost dangerous. I wonder if anyone at Alpine actually has tried this in their vehicle at night. Loose the blue and go back to Alpine green or at least give us the option to change the colour.
3/ Midbass control would be nice and at least 4v preouts.
On the plus side the ipod connection is good the display is good and the cdp is ok could do with the upgraded 24 bit converter though.
Overall it's only 5/10 for me but maybe 7/10 if ipod is your main concern.
Oh and if anyone from Alpine reads this can you please bring back the 9835 or similar best head unit I ever owned.