"Better than the competition but lacking some features"3.5 starson by Reznuel
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.