"Really great little deck once you figure it out."4.0 starson by richhsf
Pros: Picks up on iPod right where you left off. Connects quickly upon startiing car.
With the KCE400BT Bluethooth, you get streaming audio from iPhone 3G (3.0)
Add a KCA-121BT to the back for an auxiliary minijack (for portable CD) or iphone.
Cons: Software all needs to be current on iPods and iPhones
MUST use their supplied iPod connector or iPhone charging WONT WORK!!!
First time connection requires some decent skill and patience; don't give up! Its great once you get it set up!
Summary: Overall I am in love with this stereo for the price. I'm going to use the whole space here because I would have appreciated more info. I installed it on my own and learned some hard lessons (attach the power antenna connector even though you don't have a power antenna; it is a "powered" antenna...attaching fixed my poor radio reception...duh).
I have it attached to a KCE400BT bluetooth module from Alpine that sits under my front seat (Acura RSX). That works amazingly well and enables you to do Bluetooth Audio from an iPhone 3G (v3.0). This is a separate purchase and you have to install it at the same time because it needs to hook up to power and it connects to the back of the deck. With the Bluetooth Audio, the deck will control the ipod portion of your iPhone just like it does for the iPod and even shows your album art.
I also have the deck's USB connected (almost always) to an 80G Video iPod (5G i think). I drilled a hole in a plastic drawer in the dash and ran the USB into it. The iPod just stays in the drawer...charging and playing as long as I want. I haven't noticed any excess heating at all and it always connects within seconds of starting the car and picks up right where I left off. The performance in that respect is nothing short of amazing. Album art comes through perfect and you can change the background color on the video display to red, blue or black (I use black...easier on the eyes). BTW, you can also configure the LED lighting on the whole deck to either red or blue. As I said, make sure that you use the Alpine connector to connect to the USB and ipod. You can't just use any old iPod/iPhone cord (needed Alpine support to tell me that one). Also make sure that you have updated your software on your iPod with iTunes or it may not work (I had to).
Finally, I also connected Alpines KCA-121B Versatile Link Connector (deck connection to RCA) and attached an RCA-Minijack cable. Voila, I have an auxiliary that I am able to use to plug into any output device (older iphone, MP3 player and an old battery powered CD player that I keep in the trunk just in case I get the manic urge to play a CD). The deck lets you choose your sources and Aux is one of them. So, in the end, I have an iPod on the USB, an aux capability on AUX, and bluetooth streaming audio on...a source actually called "Bluetooth Audio" on the deck. Sweeeet!
I have been using the deck for two months now and I actually (not kidding) drive slower because I love listening to the music. The bluetooth is working near flawlessly with my iPhone 3G. Once I did the first time connection with the deck, which was really, really easy, the deck remembers my phone. So...if I just leave my bluetooth on in the iPhone all the time (which I do anyways), I never even have to take it off my belt. I get in the car, turn on the key. The stereo connects and within about 30 seconds, the deck has automatically hooked up to my phone. A call comes in, the deck turns down the music and I answer the phone by pressing the phone button on the face plate. When the call ends, the stereo ramps the music back up. When hooked to bluetooth, you can navigate all of my iPhone contacts (one limit is that it only displays one number per contact...if you want a different alternate number, you have to find it on your iphone....however, when you do and click the number on the iphone...you still take the call over the deck...awesome). A couple of notes, though. While you can load up to 5 phones on the deck to connect, it does only connect one phone at a time. So, if you have multiple phones at a time, you may have to compete! Driver wins, right!!! You can't do bluetooth phone on one phone and stream bluetooth audio from another. Also, if you start your car, and try to plug in your ipod while your bluetooth is in the process of connecting, sometimes you can glitch the software and you won't get any sound from playing iPod. Simply disconnect the iPod, let the bluetooth finish and plug it back in. This rarely happens to me because the iPod is always plugged in.
For the navigation, the faceplate has a big wheel that can navigate slow, or if you push it in and turn, will do a rapid page. There is no search so this is really handy. Playlists work the absolute best if you want to keep focused on the road. There were comments that the screen doesn't do well in glare. This is true because the plastic is thick. However, this is probably to protect the LCD screen from sun damage. I imagine there has to be some tradeoff there. The face is detachable and very, very lightweight (yes its plastic and a bit vulnerable).
Power-wise...I have an Acura-RSX so the power in the deck is fine for that. However, if you have a bigger car, better speakers or want it just LOUD, you will probably need an additional power amplifier. I am usually between 50-75% of the volume.
So, there you have it. I am enjoying the heck out of this deck.