Pros Bluetooth, Aux in, Auto Dimmer, EQ
Cons Control layout, menus, detachable face, number of storeable contacts
Summary Before burchasing this unit, I reviewed the Alpine, Pioneer, and Parrot Bluetooth/Stereo solutions. After weighing the cost vs. features, I went with the Sony. I have been a die-hard Pioneer user for 12 years, but strayed away due to the brice of their unit.
In my opinion, Sony has done a very good job developing the "meat and potatoes" of this head unit. It works flawlessly with my Sanyo M1, for both voice calls and streaming music. The Auxillary inputs in the back are wonderful, I did'nt have to buy a $40 cable to use my sirius reciever with this unit. Another bonus is the dimmer function, I have always ben too cheap to buy the next model up simply for the dimming feature, but this unit has it built in, you can set it to on/off/auto(requires being wired properly). My last pioneer spent more time with the face down than up to prevent the blinding blue backlighting from impairing my vision.
The first thing I noticed was the joystick, mainly because it fell off the first time I tried to use it. Tightening it only prolonged the obvious. Currently, it is held on with some superglue, and I tightened the set screw and dropped some loctite in there, it has not given me any problems since. The menus could be better designed, navigating through then is not difficult, just lengthy. Changing EQ settings could easily take up a lunch break. I dislike the method by which you detach and re-attach the faceplate, It works well, I just don't like it. The number of contacts you can store is limited to 50 names and numbers. For most people, that should be sufficient, but I live on my phone, It's my job, and I have over 200 contacts and 400 phone numbers. I had to sit there and decide which were the top 50, and Bluetooth them over...rather tedious. Lastly, the faceplate itself....You can't deny it, it's friggin ugly
On the fence:
I love the EQ in this unit, it gives you quite a bit of control over your sound, and allows you to have different settings for different sources, however, changing the settings takes an eternity, and you have to do it for every source.
I can put up with alot, which is what I am doing with this head unit. It was a compromise, but I am happy I bought it. For it's flaws, it works great, even in -10 degree weather, it fired right up, and sounded great. My wife has only complained a little bit about the sound quality over the phone, but I did have the Noise Cancellation off, and the window down. Even with it's drawbacks, I am considering purchasing another one for my wifes van, it is a pretty simple solution to the Handsfree problem
Pros bluetooth ....I can call from my remote
Cons I did not find any....yet
Summary I just instaled the unit today(10/11/06)on my vw golf.This unit rocks the house ...the sound is Crist clear....But the main reason that is gonna make you buy this unit...is to speek with your wife and friends trough the stereo and hear them in your speakers.....I conected the stereo with my phone(nokia 3230) without reading the manual.....I called my wife ...and I was yelling(beacuse Iread a review last week....with some guy having problems with bt500 mic)...People told me to stop yelling because they can hear me ok......After 15minutes I began speaking very slow.....(not whisper)...and they still could hear me................Buy it...you`ll love it
Pros Bluetooth feature works very well; I hooked it up to a 10 disk changer and an XM unit and enjoy having tons of music at my finger tips
Cons Display is smaller than my older Sony headunit; joystick can take some getting use to
Summary I took the plunge and bought this product because the illumination on my previous Sony headunit had gone out but I had it for over 6 years and I already owned a sony 10 disk changer so I decided to replace it with a newer Sony headunit. I looked for awhile at what Sony had to offer but didn't really see anything that caught my eye until I saw the MEX-BT5000. I really liked that it had bluetooth built into it because I use a bluetooth headset at home to talk on the phone but I often forget it when I'm going out. Plus this unit was "Sat-Ready" and I liked the look of it. I was a little nervous about how well the bluetooth function would work because I had read some negative things about it in other reviews. However, after installing the unit and setting it up, it has worked amazingly. Calls incoming and outgoing are crystal clear and the people I'm talking to say that it sounds no different than when I'm using just my phone. I was also worried that the sound of my tuned muffler would cause problems with the quality of calls but it seems to have no effect and you can turn up the voice of the caller to overcome any road noise. Also, its really cool how the unit shuts off the music it is playing when a call comes in. I use to hate fumbling for my phone while trying to turn down the stereo to answer it. I like the joystich a lot but it does take some getting use to because pushing it for a second sometimes performs a different task than holding it for a few. But I found the menus to be extremely easy to navigate around and like the overall look of the unit especially at night. My only complaint would be the display because its small and only monocolor. It has some "movies" and wallpaper which are okay but honestly, I was more into the boothtooth function. I haven't had a chance to stream music to it via a bluetooth enabled mp3 player and my particular model of cell phone can't do that but I did hook up my disk changer and XM radio to it which both work really well. I did have to by the XMD-SON110 adapter and XA-C40 unilink adapter to do this but now that it is all installed working its so nice to have so much music at my finger tips.
Pros Bluetooth is flawless, easy tuner, mp3 is solid
Cons Dont care for the lcd display
Summary This unit impressed me as soon as I got my first experience with a hands-free call. It was crystal clear and took nothing more than a push of the button. While listening to music, a call came in, which over rides anything the unit may be doing, and immediately I was talking with no problems!
The tuner was as easy as moving the joystick/knob to the right and it automatically picks up stations clear. I also have my Xm setup on this unit and it is flawless.
So the only knock I have on this unit is the display that just seems a bit strange and missing. While you enjoy the music, you can set the screen to show various displays, honestly, I would just say they aren't the greatest and only wished that somehow you could make your own display by hooking the faceplate to a computer...
Anyway, I highly recommend this unit, it has been solid since I purchased it and I know it will continue to do so....
Pros Good audio quality, excellent Bluetooth handling, handsome
Cons Could have used the display better, usability quirks
Summary Clearly developed by Bluetooth SW engineers rather than seasoned Sony in-dash stereo senior developers Some music playback features reinvented unneccesarlily and with too little regard to usability. Why isn't there a list of MP3 songs to scroll, or the ability to type "98" in order to play song #98 on disc instead of pushing the joystick 98 times to arrive there ?? Even units at a third of the price can do that.
The great display not used optimally for music information presentation. This could have been made to look soo great. Sound animations not in sync with music but lags behind some 0.5 seconds. Why not delay the audio to make it coincide with the graphics output ?
Some of the grahics is just silly and of little use, apparently developed for a color display that isn't there.
But what a wonderful phone interface !
Making calls are so convenient.
And audio quality for music playback is great both from CD and phone streaming.
A lot of development work apparently got into this.
I tested it with the Sony Ericsson P990 and M600 models, excellent result.
If you do much phone talk from your car, then this is for you.