"Great Idea, poor execution"4.0 starson by jeremylobaugh
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