Pros Excellent look, terrific features, easy to use
Cons Poor recorded playback, limited functionalities
Summary Instead of listing all the FABULOUS features of this unit, i will focus on the negatives for all you sceptical buyers. If you can deal with all the cons below then BUY THIS UNIT!
. Navigation system is excellent and accurate
. No need to load/unload CDs and Nav DVDs.
. High resolution screen
. Very configurable
. User friendly (once you get used to the MANY functions)
. Visable screen even in direct sunlight
. When parking brake lead is connected to ground to override "safety" features, warnings about the installation pop up occasionally, which is annoying. You have to press "OK" to clear the warning message
. When you access the menu or navagation screen for the first time after power-up it displays a warning screen about the safe use of navigation when driving
. After the car is turned on, the unit takes a considerable amount of time to power up and become functional
. Even if you override the the parking brake lead, the bluetooth phone book and dialing features are disabled when the car is in motion and cannot be overridden. I beleive the system detects the cars motion through the GPS signal and disables certain key features. You are only able to dial the five favorite numbers that you define or manually "speak" a phone number to call.
. When using the voice command option it always annouces "Please say voice command" then pauses for a moment and beeps. You cannot speak until after this message is played (in a slow voice).
. The navigation system's voice guidance system does not have any options. It will annouce when a turn is coming up in 1/2 mile or 500 ft depending on the length of the road and then says "Right turn ahead" when you're like 2 feet from the turn itself. This should be more configurable for announcments.
. The DVD player can be played in widescreen of full screen. When played in widescreen it will strech the image to fit the screen and becomes slightly distorted. When plaing in full screen it displays the video on the left side of the screen instead of centered and will display all function keys on the right side of the screen whichare annoying when watching video.
. When CDs or CD-Rs are recorded to the hard drive for Library playback it uses a very high compression which causes distortions and low sound quality. I like to rip all my music to the CD to the hard drive, but find myself having to play many songs from CDs to enjoy them. Certain frequency combinations cause clipping and sounds like skipping. If you play directly from the CD, it is fine though. I have attempted to record one song in particular from multiple CDs and the recored copy comes up with the same distortions no matter what.
. You can use JPG images from CD-Rs to load into the headunit for location and phone book defined images or background pictures, but it does not save them for future use. If you change the background picture from the one you have on a CDR you cannot change back to that picture until you put the CDR back in and reload it. Also, if you want to take a picture from a CD-R for use you have to put 100MB of "dummy data" on the CD-R or else the head unit will not read it. The CD-R much also be finalized as a DISC-AT-ONCE CD and therefore you cannot use windows XP burning software.
. Bluetooth telephone dialing is limited. You can only voice dial by saying "Dial Favotire 1" (or favorte 2-favorite 5) You cannot just say "Dial Joe" or any other form of customer name. You can say "Dial number" and then speak the phone number itself, which is impressively accurate, but i don't know anybody's phone numbers! That's what speed dial is for!
. I'll fill in more as i use it. In any case, I have seen the price of this unit drop about $100 per week for the last 4 weeks... so if you can wait on buying it... then wait until the price bottoms out!
Cons only standard pcm cds will import, price with features is staggering
Summary I just spent 4k on this puppy and have had it for two days. It truly is amazing. There are some caveats - you can only import pcm cd's, not mp3 or data cd's - if you forget to connect your lead to your parking break, you might accidentally be able to see DVD's on the main screen whilst driving, which is illegal - and the lack of a security mode for something so costly is annoying.
Now to the reasons why I love it:
It's fully customizable. The eq on sound alone is amazing. I've never had anything with as many sound options (music studio mode, dynamic theater, living room, actors stage) and each band of the eq is adjustable.
The hard drive is great. No loading DVD maps for you, you'll be sporting down the road in style listening to your favorite music.
Ipod control - flawless on screen manipulation (and it charges your Ipod, too).
rear view camera - fisheye is a little weird at first, but it's visable day or night, and you can do a twin view to see behind you, and what's on the map simultaneously.
Voice recognition - a little weird at first, but very usable. Once you learn the vocabulary of the system, you'll be set. I've been very surprised that it recognizes some streets by voice (Gulano for instance) on the first pass.
Navigation - wow. In combination with nav traffic, it's amazing. Drive buy a blockbuster, see a videotape on the screen. Touch the videotape, and a green phone pops up to call the blockbuster using your bluetooth phone. It has a phone book of the world in here. Type in the name of a restaurant, and it shows a narrowing list as you type, including distance from your location. Type in a phone number to anywhere, and it pulls up the address. In some ways, this is a stalker's dream. Who needs internet access when you have this. You can use voice recognition to change route options, avoid freeways, etc. This is my first nav system, so I may be a bit star struck, but I can't imagine anything being better than this (3D display even changes from a cloudy blue sky day background to a starry night one when your lights are on - sweet!).
Bluetooth - not availible yet. The options in the manual are pretty stellar. You can pair up to 5 phones with the z1. It displays information on the screen when folks call, stores your phonebook, and might even do your taxes.
DVD playback - looks fantastic on the main screen. I wasn't sure if it would let me view it - documentation has been confusing - so YES, you can see DVD's on the main screen. Just be sure to connect your parking break lead, or you'll see a warning everytime you turn on your car that it's incorrectly installed, and you'll be able to see DVD's while driving, which I'm SURE nobody wants.
All in all, this is the future of automobile technology. With some annoyances like only 44k cd's will import (but don't worry, just burn your MP3's to a regular CD and that will work fine), and lack of security mode (some fold up inside the dash), it's not perfect, but with only 2 days of use, I've barely scratched teh surface.
One last thing - the sound manipulations and customization is easily overlooked, but STELLAR. I've never had anything manipulate sound like this, and I own a post-production company. It's like giving your car a brain.
I have to go back to the garage and play with this some more. If you can afford the high price tag - GET IT. You won't be disappointed.Updated
That parking brake thing mentioned before? Doesn't work. SO no, you cannot view movies on the main screen while driving, no matter what you do. Lame.
Also, some regular CD's don't import either. Unless you burn the CD exactly as it is listed in the CDDB database, it won't import it. How very 20th century. The hard drive was a huge sell for me, but let's face it, who buys complete albums these days in a world of iTunes music? Incorporating such limitations into the hard drive is a HUGE, STUPID move. Pioneer, are you listening? Leave the copyright infringement protections to Apple and the recording executives. I feel like I bought a laptop that only plays LP's.
I just got back from a trip to Los Vegas from Los Angeles, and discovered the hard way that not all road information is up to date. Several roads and highways in Eastern CA have been destroyed, but you wouldn't know it from the Nav screen.
"Bring a map"on by MChance000
Pros Big screen
Cons Poor navigation skills
Summary I had the Z1 installed over the Easter weekend and I plan to have it removed this week. I do not recommend this unit. In my opinion, Pioneer has spent the majority of its energy in protecting itself from liability rather than on useability and reliability. I have read that the green parking brake lead can be grounded to bypass the 'grey out' of multiple functions. The pioneer representative in the store I spoke with has bragged that they have built in speed sensors to prevent dvd and multiple nav functions use even with the ground bypassed. This appears to be true, but unfortunatly tying the Z1 into my electronics appears to have made my digital speedometer no long accurate. I own two Magellan 700's with with it agreed exactly prior to installation, but no longer. It does appear that now the Magellan and Z1 give the same GPS speed, and agree with each other now so the loss of accuracy is now in my Porsche. I can't prove it yet, but I feel it is due to the install. Guess I will know when I get it out. As for grounding the green wire to the parking brake, I didn't do this. None-the-less I get error messages frequently that have to be cleared by repeatedly touching ok. The messages indicate that there is an error in the parking brake wire installation. They occur both at start up, which by the way takes quite a while, and even on the road when not even using the nav. I took it back to my installer who verified correct installation, says he is going to talk with pioneer about this issue.
Routing is inferior in my opinion to the 700. I have been led multiple times by the Z1 off Interstate/Toll roads onto housing subdivisions and occasionally dead end streets when a more direct route was just to stay on the road and intersect another main route. It has even tried to get me to retrace my route when I was almost at my destination to go by some route it stubbornly stuck to...would have added over an hour to a 15 minute trip. A route from Daytona Beach to Jacksonville would have taken me on US 1, a 35-40 mph road a significant portion of the route whereas the 700 properly led me to I 95 and 70+ MPH travel. Changing the estimated road speeds or "fast" "main" etc setting doesn't seem to make a noticable difference. If you are stopped, with parking brake on and after clearing the error message you have the option to choose between several route options. It is hard to tell just looking which is the best choice as there is just a small outline routhe to look at. But, even when you choose the best of available it is a pain when you just click "fastest route" on the 700 and pretty much get the best route each time. The Z1 estimate of time en route is almost always off, but as you get closer and closer to where you are going it begins to agree with what 700 says from the outset. Seems the Z1 on this route took shortest distance regardless of speed. But this isn't consistent. Once I had to navigate in Jacksonville, the Z1 took me a roundabout trip through downtown that took 20 minutes, including 4 re-route attempts to avoid dead ends the system wasn't aware of due to bad nav data. Contrast this to the superior rounting smarts the more current 700 I had as back up showed a quicker turn for a 5 minute trip. The Z1 also, in city traffic, advised me of turns AFTER I had taken it. I also got lots of turn advise with multiple roads that just say "keep right" or right turn with no way to tell which road.
So many functions are greyed that the poor routing, out of date data can not be compensated for with routing on the road, even though I had a companion who could have handled this while I had full attentionto the road. The voice commands are spotty and freqently result in a "zoom in" instead of a "set as destination." If you are parked in a quiet car and it works much better. I also subscribed to XM and Nav traffic. I can't see any effect of having the nav traffic when I traveled to Orlando. In all conditions and for all routes in the time I have owned the Z1 the 700 was in my opinion superior, more reliable and had by far the best routing.
The unit was professionally installed, by SoundAdvice (Tweeter) and the install was rechecked by the installer. I have not changed or modified anything. Bring a map.
"Excellent Head Unit"on by robvme
Pros All-in one control/voice control/accurate navigation
Cons distracting while driving
Summary I just purchased my unit and had it professionally installed in my 2005 Ford F-150 Truck. I also subscibed to XM Radio and NavTraffic to take advantage of the realtime traffic data for my area.
The navigation is very accurate and easily calibrated if the maps seem a little off in relation to your position. I have seen other posts that complain about getting the verbal and visual navigation cues either too late or too early. This is an installation/orientation problem that is correctible. The navigation system consistently offered me alternative routes while I chose to drive my usual path, all the while it is learning my pattern. I found the voice notification hard to hear while listening to music, so I kept my Map display up. One of my favorite features is the dedicated traffic button that gets me to my XM traffic station for live voice updates. NavTraffic overlays traffic flow and construction problems on the map and provides a list of reports for each incident so that you can avoid traffic snarls. Its like having your own air traffic controller. I have not tested the accuracy of these reports or for time delay. Typicall the free news radio in my area is 15 minutes behind actual traffice, which makes a difference.
The unit does a good job of organizing all of your music in an easy to read format on screen. My unit is set to automatically rip cds to the 30GB HD when inserted. Music is then organized by artist, album, genre etc. All customizable. Playback is perfect.
The DVD drive also plays back movies on the 7" screen while you are stopped with the parking break unless you have bypassed this.
In all, I am very satisfied with my install and the performance. Major drawbacks include a poorly written manual and lack of tips and tricks blogs/sites as the unit is still fairly new on the market. It is also a complex device to get used to and can be dangerous to figure out while you are driving. You should spend a couple of hours parked going over the unit and getting used to it rather than driving and trying to do this.
This is also my first experience with XM Radio and I have to say that the jury is still out on this. First, if you go with XM be aware that they outsource their customer service to a foreign country. I was routed to a Spanish speaking country and got so frustrated and hung up. Well, that turned out to be a good thing as XM charges $14.99 for telephone activation and only $9.99 for web activation. Web based activation was smooth, but their website needs some work. Also, NavTraffic didn't appear (at least it wasn't obvious to me) on the website as a subscription option, so I had to call to have that added. It was still less painfull to set up this way. XM costs $12.95/month and the NavTraffic is an additonal $3.00.
Features I am not using at this time:
Bluetooth - they didn' have the kit and I have a Verizon phone which is currently being sued for locking up Bluetooth features.
Rear camera - Don't really have a use for a rear facing camera at this time
Sirius Satellite -- Didn't figure I needed it with XM, but you can have both
Expensive, complex at first, bad manual
Excellent nav, great sound, convenient features that help you manage your music, expandable, great screen resolution.
Pros FEATURES, FEATURES, FEATURES
Cons A bit pricey
Summary Call me a hypocrite. I had the navi for one day, punched in the info the wrong way, got lost and got angry, so i wrote a post about how horrible the z1 was with the navi. Well... turns out that I was NOT putting in the addresses correctly, because now that I learned the system, I am in love. The Navi is pinpoint. I was on my way to the same place and I punched it in the right way, and it took me to her front door. I've already praised the other features like the dvd player that looks and sounds awesome and the sound quality of music so I won't go into detail. Anybody that doesnt like obviously doesnt know how to use it. I've used it in the suburbs and NYC and this thing is great everywhere.
I bought mine at 6th Ave electronics (6thave.com) they are an online authorized dealer of pioneer products. This is a must because you get the warranty as well. If you can swing the 1700-1900 it costs, I say go for it. Now after learning it a little bit, I have no complaints at all.
P.S. go to Avic411.com for any questions about the z1, the people on that forum really help out, plus you can get honest feedback as to the good and the bad of the system.