"Excellent Head Unit"4.5 starson 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.