"For Alpine, this product falls short."1.5 starson by iwasnevy
Pros: Easy plug-in to head unit, minimal wiring connections.
Cons: Dissapointing performance, poor quality.
Summary: Considering Alpine's impeccable track record in the high-end mobile audio arena, the KCA-100BT Bluetooth module is a sore disappointment. Still in its first model year run, Alpine could make some serious improvements to this product, which I expect we'll see in upcoming model releases. After all, this is one of Alpine's first ventures into the consumer mobile communications market, so I would expect there to be a learning curve. Too bad I won't own it long enough to see the improvements. I already returned mine after having it for only a week.
I purchased the KCA-100BT specifically because it interfaced with my Alpine head unit. Although the instructions were minimal, Installation was a breeze - I simply plugged it into the back of the stereo, hooked up a mute wire, clipped the microphone on the sunvisor and mounted the remote button. Pairing to my Motorola RAZR V3 from Cingular went as smoothly as the rest of the installation. I soon discovered, however, that its performance and features were very limited.
Coming from Alpine, one would expect at least the caller ID to be displayed on the radio face, but all that shows when the phone is in use is "Interrupt". The microphone was very weak and seemed to pick up too much background noise, which was confirmed by several test calls and subsequent research on the internet. When speaking loudly, preprogrammed numbers from the telephone's address book could be voice dialed, but it oftentimes took two or more attempts to get it to recognize a name. The receiving parties repeatedly had trouble hearing the conversation and occasionally heard their own voice echoing, even with the car turned off. Alpine released a software update in mid-summer to fix a voice echoing problem, and even though this was one of the updated units, it still didn't perform well enough to carry on a reasonable conversation while driving.
It seems that the only thing that was accomplished by purchasing this integrated unit was to be able to pipe the telephone's sound to the vehicle's speakers via a plug-and-play connection at the back of the stereo instead of connecting a few extra speaker wires. This unit did nothing that any other hands free kit could do, and its performance was worse than its counerparts.
Alpine obviously needs to put more effort into the engineering of this hands free kit. Given the lack of true integration and the cheap generic microphone, It seems as though Alpine rushed to get a competitive hands free kit on the market without first investing in product research and development. Until Alpine makes some significant improvements to this product, they will be at the back of the pack while companies like Motorola and Parrot continue to gobble up their loyal consumers.