"Solid performance/good sound, even on deck power alone"4.0 starson by make_or_break
Pros: Clean aesthetics, very good SQ. No knob clutter. Extremely versatile; works with many formats. Easy BT synch with my CrackBerry. Love the blackout feature.
Cons: Doesn't play at all with older iPods, or my Creative Zen X-Fi. Grease/fingerprint magnet. Faceplate scratches easily; Brasso and a microfiber cloth is an ABSOLUTE MUST. Volume changing is a challenge when driving. Menus are hit and miss.
Summary: Bought the Kam for my old Porsche 993 Carrera 2, replacing a garish Alpine unit. Liked that it could play WMA *AND* AAC, and that sat and HD radio were available options. But the main attraction was its faceplate...no knobs whatsoever. When off, it looks like a shiny blankout panel in the Porsche's dash, as if the car was bought with the radio delete option (yes, some Porschephiles don't want no stinkin' radio in their cars--all in the name of performance).
It does everything I ask of it (99% audio-only). Viewing vids are basically a joke using the built-in LCD; it's PSP-sized but planted into the dash it's also not like you can hold it up to your face, either. The menus are pretty much car geek tech; little forethought was given to how the sub menus interface and mesh with the player; command and function flow can seem somewhat disjointed or unrefined at times when moving down the menu tree, but in general everything works even if it won't make Apple UI designers break a sweat as the Next Big Thing in user friendliness.
I agree with the CNET reviewer; though the iPod-like spinning motion for controlling the volume is cool at first, it gets tired pretty fast. In a hard-sprung car like the Type 993 911, it can be REAL trying to get that dialing motion down pat; there's still nothing as sweet as a big volume knob. I've found that it's also easy to hit the wrong area of the control surface and get entirely the wrong command. I also find that I accidentally hit the pause area of the control surface (the center of the circle) way too often. As much as I hate small buttons, there are times that I would take one of those type of decks over this one, particularly when driving over a particularly bumpy patch of asphalt at the same time as fiddling with the CD deck.
In the end however, I've been rather taken by this deck. The Kam has shown itself over the past year or so to be a steady performer, that happens to make good-sounding audio as well. Plus it looks great, in a minimalist sort of way. I've gotten pretty good with the circular motion for changing volume, even when driving. I just wish I didn't have to CLEAN IT so often.