Written on: 02/11/2012 by diablo944 (16 reviews written)
When I first bought the unit I was impressed with its abilities and the amount of functionality/connectivity. The method of control for forward and back on the units front was a little odd to look at, and the large protruding volume and select control takes a little getting used to from a visual standpoint, but all in all, a nice piece of kit. Sound is good, and the obvious connectivity of an an auxiliary socket, a SD card in the front of the unit (behind the removable fascia) a rear mounted USB port from which you can run the (supplied) USB extension cable to a place suitable for your own use, such as the glove box. CD player, and finally Bluetooth for hands free and streaming media (and it has an FM radio as well). All this sounds perfect. The unit comes with an external microphone which is good, as this removes a lot of the noises that an in unit type bring to hands free conversations. A nice long wire so no issues with finding a suitable location.
The illuminated display has options to change the colour to suit your own cars dash and is a competent addition as it uses shades all the way through various colours from white, through the R/G/B spectrum. Yellows, blues, cyan, red, orange,white, it handles them all well and lets you tailor it to suit the same colours of your car dash. It even supports the option to have the main screen in one shade and the buttons another, or you can just lock them all to one colour.
When I bought the unit I had an iPhone 4 (that worked perfectly with it for both streaming and hands free), I now have an iPhone 5 and at the time of writing, things are not good on the streaming front. More on that later.
With the iPhone 4, it paired faultlessly, and when getting in the car and starting the engine, the stereo came on, paired automatically with the iPhone (my usual medium for music, so the head unit is normally set to Bluetooth for playback) at which point it carried on playing from where it left off when the iPhone last played music. It was nice to have this option and became something I quickly got used to. Calls in or out automatically muted the music, while the head unit has options to set to auto answer after 3 rings or manual answer via unit controls. I was happy with the quality of calls, so no complaints there. Switching through the various connectivity options via the same button you use to turn the unit on and off, instantly switches to each media device and plays straight away. The removable fascia is really easy to fit, unlike my previous Sony unit that was a fiddly nightmare. The little button to release the fascia is perhaps a little small, but it works well enough once you get used to it.
The thing that currently cripples the unit for me is the current issue created by my 'upgrading' to an iPhone 5 (which comes preloaded with IOS6 at the time this is written). It doesn't work the same as an iPhone 4 (on 5.1.1) with the head unit.
The auto start/stop option of music playback via blue tooth has been killed with the arrival of IOS6. It will still stream music via Bluetooth, but ONLY if you start and stop via the iPhone. Similarly, the in car steering wheel controls (I paid extra to get the harness to marry it up to my cars controls) no longer works with the stereo. The head unit still mutes the music when a call is made or received, but for me, losing the steering wheel controls was a big thing. I wouldn't have bought the harness if it wasn't. As things stand, I have gone from a phone that worked perfectly with it, and consequently had recommended it to friends, only to have the iPhone 5 and apple break the connection and have me tell those same friends to not buy it now. A real shame as the stereo/head unit really was good until that happened.
Pioneer are promising a blue tooth update, but until it happens, I wouldn't feel right giving this review a 4 (which I would have given it). So whether it is apples fault or Pioneers, this unit is currently flawed. It is a shame, as the rest of it works so well and on the whole it is a nice piece of kit. If controlling your I-phone is important to you, look for a different model or check if the issue has been corrected before committing to it. If its been fixed it a unit well deserving of a 4 out of 5, as it stands it only gets a 3 from me.
If and when the problem does get fixed, I will happily come back and add the information along with formally saying it deserves an extra star, until then its still a 3 for functionality.
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