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★☆☆☆☆

“Functionally impaired, complete waste of money. ”

Written on: 11/01/2012 by Dugstor (1 review written)

Most modern vehicles available today now use a double din sized radio aperture. Unfortunately, many manufactures have been slow to follow the market trend and there is still limited availability when looking for a quality aftermarket unit. JVC has been one of the few manufacturers to enter a product in this segment without going down the path of ‘all singing, all dancing’ full screen extravagance, after all few people will watch a DVD movie on route to their destination.

The KW-XR816 promises high specification in a more traditional package. A nice clear screen you can customise to your cars instrument illumination colour is a wonderful touch, means that even the most OCD individual can buy this unit in complete confidence it will blend in beautifully.

Looks aside, there really isn’t much else positive to say about this unit.

The shiny black piano key finish looks cheap in bright daylight and is virtually impossible to keep clean. The buttons on the unit move around in position and have very poor feel to them, for example, the large source button moves around a good 5mm. Despite this unit only being 3 months old you can see the buttons starting to settle unevenly.

One of the main benefits of upgrading from the cheaper unit is the ‘built-in’ Bluetooth functionality, what you should know is this is achieved by placing a dongle in one of the units 2 usb slots. If like me, you have you iPod stashed away and plugged into the rear slot you’ll have to live with the dongle protruding out of the front of the unit. This not annoying enough? Well they’ve kindly added a lovely green LED to make sure you can ignore its existence.

The Bluetooth functionality is a complete joke. Not only does the unit randomly fail to initialise it often requires a full system reset, which is a complete nightmare. Having used a Parrot set previously I expected the same level of functionality, however, this JVC unit is not compatible with popular services such as Viber & Skype. I have tried a number of different mobile on this unit and non-have offered anywhere near reliable functionality.

iPod integration is appalling, possibly one of the worse I’ve seen. Not only does the unit regularly fail to display the correct name and title of track it often stops working without warning. I have tried this on three iPods and all have suffered the same problem, not good enough from a unit at this price point. By far the worse aspect of iPod integration is the menu system, when scrolling through contents after the first couple of pages names are replaced by numbers, for example 101/3250, this makes it completely impossible to find that track you’ve been looking for. Completely useless!

In short this unit is overpriced, with limited functionality and definitely worth avoiding. Cheap Chinese double din units are flooding the market at the moment and actually work. I am defiantly considering selling my unit and trying something else.

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