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on December 17, 2010
The two main features I use in the car work great: the radio and the AUX in line (for streaming Pandora from my phone). I haven't had a chance to try out the USB input yet, but I did try the DVD functionality and it works great too, although it does require the use of the remote for navigation. Here are my thoughts so far:

* Great sound
* Easy changing of audio settings
* Nice large display for displaying radio settings while playing the radio
* DIM function cycles through three settings great for day, night, and off
* Installation instructions were easy enough for me to follow
* Detailed instruction on how to connect hand brake wire (although the kit doesn't appear to include the right sensor)
* Lots of audio options: AUX in and DVD worked without any problems
* UPDATE: USB music plays fast with little delay
* UPDATE: USB music picks up right where it left off when you turn power on

* Lots of wires which make for a difficult installation into a standard stereo space
* DVD control requires use of the remote
* Display does nothing when in AUX mode (a screensaver or something would have been nice, not sure if that's legal though)
* UPDATE: Turning on power button in the dark is a guess game
* UPDATE: Navigation of USB music using remote is not intuitive (i.e. I have to read the manual)
* UPDATE: Received a USB Bad after leaving stereo off overnight

The installation for me went pretty smoothly. As mentioned above, the plethera of wires made sliding the stereo into place a pain. In order to get it to work, I had to pull out the DIN below the stereo and guide the wires down into the space below. Overall, I thought the installation instructions were good. They had the three most important items which are a step to remind you to disconnect the negative from the car battery, a diagram of the overall way the stereo is installed into a dash, and a wiring diagram. With those three I was able to do a standard installation (i.e. four speakers and the radio antenna) without any issues. By the way, this stereo was the first stereo I've ever installed.

By the way, another reviewer mentioned the audio would stop when they went into the settings. That may be true for USB audio or CD/DVD playback, but for radio and AUX in, the audio kept playing no matter what I did unless I hit the power button to mute.

UPDATE: USB functionality works great. You plug in a drive and it starts at the first song it finds. When you turn the power off and back on, it picks right up at the last part of the song you were listening to when powering off the stereo. I did receive a USB Bad error when turning the car on this morning, unplugging and replugging the USB in fixed the issue and it picked up at the last song it was playing. I haven't figured out all the details on navigating through the songs just yet, but with the remote it looks like you can search via artist, album, song title, etc. As the driver though, I'm expecting I won't be able to do much better than using the forward and reverse buttons (and the preview seek button) to navigate the music. Because of that, I grabbed some old 512 MB and 1 GB drives which I'm putting together different "mixes" that I can update at will and plug in as my mood changes.
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on December 10, 2010
I purchased this car in-dash player because of the price, but also on reputation from previous years that the brand Clarion had of being a good player. The player did not disappoint. The sound is clear with good highs that I find in some ways not as loud as my previous Alpine player which was $350 at time of purchase back in 2004, but it it is cleaner and a little more sharp. The lows(bass) from this player is great. I was shocked by the difference in how much bass putout this player put compared to my old Alpine. The amount is nearly twice as much bass in comparison. Now, they could have handled the process for the menu with changing sub LPF and treb and bass freq. The menu will stop sound playback when used and will resume once finished.

Also a few other notes. I had an old MP3 disk that I used in my Alpine player, which was very good with playing scratched CDs, not be able to play the disk without lots of skips, but this Clarion player played the disk with no issues(no skips at all). Now, MP3 disk track change with album art on it is sometimes a bit of a pain. It will not show album art during the track playback, but actually after playback and this takes about 8secs for each piece of art. Also to note, I have used the player for one day and it may be my USB drive, but the player would not read my info and said that it was bad. Aux input also did not work for sound from my phone(EVO 4G). The aux input my be for only video, but if so, I'm very disappointed to see it not being that versatile. Another few notes: It does not include the following(HD radio module or XM, no rear camera).

PROS: Great sound quality, lots of bass, many disk playback possibilities including MP3 disk playback which is not mentioned on the box, great CD reading even on scratched disks.

CONS: album art issue, aux input playback, sound menu with stopped music playback, no touchscreen.

UPDATE: The aux input works fine. It was actually a set of bad wires I purchased. Also, the USB read error is an easy fix. Unplug the USB device and plug it back in.
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on April 29, 2014
I ordered this product and waited for it and waited, and waited!! I contacted the seller as requested by Amazon and was totally misled!!! Waited again, only to learn the item was out f stock . Probably the whole time. What a big waste of my time! I must say though that Amazon monitored the whole deal and was prompt with my refund! Really stinks that I have to wait 10 more days to get refund to try to get a head unit for my car... Total B. S.!!!
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on March 5, 2011
Bought it a year ago on Amazon. While it's OK for playing disks (but seriously, who cares for disks anymore?), it's very frustrating if you want to use it with USB stick.

If there is a video file, and the player hits it while you're driving, you're screwed. Can't skip it.
USB won't detect an USB stick often. Especially when the stick was present when you turn the car on.
Switching from file to file on USB stick takes ages. If you want to quickly skip multiple files - no such luck.
Powering up takes 20 seconds or so.
ALso, I hear high frequency static in the speakers. Sound quality also is strange. SOunds quite dull.
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on March 12, 2011
I bought this unit on Amazon around the Holidays this past season on sale for $125 with free super saver shipping.

It was labeled as a touchscreen unit when I purchased it- which it is not.

This unit replaced an Alpine Headunit that was stolen out of my vehicle.

The output volume of this unit in comparison to the Alpine is significantly quieter even through the alpine was a 50wx4 and this is a 45wx4 preamp. The alpine sounded much better in general as well.

The aux input has no visualization whatsoever. When you're using the aux input the screen is quite literally a plain black screen with the time in small print in the top right corner.

Minimal iphone support:
The USB port will not allow interfacing with iphones without a specialized clarion iphone cable. However, not only will it not interface, but you can't even charge off of this usb with a standard iphone cable.

USB functionality:
Aside from the lack of iphone support, I went and bought a usb drive just to try to pull music or video off of that. I put videos and music of different formats on it to test it's the units capabilities. However when you put the USB drive in, It just says "USB Bad."

It looks decent and sounds decent for an inexpensive unit.

Final Word;

If you're paying anymore than $125 for this unit and you're used to anything that sounds very nice you're probably going to be upset with it.

I'm not very happy with mine but it works and it was about the same price as a cheap walmart unit from a known and reputable company in the industry.
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on March 7, 2011
I am happily listening to an audiobook on USB as I write this. BUT.....I am rather unhappy about the confusion on the DVD player, I must return to have it put in later, since you must attach it to your emergency brake so it can't play while you are rolling. I drive an 18 wheeler and its not as easy as a car to find the emergency brake wiring. Also I'm wondering how a backup camera will work if you can't backup????? It does have fine sound through my standard truck speakers, and the USB, CD and AM/FM work well. I hope to purchase the HD antenna in the near future. I don't like the buttons and controls on the faceplate or the remote, but I think thats my ignorance and lack of time to read the instructions. I tried sleeping with them under my pillow, but I don't think I learned much.
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on December 29, 2010
Great unit, read most of my burn cd, vcd, some even Window media disc. You can't find another unit like this for all purpose and needs of expansion ie: front, rear, and sub output, there are lots to it yet to mention, but for the price it is unbeatable, trust me. I worked at fry's electronic store for 5yrs in car and home audio dept, i know what is good stuff, not even employees can get at this cost, this is why i am here writing review to let any buyers know there no doubt in this unit, you can go out there and check out the price, i can assure you that you are wasting time.. However this unit is misrepresent about touch scree. PEOPLE BE AWARE, THIS CLARION VZ300 IS NOT A TOUCH SCREEN. But it is a removable faceplate.

Finalization : it's a best buy, no where you can find a unit that has screen and a dvd player
with USB and AUX input. You won't be sorry for this unit.
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on April 27, 2011
This unit was a steal!
Everything at first is a little confusing, like how to navigate quickly through songs on your ipod and such, but with a little diddling and daddling you find out little nifty tricks to skip these inconveniences . EX: with ipod plugged in , hit and hold OPT on HU, then select song quickly on ipod, then RE-hit OPT, to return to headunit ipod compatibility.[WHEN YOU HAVE YOUR IPOD HOOKED UP THROUGH INTERFACE, NOT AUX CABLE]

I love this headunit and cant even find anything close to it in this price range, the sound quality is great and the low pass filter for my sub sounds perfect

Ive seen headunits that cost double or triple that dont have the power or expandability options that this clarion has, which is important when trying to build a quality audio system in your car.

I have only one complaint;
i lost some AM FM reception quality with the switch, but for me, i listen only to my ipod, so its not a problem
and with the HD radio ready Clarion Headunit, i could have great sounding radio channels with the purchase of the HD radio antenna.

Impressive sleek looking headunit that plays well and works great. And the price is a steal, what more can you ask for?
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on November 24, 2011
I have this Clarion VZ300 3.5" In-Dash DVD/CD/MP3/USB Receiver in my 98 Ford Windstar Minivan and my whole family loves it. It plays my kids' dvds and would always start where it stops. No problems during the winter cold weather. It was a good buy for me and my family!
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on December 11, 2010
I sent this unit back. First thing I have ever returned to amazon (I think). Lots of issues for me, but here are the main ones:

1) Difficult installation due to a massive amount of connections and wiring that are not needed for most people and cannot be detached. I am not referring to the difficulty of connecting wires; I am referring t0 the quantity and the limited space in many vehicles.
2) It plays a USB stick when inserted, but after you turn off the vehicle and start it the next time the receiver says USB bad. You have to remove the stick and reinsert it. I tried this with several brand-name USB 2.0 sticks and it happens with some but not all. Navigation is very difficult using small buttons and is almost impossible when driving.
3) The knob control does not navigate your song lists or folders. You have to use the remote or buttons on the control panel. It would be much easier to navigate song lists by turning the button and pushing it in to select a song. Instead the knob only controls volume and bass, treble, balance, fader, etc.
4) If you have any video files or .m4a files on your USB, it stops when it reaches them and displays the "no hand brake - no video" warning message for up to 20 seconds. You can't go to the next song while the message is displayed. Yes, I know it is illegal to play the videos but you should at least be able to skip ..m4a files since they are actually music - just an unsupported file.

The low price and dvd playback sucked me in. I should have known better. I appreciate all the comments from people, but the bottom line is I did not like this unit and you won't either if you are using digital music. There are a lot better options out there unless you really want to watch video on a 3" screen while you are parked somewhere.

UPDATE: The price on this Clarion unit keeps dropping. I wonder why? I got my refund and bought a Sony DXS-S300BT and am very happy. Install was a breeze and I can navigate my iPod and USB sticks with no issues. It connects to my iPhone as well via bluetooth and is perfect for digital media. No DVD or CD but the display is great for finding and playing digital music which is what I realized was most important to me. And the sound is much louder and better than the Clarion with easy to set EQ and listening space adjustments.
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