Customer Reviews: Kenwood DDX419 In-Dash Head Unit Car Stereo
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on May 8, 2012
So I was excited for the possibilities of this radio after reading about the features and specs, and ran into some mind puzzling gotchas

1) just to note, at the time I put this review together, the images shown for this product here on the site are for the DDX-719, it is *not* the 419, which has less screen real estate and has a volume knob and a few buttons on the left side of the unit

2) there is NO way to hook up an iPod/iPhone/whatever without using one of Kenwood's separately purchased cables, which is fine, most manufacturers do this (like Pioneer), but the stinger is that the *only* place to hook it up to is the front of the head unit, meaning leaving that cable plugged in there while your car is parked is a "hey steal me" flag to a could-be radio thief... yes, you can lean on the Bluetooth connectivity to be wire free, but this gives you super basic "play/next/prev" functionality only.... if you have large libraries, this is less than ideal

3) Kenwood's literature and hype boast about the Garmin navigation app tie in.... they make it clear where to go in the iTunes store to get it, where it is obvious that the app is $49, but what they DON'T mention (nor at this time does the app's description in iTunes) that you ALSO need to spend $49 on an "in-app" upgrade to make the video output work with this radio.... so if you want navigation, it's $100, not the $50 that Kenwood leads one to believe...

4) Bluetooth audio is finicky at best.... sometimes it auto connects, sometimes it doesn't, sometimes it will auto play the iPhone, sometimes it doesn't

All in all, great concept for a radio, and a great price (even with having to spend $30 on the KCA-IP22F cable and $100 on the iPhone app, it's still under $500 for a full featured radio)...
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on August 16, 2012
Overall: I Recommend buying

The music quality is good. Provides equalizer controls for various types of media. The screen is great. Large Icons that are easily accessible while driving. Easy to navigate through each control. Looks great and you can customize the picture on the screen.

Here's what works:

Plays DVDs - works great
Ipod - works great (full functionality on screen)
Pandora - Only with an Iphone (full functionality on screen, works great)
XM -Sirrius - Need to buy a Sirrius tuner (extra $49 - $79)
CD Player - works well

The Bluetooth - I finally figured out how to get this thing working properly. Check the location of the mic and be sure it is fastened securely. If loose, the Bluetooth will not work properly when driving. Try moving the mic in a different location so there is a short distance between you and the mic. Once you secure it on the dash or visor, the mic works just fine. I made several adjustments and found that in the proper location with the volume on high, it works really well. (even with a convertible top down)

Here's what does not work:

Cannot stream Navigation through the screen with a Droid Razor - you can hear it but video will not appear. Only works with Apple Iphone.
Pandora - Only has full functionality on screen with apple Iphone. If you have a Droid Razor or other phone you will only hear it through the system but cannot use controls on the screen. Disappointing.
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on June 20, 2012
This is a great stereo, bluetooth (with the Iphone) works perfect unlike other reviewers suggest. I have not used it with other phones so I can't speak for android or blackberry systems. I added the Iphone adapter cable since it charges the phone while using the other features and allows for Netflix. The Garmen application is a little pricy so I just downloaded the 99 cent trial. It does not show on the screen but the sound works through the stereo. It's over $100 for the full application which adds the on-screen support. The phone works flawlessly through both bluetooth and hard wire connection. I connected a subwoofer and all together the system sounds great. Wired the video wire to a ground and the video works all the time instead of just in park as recommended the the manual. The backup camera works pretty good, I connected mine to manual mode to avoid having to tap into the backup sensor. One push of a button to activate the backup view, not too inconvenient. Netflix works OK but the picture is not as clear as a DVD is, but streaming video never is.... DVD picture is perfect as well as the sound! Pandora is fantastic. The XM radio connection has changed from the older Kenwood stereos so I was not able to use the older XM system, but with Pandora you can live without XM radio. Overall I am very hapy with this purchase.
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on January 5, 2013
Looks awesome, very stylish
Bluetooth works very well with Android Phones and Iphones, the MICROPHONE that the unit comes with needs to be placed somewhere in the car where it has a good line of sight with the person using the phone, you can't hide the mic in the dash some-place and expect it to work well.
The BlueTooth works with basic Music Play-Back functions on Android Phones (will let you control Play/Pause/Skip and will display the track and artist information, you can also control Pandora through Blue-Tooth using the basic media functions as Pandora is "car stereo compatible", but pandora will not display playlist information.

The Ipod music menu works well but it syncs a little slow (takes a while to skip songs sometimes, but it could be because im using a generation 1 ipod touch).

The GPS is sadly not stand-alone, so you can't use it without an iphone and it ONLY WORKS WITH IPHONE GPS so.... yea if your an android user NO NAVIATION FOR YOU =/

The front 2.5mm AUX works well with standard cables (you dont have to buy the special Kenwood media cables) so long as its connected to an ipod, it wont work with an android phone, but you can plug in an old ipod activating the headset jack and then plug the head phone jack into your android phone/tablet etc and it will play the music from your android device so long as the ipod is connected.
The above "hack" is not needed if your android device has bluetooth though so really pointless to even go out of the way to use the wires to play music off your device.

Quick Hints and Quirks about this unit:
1) In bluetooth media play-back mode, the default setting is for the reciever to play through only the front left and right speakers, you have to go into settings under "mode" while playing back media from bluetooth devices and enable rear speakers, this will fix that problem because without the full range your music sounds "flat".

2) The green parking break wire needs to be grounded I beleive in order for you to play DvD's, but I have not tried it yet (they disable DvD play-back in radios because most states dont allow you to have dvd's playing in the car when driving (stupid really because everyone who has this has it purely as a movie player for friends/little kids in the car for long - drives.... its not like any responsible driver actually would watch a movie while driving for god-sake.

3) The radio does not come with an antenna wire which is dumb

4) The radio does not have "key-sense" so if you have a newer model car with key-sense like a VW Jetta or Passat you will have to manually turn the radio - OFF everytime you exit your car by holding the power off button for 2 sec, there are ways to wire the radio to get around this problem and have it turn off when the ignition key is not "in", but its a pain in the butt, and not something your average joe will figure out.

Nice things about the radio
1) It has a good amount of power, nothing special but it has plenty of juice.
2) The Screen is very nice
3) The customization is nice
4) The button placement and menu is very easy to access / simple you can easily perform any function on the radio quickly even while driving because its so intuitive... (everything is one click away) so your not stuck there driving and struggling to navigate menus and crap its very well organized.
5) Bluetooth devices connect very fast! and it even has an auto-connect feature which is nice if you hop in and out of your car a lot.
6) It has Sub-woofer Pre-Out so you can hook it up to an amp in the trunk very easily.
7) Pandora Compatibility is nice, but Pandora has been a little slow on my 4g plan as of late (time to load songs on my phone have been slow) not really a con for the radio, more for my service provider.
8) Speaker Setup has a lot of options, you can really get it to sound "just the way you want" if you tweak it (lots of options).

No HD RADIO (Not really a problem for me because I bought this to use my ipod/phone so that I dont have to listen to commercials for garbage on the radio all day, and radio stations always play the same garbage song over and over so ... yea)

No "real android stuff" its more built for IPOD/APPLE devices, but its still connects and lets you play music and stuff and talk on your phone if you have an android phone, its just more of a "simple bare-bone" interface, while the ipod interface is a little bit more fancy (pointless fluff if you ask me, not really a con, you can do everything on an android device that you can with an apple device except the Navigation APP that you have to pay 100$ for anyway so yea... I just think of it as a radio with no navigation, which is fine because 1) I know where im am going, and 2) My phone has navigation turn by turn anyway! so yea who cares?

NO Key-Sense (annoying slightly)

You have to trick it to play DvD's while driving (not really their fault, its Big Brothers fault for making stupid pointless regulations and "laws" that no one obeys anyway.... pffft)
Anyway its a nice radio if I had another car that this would fit in, I would probably buy a 2nd one even though it was a little over-priced for what it has to offer.
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on April 24, 2012
As all of the other before me have said great receiver, awesome looking and performing all except for the bluetooth, this does not work very well at all. I am going to purchase a different microphone and see if that helps at all.
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on August 2, 2013
I bought this last year to replace the stock Head Unit in my 2006 Expedition and had it professionally installed. At first I loved it, but after a few months the unit began to "hang" intermittently. When this happens, whatever station I am listening to cannot be changed. The menu cannot be accessed. The unit is "frozen" and plays only what I had selected before the hang. The only option is to power cycle the unit.

I'm not sure if this is an officially acknowledged bug. However, a google search will find discussions in the Kenwood forums regarding this problem.

Also, when I purchased the unit, the Amazon description stated that mpeg1, mpeg2, AND divx video files were supported on both burnt DVDs, and on USB media. That description has since changed, and the official Kenwood site verifies that it will only play mpeg1, and mpeg2 video files.

I am not detracting any stars for the inability to play divx avi files. I never checked the official Kenwood site before purchasing so I have only myself to blame for believing the Amazon description.

I AM detracting 3 stars for the hang issue though. That is a big deal, and is something that can cause distraction while driving. Kenwood really should get a fix out for this issue.

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on August 30, 2012
I installed this system to replace a factory original sound system on my 2004 Toyota Tacoma. Installation was reasonably straightforward and I was able to use the original mounting hardware in the truck for the receiver. At the same time, I installed a Kenwood KSC-SW10 150 watt powered, self-enclosed subwoofer system, a Sirius XM tuner and a backup camera. It took longer than I expected (what job doesnt'?), but the results have been absolutely phenomenal, especially when using my I-pod for music. I couldn't be more pleased with the entire installation and would recommend it to anyone wanting to upgrade their sound system.
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on June 17, 2014
1.5 years installed in a 2007 Corvette.

When I installed it, after being used for a half hour, the screen would freeze.
On trip I would have to restart the radio often to change channels.
Kenwood support was useless to me and the firmware updates did nothing.

At one year into the radio ownership a new feature popped up.
Now the radio restarts itself. You would think this is a bonus, right?
Nope now the screen freezes and I have to restart it and then it reboots itself for no reason.

Currently shopping for a replacement.
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on January 14, 2013
The unit this replaces is a Pioneer App radio, which I couldn't wait to get out of my car. This Kenwood is far better, bluetooth works great, touch screen is very responsive, unlike the App Radio, and the backup camera function comes on immediatly when you place car in reverse. The only thing I cant do is play video from Iphone 5, which nothing out there is yet compatible, at least not that i could find. Has a lot of features and can be customized to your likes.
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on November 27, 2015
I have owned dozens of head units over the last 30 years. I recently stopped using Alpine HU's because although they are built VERY well and soundoutstanding with well recorded material like loss-less files and Cd's, I found that they did not sound that great with less than perfect MP3's. So I switched to Kenwood, first one of their Excllon decks, the KDC-789 or something and was BLOWN AWAY by the SQ. When I decided to upgrade to a double DIN, I stuck with Kenwood and bought this one. I couldn't be happier. THe SQ is AMAZING. The resolution on the screen is breathtaking, rivaling any good high-res computer monitor.

I TOTALLY exceeded my expectations. I did buy it used for $130 so certainly that helps make it an awesome deal for me, but I would have happily paid the full price.

I am VERY fussy about my SQ, I have always had high end speakers, subwoofers, and amplifiers for all speakers. This deck sounds as good as ANY I have used, and better than most. If your music collection consists of a lot of MP3's, I would ABSOLUTELY recommend Kenwood (no matter what unit you buy). It seems to make every file sound like a "remastered" version. That is the best way I can put it. The soundstage depth, width and height is enhanced by Kenwood's DSP, WITHOUT a loss of detail or any "muddiness" in the bass.

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