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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Music to My Ears!
I did extensive research for a new head unit for my new vehicle. I needed something with built-in Bluetooth, a Pandora connection for my iPhone/iPod, and I preferred a unit with USB/AUX connections in the front. Well, I got two of the three. I found that I actually prefer having the connections in the rear (which this unit has). The Bluetooth quality is much better than I...
Published on May 28, 2011 by Andre'

versus
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Kenwood KDC-BT948HD
First all the positives. This is a great sounding stereo! It has very good, quality, powerful sound. The sound features are amazing. It has a cross over for each channel. The volume control is not as bad as I thought it is going to be after reading reviews. The hands free phone works well. People hear me very clear even when it is loud in the car. The phone connects...
Published on August 5, 2011 by Vabr


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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Kenwood KDC-BT948HD, August 5, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Kenwood KDC-BT948HD In-Dash Head Unit Car Stereo (Electronics)
First all the positives. This is a great sounding stereo! It has very good, quality, powerful sound. The sound features are amazing. It has a cross over for each channel. The volume control is not as bad as I thought it is going to be after reading reviews. The hands free phone works well. People hear me very clear even when it is loud in the car. The phone connects easily without problems as soon as I get in the car. HD radio is also very good. The feel and looks of this unit get thumbs up. Controls/setup are more complicated when they can be but one can easily get through them.
Now the negatives. The presets for radio stations are awkward. The stereo does have Bluetooth, but you can use receiver for phone only. It will not connect to audio source. Hence you will not be able to play music or hear GPS from the phone wirelessly (this is a big negative for me). Pandora Box feature did not work for me at all! I do have an Android phone and that is probably the reason, nevertheless I think it should work with all phones. If I connect the phone through USB and try to use it as a flash drive the random feature does not work well. When I play folders in random same folders/songs repeat over and over again. However the play setting on the stereo have no problem changing themselves at random. If I set it to random folders and exit menu, upon return to same menu the setting will change to continues play or something else. The JVC KW-XR810 in my wife's car has no issues working with any phone. Bluetooth connects as audio source and phone. It is also less expensive.
If you have I Phone and you are looking for stereo that has good radio, can play CDs, and can connect to you phone wirelessly to be used as speakers end microphone only to talk on the phone, and you do not mind wires, this radio is for you. However if you are trying to minimize number of wires in your car, and you want to use your smart phone for more than just the phone this stereo may not be for you.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nice Feature Set, Fatal Flaws, July 18, 2011
This review is from: Kenwood KDC-BT948HD In-Dash Head Unit Car Stereo (Electronics)
I was thinking of upgrading my old stock radio to something with bluetooth (got a cell phone ticket!), as well as taking advantage of my iPhone's iPod and HD radio. This unit seemed the perfect choice. I was wrong.

DISPLAY BRIGHTNESS

The most fatal flaw in this otherwise beautiful head unit is the brightness of the display. No matter how I tweak it, the display is unreadable during the day, unless I happen to be in "just the right place." The display has a beautiful, shiny, HORRIBLE GLARE that also contributes to this issue. Yes, I've gone menu-diving and changed the controls for the illumination. But there's no brightness setting! There's a "contrast" setting from 1-12, with the most contrast in the middle (5-6), which is the default. Going to either extreme either brightens the background (useless), or worse, dims the text (even more useless).

I find myself concentrating on trying to read the display, instead of looking out for traffic - not what you want in a CAR radio! (No I don't have a vision problem!)

Second fatal flaw: PRESETS.

Kenwood, this is a RADIO first, and a COMPUTER second! Since there are no dedicated preset buttons 1-6, one has to Press the menu button, press again to List the presets, roll the wheel up or down to find the one you want, and then press the volume knob again - all while squinting madly to even read the display. Don't even THINK about actually driving while you're doing this, unless you memorize the sequence, which is absolutely absurd. And, to make matters worse, when you do find the list of presets, it doesn't always list the station numbers. It might say KFI or it might say AM 640, or it might have one or the other. It seems to be random. I haven't memorized the station names for every station, so this is an annoyance.

VOLUME CONTROL

You would think the only huge round button on the unit, the one called the VOLUME control, would always control volume, right? Not so fast. The clever geeks at Kenwood has made this your multi-useless button, in which you control not only volume, but select things and scroll through menus with it. That sounds fine in theory, until you realize that it only controls the actual volume when you are in the right menu structure. In other words, if you are listening to a song and then do anything with the menu, then the volume control doesn't work at all! I can't begin to say how frustrating this is. You have to back out of the menus you are in (WHILE TRYING TO READ THE UNREADABLE DISPLAY!), and get back to where you were (no easy task until you have it memorized). How silly! I found myself reaching for the tiny remote, which DOES have a dedicated volume control as the first buttons. Apparently they realized how badly a dedicated actual volume control is, but I don't want to have to keep track of a tiny remote WHILE DRIVING!

NAVIGATION INCONSISTENCIES

With all the fancy tricks up the sleeve of this unit, you end up using the Volume control, menu, and up/down/side/side buttons a lot to navigate things. Problem is, it's very haphazard and inconsistent as to when you should press the Volume control (like clicking a mouse or pressing enter), or use the up/down arrows, or use the side/side buttons. It seems like each little menu has it's own take on how to navigate, which makes it time-consuming and frustrating to make simple changes. Until you remember how each little menu likes to be treated, that is. I don't love this thing enough to do that.

BLUETOOTH.

I HAVE an iPhone 4. I have to resync it every time I get back in the car, or at least check to see that it synced itself - otherwise I start driving and the phone picks up the call, not the radio. This adds an extra 30 seconds - 1 minute EACH TIME I get in the car. Really? Kenwood, REALLY? It's made for an iPhone, I have the latest iPhone, and both my iPhone and the radio are brand new. What an annoyance.

HD TUNER

Stations fade from Analog to Digital mode at random (notated by a tiny, illegible HDA or HDD in the upper right corner of the screen). While I wouldn't normally care about something technical sounding like this, what it really means is that the sound quality fades in and out in a weird kind of way, from a smooth and pleasant analog sound to a harsher, more punchy digital sound. It makes it hard to listen to, even though the sound quality is very good.

CONCLUSION

I realize in this day and age we expect so much from our devices. But come on! This is a RADIO first and foremost. If I can't read the display, or easiy change station presets, or navigate easily; if the sound quality fades in and out as it switches from analog to digital and I have to resync the phone everytime I use it...the thing is an absolute lemon and time-waste, if not an all-out death trap if you dare try to use it while driving. I teach technology, folks, trust me, unless you want to invest a lot of time into babying this thing, avoid it. I'm going to take mine back to Best Buy and eat the installation fees (over $100) and get something else. I'm really sad because I love the feature set. I know some of you who love this thing will flame my review - but I'm telling you, the display is so hard to read during the day that this alone would be enough to get me to return it.

Just goes to show why I should have done my homework before buying it (I usually do). Caveat Emptor.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Music to My Ears!, May 28, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Kenwood KDC-BT948HD In-Dash Head Unit Car Stereo (Electronics)
I did extensive research for a new head unit for my new vehicle. I needed something with built-in Bluetooth, a Pandora connection for my iPhone/iPod, and I preferred a unit with USB/AUX connections in the front. Well, I got two of the three. I found that I actually prefer having the connections in the rear (which this unit has). The Bluetooth quality is much better than I ever imagined and I really appreciate the ability to control my Pandora and iPhone through the head unit. I had an Alpine that allowed that, but did not give me near the versatility and access to my folders and files that this unit allows. I enjoy being able to have my contacts stored in my head unit, though they are not the easiest to navigate to (so I still dial from my handset). This unit does take some getting used to, but there are a plethora of sound adjustments that allow the driver to get the exact sound desired (once you are able to figure everything out). Overall, this is the best stereo head unit I have ever owned...and it's quite attractive, too. I was a little tentative when I didn't see many reviews for this unit, as it is a newer model radio. I looked at its predecessors and felt comfortable. Also, given Kenwood's track record of superb technology, I felt as though I made a good choice. Turns out I did.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Unit Has It All-, August 23, 2011
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Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Kenwood KDC-BT948HD In-Dash Head Unit Car Stereo (Electronics)
I bought this radio because it had all the features that I've come to demand. High volt preamp outputs, parametric EQ, HD Radio built in, and Bluetooth built in. iPod control is pretty much a standard requirement, and this has the usb cable coming from the rear of the unit that allows you to store the ipod anywhere, which is also nice.

I like having a volume knob, and the remote makes things nice. The multi-line text display is also a must-have. This is a very good radio with a low pricetag.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Choose another unit, December 22, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Kenwood KDC-BT948HD In-Dash Head Unit Car Stereo (Electronics)
I purchased this unit in august and installed it along with Kenwood speakers in a 2003 chevrolet Silverado. I have been running it for about 4 months at the time of writing this. I also got the XM add on kit.

When it works, it sounds GREAT!!! I have found myself pulling in the driveway after work and just listening to tunes! it sounds that great when it works!!!

HOWEVER, most of the time it needs a hard reset at least once a week. Pandora is finicky (if it works at all) and it only has an 8 bit register to list songs / folders on memory sticks / iphones. (Ok, 8 bits mean that you can only have 255 folders / sub-folders / songs in each folder). When you have more than 255 of something the head unit gets quickly confused and needs to be reset. Forget about the 32GB memory stick to have all of your tunes with you, 8 bits just cant handle it! It is a waste to have much over a 2GB memory stick and the 32G iPhone just means that you will have to reset that much more often. Oh and the fun of resetting? you have to reset the clock (remember your VCR???), re-tune your equalizer, and the display defaults to that annoying multi color scan that annoys me to no end!!!

Kenwood service is very disappointing as well. The unit is on version 1.0 of software and this is obviously a software bug (actually, multiple bugs or very poorly written operating system). After trying to call them for an hour they refer me back to the seller and they say that Amazon is not an authorized seller (????). Then AMAZON sends me to the seller who sucks equally!!! I purchased all kenwood for the car stereo to avoid issues and based on simple to navigate menus on my amateur radios. MAJOR MISTAKE!!! I STILL cant figure out how to save favorites on the HD radio but at least I have saved them on the XM although you can only save 6 per memory bank and have to switch memory banks to flip through your presets. I have several thousand $$$ worth of kenwood but will never purchase anything from them again based on this poor performing unit.

Save your money and buy another brand. this unit has lots of potential but terrible execution. I am so frustrated with Kenwood that I will never buy another of their products.

The few times it does work it sounds great. However, most of the time this unit falls far far short of what you would expect a high end head unit to do.

In addition, the menu system was obviously written by at least a dozen different development teams that don't talk to each other (can you say 'program it in india???'). For example, when in the audio settings, the exit button takes you all the way out of menus period. When in one of the myriad other settings menus it may or may not do the same thing as the last screen button.

Even for a techno geek this is too complicated.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Awful interface and awful display, bluetooth quality good, March 29, 2012
This review is from: Kenwood KDC-BT948HD In-Dash Head Unit Car Stereo (Electronics)
I've had this thing for a year now, and it does nothing but drive me nuts. I use an Ipod Classic with it, and its interface to access it is atrocious. My iPod locks up quite a bit while hooked up to it as well. All of the menus for the options are ridiculous too. The LCD display panel is just about unreadable in most sunlight... the USB jack is an external cable that has to be routed from the BACK of the unit...the only feature that I do like is the bluetooth for my phone, I wasn't exactly thrilled with having to run an external mike out of it either, but I'm guessing this is what makes the sound quality decent on the other end for people I call.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Radio!!!, January 14, 2012
By 
Sherry Shasteen (Ponchatoula, La United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Kenwood KDC-BT948HD In-Dash Head Unit Car Stereo (Electronics)
Ordered this for my husband's truck for Christmas. He installed it in no time! He bought the trim kit for his truck at AutoZone and returned the one from Walmart (Walmart's was a lot of work and you would have had to cut the dash). We had a great time setting all of the color patterns and other displays. Some people had mentioned that the display was too bright at night, but we found a dim display option when programming all of my hubby's settings. Sound is great...especially for the money! Oh, BTW...This radio at Best Buy, the same day I ordered this from Amazon, was 100.00 more money! Bluetooth option is great! Allows you to keep your hands on the wheel and still get those calls you don't want to miss. He ran his Ipod cord from the back of the radio and into the glove compartment, so it stays charged and out of site. He has already said that he wants to buy another one of these radios to install in my vehicle.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great radio...NO A2DP!!!, December 16, 2011
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Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Kenwood KDC-BT948HD In-Dash Head Unit Car Stereo (Electronics)
Purchased this HU from Car Toys after reading Kenwood's site for their latest and greatest offerings for those of us with older cars with no built in Bluetooth streaming or handsfree. After installing, came to find out that although the Bluetooth Handsfree by Parrot worked great, Bluetooth Audio Streaming (A2DP) was missing! A premium HU, and missing a feature that most of us with smartphones can use! My only advice is if you're looking for a HU that has it all (except A2DP), this fits the bill.

Aux in is rear only, as is USB.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Radio Presets, November 29, 2011
This review is from: Kenwood KDC-BT948HD In-Dash Head Unit Car Stereo (Electronics)
Granted this unit is VERY hard to figure out and VERY hard to see during the day, I did want to share something to all viewers about switching between radio station presets. On the remote, while the radio is playing, simply press the preset # and enter and the station changes to the pre-set number pressed.

The display is VERY hard to read and as a result, last week I got into an accident. I am changing it for an Alpine with a color display.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Unit for those people with an iPhone., January 27, 2013
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This review is from: Kenwood KDC-BT948HD In-Dash Head Unit Car Stereo (Electronics)
I bought mine through Bestbuy so I could have it installed by them since I am completely mechanically disinclined. I still miss it terribly and I am looking to get the updated version so I can use it with my HTC EVO 3D. It was wonderful. Unfortunately I had to give it up when my car kicked the bucket. Anyone who has left a review talking about how it is so difficult to use must be an idiot. It does come with quite a large manual. but changing presets is as easy as changing channels on a TV remote. Plus by typing in the number of the preset it will take you right to it. The backlighting is the most fun part of the whole unit in my opinion. It can be changed to any color in the rainbow as well as the entire rainbow itself. It has an automatic setting to reverse the color of the display when the headlights are turned on or you can set it to be just a different color. The display can also be set to pulse with the music plus it also include visualizations to be used for the music. Ever wanted to know what the name of a song is? With the HD radio it will tell you. It also has a connection for installing a subwoofer.
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Kenwood KDC-BT948HD In-Dash Head Unit Car Stereo
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