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73 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 2012
PROS: Superb audio, terrific bluetooth calling, supports CD, USB and bluetooth music streaming

CONS: Dim display, clunky navigation of music folders

I just got this yesterday so I have limited experience. I will update if my experience changes. I had technicians install this for me. I could have done it myself, but once I reviewed the instructions on installing, I have to say that I'm glad I didn't. Probably would have taken me a lot longer, and a lot more frustration. But if you're into that kind of thing, I don't think this would be a terribly difficult unit to install.

Sound quality is terrific. I put this into a 2000 Accord with the original four speakers. The original stereo wasn't bad, but this sounds much better. Clarity and separation of the instruments is phenomenal. You really get a sense of presence, as if you're in a concert hall. I'm no audiophile snob; I don't need a super high-end stereo. So I when I say the quality is better, you can be sure--it's really better. I'm very pleased by this, but not surprised. It's what I expect from Pioneer. My experience has been that they make affordable, excellent audio equipment.

Bluetooth pairing was a snap. It took a bit of fiddling with the menus, but now I have six phone numbers preset. It read the phonebook from my Droid X without a hitch. Hands-free calling is easy, and the sound quality is perfect. The microphone is installed on the windshield to the left, out of the way but properly placed. The phone pauses the music and plays a configurable chime when someone is calling, and the lights on the stereo flash. I couldn't be happier with bluetooth phone operations.

Playback is good, but it appears that with both Bluetooth streaming and USB, it moves through your folders in the order of the date that the folders were created. You can have a folder hierarchy on your USB drive, but that's not something you navigate through the stereo. This is kind of disappointing. It means that you have to create the folders in the order you want them to be navigated. But that's doable. And I have yet to see any car audio that has a sensible, useful way to navigate through folders. Maybe if I were using an iPod or iPhone through bluetooth, navigation would be better, I don't know.

If you connect your phone to the USB port, it both charges and plays music from the phone at the same time. I did see one time so far when I turned off the car, and turned it back on, and I got an error message when it tried to read the phone. Disconnecting and reconnecting fixed that.

The display is not very bright. You have to set the color to white or some other bright color, and then it's at least visible in daylight. But if direct daylight is shining right on it, you probably won't be able to see anything. I guess that's going to be true of any LED, and points out the value of an LCD display. But I first had the color set to a dark green, and that was almost entirely visible in daylight, even without the sun shining on it. Changing to white made a huge difference. Less than ideal but acceptable.

It has a goofy "Mixtrax" feature that I'll never ever use, so I won't review that.

The menu system is not terribly intuitive, and the volume knob is also the "Master Control", so if you press it when you're adjusting the volume, you jump into a menu, which is not what you intended. You have to press and hold a Source button to turn it on and off, and that's also a bit annoying, but not a big deal. But it should have a simply "on-off" switch.

The unit also has a 3.5mm auxiliary jack that I haven't even tried yet, but it could be handy if you want to hook up an MP3 player that has no bluetooth. I will just have one or more USB drives with zillions of albums and books.

Tuning the stations was fairly straightforward and easy. You get 18 FM and 6 AM presets. This means that I can tune a dozen local FM stations, and then when I drive 90 minutes away for the weekend (as I often do), I still have six presets for stations in that area.

Oh and of course it does have a CD player. My goal is never to use it, though. But if I do, it does support MP3, so I could fit a lot of music on just one disc.

Overall it's a very good stereo for the price, if you can live with the somewhat dim display.


Two things. First, I found that I can make a kind of playlist just by putting whatever I want into a single folder. So that's good.

Second, I have to say that, although the display is too dim during the day, it's too bright at night. You can set a custom color for the "key" color (these are the parts of the unit that put out light, apart from the text), and you can set the brightness for red, green and blue. But at least one of them must have a brightness of at least 20. This is unfortunate and annoying. I would put them all down to about 5 if I could. I have found that I can put red and green at fairly low levels, and leave blue at 20, and I get a kind of pastel, purplish color that may not be the most aesthetically pleasing, but is the least irritating at night. It's just barely acceptable.

I may go so far as to paint over some of the light-emitting "trim" to push down the brightness even further. I can't imagine why Pioneer designed this unit this way.

Oh and by the way, even if you turn the unit off...the light still shines! So short of removing the front of the unit, you have no options.
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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2012
Very happy with this stereo. I installed it in a 2004 Jeep Liberty. The Bluetooth connection is very easy to set up. You go through the pairing process once, and then every time you get into your car with your Iphone (with Bluetooth turned on), it will automatically connect to it when you have the "BT Audio" source selected on the stereo. Pushing in the volume control knob for a second activates Siri, allowing you to make a phone call, send a text, check sports scores, etc, all via voice control.

Comes with an external microphone. I routed it behind my dash and up the pillar to the top of the pillar. Tucked very easily behind the rubber trim.

Pandora works great, you can switch tracks and even thumbs up/thumbs/down right from the stereo's face plate buttons.

My son loves all the color options. You can set everything one color or set different colors for the buttons vs the display.

Highly recommended, I can't imagine a better value for the money.
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2013
bought this at Fry's (pricier than at amazon) and I am very impressed.
After trying 2 other bluetooth car radios, I have to say I am very impressed with this unit.
-best BT quality - on par with high end built-in units. routed the external microphone to the factory location by the above rearview mirror light switches after testing different spots. works great on both ends of the call even when driving with the windows open
-BT menus are great. paired 2 different phones and it pulls the phonebook and dialed/missed call numbers from both, with numbers and alpha entries, like a charm. priority given to last paired phone.
-once paired, phones connect automatically without fail
-pandora control works great. stereo music quality is great and it pulls track names and the control functions work great.
All this on Android phones, not only on the apple products it is advertised for.
-key and display colors can be adjusted to match your dash colors
-very easy install. very clear setup. aboslutely no need for consulting the manual
-works great with mp3 cds and with mp3 files on a USB stick too.
-very good radio reception
none, really. they lights can be dimmed and don't bother me at all!
-HD radio is the only thing missing

As I said, I had tried 2 other units, more expensive than this one, and am very happy to have found this one based on the fry guy's recommendation and on the amazon and crutchfield reviews. you will not be disappointed!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2013
First, it is a beautiful unit. Like art for your dashboard. Sounds great, Bluetooth pairing is the easiest I've ever seen. The illumination options are unlimited and the included BT mic makes calls from my tiny import without picking up road noise.

Now the two cons. First: I am not a 12yo girl. When I make a menu selection, I don't need stars and sparkles to herald my choice. It's distracting, time-consuming and annoying. With so many customizing options, you need to make turning this feature off one of them.
Second, and more importantly: the whole illumination thing is too darned bright at night. It's like driving with your dome light on. Especially the area around the USB input. The "Dim" selection is a cruel joke. It's three menus deep and dims the display by about 5 lumens. I had to toggle it a few times to make sure it was doing anything.
Here are my suggestions: have a button on the face that steps the illumination output down to a customizable level set in the menu system. Or, have a button that switches it to a night mode that can dim the display and/or change the colors. Or, put a little light-sensing diode on the face that detects ambient brightness and adjusts the display accordingly. My cellphone does that, you can too.

But I'm not returning it. I just set the color to red and it's OK. And other than that, it's a beautiful, high-quality, feature-rich, bass-pumping monster.
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36 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2012
Pros: Great audio, great bluetooth support.


The big one: The normal display is very bright. Setting the so called "dimmer" only turns it down 20% or so. If you set a custom color and try to turn them all down it INSISTS that one of them be set to at least level 20 which is still WAY too bright for night use. What were you thinking, Pioneer?

The small ones: The controls lag a little. You can only turn the knob a medium speed or it won't register. For many operations (like pushing "disp" to cycle between artist/album/track) you push the button and then the display has to do a little swirly dance before giving you the information you wanted. That's just bad interface design. Finally there's no way to get the display to quit scrolling the song titles. I don't like seeing things constantly moving in my peripheral vision when I'm trying to drive.

Pioneer seems to have focused too much on swirly bouncy displays and not enough on getting the basic functions right.

I returned this unit and got a JVC KD-X50BT instead. It has none of these problems.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2013
So, after reading the reviews that some people had written, I was a little worried that the light coming from this unit wouldn't be bright enough during the day and too bright at night. I haven't found this to be the case at all. All of the colors are easy on the eyes, and come through clearly even in direct sunlight. The installation and set up was a cake walk (did the install myself in about 30 minutes, 20 of that was spent splicing together the new wiring harness I had to buy to connect to my 1995 Ford Explorers original harness. The audio quality is great, regardless if I am running my iphone through the Bluetooth connect or through the USB port. Everyone says they can hear me just fine too when I use the Bluetooth connect to access my phone. I'd say buy this unit if you are looking for something inexpensive that is fully functional.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2013
As far as sound quality goes, awesome, no complaints, only praise. The same goes for features - almost nothing this deck can't do. The only flaw in this system is the extremely bright lighting on the keys.The display itself is just bright enough and very legible even in daylight, except direct sunlight on the face -unavoidable with most car stereos.

The brightness of the keys and accents is only an issue at night. It is not enough to cause an accident but it is distracting especially with the beautiful color options available. My advice, if the lights are too much is to use dark green or dark blue or red lighting on the keys and white lighting on the display. The dimmer does work but the brighter colors are so bright that you wont notice much of a difference. Also, dont use mixtrax at night unless you are parked and showing off this beauty to friends or bright lights dont bother you.

There are a million ways to customise your sound and great options for input and output.
I will describe the performance of major features below;

1) Radio - clear, RDS works great.
2) CD player - dont really use this much but it works great.
3) AUX input - good quality sound but useless when you have USB and Bluetooth at your disposal.
4) USB storage playback - CD quality sound especially with Sound Retriever turned on. Turning on shuffle will shuffle all songs in all folders unless you set repeat function to Folder. Note that Android phones cannot be connected this way, only charged.
5) Ipod - complete control from the Head unit and great sound quality. Interface understandably not as efficient as the ipod/iphone itself. People who complain that they want to control from the ipod - just use AUX in instead - no brainer.
5) Bluetooth Audio - playback is great, almost as clean as locally played sources. Works great for both music and audio from videos in Android phones. Do note that some apps (like MX video player) may produce a delay in sound this is not a fault of the Unit. Also, a missing bluetooth stack in android currently prevents track info from appearing on the screen of the Unit. Also very cool is that (almost all the time) when you set the source to bluetooth, the Unit starts the music player on your android phone automatically, even if the app was closed and you have basic controls including fast forward etc.
6) Bluetooth calling - Usually clear both ways, depending on mounting of mic. Great options for recieving and making calls right from the Unit or even the remote control. Can bring up call log and even store 6 numbers in the Head Unit.
7) Mixtrax - light effects are cool and highly customizable, transitions are nice and not annoying like in previous Pioneer decks. These can be turned off too. Mixtrax can only be used with Ipod/Iphone or Flash Drive.
8) Display - the lighting colors can be customised of course and separately from the keys colors. The actual info displayed can be changed a lot. A reviewer complained about the scrolling text - it cant be stopped but you can switch to time or something else if it annoys you. Another reviewer complained that the screen still stays on when you turn the Unit off. This is only if you have the display set to show the clock.

In closing this is an awesome Car Stereo that will not leave you wanting for anything else. The bright lighting may be too much for some people and a dealbreaker. I give this product 5 stars because I bought it knowing about this flaw - in fact I wanted the cool lighting. I would improve on this with a better dimmer for night driving though.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2013
I've had this unit for about a week and am very pleased with the sound. I agree with other reviewers that mention the sound is much better than OEM units, even on stock speakers. That was a pleasant surprise. Blue tooth pairs nicely with my iPhone and the sound is really good. People cannot tell whether I am using the phone or an external mic. Very pleased about that.

One of the things it can't do is voice activation (not that I've found, yet). Yes, you can control the phone itself and do voice texting through the bluetooth, initiated by the iPhone, but I can't push a button and speak to call a number. You still need the phone to initiate calls in that manner. If you want to search for a contact from within the head unit, searching through the contacts searches by first name alphabetical, not last name alphabetical. This is confusing as the iPhone will organize by last name, not first name. It's quirky.

The USB port and iPods are a tricky thing. Yes, the unit will work with most iPods/Phones, except for 1st generation units. I liked the fact that the iPod could be controlled either by the receiver unit or by the iPod itself, hooked up through the USB port. However! the fine print also mentions that iPod video models will not be able to be controlled by the iPod through USB, only by the receiver (even though it's a 4th generation iPod, not a 1st generation). Very frustrating, as I use a video iPod nano in my car and have had to switch it out for something else. I prefer to use the iPod to control what is being played - much better/easier interface.

The lights. Yes, they are bright, but they don't bother me. It's completely user oriented as to what you can or cannot tolerate. Rotating through the different colors, one can probably find a color that is not as aggravating, such as dark red or dark green. The scrolling text is also not a big deal. I like to see what is playing, particularly if its a mix I've not heard in a while and can't remember the name of the track.

The buttons. Pretty will laid out, except for the station buttons (1-6). Wow, are they tiny! Those are also used to control the CD player. Unless you memorize those buttons, you are always leaning down close to the radio unit to see which button pauses, skips tracks, etc. Need to rethink those a bit. The navigation through the system and customizing the radio is pretty straight forward as well. I did not need to read the manual in depth in order to figure this one out.

Overall, I think it's a great unit and am glad I upgraded, even with the quirks. And those I can work around.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2013
I originally purchased this unit with only one key feature in mind: Bluetooth! As I read all the reviews it seemed that the only negative reviews stated that the display was simply "way TOO bright". Nothing but praise about the Bluetooth feature *as well as extras like USB and aux. When item first arrived it appeared that my item had been opened *i later discovered that it was done so by postal service* and external Mic was missing. I immediately contacted seller at which time they did everything they could to resolve the issue. I ended up purchasing an external mic separately. I have mic mounted on top of my steering column and it is UNBELIEVABLY clear. As for the display that everyone complained about, YES most of the color options are EXTREMELY bright *especially at night*. However I have mine set to "deep blue" and it is perfect. Wiring was a cinch *as long as you have a basic knowledge of electrical* and set up was a BREEZE! I had my unit completely set up in less than an hour. GREAT unit!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2013
Living in CA cell phone laws are very strict. I bought this mainly for the bluetooth capabilities and it works great.
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