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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2010
i wrote this review for the Pioneer MVH-P8200BT which is the exact same product but with built in bluetooth. i edited out any bluetooth mentions, so everything else here applies.

* it looks nice
* it sounds nice (multiple audio options: full eq, bass boost, low pass filter etc)

here are the cons:

while it's refreshing to have a nice clean sparse interface in a car audio system, inside it's unnecessarily complex with navigating media. like a nokia phone, it seems the software was an designed by hardware guys who treated it as an afterthought.

* you really need to hit dead center of the dial to hit the center button. it's too often that i end up selecting left or right because i was a bit off.

* while there is a way to 'bookmark' certain menu options in a custom quick-shortcut menu, it's not as quick as it should be. you still need a button press, a knob turn, and another button press to access the menu. it would have been so much helpful if there was a dedicated shortcut menu button.

* when browsing an SD card or a USB drive, you can only browse one type of media (music, video, audio) at a time. if you want to switch media it's a button press, several knob turns to the bottom of the menu, another button press to the AV mode, where you can switch to video, music, or pictures.

* i used this with the external HD radio unit (GEX-P20HD). it works fine, and the reception is great. unfortunately for some bizarre reason only one line of radio id text shows up at one time. to show more information you'll have to (you guessed it), button press, knob turns to the display menu, button press, then select 'artist' or 'song' or no text. why do i have to do all that just to find out the artist or the title? all the other audio sources show all this information at the same time.

* as reported before, you can't use the remote as a substitute for the rotary dial so the majority of functions are useless with the remote.

* also as mentioned, there is no artwork support on MP3s on SD card or USB. album art is for iPods only!

* SDHC cards are inserted behind the faceplate which you have to detach to remove (which btw, only knob and buttons part of the face detaches). not that big of a deal unless you have a bunch of SD cards you want to swap on a regular basis.

here are other oddities that i discovered on my own:

* USB won't charge my iPhone if i have the source at SD card. but it will charge in any other mode.

* there's an option to have a four background wallpapers. three by pioneer and one jpg you can import from a memory card. they are nice. but if you have any of these background pictures set, there's no way you can view any pictures or video. the crazy thing is that it pretends that there's nothing wrong and the only thing you'll see is the filename of the picture or the video. so if you turn on the wallpaper and you select a video, the audio plays, but the only thing that's shows up on the screen is the filename. if you're in slideshow mode, you'll just see the filename of the picture change at certain intervals.

i thought it was the way i was wiring the safety parking brake wire. maybe it thought i was driving so it was blocking the video for my safety. i spent a few hours messing around with it before i figured out i did nothing wrong. the pioneer customer support rep told me this was a known quirk and it's been that way with several pioneer units with no plans for a fix. i can definitely live with this limitation but it's not mentioned anywhere in the manual! argh so frustrating.

* it does accept SDHC cards even though they won't admit it. i thought maybe the reason SDHC cards were not officially supported was because it takes a really long time to do the initial scan, but then i inserted a 16GB USB memory drive and it took almost a minute to scan!

* and maybe i shouldn't use the word 'initial' together with the word 'scan' because it scans the card or usb memory EVERY TIME you select it as the source. EVERY-TIME. that means even though it would be nice to leave 16 gigs of music indefinitely attached to the unit, every time i want to switch to it from another source i'll have to wait 30-60 seconds. this is an absolute dealbreaker for me.

* the second dealbreaker is that there is no expandability for a second auxiliary source. there's an add on adapter (CD-RB10) to add stereo rca inputs to the rear of the unit. even though it's listed on pioneer's product page as being a supported accessory (as of this writing), it doesn't work at all. it fits, but there's no option in the software to select it as a source. this was all confirmed by a pioneer customer service rep.

i'm kind of sad. for something that looks like it has tons of potential, the software underdelivers and makes it half assed.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2010
Pros
-Sleek, clean interface
-Plays music, video, and images
-Great sound
-Great customization (appearance and sound)

Negatives
-No support for artwork on USB devices (save the iPod)
-Needs ridges on side of knob for easier grip
-Sometimes the knob can be hard to push straight in

Overall, I'm happy with this unit. The installation was pretty straightforward. It's easily one of the more customizable units on the market. You can adjust the background, screen color, button color, 8 different EQ settings, including using the 5 that they give you already.
One thing that bugs me is that it doesn't support artwork out of a USB device. It'll display artwork from an iPod but not a USB device. For being a media-centric device, this should be a big embarrassment for Pioneer. I was sorely disappointed when it wouldn't work, especially since all of my music is properly tagged with ID3 tags.

The second problem is lack of an HD radio. This is a hefty price to pay for a radio where they saved money by taking the CD player out.
For those reasons, I gave it a 4 out of 5.

Otherwise it's a pretty nice unit that definitely stands apart from the rest. The clean look along with the ability to play music, videos, and photos from USB devices OR the SD card is quite nice. The multi-control knob is actually quite nice and makes for easy adjustment of many settings. And once you get a hang of the home list, operating this is a piece of cake.

There's a reason I stick with Pioneer and this unit proves why. The sound quality is unparalleled. I have no problem recommending this unit.

Edit: One other thing that I want to mention is that other than the standard guidelines (so many folders, so many files, etc.) that this radio will handle (at least) up to a 16GB flash drive (more from what I read, with people actually hooking up 60+GB portable hard drives) and a 16GB SD card. I had previously read that the limit on the SD card was 2GB but this is not true; my 16GB card borrowed from my XSi worked beautifully.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2010
Title says it all. The rotary commander is precise and if you don't feel the joystick it is no fun. If you do, you can not by a better radio for the money....

Specs. are right there and on mark; it has done everything I've wanted it to do and has neat ipod shuffle options. You can use your standard ipod cable directly in to the faceplate USB connection. also Pick out your favorite menu options and put them a side click away. Clean looks, fun EQ, LED mood settings. Looks soo clean in dark interior cars, uncluttered sleek deep shine you just want in you dash!

no ones' perfect...not a big fan that the screen never turns completely off, until the is car off. Hasn't drained my battery tho. I would just like to turn the screen off when im not using it. slight learning curve for non tech savvy people.

Short and Sweet

Mike
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2011
I thought by getting a "name brand" product I would finally get away from the cheap, poorly thought out interfaces & features typically found in lesser cost mech-less recievers. But no, this appears to be low-end software with pioneer hardware.

The sound is pretty good, I'll give it that. But I had a very difficult time figuring out how to get anything to play the way I wanted it.

The complaints about the control device are valid. It is very easy to click in the wrong direction, turn when you mean to click, click when you mean to turn, etc. And incorrect clicks can make a big difference in what happens the way the menus are set up (which is usually opposite what you would expect).

The "random" mode isn't really random. If you go to the first song on your usb/sd, and go random play, it will play the songs in the same "random" order, every time. And in SD/USB play, if you move the control up or down, it for some reason jumps to the beginning of the list, resets the play mode to normal and starts playing all over again...so get very used to hearing the first song on your list... Eventually I had to put everything in folders, and found out the up/down control then skips to the next/previous folder.

There's a "custom menu" feature which is supposed to allow you to put frequently used items (such as reinitializing "random" mode after you've accidentally hit the "down" and reset everything back to the first song) on a custom menu, but only certain menu items are customizable (for instance, not the "random" mode!); and ultimately it takes just as many clicks to get to the custom menu, so I finally gave up on this.

The receiver will only read the first 200 or so file names on my 2GB SD card, and ignores the rest. To access more songs than that, I had to put them in folders. And the receiver only reads folders and files in the order they were written to the card, so it's a nightmare trying to get anything to display in alphabetical order, including the folders...I have rebuild the folders/files on the SD card several times, but still haven't figured how to get them to show right order on the receiver. By the way, the manual says the unit can read 65000+ files, but clearly they don't mean from the same directory...

The manual is awful. Most of the features you will find by bumbling around vs reading the manual. I could not get the reciever to load the "photo" background that the manual claims it could do. I still haven't figured out how to switch between "video" and "photo" mode when a USB stick contains both.

The "dimmer" feature is unexplained and the bright display will drive you crazy at night unless you hook it up properly. It requires a 12V input from your headlight or parking light system (which most modern vehicles don't have at the harness). A "dimmer" input (which is what the input wire is incorrectly labeled) will not function properly, in fact it will make it function in reverse in most cars, where the display will brighten if you dim your instrument panel. Most car stereo places will simply not hook up this wire rather than find and hook up the correct source, and you'll be stuck with the bright display at night. You can manually dim the display, but only if you have a USB with pictures on it that puts it in video/picture mode, AND have the parking brake on AAARG!

The clock display, which also shows the date, is kind of cool, they couldn't have messed that up, right? Well, you can turn on the clock display, but then it will go away if you touch any controls, change source, etc, or power it off. Then you have to turn it back on again. The only good news is that the display shows the time (albeit very small, in the upper corner of the display) on all screens.

The remote is also useless. It does not have capability to perform the functions you would normally do by turning the knob, for instance, selecting a song from a list, or a menu item from a list. The manual is no help. I still can't believe it doesn't have this function, maybe I'll stumble upon it eventually. Until then, the remote is unusable.

The parking brake interlock is a pain. To view ANY images or even adjust the display settings you will need the parking brake on (or a bypass rigged), including jpeg picture display, not just video. And bypass is more complicated than grounding the parking brake wire. To view pictures you will have to cycle the parking brake, and click the control two more times to get past the warning screens.

The player could not play any .mpg, mov, and any of the .avi videos I tried on a USB stick. The manual says only divx format, and it means it (although I haven't tried that yet, either).

Update -- Now the unit has randomly started mixing up the song names, playing one song and displaying a different song name from the same directory. This will probably be the final straw, & I'll return it.

All in all, a disappointment. It could have been so much better.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2010
The unit sounds great. I love the hidden SD card that I can load music on, which saves me from plugging in my ipod. The Tuner sounds clean and much better than factory unit. The interface is not very well thought out, it works, but you need to play with it and read the manual. My biggest complaint is the way you change radio stations, it is not intuitive and takes more button pressing then it should if they put a little more thought into how the listener would use it. That said, I do not use the radio too often as I prefer to listen to my own music off the SD, USB or iPod.

The remote suffers the same interface issue when using the radio, no easy way to change stations.

The screen is very pretty and I love the fact that you can customize the color of the back light of the unit, you can make it glow whatever color you are in the mood for, match it to the instrument cluster colors or have it cycle through the colors.

I can't speak to the video playback as I did not connect the parking break line. But I did see that you can purchase a "thing" to bypass the PB so you can watch video while you are moving, which is really only useful for the passengers, who would be dumb enough to watch a video while they drive??? I guess the same people that put on makeup 2 inches from the sun visor mirror or who text while driving, or try to read the news paper, Sigh! I personally think anyone caught doing stupid stuff like that should have their car impounded for a week to let them think about the fact that driving is a privilege and not a right.

I am very happy I bought this unit. I was going back and forth between this and their regular head units with built in HD radio, but in the end this unit is a winner.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 7, 2010
This unit is just plain weird. I've been using Pioneer head units for years, they are solid, reasonably priced, and sound really good usually. This unit had plenty of promise.... A large clear screen (for my middle aged eyes), no CD player (which I haven't used in years), 2 methods of digital media (USB stick and SD card) and all the usual Pioneer goodness in audio control. Well, its just not there. Almost, but just not.

The good:

Audio quality is vintage Pioneer. Actually, even better than my past several receivers from them (FH-P8000BT, DEH4200-UB), as the equalizer is far more sensitive, and the Sound Retriever is getting more refined. Also, the seat preference (where you sit most of the time) is really useful, as it alters the center of the audio balance.

The screen is nice and bright, and the characters are clear. I can read everything on it with a quick glance away from the road.

The Bad:

As others have pointed out, navigating the unit is simply AWFUL. Trying to find songs is just plain bizarre. The wheel on the unit is imprecise to say the least, and you need to use it All THE TIME. Sometimes, it works, other times, not only does it not select you song, but it punts you into some menus you never knew existed.

File naming is a total mystery. No matter how I format the file names, they are NEVER in proper order, whether I use track numbering or not. Just annoying as all heck. The file naming that all other Pioneer head units seem to work fine with does NOT work with this unit.

Also as others have mentioned, the remote is useless. On the other Pioneer units I've had in the past few years, the remote was a delight. Here it is the same identical remote, but it does NOTHING! You cannot navigate track listings, nor can you navigate radio stations. You can't use the arrow keys for nearly all functions, because they either move to a complete different menu, or they do simply ZERO. I just don't understand.....

Conclusion

All in all, the unit's software is plain horrible. There is nothing wrong with the hardware, as it has everything you might need (other than the flaky wheel). But the software, is unusable. All of the problems the unit has are software, every single one (other than the wheel), and unfortunately, while I like Pioneer devices, they are lousy at fixing software and getting into the field for the paying customers like us to apply. If they just fixed the menu navigation and made the remote actually do something, this unit could be fantastic. But as it sits, its just plain lousy
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2010
CD's!? Who needs them! I love this stereo, I replaced my Audiophile stock stereo in my 2002 SVT Focus, and this sounds a lot better.

At $160 you get lots of features that are usually reserved for the more expensive headunits, the lack of a cd drive might drive some people off, but if you think about it, most of our music collection is in digital form.

The biggest drawback that I have is the lack of a rear usb, that way I can hid my ipod in the glovebox and not have a wire hanging out the front, but it's not a deal breaker for me. I also wish that cover art was supperted from the SD card and not just the ipod.

All in all, for the price you cannot beat this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2011
I've never purchased anything from Pioneer before and this was a gift to me. I'm an Alpine and Pyle fan but so far it's great! It's sleek, looks great in my dark interior, there are fantastic LED settings for mood, easy to install and use. I would prefer a little more grip on the dial but, I might just be getting used to the change. It's quality made and seems to have endless options. All around great receiver.
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on February 13, 2011
So here we go... just installed it... took way longer than expected! I'd like to consider myself as efficient and somewhat knowledgeable when it comes to car audio but this one threw a curve ball at me and I almost struck out. Wiring, No problem, it's just like every other unit out there. The problem comes when you try to mount it. In "specific fit" vehicles where the dash kit is specially made for the vehicle you'll come into some problems. The faceplate on this unit is bigger than a normal single din unit. You'll have to shave it down an extra 3mm or more on the top and bottom of the opening and 5mm or more on both sides for the unit to fit through. Example... I have an 04 Sentra, needs a special kit (Metra 99-7414 Single DIN Installation Kit for 2000-2006 Nissan Sentra Vehicles)and took me an hour with a sharp knife to shave it down. Trust me, it was not easy! I don't know how the unit fits in the universal installation kits, but those of you who need a special kit to mount your new aftermarket unit, beware.... this unit is a failure in my book.
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on July 14, 2011
Advantages VS. Disadvantages :
* I Can Charge my I-Phone 3G through the original iphone/ipod USB wire.
(We Also Tried Ipod and it's working fine)
* I Can Listen And Switch Between All My Music in I-Phone/I-Pod (playlist's and etc...) while driving ... while it's charging .. :D
*I Like When Someone Calls me while my i-phone is connected to the receiver, cause it goes to Pause mode automatically then my phone rings in car speaker's and phone speaker's with no loud voice, but shame u can't talk handsfree.
*Good Video and Audio quality but shame there's no Video Output...
*Fits Great in my Civic 2000 EK (Hatchback) no special modification ( only for the Video so u can play without the warning screen :D)
*The Remote is not so useful cause u can't access the menu and change settings with it, so better comes without a remote if there's no use of it :/

My Review for that system is 7.5/10
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