Most helpful critical review
33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Still Getting Used To It
on October 23, 2012
We got the 420BT as an upgrade to the first aftermarket Blaupunkt head unit that's in our 2003 Volkswagen Eurovan. The first Blaupunkt unit that the 420BT replaced came after the original stock head unit, which was also manufactured for VW/Audi by Blaupunkt. We upgraded from the VW stock radio to the first Blaupunkt to get CD and CD changer functionality. It served us very well for 7 years, and it matched the VW eurovan's interior motiv very well--complete with red and blue lights, and a nice subdued black finish. It looked like it should have been original equipment. So when we saw that Blaupunkt was again being offered in the US (it disappeared for several years between 2008 and 2012), we decided to upgrade again to the 420BT because of the Bluetooth capability, both for hands-free phone, and for audio streaming, since we both use iphones for music storage and podcasts.
First, the good. The 420BT maintains the same exact wiring harness that they have always had, and which is fully compatable with the stock VW wiring harness for the 2003 Eurovan (and probably for all VWs and Audis of that vintage.) So, installing it was extremely simple again--just plug and play, and the standard DIN size fits the dash opening perfectly. The drawback for styling on the 420BT is that the front bezel trim ring and the radio face changed from a subdued black finish to a gloss black finish that seems to be made of much thinner plastic. So, while the radio fits well, it now stands out a little more from the other dashboard controls, looking a little more aftermarket than like original equipment. However, Blaupunkt did stick with the same red and blue light combination on the 420BT, so at least that aspect matches our VW motiv well.
The 420BT features that will take some getting used to are the controls. There is a lot of scrolling through menus using the dials to get to functions for bluetooth and audio controls like the fader (which we use a lot in the van for the kids). Even the equalizer functions setup is not all that intuitive. And to go along with all those menus, there is a very prominent (loud) confirmation beep for each button press or scroll dial. Very annoying. The phone pairing and playback setup is also not very intuitive either. And there are some features lacking on the phone and streaming that would be nice, like the ability to control the gain (volume) on the bluetooth device input.
The 420BT's other features will also take some getting used to. The built-in microphone does not have an adjustment for gain volume. It doesn't do very well in picking up voices, and it also doesn't reject car noises very well. It is difficult to hear the driver on a phone call. There is a 2.5mm jack on the rear for an external condensor mic. Apparently, it's not yet being distributed through Blaupunkt as of yet. But when it is available, I think the external Mic will be a necessary upgrade, installed on the driver's sunvisor, and hopefully would improve the telephone sound quality. One other fature I'm not sure of yet is the front USB connection. It has a nice rubberized dust cover, but I fear with repeated use, the cover will break off. What I may do instead is route a USB extension cable through the ashtray to connect to the stereo's rear USB connector, and just not use the front USB connector at all.
There is also a SD card slot for music behind the faceplate. We have not used that, and probably won't use it. But it does seem to be a good feature to have available just in case we ever have a SD card device in the future. I believe that the unit will also control satellite radio unit through the back connectors, though I'm not sure. And, sadly, Blaupunkt deleated the CD changer control inputs on the back, which would have been a very welcome feature for our keeping our venerable old changer going.
Bottom Line, There are some good features on the 420BT and many that will take some getting used to, and also some features that I wish it had. However for a one hundred fifty dollar price point, I would say it is good value for money and does primarily what we intended for it to do as an upgrade with Bluetooth functionality. If it grows on us as we become more familiar with it, we may improve the rating.