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Customer Review

59 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Value and iPhone integration in my Subaru. Pair it with a decent pair of speakers., October 1, 2013
This is a really solid deck for a good price. I was looking for a fairly stripped down receiver that had bluetooth/iPhone integration and little else.

I didn't need satellite radio, I didn't need overly sophisticated EQ adjustments. Just good power, good looks, and Siri.

I researched thoroughly and came up with this Pioneer unit. It's great! It beat out a similar Alpine unit because it supposedly has superior Siri 'Eyes-Free' support.

Note: Does not have SD card slot as description says. USB, though.

I installed this along with a pair of thin Polk Audio speakers in the front of my 2007 Subaru WRX and couldn't be happier. They pair well and sound very, very good. No need for sub or rear upgrades, in my opinion. This is plenty for me and I am a borderline audiophile. I highly recommend upgrading the two front speakers in the car along with the deck or you'll get rattles and blown speakers. At least thats the case with Subarus and most non-luxury brands. With the Polks and the deck, and the fader about 70% to the front speakers, I have barely noticeable distortion at maximum volume. I used the 'powerful' EQ preset along with med loudness and 3 on the bass boost and it's great for hip-hop and house music. For honkey tonk and acoustic stuff, I'll probably turn the bass booster down but leave the rest. Yes, diversity in music taste. I run 320k MP3s exclusively. Haven't tested a CD yet. The FM tuner seems a little on the weak side but it has settings I haven't played with yet. The one AM station i listen to barely came in.

It's also much better looking than last years model both in layout and lighting. The dimmer keeps it from being obnoxious. I don't use the light effects except for when the phone rings. The fact that you can fine tune the lighting effects was a big selling point for me.

Bluetooth audio and phone conversations are perfect. I mounted the mic on my steering column. iPhone synced easily and reconnects when i turn the car on. Seems to be efficient with power compared to other bluetooth systems I've used. All contacts and track titles load on to the deck so when someone calls you know who it is.

No complaints so far. Some complain about it being too dim or too bright. Have you people had an aftermarket deck? it's always been an issue. I had a Clarion deck in my previous car, and I had to put electrical tape over the screen because it was blinding at night. Seriously, dangerous. The dimmer button gives you several brightness settings to match the situation. I keep mine turned down all the way and keep it green to match the Subaru's interior lights, and I can actually see it better in the day time than the factory unit.

I bought a 32gig USB stick, one of the tiny Sandisc ones, to pair with the deck. I plan to format it in FAT32 and load a big chunk of my library and have it dedicated for the car. This will save iPhone battery for music and probably marginally increase audio quality. I'll update the review with that info.

UPDATE: I went on a 10 hour road trip with the unit over the weekend and installed the 'SanDisk Cruzer Fit CZ33 32GB USB Flash Drive.'

The flash drive in the USB slot worked great. Very good quality and the interface for finding music is decent enough. I just made sure I was orderly with the files and deleted 'The' from the names of bands. It plays continuously and picks up where you left off when you get back in the car. It was a pain to get the music on the drive in an orderly way . A lot of my older files were apple AAC (which isn't supported) so i had to manually convert to mp3 and there was a loss of quality there. Other than that, though, I'm glad i got it done. having a 32 gig dedicated flash drive for the unit is awesome.

On the road, I did notice a problem with glare. Some people said the unit is too dim for bright daytime settings, but that's not the case. It's that the screen is too glossy in the plastic and it constantly reflects. I will probably trim an iphone anti-glare screen protector for this issue. Overall, though, it didn't bother me much.

Siri worked great on the road with the unit. Calls were clear and I checked NFL scores since I had to drive on a Sunday. When playing music through USB, the unit switches to the phone and back automatically for calls and Siri.

***A BIG However, if you use iPhone navigation, you have to use Bluetooth Audio for the directions to come through the car. This means that if you want that seamless fade out of the music for Siri to tell you where to go, you have to run BTA and NAV at the same time, which means your battery will last about 5 minutes in the phone. I don't fault the deck though, I'm sure it's an iPhone software thing.

Driving at midnight in the middle of nowhere in pitch darkness, the unit was still too bright even on the lowest setting. It wasn't blinding like other decks I've had, but I wish i could have turned it down a little bit more. Or, if it could be wired into the car's OEM dimmer wire that would be nice.

Overall, I'm very happy. Never had better sound on a road trip.
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Top Reviewer Ranking: 54,745