Sharpest Tongue in the West
Well I thought i'd update on this, just for update's sake really.
I managed to get the unit fitted and working after some trial and error with the speakers and factory amp, but in the end it meant re-wiring the rear speakers to the HU and by-passing the amp and leaving it just power the sub.
Looks & Build Quality
Well I quite like it, it fits nicely in the recess of the aftermarket fascia adaptor and doesn't stick out like a lot of aftermarket head units do. The screen is fantastic and the best i've seen on a head unit before, the album art and text is really clear and easy to read all the little icons for various things.
The first thing I noticed was just how well made it is. The removable face plate is so solid in your hand and has a nice bit of weight to it almost akin to how an iPhone 4 feels if thats a good comparison. Its nothing like say a Pioneer or Alpine that feels quite plasticky. The buttons and scroll wheel are really positive in the way they work, and the whole layout looks quite nice and simple and no fancy gimmicks or flashy lights.
The unit itself having not got a CD player means that it's probably 2/3s the depth of a normal head unit, and so plenty of space for wires behind it.
If I had to make a criticism about the looks of it, then it'd be the fact that it doesn't illuminate red to match the car, but thats small beans to be honest.
Well this is probably the main reason I opted for this head unit, and so far so good it's living up to expectations. If you wasn't aware, then let me first say that this is not your normal head unit, it's almost a computer...but not quite, and that may put some people off as much as some may like the forward thinking.
Its powered by Android, which to me was a trip into the unknown (yes i'm an iPhone nob) in terms of operating system, but it essentially means that this head unit has "apps" and you will in time be able to download new ones for it. From the box it comes with a few apps loaded which are pretty cool. There is internet radio which works and sounds great (better than FM), a google maps function with all the normal search for nearest places (coffee shops, petrols stations etc) providing the phone number etc and also directions via the google map. There are a couple of other apps, one is quite handy called Coyote which alerts you to speed cameras and traffic etc, uses the built in GPS to show your speed etc, and there is one less useful app which shoes your nearest petrol stations...bit boring that one.
You've probably guessed by now that this means you have a built in GPS aerial and also requires connection to the internet! The head unit will either sync or "tether" to your mobile phone or you can plug in a 3G dongle, both ways work.
You also get FM radio, the ability to play music via an SD card (no size limit I don't think), a USB external hard drive, 3.5mm audio jack and an iPod connection. They all use a similar file system for scrolling through your music in a similar way to how the iPod menu does and is really user friendly.
I suppose given thats it's made by Parrot I should also mention the fact that it has built-in hands free, and as you'd expect it works really really well. My phone book synced from my phone instantly near enough and again is laid out in a nice and easy user friendly interface.
The head unit also incorporates voice recognition too, both for calling people and also selecting what music you want to listen to (either by artist name or album name). I was dubious about this at first as i've never known voice recognition to work very well, but I have to take my hat off to Parrot because it works, and it works to the point that i've actually been using it!
You'd think that this head unit (especially for the price) might be a bit light on the features required to make it decent enough to run a half decent ICE set-up, but I was pleasantly surprised.
It has 3 sets of pre-puts - front, rear and sub, the later of those also features controls to adjust levels and cut-off frequency.
The built in amp is 4x50w RMS.
Its certainly good enough to run a mid range set-up as far as i'm concerned, maybe even further than that to be honest.
This one is tricky...
Its not got a CD player, so comparing this to the Pioneer in my other car (which is also running a 4 channel JL Audio amp and Focal speakers) would be unfair.
But it sounds pretty good using my iPod with lossless audio files. It does have an inbuilt graphic equaliser, 3 level loudness, bass enhancer and all that gubbins, and after some adjusting and playing around i've got it sounding as good as it will with the standard Audi speakers and sub.
I think kit would truly benefit from some decent speakers before I can really make a fair comparison, but it sounds a dam sight better than the Audi factory head unit as you'd expect it would.
I would be lying if I said it was perfect, it's not. There are some things that bug me a bit or may take some getting used to. One of these is the fact it has to "start up" which whilst it's only 10 seconds is not what i'm used to with a car head unit.
This is the first time i've had a head unit without a CD player, which is a bit weird, but I guess it's the future. I will still listen to my CDs at home as i'm a stickler for HiFi, but i'm coming around to the idea that it makes sense in the car. I have 320 albums on an SD card, thats pretty handy and i'd never have that many CDs in the glove box!
The unit cost £230. I think thats cheap for what it does, in fact it's a bloody bargain really considering all aspects of build quality and what you get built in (quality handsfree, iPod, GPS etc etc).
Once the developers get busy with some more apps I think this may take off, and other companies will follow suit eventually with their own operating system based units. I think it's the future, and the future looks pretty cool.
Here's some pics...which don't do it justice but it's all i've got!
Last edited by beanoir; 7th November 2011 at 22:02.
2006 Porsche Cayman S |1988 Ford Fiesta XR2