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Pioneer P6100BT review

A while back I bought a new car stereo Pioneer 7000BT for my summer car. The seasons change and the summer car goes away and I miss the convenience, sound quality and connectivity options this stereo brought me. So it was time to splurge and spoil myself and buy a new car stereo for the winter beater. How do you double the value of a 2000 Ford taurus? Why put a new car stereo in of course!

So I looked into the next generation of car stereo similar to the one I already knew. Pioneer P6100BT at futureshop

What I was looking as a feature set are:

  • hands free bluetooth phone connectivity
  • streaming bluetooth A2DP support
  • iPod connectivity
  • aux input jack

Anything else would be a bonus. This new unit is a slightly repackaged version of the one I already have. The interface to this device is goofy to say the least. The UI and menu setup is so bad I have to break out the manual from time to time. That said, I am use to it so I don’t want to learn something new, I can’t be bothered.

This new stereo is as good as the old one with some minor improvements.

iPod connectivity

On the old stereo there was a USB cable that hung out the back of it, fell down by the feet and was a general pain in the ass. They have improved this by moving the USB plug onto the front of the deck. The up side of this is that the cable does not dangle down when not in use. The down side is you need to be careful you don’t scratch the highly polished plastic front when plugging in the cable. The interface works reasonably well and plays the iPod through the stereo. You can control the iPod from the car deck or hand control over to the iPod for playback control. Control by the deck takes some getting use to and is clumsy at best. I from time to time get iPod crashes and “Error 19” from the deck but overall it works ok.

Aux input

Times change and you want your input options as flexible as possible to allow your deck to be useful now and into the future. This deck comes with an audio input jack. This for me is a MUST. This jack is also relocated to the front of the deck to avoid cables dangling down. Perfect for future proofing this stereo (as much as it can be).

Bluetooth

Hands free

This stereo comes with a remote wired mic that gets installed when you install the stereo. This insures good sound quality at all car noise levels.

The first step is to “pair” the phone and the stereo. Pull out the manual because this is less than self explanatory. I am sure they could make it more confusing, but I can’t think how! That said once the pairing is initiated the stereo can even transfer the phone book from the phone to the car stereo. This works well albeit a bit slow. This does take support by the phone so may not work for all. Also, from what I can tell, there is only one phone book so if you pair it with multiple phones this can get confusing. Also, if your wife’s address book and yours are not the same (what yours aren’t? Don’t the two become one when they are married?) this does not work so well. But you can choose to skip this.

When a call comes in the stereo stops what it is playing, puts the name of the person on the stereo’s display (if they are in the phonebook), and puts the audio through the car speakers. This works extremely well. The stereo also supports voice dialing if you phone supports it. You can even initiate calls from the stereo itself but frankly the buttons on the device are so small and the interface so goofy it’s hard to use.

All in all this works very well and is the best way to do hands free. The ear piece bluetooth headsets never work for me. The buttons are too small, the volume to low, I forget to charge them, I loose them, they don’t fit right in my ear yadda yadda.

A2DP Streaming bluetooth

Streaming bluetooth allows music to stream wirelessly from devices like a phone into the stereo. This stereo supports A2DP, and also supports music controls (pause/play/forward/reverse). This works quite well and is a great option for connectivity of your phone to this stereo! The only thing this doesn’t do is provide any kind of a display of what is playing. But I suspect this is a bluetooth thing and has nothing to do with this stereo.

Remote

The stereo even comes with a remote to allow someone in the back seat or out of the car to control the stereo.

Other features

The stereo also supports lots of other stuff, AM/FM tuner, MP3/WMA CD player, USB stick support and many other features.

Buying at Futureshop

I like buying at Futureshop. First of all they have a pricewatch feature that allows you to be informed when the price on a product you are interested in changes. I put a watch on this device and was promptly informed that it went down $50. So right off the bat I saved that cash by being patient. They also do installs. In my car the factory stereo is custom and includes a custom dash insert. So to be able to install a standard DIN form factor stereo means replacing this insert. I went in and got a quote for getting the unit installed. Then I went and did some research and found that the insert could be bought for $100 (while they were charging $150). So I negotiated that price down. Next up they charged $150 for install. So I negotiated that down. I got lots of push back, we don’t negotiate blah blah. Ya right. Then, it was my fortune that they could not find the product that showed in inventory and instead they had an open box, meaning that the price came down again!

So I started with $329 for the stereo + $150 for install kit + $100 for install = 683.22 including taxes. In the end after the price drop, negotiations, and open box I got the installation for $478 including all taxes. A savings of ~$205 or 30% off.

All in all I am thrilled with my new purchase!

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November 25, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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