About a month ago, I purchased and installed a Boss DVD/Nav unit, decided after a week, I wanted something better, so I started looking at units from Alpine, Kenwood, Sony, Pioneer, and JVC. I did some research and found the Alpine INE-W960HDMI, this had 99% of the features I was looking for and more. I mean this is fully feature packed top to bottom. It even came with a free Sirius XM tuner and 3 months worth of service.
My METRA double-din kit worked fine for install, Alpine's trim ring does need to come off for the kit. Looking on the back of the radio it has Power/speaker harness, AUX Pre-out/RCA harness, HDMI input, USB input, GPS antenna connection, Sirius XM AI-Net input, IPOD video input, Mic input, and Steering Wheel interface input. Quite a bit, the HDMI input was surprise as that opens up quite a bit for A/V use. The USB connects via an extension cord that is a feet long to route wherever you need to put in on the dash or center console. I drilled a small notch in a plastic panel below the temp controls, used double-sided tape to hold the connector in place. The microphone is a wired unit that gives you more than enough length to run from the back of radio to the visor/headliner area, it even has a clip and 3 wire holders. The GPS antenna uses a magnetic plate that has adhesive. The user online is pretty detailed, only complaint is the
My one grip, Alpine is very militant about not using the radio while driving they have it setup that it will not fully function until you connect the parking brake wire. I thought like my Boss radio, you can ground it and you are good to go, not the case. When I 1st powered it up it was stuck in demo mode, due to the parking brake not being hooked up, you can't access the setup menu to turn it off. I googled my vehicle to find the parking brake wire and its location, no luck. More googling brought me to MicroBypass, they sell a 4 wire device that bypasses the parking brake restriction, $15 on Amazon.
Features and Functions:
As I said before this unit is packed with damn near everything, I think it is the only Alpine nav unit that has a CD/DVD function. Let me 1st start with start-up times, pretty impressive from my previous radio: From the startup screen to ready to use: 3 sec, Audio from source is 5-7 sec after that. When you load a cd, audio start in 8 sec. Nav is pretty simple, press the button, accept the terms, map comes up. It has resume on the USB, so if you leave a flash drive plugged in, turn off the unit, turn it back on it resumes playing from where it was.
Music playing through any source is pretty easy with the drop down scroll bar for selection. The cd player supports CD-Text and shows the album, artist, and track names when it is available. There is a search function on the screen as well, press the magnifying glass and it gives you a list of tracks on the disc and you can scroll and choose, helpful if you have a disc with a lot of tracks. THis works especially nice on the USB as you can search by folder, artist, song, album, etc. When you put a flash drive in, select it, it will play the 1st song of the main directory or folder, it then proceeds to load up rest of the music on it. It gives a "Loading" prompt on the bottom of the screen. Far as I know USB 2.0 is supported due to it scanning a few gigs of music on my 32gb drive pretty quickly. Radio functions very easy, tuning with the left/right on-screen arrows, pressing and holding a number retains that station to that number, pretty straight forward. Streaming from your phone with bluetooth is very nice and easy to operate.
Once you pair your phone to the unit it gives you 4 indicators along the bottom of the screen: Music Connected, Call Connected, Signal strength, and Device Battery Life. You can download your phonebook into it, your contacts show up A-Z and are searchable by name. Calls come through very clear with sound adjustments on the screen.
This units audio section is very impressive with a built in crossover network with customizable High-pass and low-pass filters: level, freq, and slope are all adjustable for front, rear, and sub. It has a menu where you can customize the sound based on the type of vehicle you drive, your speaker setup, and type of seat materials. Also there is a Time Alignment feature which can adjust the sound so you are right in the middle of all the channels. Another feature is the MX Media Xpander which enhances compressed audio. The basic sound adjustment section is pretty easy to get to, press the sound icon on the home screen in the lower right corner, all your options are available.
I am convinced Alpine has done some factory OEM Navigation units. I drove a 2011 Lexus and the Nav system and features are damn near identical. They did a very nice job on here, although the manual is very sparce covering how to operate the nav. The feature set and options are plentiful here. I went to look for a place to eat, it gave me a list, I click on a place, the info button gives me the phone number with the option to call using the bluetooth connected phone. On the freeway there is an small menu that can open on the screen to give you info as far upcoming exit places (food, gas, lodging). Freeway signs are shown on screen when there is a ramp to another connecting freeway. Calculating routes are a breeze along with waypoints if you need them. One of the features I noticed is you can input your type of vehicle, mpg, driving speed, and gas prices. I tried it inputting my vehicle city/hwy numbers and local gas prices, put in a route 3hrs south from me and it told me how much gas I would use and what it would cost, very nice.
I am very impressed with this unit and I'm sure I covered maybe 50% of functions. I often wondered what more I would get with paying $700 for the Alpine vs the Boss unit that was $269, I see now. I have had Alpine units before, they were always top notch products, with plenty of expandibility. Long review, I felt it needed it. A few screenshots below.