Showing 1 review for Pioneer AVH-X8500BHS
|Customer Review Summary for Pioneer AVH-X8500BHS|
|April 15, 2013||Excellent HU for the money...||
11 of 16 people found the following review helpful:
Kent from Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
I installed this HU last week and have about 40 hours of listening time put in. Although largely unchanged from 2012, it remains a solid deck for the money. Detailed assessment below:
- Build quality is first rate. Paneling and hardware is solid.
- User interface is responsive and intuitive. Accessing most major menus can be done within 2-3 inputs. The 800x400 resolution screen is bright and crisp Ė even in direct sunlight. Color balance and saturation look good.
- Sound quality is what you'd expect for this price range. Pioneer offers a simplified time alignment interface called Sonic Center Control with 7 alignment variances per side.
- The graphic EQ has 5 standard and two custom settings (8 band adjustable). Custom #1 can be adjusted independently for each audio source (BT, radio, iPod, DVD, etc). The Advanced Sound Retriever works pretty well on some of my older MP3 tracks. But I donít notice much of a difference on my more modern iTunes collection.
- Bluetooth works as expected. Get in, start the car, and it syncs within 3-4 seconds. Contact list transfers over seamlessly. Voice control works great for basic call features. Calls over Bluetooth are clear; and Iím told thereís little background noise when speaking to others. Pandora streaming works great. But youíll need the AppRadio, a compatible phone, and the right Android/IOS cable in order cable to stream artist, title, and the like/dislike features. If youíre in ACC mode with a connected device, and you start the car, it can sometimes cause a hiccup in that the HU cannot find your phone again. I found that waiting 10 seconds or cycling the Bluetooth switch corrects the issue.
- HD Radio is nice but the transition from analog to HD is a bit clunky. Analog plays at a much higher volume over HD stations. It would have been nice if Pioneer leveraged a built-in leveler between the HD and analog signals.
- iPod control is quick and flawless. You can search for content by playlist, song, artist, or genre. Video works great and allows for basic picture adjustment. Youíll need to buy the CD-IU201S cable to play video. Or if youíre running one of the newer iPhone/iPods with the lightning cable, youíll need the more expensive CD-IH202 adapter.
- DVD and CD player offer standard controls. No noticeable delay in startup or playback.
- SD card works OK. There is no standard menu screen to browse folders. You use the seek buttons to browse forwards or backwards. Pioneer does separate by file type so you can look at audio and video files separately. Lower speed SD cards like CAT 4 donít play very well. My CAT 10 card did fine.
- The adjustable button/screen color is a nice touch. I was able to match up the deck pretty close to the OEM lighting (red with blue accents). There is also room for one JPEG image that you can set as your screen background.
- Adjustable LCD panel with detachable face. In my opinion, this feature alone is worth the extra $150 over ACH-X5500BHS. Although this causes the screen to protrude a quarter inch.
- Dual USB input for multiple audio/video sources. I found this to be useful as I can run one to my glove box for the iPod, and one to the lower panel for my phone. This unit also features dual zone integration which is great for a second monitor for the backseat passengers. For 2013 Pioneer also added an HDMI input for Android devices.
- Mixtrax was an unexpected surprise but no change from 2012. Provides a 10 second mash-up between two adjacent tracks. I do find it annoying when trying to seek through songs but my daughter finds it amusing. Mixtrax also provides visual accents to whatever is playing at the time. Think of it as a spectrum analyzer with flashing lights.
- AppRadio mode. I am glad Pioneer has taken the leap to support both IOS and Android apps. But donít expect anything grand here. Youíll get basic connectivity with things like calendar and contacts. Thereís a basic maps application with pinch and zoom. A couple music apps. And a couple of specialty apps for fuel consumption and parking. But donít expect turn-by-turn GPS, YouTube, Netflix, or any other full feature app to run through the HU. Also, youíll need Pioneerís proprietary cable (varies by device) in order to run AppRadio mode.
The problem with AppRadio is that Pioneer has to update the firmware anytime Apple or Google update their OS. So if youíre the type that has to have the latest and greatest OS, donít expect that AppRadio will automatically get updated with it. In my research, it is taking Pioneer around 2-3 months to catch up from a major OS upgrade.
The full list of apps can be found through this link (sort by IOS or Android):
Before taking the plunge, do yourself a favor and make sure your phone is compatible!! The most updated list of IOS/Android devices can be found here (Samsung phones require a proprietary 5-to-11 PIN adapter):
Itís worth mentioning that both IOS and Android have aftermarket developers that mirror the smartphone screen to the HU's touchscreen. If youíre willing to jailbreak or root your phone, and itís on the list of compatible devices, AppRadio might be a more compelling solution for you. I will update this review once I have had a chance to experience myself.
All in all this a great deck for the price. Great audio with a plethora of add-on capabilities. The only big changes for 2013 are Android AppRadio and HDMI.