New car stereo

This weekend we went strawberry picking and I also got a new car stereo for my Prius. Mainly I was looking for better iPhone integration. My 2005 Prius had pretty limited options for that. Mostly I wanted something that would charge my iPhone and play music, other features would be nice to have, but not a requirement. Another factor is that the navigation on my Prius sucks badly, it has a number of annoying traits, bad UI, and bad directions. A friend recommended All Pro Audio in Santa Clara, and the owner Jim Lee is a nice, knowledgeable guy. He recommended two options. If I was just looking for iPhone integration, the Parrot MKi9200 which had all the basics, bluetooth phone, ipod music, small display mounted separately wherever I wanted. If I wanted to add in a navigation system, then he had the Pioneer AVIC-7010 which was a full replacement for the existing car stereo and navigation system but would leave some of the features on the existing display(climate control, trip computer, engine/battery monitors).

I opted for the Pioneer and got it installed overnight. I’m pretty happy with the system so far, but it has a few issues. I have to go back for a second install because they didn’t have the parts do the dashboard finishing and they disconnected the old display features like the climate control system. The unit itself is pretty good, but a couple of the controls I had to look at the manual for. The nav system is pretty good. The ipod controls are good. The Bluetooth phone seems fine but I’ve only used it minimally and I don’t really expect to use it much. Among the less expected features, a USB jack, an auxiliary RCA jack, a mini SD card jack, voice recognition for playing albums, software upgradeability, HD Radio ready. It cost about $1k installed(the Parrot would’ve cost about half that), but I now have the audio flexibility I wanted.

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