There are a dizzying number of car stereos on the market right now. Recently, I was in the market for a new car stereo as the one in my car (Nissan Maxima) was starting to show its age and was about to give out. I wanted a double dinn stereo with a large touch screen to replace my factory unit. After hours of searching, I eventually found the Pioneer AVH-P3200BT. Below is a full review of this loaded head unit.
You may have heard of Pioneer, they are a leader in the car electronics industry. They have been around for a long time, and chances are if you’ve bought an aftermarket head unit you’ve heard of them. They are known for the high quality of their audio equipment worldwide. Because of their reputation, I felt very comfortable buying the AVH-P3200BT as I knew I was getting a quality product that would last.
Here’s an overview of the features of the AVH-P3200BT:
5.8 Inch Touch Screen
The AVH-P3200BT features a 5.8-inch TFT LCD touchscreen display with 1440 x 240 pixel resolution. The large and clear screen makes navigating the unit fun and easy to use. If you’ve used a touch screen phone you’ll feel right at home as you can use the same gestures including touch, swipe, or drag. Text is easy to read, colors are vibrant, and overall the screen gives the unit a big “wow” factor. The unit also has a selection of backgrounds to choose from; both static and moving which make it come alive. The screen is also very responsive and I detected no lag while navigating the unit. One thing I liked about the touch screen is that you can use it with gloves on, which is really helpful in the winter time.
The head unit has built-in Bluetooth technology. This means you can take incoming calls through your car’s stereo system. It’s quick and easy to connect your Bluetooth enabled phone and you have access to all your contacts. This is a great feature as it lets you take calls without a headset, and you’ll hear the person clearly through your car’s sound system.
Watch DVD’s in your car!
Yes you read that correct, the AVH-P3200BT can play DVD’s! Next time you’re waiting in your car just pop in your favorite movie and enjoy. It’s like having your own personal cinema in your car. I played Avatar to test the unit and was blown away by the picture quality. One thing to note is that you can only play movies when the car is in park and the emergency brake is on – this is a safety feature. You can also play regular audio CD’s as well.
SD Card and USB Inputs
The unit can is is one feature that really stood out: SD card input on the front of the unit. I looked at dozens of head units and none of them had an SD card input. I bought a 32 GB SDHC card and loaded it with all my favorite tracks and videos. This means no more audio CD’s which means no more clutter! Changing CD’s while driving is not safe and so being able to use an SD card or flash drive is very convenient. There is also an auxiliary input for you to connect your MP3 player (I use my phone with aux port often).
Control your iPod
Have an iPod or iPhone? You can use your sync cable and connect it to the AVH-P3200BT to play all your music on the go. It’s easy to navigate your music, videos and album thanks to the big 5.8 inch screen. I tried it with my iPod and was impressed by the sound quality, very clear and no static. If you have an FM transmitter pack it away, cause you’re not going to use it again after hooking up your iPod this way!
Supertuner IIID AM/FM Tuner
With all the ways to play multimedia on this unit it’s almost easy to forget that the AVH-P3200BT has a radio. It’s not just any radio either because it utilizes Pioneer’s Super tuner IIID AM/FM Tuner. Basically, it’s one of the best tuners in the industry and is known for the clarity in sound it provides. I noticed this first hand when playing some local radio stations – it was like night and day from my factory unit. Another big plus is that the unit will display the name of the track, album, and artist when playing the radio! This is a free feature and will work whenever available. I noticed sometimes that it would be off (names would cut off) but this rarely happened and is nothing to worry about.
Pioneer sells a GPS module which you can buy separately. When installed, it will make the AVH-P3200BT a fully functional GPS unit. This is a pretty cool feature, however it’s expensive. I personally use my HTC Incredible smart phone as my GPS, so I didn’t buy the GPS module. I’ve heard that it works very well though, so if you need a GPS and are considering this head unit it’s definitely worth checking out.
Rear View Camera Capability
Pioneer sells a rear view camera designed specifically for this head unit and is sold separately. With the camera you’ll be able to see everything behind from the head units screen. This is beneficial when you’re backing up and when you’re trying to park. It’s a premium feature that is becoming more common in cars.
I’ve had this unit for 5 months now and I absolutely love it. I looked at many other units from other brands and I always ended up coming back to this one. It had all the key features I was looking for at a reasonable price ($400 online). It has changed the look of the interior of my car and I get compliments on the unit all the time from passengers. The audio and video quality is excellent, and I love being able to watch DVD’s on it. One thing that will take a little getting used to is that loading large SDHC card (16 GB and over) can take longer when the unit turns on initially, but other than that I give the AVH-P3200BT a score of 9/10.
For full specs and pictures of the AVH-P3200BT, visit Pioneer’s website at http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/