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I am by no means an expert, etc, nor do I work for any sort of car stereo company, this is just some schmuck (my) opinion. take it for what it's worth...

So I finished the installation tonight of the Clarion CZ500 car stereo. It has a rear USB input (which I used for the iPod, which it has full control of from the deck, including displaying playlist names, etc.) and a front 3.5mm stereo input. It also has built in bluetooth either for your phone, or a pmp with bluetooth (a lot of the new high end ones can stream audio over bluetooth).

Installation: I think this category goes more to the car, and Shaggy (thanks) than the deck, but it was a snap. Everything was easily labeled, and easy to follow. it has a ton of options in the back, it can run as a zero out to your amp, or through your stock speaker wires (my installation choice for now). I ran the ipod to the drivers side cubby hole under the headlights, and the mic (yes you have to run a mic for the phone) to the steering column, front and center.

sound: sound has improved, but it's still running through the stock speakers, so obviously that's a week link. again, a definite improvement though, spec wise it's 50wx4, which isn't bad for output on a non amplified deck.

ipod controls: easy and awesome, display is crisp, and getting through playlists is easy. I saw online some people complained about this, but I have not had an issue.

radio controls: pretty standard, has presets, scanning, HD ready if you buy the tuner box accessory

Bluetooth: plain and simple it's awesome. hooks up to the phone easily, recognizes it first thing as I turn on the car. allows you to store a phone book on the device, shows the caller ID of people calling in. sound is crisp coming in, and I've been told it's a 7-8/10 for people hearing me, which is great improvement considerring how loud the interior of the car is when doing 80.

Anyway for $149.99 (including tax, shipping, all installation equipment and brackets, etc) I think it's a great deal. I also would say that if you are in the market for a new HU, get bluetooth, it's worth it, and this was one of the less expensive models with bluetooth built in.

-J


 
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