* Get connected to MP3 and Bluetooth technology * We test and rate seven headunits * Find the best and worst value units for your car...
(Including iPod connector - KCE-433IV)
RRP: 229.99 + 29.99 (plus iPod connector)
Best of the web: 179.99 + 20.00 (for iPod connector) = 199.99 (extremeaudio.co.uk)
Put price into the equation and the Alpine is the best unit here.
The Alpine sounds great, whether you're on the phone or listening to music. The big buttons are simple and the clear screen make basic functions (such as skipping tracks and changing modes) a doddle. The Bluetooth feature is excellent and allows you to use the contacts already programmed in your mobile phone.
Ease of installation/operation
The unit itself is simple to fit and set-up, but the optional iPod connector does need wiring between the rear of the unit through the dashboard and into the glovebox (or somewhere else suitable). That's not simple if you're doing installation yourself. Once in the slot, though, the Alpine is easy to link with your Bluetooth phone.
The Alpine isn't cheap, but you can get the price down to 180 (if you buy online at extremeaudio.co.uk). The optional iPod connector is a reasonable 20, too, which makes the Alpine much better value for money than the Becker unit (see menu on left). Shipping is also included in the price from extremeaudio.co.uk.
The classic design means the Alpine doesn't look out of place in most dashboards, and the unit feels well put together. The luminous blue buttons look a bit cheap, but feel surprisingly solid, and the rubberised volume knob helps to improve the feeling of quality.
The optional iPod controller will set you back another 20, but that's a third of the price Becker charges for one, plus this one is fully compatible with the latest iPhone 3G. There's also a USB port on the front if you use a memory stick rather than an iPod, and an auxiliary input to plug in other makes of MP3 player.