Becker Grand Prix
(plus remote kit for iPod)
RRP: 299.99 + 79.99 (remote iPod kit) = 379.98
Best of the web: 264.99 + 60 (remote iPod kit) = 324.99
The Becker is best for quality, but not for value for money it's not packed with features, either.
Sound quality is excellent, and the big buttons along the top of the unit make it easy to flick between the radio, CD player, iPod and Bluetooth. Pairing your mobile phone is a doddle and everything is intuitive, without you having to navigate your way around complicated submenus. The small buttons along the bottom make it fiddly to answer calls, though.
Ease of installation/operation
The headunit itself is straightforward to install, but you need to wire in a separate microphone (included) to use the Bluetooth hands-free function. It's the same story with the optional remote iPod kit, because you need to feed the connector lead from behind the headunit into the glovebox (or somewhere similar). Once it's all wired in, though, the Becker is a doddle to setup and use.
This is the most expensive of the headunits we tested by nearly 125, but you can save 35 at beckerstore.com, bringing the price down to 325. The same website will also knock 20 off the optional remote iPod kit, but at 60 it's still very expensive Alpine charges just 20 for essentially the same thing. Delivery for both items will set you back an extra 6.
The Grand Prix doesn't look particularly snazzy, but it's superbly made and won't spoil the factory look in most cars especially since there's a choice of four screen background colours to match your motor's dashboard (amber, red, green and blue). The buttons and knobs are weighty, and the plastics aren't at all flimsy. Best of the bunch in this category.
Special features Pay another 60 (beckerstore.com) and you'll get a connector to plug your iPod into. It will play songs from the latest iPhone 3G, but won't charge it so is best suited to buyers with third- to fifth-generation iPods and iPod Minis. There's also a security code function to deter would-be thieves.