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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone used the AVIC-N4 or its older models? If so, what is your feed back? I've read reviews (and youtube videos) that said that navigation interface for this model is extremely slow and the touchscreen is very fragile. Is that true?

Personally, I want to get a HDD-driven AVIC-Z2 but I don't like the fact that the headunit is not at the eye level. So the local custom shop suggested that I install AVIC-N4 b/c the screen comes out and props up at around your eye level. This shouldn't be my basis for choosing a Nav/DVD head unit, but I just want to hear some feed backs so I can decide whether AVIC-N4 is worth buying. I'm also trying to find out what other headunits are popular among IS owners.

I know many people here have the AVIC-D3, but I'm not really a fan of DVD-driven navigation. You can call me old school, but I'm still an old fashioned mp3 CD type of guy. I don't want to constantly exchange my regular CD with the Navigation DVD everytime I want a direction from my nav. I have couple of mp3 players, but don't own an iPod. And I'll probably never get one. So if you're going to suggest that I use an iPod and leave the Navigation-DVD inside the headunit, it's probably not gonna work.

I'm being very meticulous but it's just the way I like it.

For me, these are the important factors:
- Convenience of use = being able to easily update maps, not having to always pop in the Navigation-DVD, etc.
- Quick interface = map loading speed, music browsing, etc
- Durability

Any feedback would be much appreciated!
 

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I vote for the Z2. It's what I've got and I love it so far. The whole not being eye level thing doesn't bother me at all. The only thing I don't like about it though is the load time when you first start it up.
 

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Hmm...well other than the fact that I think you should invest in an iPod, I would recommend the avic-Z2 as far as personal preference...My brother has one and it's quick, and looks great...he's had no complaints, and I absolutely love the unit too...

But I've heard great things about the N4 too, just not a big fan of pop out HU's...and I don't really think it would be eye level anyway, like the stock navi is...you'd still be looking down a little bit...

Sorry, not of much help
 

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The HDD on the Z2 is only good for ripping AUDIO CD, NOT MP3. So unless you have your music on good old fashion audio CD (I can't believe I just said good old fashion CD!), the HDD on the Z2 is useless to you. Pioneer is very popular, and iPod is also very popular, but there are other choices. Pesonally, I went with a Kenwood DNX7100 for many of the same criteria you had:

1) 2GB internal memory for Navigation. Infact, the Kenwood DNX7100 uses Garmin Navigation software, considered to be the best in consumer GPS navigation.
2) Map loading speed: It's running off internal solid state memory. Can't get quicker than that. Music browsing speed is ok, I'll get back to that in a bit.
3) USB interface! I'll admit it, I am not a fan of iPod (so many other good alternatives ..... ). The Kenwood unit supports USB and DVD MP3's, DVD Movies and DivX movies on data DVD/CD. Personally I would use a USB flash drive so your MP3 DVD does not become a coaster (and you create more waste) every time you want to add a new song, especially given how freaking cheap flash drives are nower days.

Now, a few points. The DNX7100 is last year's model. It has already been replaced with the DNX7120, and DNX8120. The 7120 offers a few minor updates to the 7100 (I can't recall which at the moment). The 8120 is suppose to be quite nice, and has integrated Bluetooth with a supposen better software interface for the handsfree telephone, and has 5v pre-out vs 2v pre-out for the 7100/7120, and also Dolby 5.1. Generally speaking the 7100's achilles heel is that the interface is not the most intuitive. But once you have everything set up once, it's pretty straight forward, and imo it has the most complete feature set. As for music browsing speed, you do need a faster USB flash drive and have the most up to date software to have the fastest indexing speed. I'm averaging about 15-20s for a 4GB SanDisk Ducatti USB flash with the newest firmware. On the old firmware, it was a dog!

But imo, what you really want is a HU with navigation that can be routed to a pop up screen in place of the lint tray (oem housing for oem Navi). That can be done, but it'll be pricy. I don't have details on that install, but others have done it here, and it does look damn good (and $$$). GL.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Johnnysks - you're exactly right, what I'm looking for is something similar to the OEM stock navigation. Just like what this dude installed on this on thread:

http://my.is/forums/f103/pics-videos-new-alpine-nav-dvd-tv-stock-motorized-housing-315410/

That was my original plan but after doing a rough estimation of how much it would cost (around $3300), I scrapped the idea... lol. Perhaps, I should just go with the standard double-din HDD navigation.

I read some reviews for the Kenwood you suggested and they said the media interface is just horrendous... but I do like the fact that it has a USB input and uses the Garmin navigation technology. Thanks for the suggestion. I'm going to look into it.

Has anyone used Alpine or the Eclipse brands?
 

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For what it's worth, the Kenwood with Garmin software does have Text to Speech (TTS). In laymen's term, it will speak street names ie "Exit off exit 459 on right in 100 meters and keep right to go to Keele North". What this means in real life usuage is that if you pay attention to the auditory instructions, you don't need to look down at your screen to obtain instructions. The D3 does not have text to speech (listed as recorded voice only). You need the Z2 for TTS. Not sure if Eclipse or Alpine offers TTS. As for the interface, for sure it is not the most intuitive. However, once you have all your initial setup completed, you rarely have to go back to tweak it (pretty much do it once and forget about it deal). I would suggest going to a local store where they have a demo and play with it. GL with your search.
 

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Johnnysks - you're exactly right, what I'm looking for is something similar to the OEM stock navigation. Just like what this dude installed on this on thread:

http://my.is/forums/f103/pics-videos-new-alpine-nav-dvd-tv-stock-motorized-housing-315410/

That was my original plan but after doing a rough estimation of how much it would cost (around $3300), I scrapped the idea... lol. Perhaps, I should just go with the standard double-din HDD navigation.

I read some reviews for the Kenwood you suggested and they said the media interface is just horrendous... but I do like the fact that it has a USB input and uses the Garmin navigation technology. Thanks for the suggestion. I'm going to look into it.

Has anyone used Alpine or the Eclipse brands?
I have an older Eclipse 6600. The SQ on it is one of the best. That's probably where it shines the most compared to other brands. So if you plan on expanding your system with amps and a sub, they should definitely be considered.

As for the NAV on it, it's almost identical to the stock OEM NAV, since both are made by fujitsu-ten. It doesn't have the fancy 3d graphics like a lot of the newer nav interfaces, but it works very well. One drawback, is that it still uses a disc for the NAV instead of flash memory like the Kenwood, but you may not see it as a drawback. If you get the higher end Eclipse, there is a separate drive dedicated to the NAV so it might not be an issue.

Overall, the UI is very intuitive. The iPod interface is just so so, it's very functional, but does not support video.

Eclipses are good, the only other NAV system I'd consider getting right now would be the new Kenwood 8xxx series. The Alpine is a great audio system too, and the Blackbird idea is GREAT, but, I heard the screen resolution of the NAV basically just magnifies the blackbird display when you dock it to fill up the HU display so everything looks a little blocky.
 

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For the record, do you know if Eclipse or Apline have TTS? Just curious, thanks. For consumer portable GPS, TTS is one of the biggest selling point. :D
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Eclipses are good, the only other NAV system I'd consider getting right now would be the new Kenwood 8xxx series. The Alpine is a great audio system too, and the Blackbird idea is GREAT, but, I heard the screen resolution of the NAV basically just magnifies the blackbird display when you dock it to fill up the HU display so everything looks a little blocky.

I found this from Crutchfield.com Kenwood DVD/Navigation Package KVT-512 in-dash DVD player KNA-G510 navigation system at Crutchfield.com
how would you rate this product? This seems to have everything I need.

1. Nav/DVD screen that comes out and props up around or close to your eye level.
2. It uses a separate HDD-driven navigation system with Garmin Nav technology.

What do you guys think? I'm seriously considering this one...
 

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I have the Z2, and it has NEVER steered me wrong. It is very intuitive and easy to follow. For instance, when you are getting near an exit or a turn, the screen will zoom in and show you all the lines and tell you exactly which lane you should be in. It may give you a route that you don't usually take, but when you have learning mode on, it'll "learn" the route that you take and that will be the route that it gives you.

I was worried about the Z2 not being eye level as well, but adjusting the tilt angle helps a lot. Good luck with your search!
 
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I've had the Kenwood DDX512 with the separate Garmin GPS for almost a month now and absolutely love it. As others have said, Garmin's software is second to none and as far as eye level, don't worry. Again as said before, I never have to look down to see what road it's talking about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Thanks for all the feed backs. After doing a lot of research and carefully examining my priorities, I decided on the Kenwood KVT-719 HU w/ KNA-G510 navigation system and CCD-2000 rearview camera. I'm quite happy with the purchase b/c all this only came out to less than $1200 including shipping/tax. Like some of the people on this thread said, the best part is that the Kenwood navigation system uses Garmin-based technology! I can't wait to get it installed once I get the package. Thanks everyone!
 

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I have the d3, and although it is a decent navigation/entertainment unit, as I have all my music in my iPod, and you can personalize the background and illuminator to match your car's.... like you, the eye-level thing is a pain for me... and the only thing you can output is video, not navigation.
 

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I have the d3, and although it is a decent navigation/entertainment unit, as I have all my music in my iPod, and you can personalize the background and illuminator to match your car's.... like you, the eye-level thing is a pain for me... and the only thing you can output is video, not navigation.
yeah i agree the only thing that i didn't really like is the fact that it isn't on eye level...
 

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do you know whether it can be tweaked so it can output navigation to another screen? i have the oem navigation, i actually pulled it out since i dont need it, but it would be cool if you see the d3 navigation on the oem screen..... i know it can output video but not navigation.
 
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