This Is More Like It, a Car Stereo With A Bluetooth Kit That Actually Does what It Should...
We were disappointed in our review of the Sony MEX-BT 2500 Cd-Player with Bluetooth , it simply didn't cut it as a useable cell phone hands-free kit, so lets see if the more expensive Pioneer can do the job.
First up, lets see why you should buy this type of unit. A lot more expensive than a wired-in additional kit, or a simple Bluetooth speaker or headset, what the DEH-P55BT does offer is a brand new CD-Player / Tuner, capable of playing audio CDs, mp3 CD's, and discs that you have burnt at home to listen to in the car. It has an auxiliary input (on the back) for a mp3 player, so simply if you think your existing car cd player could do with upgrading, and you also need a Bluetooth hands free kit to stay legal, then this type of device could be a good option for you.
On the cd player / radio side of things we get 4x50 watts of power, detachable front fascia, optional remote control and rotary commander (steering wheel control), the ability to connect an ipod (via an adapter), FM/AM, RDS, Traffic Announcements (TA), presets, in fact almost everything you could want from a modern car cd-player. It would have been nice to have an auxiliary input on the front to easily connect mp3 players, but you can't have everything for under £200.
What we're really interested in here is the Pioneers ability an a Bluetooth hands-free kit, and I'm pleased to see it does all the basics. It paired with my Nokia phone first time, and receiving calls is easy, just press the appropriate button on the left of the fascia to answer / hang-up. Making calls was simple too - the Pioneer made full use of the voice recognition voice-prints of my Nokia enabling to make almost completely hands-free calls, very nice and safe.
The DEH-P55BT can also pull your contacts from your phone to store in it's own memory, and then those contacts can be assigned quick-key's on the bottom of the fascia for fast access, again a good idea.
Call quality was loud and clear, as you'd expect form a device that uses your car's speakers for the sound source. Nice touches are the ability to store contacts from up to 5 different phones, and the many different colours you can have the display turned on to.
In conclusion I'd say that this Pioneer DEH-P55BT would be a sensible buy for someone in the market for a new in-car cd/radio and a hands-free kit, but if you're happy with the audio device in your vehicle, I'd still recommend a Parrot instead. The best option is to visit a store that can display and demo the unit, so you can pair up your phone make your own decision.
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