“I Just wanted something that was simple, black, had a volume knob and bluetooth, Is that too much to ask?”
After tinkering with a couple of older radios and trying to buy bluetooth modules and carrying on, I decided it was a good time to say Bugger it, and fund a new unit that was just clean and black, most importantly with a volume knob, I really dislike radios without the physical button or knob to quickly control it.
From this came a search around the local auto stores to see what was about that was a fit for my requirements. This is where I discovered very quickly that there are lots of units that are absolutely over the top, have silver accents and crazy displays with animations and all sorts of things that would just make my AE95 look silly and force the radio to look out of it’s time and place in such a period correct cabin. I Just wanted something that was simple, black, had a volume knob and bluetooth, Is that too much to ask?
I ended up stumbling across a Sony ( Not a normal brand of choice for me ), That was plain black, had a lovely big knob ( You dirty bastard, I know you thought about it ) and amongst other features, had dual colour display customization , Dual Bluetooth, USB and 3 X Preouts including sub control.
Installation is standard, wire colours and din size all standard, nothing to see here. You get all of the standard gear in the box you would expect including a decent 3 year warranty.
In terms of initial thoughts in regards to navigating menus and setting the radio up, I was impressed. I’m reasonably technically minded and can find a way through most of these types of situations ( No instructions required ) But tend to place myself into the mindset of someone that has just got the unit new and has started the car for the first time and is wanting to just get it up to speed, pair their phone and get the most out of it without a tertiary education required.
The bluetooth setup is simple, My phone found the radio within 10 seconds, and was playing music from it within 30. The menu and settings are very easily accessed and are easy to memorize later for use when on the move and in need of a quick change to something.
The feature I liked the most was the dual colour display customisation feature. Because I am running the digital dash and the climate control, there is a little conflict in colours with a green and cyan mixture throughout the cabin. Because this feature is so bang on, I could make the outer buttons illuminate Cyan and choose the display in the centre to show a green hue, making the radio look quite at home, especially dimmed down to a similar brightness to everything else!
The internal amp is a ripper at 4X55W. It is clear and makes for a clear and crisp sound, coupled with the easily adjustable fader, balance and digital wardrobe of equalizer options including a “Extra Bass” button.
The sub control is also great, allowing for settings to be changed from the unit rather than the amp itself, including Phase, Gain and all of the other filter associated settings accessible on an amp physically.
There is also the ability to use a SONY App for extra control of your smartphone and NFC is built in too. The microphone is reasonable and was crisp and clear when I called Mum to test it out 😉
I’ve done a trip in the car with the unit and I am really pleased with how good it sounds and how easy it is to use and make calls without having to touch your phone.
In summary, If you are after a good unit that is sleek and easily adaptable to any cars interior lighting, look and feel without breaking the bank, give this unit a go, It’s great.