Saturday, 12 February 2011

Pioneer AVH-5200BT Review

As an installation engineer, I see a few different items from the various manufacturers throughout my weeks. Occasionally I will come across a headunit, amplifier or speaker system that really stands out from the crowd.

Today i'm going to give my opinion of the new Pioneer AVH-5200BT. This is the fold out screen to own if you want the best out there. I've installed Ripspeed, cheap chinese brands and lots of other types. When you go for this type of unit, you need to seriously invest a bit of money.
The 5200BT is an awesome bit of kit. Pioneer have done a fantastic job of the GUI (Graphical User Interface), the whole system is very intuitive. Built on a WXGA 7" touchscreen high resolution monitor. This makes the whole viewing and menu navigation process a delight to use. Customisation of the background image and colours, help make the unit your own.

The unit has front, rear and subwoofer pre-amp stage, all 4V. You also have control from the settings menu to adjust the high pass frequencies to inbuilt 4x50 watt amplifier and the pre-amp stage. Extremely useful, if for example you have 4" or 5 1/4" mids, you can reduce the amount of bass presented to those particular speakers.
You can also adjust the pre-amp stage low pass filter. From here you can adjust the frequency settings which are at fixed setting, 50hz, 63hz, 80hz and 120hz. It also enables you to adjust the subwoofer gain to give a bit more or less depending on the track. Some tracks are recorded better than others, usually down to production and who the producer was.

With an inbuilt Parrot bluetooth module, you have the abiltiy to stream bluetooth media and you also have a very versatile bluetooth handsfree kit. The handsfree works exactly the same as the Parrot CK3100lcd another fantastic item which I will review at a later date.
External microphone for handsfree communication. If your listening to the radio, ipod, or cd, the handsfree will override all other functions. The caller ID apppears on the screen with 2 large green answer and red hang up buttons, you just touch one or the other to connect or disconnect the call. Once the call is finished the unit returns to exactly what it was doing before the call.

This in todays climate is a MUST HAVE feature. You really no longer have to worry about be pulled for being on the phone.

Another addition to the 5200BT is the AVIC-F220 navigation module. The navigation system in itself is a good reliable system as always from pioneer. The only downside I can see with this particular system is the interface with the 5200BT. It uses the yellow multiblock RGB connector on the back of the unit, this kind of defeats the perfect resolution of the WXGA screen. To me it looks fuzzy, not as clear and sharp as the rest of the system. This item is an Optional extra and doesn't come with the headunit.

Now down to the nitty gritty, Ipod/Iphone. Lots and lots of people now own an Ipod or Iphone of some sort. Provided your Ipod is 5th gen on and 3rd gen for the Iphone, you can plug in and use the ipod fully controlled from the 5200BT's GUI. I have to say, Pioneer have really nailed this particular function, it is by far the best Ipod GUI on any headunit I have installed albeit the Pioneer AVIC-F920BT which is the same.
The Ipod interface is so user friendly, it acts indentically to the menu system on the Ipod but no circular control wheel. It's all done on the touchscreen, selections of album, artist, podcasts, videos, the lot. Choose right down to the individuals tracks or choose a playlist. Alphabet navigtion makes finding your favourite track a doddle to coin a phrase.
Once again there is a downside. Two in fact, one really simple one, the Ipod lead doesn't come with the unit and the second, it plugs into the front USB and AUX socket (for video). Very dodgy in certain cars where the unit is situated near the gear stick, especially if you have big hands.

The built in DVD player is as good as they get, region code restricted to code 2, UK/Ireland and Europe. One really big downside to this unit is that it doesn't have the 'P' Series bus socket so you can't connect a CD Changer for instance but then if you use your Ipod then why have a changer. Well you can use the DVD slot to play a CD so thats not really a bad issue. CD is still better quality than any form of MP3/WMA/AAC despite what people say, even with lossless MP3. I listen to various tracks throughout the working day, on CD or CD MP3 or Ipod. The CD to me still sounds the best. So having a Changer after all may not be such a bad idea.

Another little thing that does niggle me but isn't overly important at present, is the ability to connect DAB radio. It doesn't have DAB already and it also doesn't have the 'P' series bus socket as i said above, the only thing that keeps me hopeful is the fact that the aerial module is separate to the 5200BT, this perhaps will allow future connection of a DAB module. The exact answer to that is not yet known as Pioneer to not currently have a DAB unit or module.

Right the other question, would I buy one? The answer simply is yes I would. How much do they cost, well that varies depending on who you buy from. Pioneer suggests a retail price of £599.99, but I'm sure you will find one discounted on the internet. However paying the extra or regular price from your local Pioneer dealer. You may think "yeah but i'm paying all that extra", technically yes, but then you get for one, good customer support. Pioneer UK's support through your local dealer. Any problems can be sorted out should they arise. Surely that extra piece of mind that your back is covered, is worth that extra? Just remember one more thing. In consumer electronics, you get exactly what you pay for. The UK mentality of 'whats your cheapist?' astounds me sometimes. People seem to know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

Well hope that sheds some light on the Pioneer AVH-5200BT advanced multimedia head unit. I hope you found this informative and useful. Below are the main specifications for the 5200BT.

For more info you can contact the Radio Centre, Colchesters premier Pioneer Dealer on 01206 579396 or 01206 767599.



Maximum power output MOSFET 50W x 4 .
Built-in AM/FM RDS Tuner AM/FM Tuner (24 pre-set stations) .
• Your DVD film collection (including DVD-R/-RW discs in VR Mode)
• Your CD collection (including CD-R/-RW and Video CD)
• MP3, WMA, AAC compressed audio files on CD, USB and SD card
• DivX film and JPEG on CD, DVD, USB and SD card
• Your iPod, iPhone
• Your USB storage device via a front-in input
• An AV source (MP3 player or games console) via the Aux-in .
Screen Wide 7-inch QVGA anti-glare touch screen .
Installation type In-dash with motorised screen (1 DIN) .
Front panel Fully detachable .
Button illumination 113 colour variations for button illumination .
DVD Region Code 2 .
Dual Zone (+) Yes .
‘Dual zone’ enables your rear-seat passengers and you to enjoy different AV sources at the same time.

For example, whilst you and the front passenger listen to the radio, the rear seat passengers can watch a DVD on optional screens.....

Bluetooth ready Yes (integrated) .
Navigation Ready Yes .
Multi-language display Yes (English, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian) .
Remote Control Optional CD-R55 remote control available
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