The hunt for a new Car Audio system for my 14-year-old car had me flummoxed. I had no clue about the quantity of choices one needs to take — regardless of whether one essentially needs to play music or additionally other media, on the off chance that one needs extremely incredible bass, etc, not overlooking the framework’s similarity with the vehicle.
Finally, I settled for Pioneer India’s combo set of SPH-T20BT and SDA-835TAB. The latter is a detachable receiver-cum-tablet. The 8-inch touchscreen tab can be operated irrespective of whether you are in the front or back seat. The tab is compatible with music files and smartphones. So you can connect your iPhone, with built-in Bluetooth or connect pendrive to the USB port.
Two tweeters — tiny speakers, about the size of a door knob — are mounted on the dashboard at the corners. Two more speakers are mounted on the front doors but there are none at the back. That does not, however, impair the listening experience. Connect your Bluetooth with the tab and you’re set to take calls from the tab even as the music plays on. The touch interface allows a smooth transition from navigation to music to the phone. The only thing I had an issue with is the way that the little mic appended to one side of the windscreen, over the driver’s seat. This means if you are not driving — and I don’t — you cannot take your calls on the system.
The music system was installed, I unmindfully stepped out of the car and towards my house with the tab in my hands. The gentleman at the steering wheel was none too pleased but it was the melting of his frown into a smile that made my day. The FM/AM radio continued uninterrupted and he found that he could turn the volume to full blast (something I do not allow)
The tab sits snugly in the cradle, which is attached to the stereo receiver or head unit. The manual says the tab is heat and vibration resistant but I was skeptical. Dug-up tram lines and Calcutta’s famed potholes, however, could not budge it. Neither did the rough rides affect the music.
Verdict: The USB port takes away from the cordless experience. The customisation features are limited unless you have an iPhone. The look is smart, though the tab cradle does jut out. The high-quality acoustics and AV are worth every rupee you pay.
Similar music systems
Sony XAV-AX5000: This Sony car stereo comes with an Android Auto supported AV receiver, a 6.95-inch touchscreen and smartphone integration; can be connected to your phone via both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Get directions, sort playlists and make phone calls. It organised useful information in simple cards that appear when needed — for directions, music, messaging and more.