Pioneer AVIC-F310BT review: Pioneer AVIC-F310BT

  • 1

CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Price!. Good format and device support. Bluetooth hands-free nice and clear. Did we mention price?.

The Bad Camera warnings scary and unhelpful. Text-to-speech flawed. Confusing controls.

The Bottom Line It's far from perfect (scary warnings, difficult controls, occasional glitches), but sound quality, Bluetooth, device support and its aggressive pricing pushes it over the line. Just.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

Design

Pioneer's AVIC-F310BT ace in the hole is its low, low price of AU$999. In spite of that, it's quite a good looking double DIN head unit finished in acres of piano black plastic. The 4.3-inch touchscreen isn't quite as large as it could be because it pops out to allow users to connect the F310BT to a PC, which, as we'll see later, is a rather dubious feature.

With its matte finish, the screen is viewable in almost any light. For a resistive screen it's nice and responsive, but as the screen viewing angle is fixed, drivers with radio slots low down in the dash may need to look for another head unit or use a different solution.

To the left of the screen are the bulk of the unit's physical controls, consisting of a multifunction dial that can be pushed in the centre, rotated or pressed/flicked in one of the four cardinal directions. This dial is flanked by Mode, List, Source and Band buttons. In the map screen, music control is simple to master: rotate the knob to adjust the volume or tap it to skip tracks or channels. The dial and buttons are ideally located for left-hand drive cars, but are a bit of a reach in right-hand drive Australia.

Pioneer AVIC-F310BT music selection screen

To change albums do I twiddle the knob or mash the screen? (Credit: Pioneer)

For more complex tasks, you'll need to tap the Mode button to dive into the entertainment menus. Here the multifunction dial's design does more harm than good, as all too frequently when we attempted to push the dial in the centre, we ended up flicking it left or right instead.

In what seems to be a common theme for the F310BT, tweaking settings, such as the speaker levels or matching the unit's backlighting to your car's (a number of common lighting colours are supported out of the box), requires an arcane number of clicks or twirls that either require a lot of trial and error to discover, or some quality time with just you, the F310BT and the manual.

Audio

With our test vehicle — a 2003 Toyota Corolla — we noticed an immediate boost in sound quality with the F310BT installed, even on the rather tinny standard speakers. Compared to the standard Corolla head unit, the F310BT has appreciably better sound separation and a clearer, richer sound. With two pre-amp RCA outputs, the F310BT will play ball with cars fitted with a separate amplifier or equaliser.

There's a single slot CD player capable of reading audio discs, as well as data discs loaded with MP3, WMA, WAV and AAC files. USB sticks, iPods and iPhones, and most MP3 players can be connected via the stereo's USB port, while for unrecognised devices there's also an auxiliary jack. To the uninitiated switching to a different folder, album, artist, genre or playlist is more complex than it should be: one needs to press Mode to dive into the music selection screen, then press List, rotate the multifunction dial to scroll through a list, with a right tap to select an item and a left tap to step back a level.

Those wanting a bit of variety (or lack thereof) also have an AM/FM radio tuner at their disposal with six AM and 18 FM presets; RDS and station naming isn't supported. Unlike the top-of-the-pile F10BT , switching between bands is a cinch, as there's a dedicated Band button.

Other features

Editors' Top PicksSee All

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Where to Buy

Pioneer AVIC-F310BT

Part Number: CNETPioneer AVIC-F310BT

Typical Price: $999.00

See manufacturer website for availability.