Pioneer unveils updated AVIC lineup
Pioneer updates its AVIC-line of in-dash navigation systems with four new models.
AVIC-U310BT: At the entry point of the new lineup is the AVIC-U310BT. Pioneer is positioning this unit as an easy solution for people who want to add iPod/iPhone integration, Bluetooth hands-free calling, and GPS navigation to their vehicles. Pioneer's Bluetooth technology is powered by Parrot, so we expect call quality to be decent. CD playback and AM/FM radio round out the list of standard available sources, while satellite radio and HD Radio capabilities can be added with external modules.
Interestingly, the U310BT's screen is detachable for security and can be used outside of the vehicle to enter points of interest and edit saved locations. However, this detachable screen lacks a GPS antenna or map data of its own, so it cannot be used as a portable navigation unit.
The AVIC-U310BT will carry an MSRP of $600 and should be available in early July 2009.
AVIC-X710BT: Moving further up the AVIC line, the AVIC-X710BT gains a larger screen, but loses the capability to detach it. In addition to the features of the U310BT, the X710BT gains voice control for most functions, updated map software with better graphics and 3D landmarks, and a front panel SD card slot for updating maps and playing back digital audio.
AVIC-X910BT: Featuring almost identical hardware to the X710BT, the AVIC-X910BT is distinguished by its glossy finish (versus the X710BT's matte). Internally, the X910BT uses MSN Direct to deliver live traffic data (flow and incident) as well as fuel prices, stock quotes, local events, and movie showtimes. The X910BT's optical drive has been updated for DVD playback with Dolby Digital surround. The unit also supports DivX playback from DVD/CDs or the SD card slot.
Additionally, the X910BT's GPS antenna gains a 3D hybrid gyrosensor. According to Pioneer, this addition makes the navigation more accurate. Our previous experiences with gyrosensors lets us know that sensor helps the navigation software to continue to track the vehicle's movement in the event of a temporary lapse in GPS signal, such as when passing through a tunnel.
The AVIC-X710BT and X910BT will carry an MSRPs of $900 and $1,100, respectively.
AVIC-Z110BT: At the top of the new lineup is the AVIC-Z110BT features the largest touch screen of the AVIC models, which is motorized in this incarnation. The Z110BT can do everything its smaller siblings can do (including MSN Direct, DVD/DivX playback, and so on) with the addition of Bluetooth A2DP/AVRCP audio streaming. System builders and audio enthusiasts will appreciate the 4-volt preamp outputs and advanced EQ adjustments.
A particularly neat feature is the customizable home screen, which lets people drag up to 15 scalable icons to a custom home screen from a palette of available functions. This lets people keep the features they most often use at their fingertips for quick access. We had an opportunity to play with this feature and found customizing the interface to be smooth and easy.
The AVIC-Z110BT will carry an MSRP of $1,600.
AVIC-Feeds: In addition to the four new units, Pioneer has also updated its AVIC-Feeds software. AVIC-Feeds lets people create and edit points of interest, pictures, icons, settings, and address book entries from the comfort of their computer, then sync the updates to their AVIC receiver via SD card. As a bonus, the software will also analyze your routes for fuel cost and CO2 estimates.