The Jensen VM9312 is a capable in-car multimedia device. With its fold-out 7-inch touch screen and an intuitive optional iPod interface, this system is a good value for the money.
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For most sources, users have to make use of soft buttons on the touch screen. We are big fans of the sensitivity of the touch screen on the VM9312: making selections requires the slightest of contacts. Another positive feature of the VM9312's touch screen menus is the way in which option icons change color when pressed.
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With Jensen's optional J-link iPod cable connected to its MediaLink3 under-dash connection port, the VM9312 can be hooked up to iPods for audio and video playback.
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We are generally impressed with the VM9312's iPod control interface: like other aftermarket screen-based in-car media players, it features a virtual wheel control on the design of the iPod player itself. This is the only way to select or control songs once an iPod is connected, as the player itself is disabled. The touchable circular dial enables users to pause and play tracks, skip tracks, and call up an iPod-inspired menu (playlists, artists, albums, songs, and so on).
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In video mode, the Jensen VM9312's screen is bright and delivers crisp reproduction of DVDs and VCDs. For safety purposes, the car's parking brake must be on in order to watch video. Controlling video playback via the touch screen is very straightforward, thanks to a virtual menu that pops up in response to a touch of the bottom of the screen.
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With the faceplate stowed away, the Jensen VM9312 looks like any garden-variety single-DIN-size stereo head unit. Two rotary knobs at either end of the faceplate control volume (left) and skip/search (right), although for any sources other then AM/ FM radio, the screen is essential for selecting and controlling the media.
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