When not in use for the navigation system, the AVN6620's touch screen serves as an interface to control the system's multiple media sources. As well as its built-in AM/FM tuner, the system has the ability to play CDs and MP3, WMA, and DVD video discs. Our test unit also came with Eclipse's optional IPC-106 iPod adapter, giving us the ability to browse and select songs from our connected iPod via the touch screen itself. With an iPod connected, the screen displays an Apple-inspired category menu with buttons for Artists, Albums, Songs, Playlists, and Genres. With one of these selections made, the screen then displays up to eight listings in each category at a time, with subsequent pages of eight options available using a scroll bar down the right side of the screen. Unfortunately, there is no one-touch scrolling available to skip through lists quickly, but the large number of entries on each screen means that even large iPod menus are navigable without too much hassle.
The interface for navigating compressed disc-based digital audio files (such as MP3 files) is similar to that for browsing iPod categories. Drivers are first presented with a main screen that lists all of the folders on a disc, and from there they can then drill down to get through to the individual files on the folders. File and folder information for each track is shown on the top of the display at all times, and more detailed information on album, title, and artist can be accessed by pressing the Title button. There are also options for repeat and random playback as well as a scan function.
With the parking brake engaged, the AVN6620 can be used to play DVD video via a multipurpose CD/ DVD slot located behind the faceplate. Like the AVN5510, the system does not touch-enable the individual DVD movie menus, requiring users to touch onscreen directional arrows to navigate menus or to invest in an optional remote control. Without the latter, it can be a laborious process to get a video started (press the screen to get the menu > press the Next button > press the Menu button > use the up and down arrows to select the required onscreen option > press the enter button to make a selection). With a video playing, playback controls such as play, search, and pause are available at a touch of the screen. The 7-inch screen delivers rich video reproduction, especially in the wide-screen display configuration.
The AVN6620 has a wide range of options for making its decent-sounding audio output even better. Drivers with a specific genre of music in mind can choose one of six digital signal processing (DSP) presets to activate predefined acoustic settings, and those who require a greater level of tweakability have access to a full seven-band equalizer. For enhanced low-end output, the system features SRS Circle Sound II, which creates a phantom multichannel output for deeper and localized bass sound. With a separate woofer connected, the system offers advanced control options, including output level, settings for stereo, mono, and phase-control, and options for refining the acoustic field by adjusting cutoff frequency and acoustic slope.
The result is one of the most sophisticated and customizable in-car audio devices we've seen. A 5-volt preout gives even more options to those who want to expand the device with the addition of an external amp.
With an MRSP of around $1,200, and online prices as of the time of writing as low as $900, the AVN6620 provides some stiff competition for Pioneer's AVIC Z1 and Z-2 devices. While its navigation system may leave a bit to be desired in terms of programmability and accuracy, the AVN6620 differentiates itself from the competition with its elegant design, intuitive controls, great iPod interface, and wealth of audio-tweaking options.