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First Look: Alpine IVA-W200 multimedia player

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First Look: Alpine IVA-W200 multimedia player

3:49 /

The Alpine IVA-W200 is a stylish, all-in-one, in-car multimedia unit with some impressive audio and video compatibility and control options. However, DVD picture quality is not great, and the external Bluetooth module is more trouble than it's worth.

[ Music ] ^M00:00:01 >> Hi, I'm Kevin Massy from CNET Cal Tech and today we are taking a first look at the Alpine IVAW200. Now this is a mobile multimedia station, which means it plays DVDs, CDs, MP3s, WMAs, and has inputs for other kinds of media including iPods and Bluetooth hands free calling. We have a DVD in here ready to go. The unit has a number of hard buttons in front of the bezel, which can be used for altering sound. Resolution on the screen is not as great as the Jewel XDVDAC182 for example I think had a crisper resolution on the screen. But one of the best things on this unit is the shear breadth of features it has for adjusting the visual output. This is night mode, this is soft, and this is sharp. Now switching from video to audio, you press the open button here, the faceplate rolls away, in we go with the MP3 disk. One of the nice things about this unit compared to others that we've seen is the way that it allows you to navigate. Here is the root level of folders and we are given all of the individual tracks on that folder, by name, full ID3 tag information. One thing were less impressed with is the ability to go backwards. Once you've found the song you're interested, in that's fine but what if you want to play another song from that album? Well unfortunately, there is no way to go back one level. You have to press this button down here and you're right back and the master menu level and you have to come through again and then select which track you want to listen to. Not a big deal but probably could get on your nerves after a while. The other major ability of this unit to play digital audio is its iPod compatibility, what I really like about this is ability to search through hundreds of tracks on an iPod. With previous units, we have just had to keep pressing the same button hundreds of times. The Alpine unit makes it easier because it gives us this interactive or touchable bar along the bottom where you can press, it go half way down the list, press it, go three quarters down the list, press it and right to the end of the list. Without having to get repetitive strain injury on our fore finger by pressing the down and up buttons. The major down fall of this unit is its blue tooth compatibility. Just like the iPod, you can add on a Bluetooth hands free interface, which comes in the form of this small box, here, which pairs with your phone, microphone which you have to install in your car somewhere and this button cluster, which is the only way you can operate hands free calls. What's more, you can't use the touch screen at all to make outgoing calls. The only thing you have is this three-button cluster. You can't make outgoing calls using the unit. You have to use the phone itself. So if you're going to use your phone you might as well just stay on the phone rather than rooting through the Alpine. Over all I'd say that the Alpine IVAW200 is a versatile multimedia unit, with good iPod interface, but not so good Bluetooth compatibility. This unit is already on sale and it retails from between 950 to 999 dollars. I'm Kevin Massy and today we've had a first look at the Alpine IVAW200. ^M00:03:48 [ Music ]

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