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Jensen VM9510TS review: Jensen VM9510TS

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The Good The Jensen VM9510TS has a bright 7-inch LCD touch screen, and its audio quality is top-notch. The unit comes with two remote controls and has an SD card slot.

The Bad The Jensen VM9510TS's function buttons are small and poorly lit, and there's no dedicated satellite radio connector. The unit lacks a detachable faceplate.

The Bottom Line The Jensen VM9510TS is a versatile in-dash multimedia head unit with DVD- and TV-viewing capabilities. You get a variety of input options, some of which are easily accessible thanks to a dash-mountable breakout box.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.6 Overall

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Jensen VM9510TS

Jensen's VM9510TS is a reasonably priced multifunction single-DIN head unit featuring a bright 7-inch motorized screen for viewing DVDs and photos in two separate zones and a slot-loading optical drive that plays nearly every media format on the market. Couch potatoes needn't worry; an included TV tuner lets you catch your favorite broadcast TV programs while on the road.

The wide-screen display has a resolution of 1,440x234 pixels and sits on a motorized track that lets you choose among 16 tilt positions for the ultimate viewing angle. Below the screen is a CD/DVD media slot. We like the fact that you can load discs without unhinging a faceplate, but the downside is that, without a removable faceplate, the unit is more susceptible to theft. The screen's top bezel has an embedded blue-backlit LCD panel that, when the screen is closed, displays AM/FM radio station frequencies, volume level, time, and audio track number, though you'll have to open the big screen to see audio track information, such as MP3 ID3 tag data. However, the touch screen lets you scroll through MP3 folders and choose song titles by tapping on the display. Also located on the top bezel are buttons for selecting the radio band and storing stations, opening and closing the screen, and showing system information on the screen. Below the screen are three buttons used to change the angle of the display and the aspect ratio (Wide, Full, or Normal). The face of the unit contains the usual array of function buttons, including a rotary volume knob; six radio preset buttons that double as DVD playback controls; and a joystick-style knob for manual radio tuning, scrolling through menu choices, and controlling DVD forward and reverse speeds. A media-eject button is located on the right side of the unit but is difficult to see and reach when the screen is in the open position. In fact, most of the function buttons are on the small side and are hard to read despite the blue backlight.

The Jensen VM9510TS provides 60 watts of peak power across four channels (18 watts by four RMS) and has multizone video capabilities. There are a slew of connections at the rear of the unit, all of which are clearly labeled. In addition to the standard four-channel speaker wires, you get RCA jacks for connecting to two rear-seat video displays, a rearview video camera, a wireless headphone set, and the included TV tuner pack. There are also jacks for connecting to a preamplified six-channel surround speaker system with subwoofer, and the iAux3 module, which can be mounted under the dashboard, adds front-accessible composite-audio and composite-video ports as well as a 3.5mm jack for plugging in an MP3 player. Missing is a dedicated satellite radio jack. The TV tuner comes with a rabbit-ear-style antenna for tuning in local broadcast stations, and there's a secondary antenna connection for hooking up to a cable or satellite signal. The addition of an SD memory card slot on the front faceplate is a nice touch, making it easy to load music files or view digital images in a slide show. Setting up audio and video preferences is very easy using the touch screen, or you can opt for the full-function remote control. For the rear zone, you get a secondary limited function remote that controls DVD and VCD playback only. A built-in equalizer gives you a choice of six preset audio settings (Pop, Rock, Vocal, Classical, Jazz, and Flat), or you can save a custom setting. An ASP (Audio Sound Processing) setup screen lets you fine-tune bass and treble center frequencies, as well as adjust subwoofer phase and frequency settings.

Overall, the Jensen VM9510TS performed admirably on our road tests. The display was bright and viewable in virtually every lighting condition, and it maintained a good viewing angle, although there was some loss of color definition when viewed from the extreme left and right angles. The 240-watt amp provided plenty of pop, and the Electronic Shock Prevention mechanism did a good job of preventing skips when the road got bumpy. The TV tuner and antenna combination worked well in our driveway and when parked in a lot, but don't expect decent reception while driving. However, we were pleased with the tuner's ability to render a cable signal. There was slight image ghosting, but the picture looked good overall.

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