Let's unbox the Pioneer AppRadio!
The packaging is split into two sections: the white box contains all of the installation accessories and the brown padding contains the AppRadio itself.
Removed from its box, we were amazed at how lightweight AppRadio is relative to other double DIN units we've tested, and even a few single DINs! The lack of an optical drive and the dampening required for skip protection saves quite a bit of mass.
We couldn't help but notice that almost all of the connections on the back of AppRadio are wire harness based.
The only hard-wired physical connections on the back panel are these pigtails for the AM/FM radio and microphone input...
...and this connection where the external GPS antenna is screwed in.
In the accessories box, you'll find the user manuals, GPS antenna, microphone for Bluetooth calls, an extremely long and thick Apple dock connector, mounting screws, and four separate wire harnesses. One harness holds the auxiliary outputs and iPhone inputs; another makes connections such as the parking brake sensor or rearview camera; a third harness is for the power and ground connections; and the final harness is for the speaker level connections.
We like that all of the speaker level and power leads are prestripped, taking one step out of the installation process. Of course, because the speaker leads are on their own harness, installers can also omit these connections altogether if they're using an external amplifier.
Returning our attention to the AppRadio unit itself, we noticed that there are only three physical buttons on the device: volume up, volume down, and a home key.
MicroSD card slot
On the far left edge of the lower bezel is a small door that hides a reset button and a microSD card slot for firmware updates.
Compared with its older brother, the Pioneer AVIC-Z130BT, AppRadio seems much simpler, with fewer buttons and a smaller, glossier screen.
Side-by-side comparisons show that AppRadio's glass capacitive touch screen (right) is much more reflective than the AVIC-series' plastic resistive screen.
AppRadio's dock connector for iPhone is actually a Y-type connector that bridges a full-speed USB port and a proprietary connection that carries audio and video data. Both of these cables are quite heavy, making routing them behind the dashboard a tricky affair.
Making the connections
With all of the connections made for the GPS antenna, Bluetooth microphone, speakers, power, AM/FM antenna, and that hefty iPhone cable, there's quite a bit of wire that needs to be tucked into the dashboard behind the AppRadio.