Kenwood Excelon DMX905S evaluation | TechRadar

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Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are gaining steam, being offered in additional automobiles than ever earlier than. 

However, what if you wish to add the smarts of CarPlay or Android Auto to a automobile that you have already got? That’s the place aftermarket models just like the Kenwood Excelon DMX905S are available in as a approach to make your automobile’s infotainment system a complete lot smarter.

Infotainment techniques like this aren’t unusual, they usually play an necessary position in bringing the likes of Android Auto and CarPlay to automobiles that in any other case wouldn’t get it. 

However, are they well worth the money? We put the Kenwood Excelon DMX905S to the take a look at to search out out.

Design and set up

Earlier than you’ll be capable of flip the unit on and expertise it for your self, you’ll need to get it put in, and except you’re very mechanically-minded, you’ll in all probability need a skilled to do it. 

Preserve that in thoughts whenever you’re serious about pricing – it’ll in all probability value at the very least one other few hundred {dollars}/kilos to get the system put in, particularly in the event you want equipment like an adapter for steering wheel controls.

If put in correctly, most of the parts of the unit ought to be fairly delicate. For instance, the unit comes with a microphone for Android Auto and CarPlay voice controls, and on my 2012 Nissan Sentra, it sits proper above the rear view mirror, largely out of sight. 

We additionally had related USB/Aux port put in, which you’ll need to think about doing, too. Whereas Android Auto Wi-fi is accessible on this unit, you’ll have to set it up with a wired connection, and there’s no USB port on the entrance of the DMX905S by default. 

As soon as the Excelon DMX905S is put in you’ll discover that it’s mainly all display screen, with a row of buttons proper underneath it. That row contains quantity controls, a quantity attenuation management button, a house button, a menu button, apps button, and a digicam view button. 

We discovered that whereas the buttons had been simple to press, we didn’t love the truth that they had been prolonged so removed from the show. Not solely was it just a little unpleasant, nevertheless it made touching the underside of the show just a little more durable. We expect the bodily buttons ought to have been just a little extra flush with the show itself.

Aside from that, nonetheless, the Kenwood Excelon DMX905S is well-designed and will match proper at house in any automobile. Sadly, it gained’t slot in any automobile, although. Head right here to verify compatibility in your automobile.

Software program

After all, the true motive to purchase this unit has nothing to do with its design – it has to do with the software program it runs. 

Not solely does it run Kenwood’s proprietary software program, nevertheless it additionally runs each Apple’s CarPlay and the wi-fi model of Google’s Android Auto.

First, let’s contact on Kenwood’s personal software program. On the whole, we discovered it was decently simple to make use of, nevertheless it’s not precisely the prettiest system on the market. 

From the primary display screen, you’ll be capable of open up Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, and entry an app display screen with entry to Waze, a cellphone app, and so forth. 

Typically talking, we discovered it simple to navigate Kenwood’s software program, however most popular to make use of the cellphone apps in CarPlay or Android Auto. That mentioned, in the event you occur to not have entry to Android Auto or CarPlay for some motive, you’ll nonetheless have some choices. It’s fairly simple to easily pair your cellphone by means of Bluetooth and use the Excelon DMX905S as a primary Bluetooth system.

After all, there are a ton of Bluetooth units on the market, and plenty of of them are a complete lot cheaper. 

Should you’re serious about shopping for the Kenwood Excelon DMX905S, then you definately’re in all probability extra all in favour of Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. We gained’t get into reviewing both of these techniques right here, however each labored fairly nicely. 

On the whole, we discovered that the unit appeared to hook up with CarPlay just a little faster than Android Auto, although that would partly be attributable to the truth that we had been utilizing an ageing Google Pixel XL on the Android P beta throughout testing. 

We did have a number of points connecting to Android Auto Wi-fi – typically, it simply wouldn’t join. The unit normally related to wired Android Auto rather a lot faster than Android Auto Wi-fi, too. 

On prime of that, there have been a number of bugs in Android Auto which may be associated to the Kenwood unit somewhat than Google’s software program, like the truth that asking Google Assistant to make a cellphone name despatched us again to the Kenwood house display screen for the decision somewhat than to Android Auto’s cellphone display screen. Barely unusual bug, and one which resulted in us having to manually re-open Android Auto.

Verdict

The Kenwood Excelon DMX905S is an effective way to get Android Auto or Apple CarPlay into an older automobile. 

Whereas there are a number of design quirks, and Kenwood’s software program isn’t one of the best, it’s in all probability the most cost effective approach to get Android Auto Wi-fi with out shopping for a brand new automobile, and it appeared to carry out fairly nicely in our checks. 

After all, you’ll need to issue issues like set up into the associated fee, and remember that you’ll want to make sure that you could entry a related USB port after the unit is put in, but when these issues don’t trouble you, then this might be the following in-car infotainment for you.



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