I've had this installed for a few months but never got around to posting up all the pics and the review. I bought this Nav unit after looking at several options including other Nav units and removeable GPS devices as well. My choices were between Kenwood, Alpine, Pioneer and Eclipse. Here's were I ruled out the competition.
Alpine: Overall lame GPS. Blackbird is rather gimicky not to mention expensive. I could see this breaking with frequent use. Their GPS engine does not get great reviews
Pioneer: The touch and feel is too gameboy for me, its pretty clear they aimed this unit at the F&F segement of the market. Also, reviews on audio SQ consistently complained of a lot of system noise.
Eclipse: DVD based Nav units are so yesterday. Nav engine isn't the greatest either. Also, Eclipse insists on installing a proprietary plug for reverse cameras then charges a fortune for them. Bite me. A real shame as this is probably the best SQ Nav unit out there. This was actually my first choice before Kenwood released its latest series of Nav units.
Kenwood: Garmin based GPS, simply said it rules. Clear and easy to use, not gimicky. SQ is good but not great, still its good enough that I can live with it .
Back to the install itself. I'm not going to go into how to remove the trim as this has been covered before. However, I'll mention two of the finer points that will make your install experience that much better. (1) Start by applying tape to both sides of the center console. Why ? It scratches very easy. I've never seen another dash material scratch like this stuff. Boo Subaru for that one. (2) When removing the trim around the radio start by pulling out the top section directly below the air vents. I found if I removed this first the sides were easy to take off.
So, here's the backside of the unit. Everything is pretty straightforward and you don't need the manual to hook it all up. Nice to see Kenwood makes a removeable harness that can be replaced seperately. After I installed the deck I learned what the mini-usb plug does. Kenwood says not to connect it, well that's cause its a service feature . Word is, if you connect this plug to a laptop it comes up as a removeable drive and gives you access to all the maps. This means you can make it a Euro map or NA map driven system if you want to change it. I haven't messed with it but its good info to know for future reference. If I ever get back there again I'll attach a usb cable and tuck it away for future use.
Getting all the connections wired up. Some may ask why I use bullet connectors. While I agree soldering is the best approach I use male/female connectors to create my own quick-release harness. If there's ever a problem where I need to pull the deck, I can pull apart all the wires and remove the deck quickly, then reinstall it just as easily.
Shot of the dash all apart. Note how far down I applied tape to prevent scratches.
THis is where I put the GPS receiver. Its located under the center tray. Its easily able to receive a signal with the plastic on top of it. As the base of it is magnetic I stuck it to the metal trim on the dash.
Install is no different than any other deck. Once its all put back together it looks like its OEM which is exactly the look I was going for. OEM decks suck and nobody wants to steal one. I left the plastic protective cover on the screen so it wouldn't get scratched during install. THis is probably the most likely time you'll ding it with something sharp, like the backside of the trim.
That said, I bought a screen protector for it. This is the same stuff they put on IPODS, laptops and other screen devices. I bought mine from Best Skins Ever, Inc. Home Page
, they didn't have a precut size so I bought a DIY kit
1 DIY Cut To Fit Blank Skin (9" x 3.75") @ $6.99
Application was a cinch, see their website for details. For $7 I highlly recommend going this route.
The finished product: