I guess I've had these parts for over a month messing around trying to find an installer so after reading a review on Yelp I decided to go with Car Toys in Plano (a Dallas 'burb), so glad I did. I called about 11 this morning and Frank told me to come in so I fired up the 330 and headed North.
The unit was installed by Mike and he went out of his way to keep me informed (I waited) and actually came to get me occasionally as it progressed so I could snap some pics of the install.
Here's what was installed today:
Kenwood DNX 6960 NAV/GPS/BT/Stereo
Axxess steering wheel controller
Kenwood CMOS 200 back up camera
Kenwood iPod video/audio connector
Microphone, GPS antenna
So, we begin, Mike is getting ready to tear it up!
Big holes in my car...
Out with the old...
I couldn't believe the amount of stuff on the deck!
We have back up!
This was the main impetus for this install, I felt like I was going to mash someone before it was all over so I had to have this camera.
Tests are complete! Ready to finish...
Just like it says on the screen...
I have not played with it at all, I had to run some errands after the install so I'll set it up tomorrow, phone, iPod, GPS, radio, splash screen, light color.
If you have any electronic install needs in North Texas I can highly recommend Car Toys in Plano.
OK, I'm impressed. Very intuitive interface. I was able to set up the Nav, iPod, iPhone, BT and radio by just punching the appropriate buttons. The phone paired instantly and had downloaded my address book before I found out where the address book was. It has presets for favorites and the call quality is astounding. I can turn up the caller just by turning the volume ****! The phone works without doing anything, it pairs when you get in the car automatically. If you want to charge the phone just plug it into the iPod cord.
Garmin is Garmin, flawless operation, I'm guessing the maps are a year old and I'll probably update every other year. Every function has been rock solid and I'm so glad I did this.
I'll have to break out the manual to learn voice operation and how to set the lights to match the car's dash lights, it has an almost infinite range of colors available and the installer thoughtfully set it to rotate colors every few seconds so there is a kind of disco ball effect going on right now, really need to figure out where that setting is, it's like a bad acid trip in there.
It's been about a month since installing the Kenwood so I thought I would update with some longer term impressions of this unit. The core functions I care about are the GPS, radio, backup camera and handsfree telephone.
It has iPod, voice, DVD, CD, SD micro, USB, video in, Sirius and XM connectivity and all the various permutations available with those connectors but so far I've used the iPod cable to charge my iPhone and that's it. I've followed the 6960 forum at kenwoodforums.com and most seem happy with the function of these features.
In daily use the 6960 has been rock solid, it performs my core functions perfectly with the exception of hit and miss auto pairing between the unit and my iPhone. I just start the car and pair now. Once paired it downloads contacts and works as it is supposed to.
I recently took a 1400 mile road trip and gave the Garmin a work out. It performed as advertised including an odd propensity to take you off a highway, run you through town and then put you back on the highway. Like using any GPS you should know your basic route so when it does something strange you know not to react to it. I had my faithful Magellen fired up as well so I was able to compare. The Magellen is much more forgiving than the Garmin, If I go off route the Magellen simply adjusts the route, the Garmin will "make first available legal U-turn" for quite a while before giving up and recalculating. My main requirement for a GPS is to get me to a destination in a strange city, the Garmin did that without fail so I am happy with it.
The backup camera is superb, the gen2 has blind spots and I was genuinely fearful of running over someone behind me. The camera is in living color and has a very wide viewing range, lives have been saved already!
The stereo functions as you would expect in a relatively high end unit, infinite adjustment, good sound (as good as you can get using factory speakers and amp) lots of presets, etc. The Axxess Universal steering wheel controller has been an unexpected pleasure, It provides function for all modes. The only irritating part is having to cycle through all the modes to get to the one you want. It would have been great to be able to select the ones you want to use.
The DNX6960 has been superseded by the DNX6980. The main difference is the addition of Pandora and the ability to run split screen for two different functions. Unfortunately, based on initial reports at the Kenwood forums, the 6980 was released a bit early and is having processor problems. It runs very slowly and most irritating is the effect on the Garmin. The screen changes very slowly and artifacts appear randomly. These problems are reported on the flagship DNX9980 as well.
No doubt Kenwood will address these issues but until then I wouldn't recommend any of the Excelon DD Kenwoods.
Overall, I am ecstatic with the 6960. It has brought my car's usability into the 21st century and I highly recommend for anyone add these capabilities to your car. The Beatsonic harness and faceplate made for an attractive install that looks like it's supposed to be there.
...the lights are no longer purple, I discovered how to make them match the dash lights.