Excuse all the bad pictures. I had to work my way around the glare, so many of the pics are taken from strange angles. I might re-take some of the pictures at night to replace them later.
The head unit comes in a generic no-name box showing a random car that doesn't even have a dvd/gps head unit installed. Also, the user manual has no branding and it's all in broken english.
Installation was very easy. Just pop off the vent, remove the two screws holding the original head unit, pull the head unit out, remove wiring harnesses, plug in harness adaptors, and hook up the new head unit, then put everything back in place. It looks just an OEM head unit, and the buttons have the same kind of style as the factory one. My only issue with the hardware is that the backlit keys are always on, whether your headlight switch is on or off.
When first turning on the unit you'll begin at the start screen. The UI is pretty good, everything is red to match the rest of the Mazda 3 lighting. You can drag and drop application shortcuts from the bottom and it will replace one from the top.
outside temp still works, along with the clock. And the main screen now shows what the new head hunit is doing (DVD, NAVI, SD, BTMU, etc.).
Steering wheel audio controls
The buttons work the same way they always have, but I did notice a little bit of volume lag while playing music along with navigation. The volume knobs still works without any hesitation though, regarless of what's going on with the system.
Navigation doesn't come pre-loaded on the head unit. It has to be added yourself using a MicroSD card, I use igo8 myself... but any GPS software made for windows CE/Windows mobile should work.
The first time you run the GPS software it wil ask you where the softwhere is located on the card. Also, you'll see a checkbox for "PK" underneath the file directory. I honestly have no idea what this is for, all I know is that the DVD or video functions won't show any video which it's checked.
Steering wheel controls with the Navigation as well. For igo8; pushing Up shows Route information, pushing up again shows "detailed instructions", and pressing down returns to the map screen.
As I said, uncheck the "PK" box under the GPS directory to allow the head unit to play video. Otherwise you'll get a screen saying "Warning do not watch to Master!" with only the audio playing.
The phone feature on this head unit is amazing. It's like a full cellphone built into the car. It has a dial pad with a call back button, phone book, and call log. Very impressive clean UI too.
A2DP Bluetooth streaming works great, just click on A2DP from the start page and it will automatically pair with your device. Then just hit the play button on either the head unit or device and you're set. Steering wheel track skipping still works as well.
The radio works as any radio should, and you get 6 presets just as the factorty unit... along with FM1, FM2, FM3, AM1, and AM2 modes. The silver UI blends in well with the heating/shifter panals.
I havn't tested this out yet so I'll update you on how this goes. But I can say that the factory aux input in the console no longer works. So I plan on running A/V cables to the console. Then I can finally play my Xbox 360 while I drive.
Without anything plugged into the head unit RCA inputs, you get a screen saying "No Signal!"
I don't have an antenna yet, so I can't say much here either. But I ordered one from eBay for $10, so I'll give an update with pictures later.
The player is pretty good, but not perfect. You have to browse through your folders on the SD card to go to the song you want to play. I'd rather if it was more like a iPod/MP3 player giving you a list of artist-> albums-> songs, but it's better than nothing. I almost always play music from my phone using A2DP bluetooth anyway.
The video player is great. You have to browse through the SD card like "Music", but I don't find that so bad for finding a video to watch. It'll remember where your video folder is anyway. I tested a DivX video and works great. No slow downs and the video loads instantly. There is a fullscreen button on the bottom right corner. I'll test some more file types eventually and update you.
SD Card slots
There are two SD card slots. The left, technically, is for music/video. The right is for loading GPS software.
However, the media player used to play files from the left SD card is absolutely hidious. The resolution doesn't even seem to even work right for the 800x480 display. There's not even a "Now playing" screen for music.
The same interface as the SD card. Not pretty, but works fine.
Not sure why this is on the head unit, or why I bothered to take a picture of it. I'm guessing it's for loading .pdf user manuals, or reading Tom Sawyer at red lights. Who knows.
image has been resized. Click this bar to view the full image. The original image is sized 800x600.
Overall, i'm very impressed by this head unit. I dind't expect a whole lot from a no name product, but this thing is amazing. The screen looks beautiful, with a very sharp image. And the sound is a lot better than the stock unit in my opinion. Especially with the ability to change the EQ. There's a few little quirks, as I pointed out in the review, but nothing major.
I have no regrets purchasing this unit, and I think it's worth every penny.