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Pioneer Navigation - Part 2

Maps, Apps, Tunes, and More

Kevin McNultyPhotographer, Writer

In the Aug./Sept. '13 issue we walked you through the installation of Pioneer Electronics' new AVIC-X950BH AppRadio and D-series speakers. We also raved about the performance of the system—and we are here to tell you again that our truck's in-dash AV navigation systems performance is nothing short of spectacular. It has been installed in the truck for a couple of months, so we've had plenty of time to work our way through its features.

The AppRadio is a smoking deal at about $1,000 less than a factory Mopar audio navigation system, especially since the AVIC-X950BH has more advanced features and apps, which are more than enough to keep the biggest techie busy and smiling. Our Ram truck is not a hardcore off-road machine like some; it is used for light towing, mild off-roading, some mud, mostly haulin' parts, and date night. The AppRadio is rugged enough, and we haven't had any problems with it. We have found that it's great for the daily driver/weekend 4x4s and tow rigs. However, we definitely wouldn't install the AppRadio in a 4x4 or buggy that is going to see extreme off-road terrain like rockcrawling, water, mudding, or racing.

To get us where we want to go, the AVIC-X950BH uses a very detailed GPS guidance and a mapping database, and it has been very accurate. Topping the techy feature list is the unit's WVGA touchscreen display, which makes using the Pandora Internet Radio, HD Radio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, App Radio, Bluetooth, and Aha web connectivity easy. Plug in an iPod or iPhone and the screen shows the album, songs, and artists. It works with the iPhone 4, 4S, and 5 and also allows the viewing of phonebook contacts. iPhone 5 requires an optional interface cable and firmware update. Let's not forget the navigation system's Total Traffic real-time traffic updates, 12 million points of interest, and 2D and 3D mapping.

We know that everyone doesn't use an iPhone, so Pioneer recently released D-AH200C Android Connection Kit (sold separately) that will allow the AppRadio to work with 16 different Android phones and 40 models. The smart phones include models from Samsung, HTC, Motorola, and Sony. The original Samsung connector is required for the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Galaxy S3, and Galaxy S4 in addition to the Android Connection Kit.