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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars OEM quality unit for a fraction of the price
I held off ordering this unit for a number of weeks because I could not find any comprehensive reviews of the product. Eventually I took the gamble and ordered the unit and I am delighted to say it was worth taking a chance!

To help others who are considering this unit (or indeed any 'sister' unit for another car), I thought it merited a full review. The...
Published on 4 Oct 2011 by P. Occardi

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor quality product
Cheaply made waste of money. Don't buy one you will regret it
Published 2 months ago by Mr ADAM LEIGH CRYER


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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars OEM quality unit for a fraction of the price, 4 Oct 2011
By 
P. Occardi - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Koolertron For 2009-2013 Subaru Legacy Indash DVD GPS Navigation With dual-core/3Zone POP 3G/WIFI/20 Disc CDC/ DVD Recording/ Bluetooth handsfree / Steering wheel control / Phonebook / IPOD / USB / SD / Game (8G sd card with 3D navi map) (Electronics)
I held off ordering this unit for a number of weeks because I could not find any comprehensive reviews of the product. Eventually I took the gamble and ordered the unit and I am delighted to say it was worth taking a chance!

To help others who are considering this unit (or indeed any 'sister' unit for another car), I thought it merited a full review. The review is in sections so you can check the pertinent area if you like. I've had this unit now for about two weeks, and hence think I have enough experience of it to comment.
The review sections are:

1. Installation and set-up
2. Quality - Hardware
3. Quality - Software interface
4. Functions
5. Value for Money
6. Problems/Issues
7. Summation

1. Installation and set-up

As installing this unit requires knowledge of how to remove and replace your car's dashboard components, if you aren't confident of this (and hence might 'break' components that could cost hundreds of pounds to replace) I suggest you have it installed professionally. My unit has CAN bus steering wheel controls which I had to reset and allocate. My car also has twin diversity aerials which have taken a bit of adapting to work with the singular ISO connection into the head unit. Once again if you're not comfortable with things like CAN bus and aerial configurations - have the unit installed professionally.

Physical installation is relatively straightforward. Having removed the dashboard and the original head unit, I just had to transfer the brackets from the original unit to the Koolertron and place it in the dash - no cutting of dashboard or bending metal strips to install required - by far the easiest aftermarket head unit install I have ever done.

For set up, I have to say that this is a sophisticated product. The sheer amount of options, settings, functions and features means it is not for the technologically faint hearted - but if you spend a bit of time setting the unit up it is well worth it.

The manual of course is useless - it's written in Chinglish - it would be so easy for these manufacturers to ask a competent technical author to write these manuals in native tongue for a few hundred pounds, and it would change the `quality' of the product from being something Chinese to being something mainstream. Still the manual was good for some bedtime laughs at the grammar and structure!

Luckily enough if you've experience of operating an original in-dash unit like this or even a good smart phone - you'll find your way around.

2. Quality - Hardware

My biggest concern before placing my order was how would this unit look in the dash of my brand new car? My car has a brushed aluminium dashboard finish and the original radio, climate control and ancillary switches all had a `look and feel' in keeping with the car. I have to say the Koolertron unit matched in almost imperceptibly - if you didn't know it was a replacement unit I challenge anyone to spot that this is an aftermarket install.

I replaced my old Subaru last year with a brand new one. My old car had the built in `factory' kenwood satnav system, which was very good. When it came time to replace the car, the factory satnav option was a staggering £2000 extra!! Needless to say I told the dealer I'd have it without and just make do with my TomTom.
So how does the `hardware' of this Chinese unit stand up against the original OEM unit (in Subaru's case a Kenwood) - well the answer is incredibly well.

The touch screen is as good as the Kenwood unit, if not better. For some reason it doesn't show the finger marks as much as the original unit did in my old car. The buttons are suitably tactile and nothing in the unit feels cheap. I cannot comment on longevity of the unit, but I have high hopes.

3. Quality - Software interface

As I've said before this unit brings an incredible array of functions and options which I always wanted in one unit to the car. By the time you've bought a parrot kit and a iphone dock, you could buy this unit and add SatNav, handsfree telephone, DVD viewing, photo browsing, etc to your car.

However all these requirements mean that there has to be a sophisticated software interface to navigate the features. The unit is a Windows CE device and as such has a typical Windows CE flash interface. Each function has its own graphical user interface. Short of a couple of very minor spelling mistakes, the interface all works adequately.

The satnav software packaged with the device is as good as TomTom or the likes and considerably better than some OEM packages I've used.

4. Functions

Want to play your music from your Bluetooth phone through your car stereo? Make handsfree calls? Fill a DVD with MP3's and play them back? Hook up your I-player and shuffle through songs using the steering wheel controls? Have the satnav running in the background to warn you of speed cameras? Load up a micro SD card with music or videos and watch them? Have a reverse camera installed (you can get these for around 50 pounds) that selects automatically when you go into reverse? Have the equivalent of 6CDs loaded into memory? Well all of this is possible with this unit.

I won't review each function individually - suffice to say they all work

5. Value for Money

Let's face it; if your car doesn't have a satnav and you don't have a Bluetooth hands free installation you'd pay more than the cost of this unit just for those two external devices stuck incongruously to your windshield. But for around the same money you get a superb OEM standard unit that adds a whole raft of other functions.
My car came with the option of a built in unit equivalent to the Koolertron - but at a price of 2000 pounds. At a little over a 7th of the cost - this unit far exceeded my expectations for value for money.

6. Problems/Issues

None of the problems/issues I have make the unit inoperable, some are even preferences that I would put into the Koolertron `suggestion box' for future firmware updates, but for what it's worth here they are:

I had a particular problem with radio reception as my brand new car had a different aerial setup from the previous model year that Koolertron developed the unit for. I am confident that some additional components (which Kuletong are supplying) will resolve this issue.

I would have liked a `shuffle' mode on the SD card and DVD music player.

I would have preferred if the firmware allowed the GPS mouse to remain `hot' (powered) as it does with OEM units - this would mean that GPS locks were instant when starting up.

I think in future Koolertron will have to cater for the possibility of twin diversity aerials in their units as these are becoming far more common in European cars. Perhaps the ability to take both connections with a dip switch to activate the diversity circuit would be an acceptable route to manufacture?

I would have liked to be able to adjust the `night' setting of the screen completely independently of the day setting. The programmed difference between lights on and lights off is not ideal for me.

The manual - I was grateful that Koolertron included a printed manual, but as it was clearly written by someone who wasn't fluent in English it was useless. Even allowing for the grammar, the manual structure was not written from an operator/function/workflow perspective - essential in any good technical authoring.

7. Summation

This unit was less than 16% of the cost of the OEM option in my new car, yet in most areas it is far superior. It is therefore excellent value for money. The manual is poor and written in Chinglish as is usually the case with such products. The quality and fit and feel far exceeded my expectations and were my biggest concern until the unit arrived. The settings and options are complex and it may be worthwhile having the unit professionally installed if you are not technologically and automotive competent. There are a few minor issues with the interface software but nothing which cannot be worked around acceptably. All in all - a superb product that far exceeded my expectations. If you're wondering whether to buy this or not - just do it - you won't regret it!
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1.0 out of 5 stars Poor quality product, 26 Oct 2014
This review is from: Koolertron For 2009-2013 Subaru Legacy Indash DVD GPS Navigation With dual-core/3Zone POP 3G/WIFI/20 Disc CDC/ DVD Recording/ Bluetooth handsfree / Steering wheel control / Phonebook / IPOD / USB / SD / Game (8G sd card with 3D navi map) (Electronics)
Cheaply made waste of money. Don't buy one you will regret it
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