Head of the Class
Eclipse's new head unit foray could be described as nanotechnology for car stereo. The AVN7000 ($2,200 SRP ) is a seven-inch wide TFT Display and DVD multi-source receiver with built-in navigation. While this technology has been around for the last couple of years, the development here is a design in which the entire unit is DIN-sized with no hideaway boxes. Therefore, the installer does not have to be concerned with where to bury the hideaway in shrinking dashboard real estate. (How many black boxes have you replaced in the kick panels because of a passenger with high-heels wrecking the connections underneath the only space in the front you could bury the black box?) The use of a skinny 1.8-inch hard disc drive (HDD) allows a thin build of the entire box.
Eclipse's engineers focused on manufacturing space-saving circuit boards that were densely packed with modules comprised of Digital Audio Converters, memory and flash memory-integrated circuits coupled with the 1.8 HDD that leads to a unit that packs many features into a DIN-sized box. Also new is a computing algorithm dubbed the "Ultima Engine," that accelerates the processing time of computing the route and, moreover, adds anti-aliasing technology to prevent 'jaggies'—the unit automatically determines a smooth route. On the audio side, the AVN7000 can decode all of the latest surround-sound formats. Additionally, the unit offers user customization at a level that conventionally would require qualified technicians and test equipment. By making use of E-iSERV, ECLIPSE's online server, any user can precisely calibrate and set system parameters that are specific to his or her own vehicle.
Pioneer (MSRP T.B.A.) latest offering in navigation is the AVIC-Z1 double-DIN flagship model. The unit features improved voice recognition that allows a user to state a destination to which the unit will calculate a route. Instead of finding, for example, LAX International Airport in the Point-of-Interest database within the nav system (sometimes a clumsy and infuriating procedure), simply saying "L-A-X," to the AVIC-Z1 will map the course.