Head of the Class
The company claims a lot of linguistic research was put into the text-to-speech capability of the Z1. Names that are usually mispronounced (or not spoken at all by most navigation systems) are now said correctly. The unit also is intuitive. Should a driver that takes the same route home every day that is longer in distance because of having to run a daily errand, the unit will 'learn' this behavior and not attempt to recalculate the route or give an off-course warning.
Alpine has introduced some oversized head units in the past, but no recent double-DIN offerings. Installers petitioned Alpine for a double-DIN solution, so for 2006, the IVA-W200 offers DVD/CD/MP3/WMA playback with an integrated 6.5-inch touch-screen QVGA display. The touch screen uses Alpine's proprietary 3rd generation PulseTouch technology, which gives the user tactile feedback confirmation when touched. The IVA-W200 is enabled to play back most of today's popular media formats: iPod, XM or Sirius Satellite Radio, HD Radio and select Microsoft WMA/MP3 players. The latest Alpine iPod solution provides control and playback of iPod songs at even faster speeds and the unit also has a unique iPod search feature called "Percentage Search." This feature takes the iPod's song library and assigns a percentage breakdown by dividing the song list into six percentage groupings, based on the IVA-W200's six preset buttons. The number of songs in each percentage group depends on the total number of songs on the iPod. So if you have 60 songs on your iPod, you can easily get to song number 50 by hitting preset number five.
JVC's KD-AVX1 made a big splash when it was introduced last year as being a great single-DIN option for those vehicles that wanted video but did not have the ergonomics for a motorized head unit (for example, those with air ducts or vehicle controls right above the head unit slot). The unit's built-in 3.5-inch screen was a big hit, however.