Source selection is easy to use with either a strip of graphic choices across the bottom of the screen, or while playing a source, via a down button in the upper left hand of the screen. The print of the Pioneer AVH-X5700BHS is easily understood in either case, and a touch of the arrow shows a large list of available sources. While driving, both of these menus are very easy to understand and use.
A physical “source” selection button was missing, oddly. Given the ability to shut the screen off (but keep the receiver playing) by pressing the “DISP” button, I would have thought it necessary to include a feature like source selection along with volume, mute and a few other functions.
Playing different sources is quite easy, with the advantage of a well designed source menu system I switched from cd to radio to DVD with barely any concentration required, which was a wonderful experience.
Pairing the phone has to be done manually, and requires you go into the setup screen, select “input/output” then choose if the phone is to be hardware via USB or connect by Bluetooth. I had trouble using Bluetooth when the initial setup screen asks you if the phone is iPhone or “other”, then it seems like once that choice has been made, adding a phone via Plugging the phone directly into the USB doesn’t operate any phone functions.
Using an Apple iOS 6 or 7 (any iPhone 4S or up) gives you access to the Siri Eyes Free functionality, which means you can get texts read to you, play an app or make/take calls and see the relevant info on-screen. It will work with the steering wheel control of any car that has a voice controller and the right adapter – which at this point is quite a few of them.
While the system can remember as many as three Bluetooth products, Apple’s iOS 8 is not yet supported. As I have an iPhone 6 (iOS 8 is standard) I couldn’t get any of the 20+ apps to work with the deck. Luckily one of my coworkers has an iPhone 4, which worked like a champ. The AppRadio Live, iHeart radio, Mixtrack and Waze apps all came up in the appropriate sections of the deck and played without issue. Soon enough I anticipate iOS 8 compatibility to be something more than call data and Pandora, and with it you can play even more with the apps on a new iPhone.
Placing a call with the voice command (a picture of a talking head in the lower left corner) was a clunky process. While the Siri Eyes Free feature is functional with the deck, I didn’t see any type of confirmation that the instruction was received or being processed.
The touchscreen is highly accurate, but the “shelf” I referred to in the previous section does get in the way of touching the lowest quarter inch of the screen.
The included remote control is quite functional. The buttons are large enough to operate while driving, and remote itself is slim but reasonably tough. Most drivers won’t use it, but if you are one to allow other passengers control your music they may get some use out of it.
The setup system is reasonably well organized, but not quite as elegant as some of it’s competition. I found myself having not just having to go not just to a setup screen, but I had multiple setup menus to choose from. This is good in that it limits the exposure you have to a certain task (like audio or Bluetooth setup) but the chances increase that you have to refer to the instruction book to determine the right setup screen you have to use to get everything truly personalized.
I have to give Pioneer props from an audio standpoint. Beyond the 12 channel EQ being incredibly easy to manipulate, performing tasks like adjusting a crossover point, optimizing a listeners position, or even changing the relative power of an individual woofer or tweeter - it’s all simply excellent. The interface is graphic, completely understandable and completely unintimidating.
Most importantly, the interface offers everyone that truly cares about audio in their vehicle a chance to feel comfortable making changes as needed, so anyone can get the best sound out of this deck. This is what adjusting sound is supposed to feel like.