JVC KD-AVX77 (El Kameleon) – A Review

31 03 2010

Since the time I bought my new Car in March last year (2009), I was on the lookout of a good Music System for it. I was looking for a music system which could have at least the following features (if not more):

  1. Full Color Display
  2. CD/DVD Playback without the need of an extra screen
  3. Front USB Input
  4. Bluetooth Connectivity for Mobile Phones

Honestly, I’ve been a big fan of Pioneer Car Audio systems and this time also I started my search with Pioneer. Unfortunately, I wasn’t too impressed with the options they were offering as they didn’t suffice all the points as mentioned above in the Single DIN category, but their Double DIN models did have the features I was seeking. However, I wasn’t interested in buying a Double DIN model even though my Car had a Double DIN option as I was planning to get the system imported from the United States and wasn’t too sure if the Double DIN would fit properly in my Car.

Feeling disappointed by Pioneer, I started researching Head Units from various other manufacturers like Alpine, Blaupunkt, Clarion, JVC, Kenwood and Sony. Usually, my products research doesn’t last more than 2-3 days, but this time it was almost over a month before I settled for a Head Unit which seemed to completely suit my requirements.

The Head Unit I finally ordered was the JVC KD-AVX77 and it took over a month after I placed the order at Amazon before it was finally delivered at my doorstep. Can’t blame Amazon for the delay though, as they delivered the unit at my friend’s place within 3 days of the order. It was my friend whose flight was scheduled after a month which caused the real delay.

My initial impressions as I unpacked the device were very mixed – It looked stylishly sleek, but I wasn’t sure if it will perform upto my expectations. I kept myself restrained so that I don’t get too excited and kept my verdict reserved till I actually use it as well as test all of it’s features myself. So, I rushed to my local Car Accessories Shop and got the Head Unit fixed by their most expert technician.

As soon as I started using the JVC Head Unit, one thing was very clear – this time JVC was hell bent on changing the industry standards and they had definitely raised the bar for the Car Audio industry similar to what the Apple iPhone did to the Mobile industry. And the industry took notice of KD-AVX77 too and the unit was awarded with two of the most prestigious technology awards:

2009 CES Best of Innovations Award for In-Vehicle Video

KD-AVX77

JVC KD-AVX77

Best Product in the “In-Car Head Unit” category for 2009-2010.

Here’s a component wise review of the device itself:

  • Display/Video – To say that the AVX77 has a good display will be a big understatement. The 5.4” Ultra-wide touch screen with fully customizable interface is simply amazing with a resolution and clarity which needs to be seen to be believed. You can change colors, wallpaper, and even arrange the icons as you see fit which is true customization. I regularly burn and play custom Music Video DVDs as well as Movie DVDs and the clarity, contrast & quality of the video is simply unbelievable for a Single DIN unit. The awkward aspect ratio means that most films are cropped, stretched, or shrunken and therefore could be a turn off for some.
  • Audio – With a Peak Power Output of 50 watts x 4 channels and RMS of 20 watts x 4 channels and a 7-Band iEQ equalizer with preset tone curves and High-pass filter, the Audio is crystal clear. The unit also features 5.1 Channel Dolby Digital/Dolby Pro Logic II for DVD playback. However, I will recommend that you combine this high quality unit with a good set of speakers to get optimum performance.
  • Radio Receiver – The unit features a HS-IVi tuner with 18FM/6AM presets. SIRIUS or XM Satellite Radio Ready, a subscription is required for service as well as purchase of either the SIRIUS Satellite Radio Package or the XM Radio Package. This device is also HD Radio Ready, however the JVC KT-HD300 HD Radio tuner is required which can be purchased separately.
  • Media Playback Options – You can play the following: CD, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD, DVD-R, DVD-RW, MP3, WAV, AAC and WMA. The unit supports Pen Drives and external Media players through the USB interface. You can even play and charge your iPod / iPhone from the unit and with an additional accessory (JVC KS-U30), you can play videos from these devices with ease. Playback of XviD or DivX is not confirmed as I wasn’t able to play any of these from the DVD I burnt with some of these files, which is quite surprising because AVX44 the earlier JVC model was confirmed to play them.
  • Bluetooth Connectivity – AVX77 is a star performer in this category. The built in Bluetooth can connect with as many as 5 Mobile Phones simultaneously. The Phone calls are loud and clear and making and receiving calls is smooth. The unit comes with a wired mic, which can be easily mounted on the dash board or anywhere near the steering wheel for best voice clarity while speaking. The mic is very effective, I’ve attached mine on the door light on the roof of my car and anyone (even the people sitting at the back) can converse easily without straining their vocal chords.
  • Extras worth Mentioning – Detachable Panel, Proximity Sensor, Dual Zone functionality, CEA-2006 compliant amplifier, Steering Wheel Remote Ready, CD Text Display, Mp3 ID3 Tag Display, Gold-plated A/V Input terminals, Gold-plated pre-out terminals, Split-screen mode to view both a rear view camera and video at the same time, Wallpaper capture, Dual-zone function, Multi-lingual display (10 Languages), Source specific volume control, Contrast control and Automatic Switchable dimmer are some of the features which make this Head Unit a stand-out from the crowd.

Final Verdict / Rating – After reading the above points, anyone would think that this Head Unit by JVC has scored a perfect 10 and its the best your money can buy. Well, honestly I would’ve made the same statement if I would’ve not been using it myself. It indeed is extremely well designed and built, however, the guys at JVC somehow couldn’t make the UI (User Interface) easy for the driver. Yes!, it’s true – you can customize the interface to your liking but it still feels a bit uneasy to control it while driving. I, for the most part utilize the supplied Remote control for controlling most of the functions, but that’s NOT how it should be. Also, I couldn’t play the popular Video formats – DivX or XviD, which was a big turn off for me. Therefore the JVC KD-AVX77 (El Kameleon) gets a rating of A or a score of 8 out of 10 from my side.

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3 responses

26 10 2010
Encryption Softwares :

when it comes to car audio, Pionner brand and Alpine seems to be the leader specially on car stereo and players`;~

14 11 2010
Light Fittings ·

both pioneer and kenwood makes high quality car audio equipments at a reasonable price ‘~~

15 11 2011
shampavman

Hi,
I just stumbled upon this post as I’m also looking for a single DIN system which can play videos( without the need for pesky motorized flip out screens).
I have a few concerns that I’d like to ask you about.
1.) If i want to play xvid or divx what needs to be done(if at all possible)
2.) Is there video playback support via USB or only CD/DVD can be used
3.) what is the cost of this device
4.) If you happen to live in bangalore , any idea what it might cost me to pick one up.
5.) Any alternatives you might have come across.?

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