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Justin Jackson

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The Kenwood DDX9902S is a double-DIN multimedia receiver built around compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. By integrating the capabilities and connectivity of your smartphone, the Kenwood radio becomes your control center for all sorts of smartphone functions. You have access to voice control via Siri or Google Now features, GPS mapping, traffic information, weather updates, or even have your messages or schedule read to you with both hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. Take a look at the site here. Think of something while driving? No problem; you can leave reminders for yourself that are automatically stored in your phone when you leave the car. The CarPlay or Android Auto functions basically turn the screen of the unit into the controls for your phone, and the list of available apps is growing weekly.

When using the CarPlay or Android Auto apps, the screen of the radio becomes your control panel and is designed to be very similar looking to the way the app looks on your phone. This aids in ease of use and minimizes the time you need to take your eyes off the road. Until you experience the convenience and amazing ease of use CarPlay or Android Auto brings, it’s difficult to understand. Once you try it, the technology quickly becomes something you just won’t want to do without.

Of course, the DDX9902S is a lot more than just a tool to interface with your phone. It’s also an extremely capable DVD player and audio source, with built-in Pandora, iHeart Radio and Aupeo apps. An optional SXV300 tuner is all that’s required for Sirius/ XM functionality. The Kenwood unit is also fully compatible with the iDataLink Maestro, which is perhaps the best OEM integration module currently available for many popular vehicles.

Operation of the unit is done primarily via the high quality 6.95-inch 16:aspect ratio TFT touchscreen display. There are hard buttons below the screen for common adjustments like volume, AV, audio, telephone/voice as well as the eject button. Several of these buttons are dual function; by pressing and holding them, you can access other functions like a rearview camera, for example.

The DDX9902S comes with an HD Radio tuner and supports playback for almost any type of CD format, including DivX, iPod control, playback from SD Card or USB drive. Of course, full Bluetooth connectivity is there to provide hands-free telephony with caller ID and storage of up to 600 of your phone’s contacts in the unit’s memory. Audio streaming is available via any of the typical (HFP/A2DP/AVRCP/SSP) modes, and it also uses the highest quality Bluetooth audio support in the form of the AptX codec.

The Kenwood DDX9902S is fully compatible with an optional rearview camera and can be configured to automatically switch to the camera view when you put the car in reverse, or you can view the camera output anytime via a button on the front panel. If your car is equipped with steering wheel controls, they can be retained using an optional adapter or the iDatalink Maestro.

On the audio performance side of things, the DDX990includes a built-in four-channel amplifier and three sets of pre-amp outputs with a full five-volt capability. Also included is a DSP processor with a seven-band equalizer. You can adjust things for yourself and save the settings as a user curve or you can simply select any of the seven available preset curves. Additional sound tuning comes via built-in crossovers with the front and rear channels getting eight selectable frequencies and a choice of four different slopes. The sub outputs have a low-pass crossover with five frequencies and also four available slopes, as well as a subwoofer level control, and a sub output phase switch.

Rear panel connections include a single USB port, an HDMI input, front, rear and sub pre-outs, AV input, rear seat audio and video outputs, aux input, rear camera input, GPS antenna input, and the optional steering wheel controller input. The rear camera view can include adjustable parking assist guidelines, or none at all if you prefer.

. ProGuide50.com


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