Audio Buyer’s Guide: Head Units

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  • 11_KDC-X995_K_BASIC_SWL
    Kenwood KDC-X995
    Kenwood’s got your solution if double-DIN head units aren’t your style. The KDC-X995 CD receiver is Kenwood’s top-of-the-line head unit, and for the first time in this style, they’ve included HD radio, Bluetooth and Pandora Internet Radio. Everything can be controlled via the front panel of the unit, which adds to driver safety and convenience. The volume knob even mimics many of the iPod functions for easier operation. <a href=""></a>; $380
  • XNV-770BT_AVN2_front_layered_lg
    Sony XNV-770BT
    The XNV-770BT comes preloaded with TomTom’s huge map database. That means in the U.S. alone, it includes 1 million more miles of roads than other GPS brands. Other TomTom technologies include IQ Routes, which plans your path according to actual traffic speeds instead of speed limits, and Advanced Lane Guidance, which will show which lane to take in complicated situations. They’ll have to fire the chick who says “recalculating,” because you won’t be missing exits anymore. <a href=""></a>; $1,300
  • Pioneer AVIC-Z130BT_navi screen 5in
    Pioneer Electronics AVIC-Z130BT
    The AVIC-Z130BT will do more than just help your talentless directional abilities. Without breaking a sweat, the included Radio Data Service-Traffic Message Channel tuner provides an overlay of real-time traffic conditions on the map. This allows you to make those quick decisions to hop off the highway and adjust your route, avoiding sitting in traffic wasting your gas. If you do get stuck in gridlock, though, the AVIC- Z130BT still has HD radio, DVD playback and iPod connectivity to entertain you. <a href=""></a>; $1,499
  • NX501 Main Selection Screen
    Clarion NX501
    Clarion’s NX501 is packed with awesome features, but what really sets it off is the way it utilizes flick operation similar to that of an iPod to make searching your music library faster. Got that hot jam on your iPod but it’s way at the end of your 2,000-song playlist? No worries, just a swipe of the fingers starts the list scrolling all the way to your favorite tracks. No more pushing the “next” button for each song you want to skip—just flick and choose. <a href=""></a>; $1,000

Story: Andrew Link