This is sure to have Alpine looking over its shoulder...
Bluetooth specialist Parrot, which is more famous for making car kits that connect to head units than head units themselves, has come up with the RK8200 - an all-in-one solution of the highest calibre.
Looking mighty similar to Alpine's uber iDA-X001, the RK8200 however has a few more tricks up its sleeve. Rather than focus so heavily on iPod connectivity, it incorporates a Bluetooth handsfree kit (with A2DP & voice recognition) to pair with both mobile phones and Bluetooth equipped MP3 players, internal memory to store over 300 tracks, an SD card slot to play files directly from flash, a USB port to support external drives and MP3 players and even an inline 3.5mm jack for everything else.
Furthermore, Parrot has thrown in an FM tuner with 48 presets and (somehow) managed to create enough space behind the removable head unit that devices can be stored safely there to avoid clutter or visible wires. Oh, and I didn't even get to that gorgeous display yet...!
Fronting all this up is a beautiful 2.4in 262k colour six line screen with ultra wide viewing angle so it can be seen clearly by both driver and passengers. Everything from phone information, contacts, caller names and numbers to playlists, album covers, artists and track titles can be displayed. Meanwhile, navigation is via a slick iDA-X001-ish rotary wheel and eight dedicated buttons.
The price for all this? Just £149.99 - which makes it exactly half the price of Alpine's headliner when it arrives towards the end of the year. Are we impressed? I very much think so...
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