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Old 05-31-2011, 12:34 PM   #1
dayusmc
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My Review of the Dynavin

Let me start off by saying this is my opinion….
When someone gives an opinion it is important to know a little bit of their background, because my opinion on this radio will be a lot different than someone who is a Linux programmer or maybe someone that has no experience with 12 volt electronics.
A little about me… I use to install car electronics eg.. Alarms, Remote Starts with Immobilizers, Car Radios, made full custom boundary loading sub boxes. So not just your run of the mill car Audio. Now I work in computers, Security, customer support, networking… I write registry entries, develop fixes for our custom images that we use on all our computers. The point of telling you my background is so that you can judge my opinion on how difficult or not this was for me. I also have had multiple Android phones and rooted all of them, installed custom ROMs on them (I did not make any of the custom ROMs), so I am little more familiar than the average users (like my wife) who just buys the phone and expects it to work.
My Impression of the Dynavin Unit-
The fit and look of the unit in the car is perfect- It looks like BMW made it! Installation was very easy , and even someone with minimal experience with this kind of stuff can install one with the VERY detailed instructions that Jeff sends with the unit. A couple hours at most taking your time.
The Radio side of the unit sounds better than the stock unit. But the interface is a little out dated, if you are use to newer Double Din Radios like Kenwood, Alpine, Pioneer, SoundStream, etc… It also lacks any advanced features like built in High and low pass filters for sub and interior speakers that you might be accustom to if you are use to aftermarket radios. The iPod interface is very limited, my wife did not like using it at all. The USB interface was better, but not by much. Neither showed the Album Art (same detail, but something iPod users are getting use to seeing) The Bluetooth phone works, but again is nowhere as good as an aftermarket radio. For me the best way is to link it to my phone and control it through my phone.
Before I get into the Android / Nav Side, let me just explain what I think I understand about GPS/Navigation. I could be wrong but… There are 2 kinds of basic GPS/ Navigation. Assisted GPS (A-GPS) that is what Google navigation is. You have to have network connection + GPS signal for it to work. The reason for this, is because the navigation provider eg. Google or whomever makes money off of advertizing while you use it. An example of that would be Points of interest- like bars, restaurants, etc.. It works different than the POIs that are preloaded into Tom Tom and other offline GPS system. That is why Google might not ever have a complete Offline navigation- they would make no money off it. The Other GPS is offline eg. Tom Tom, Garmin, ect. They work off of just a GPS signal and no network connection. They Make their money by selling you the unit with the software already on it.
The android side is different. It is new so I guess there are a lot of things to be sorted out with it. I bought this Radio as a radio/Nav I am not looking to check email, run game apps or anything like that off of it. If I want to do that stuff, I use my phone- Some people like gadgets, so it is great for them- I only want Nav and maybe Pandora off of the Android side of the unit. There may be some offline GPS solutions for it. But they are not plug and play as of right now. I am experimenting with different one now. CoPilot is one of them- The newest version of CoPilot does not work with the Dynavin- it requires a IMEI number that phones and such have to work. The Dynavin does not hace an IMEI number (At least the unit that I got didn’t). I have sent an email to CoPilot to see if there is any way to bypass the IMEI problem . Older versions of CoPilot seem to work, but you have to get then from bit torrents or other places and that is really not a legitimate way of getting them. There are other Nav programs that might work, but not sure if they work 100%. After I finally got the firmware upgrade to take (it took 3 time) before it stuck and there are reasons why sometimes it takes and sometime it isn’t just right. One thing you will need is to be able to tether the unit to some sort of wifi signal. If you have a wireless hotspot on your cell phone you would use that. I think most people have ROOTed cell phones with free wifi tether that have this unit so it is not a problem or you can pay the extra monthly fee to your cell phone carrier for that option. But Android Dynavin is not plug and play by any means, even with all the instructions and all the posts on the forum, it still takes work to get it right.
My Conclusion –
The Radio physically looks great in the car! It is the only way to put a Double Din in an e46 without extensive work cutting up the car (At least that I know of). It does sound better than the stock radio, but not as good as an aftermarket radio. The Offline NAV takes work to get going. I think the windows based unit (not sure because I never had one) might be a better for a more plug and play Radio/Nav because I believe to get the Nav/GPS to work all you do is buy an $80 program, but you would have to consult with the salesman to be sure. So if you are use to aftermarket (Kenwood, Alpine, Pioneer, etc..) Radios/Nav units this is by no means one of them. But it is better than stock. But unless you are willing to do a lot of playing around, you might want the windows based unit. So I think the Dynavin Win based unit would be better then stock, but not as good as an aftermarket- but it is the only way to out the Double Din screen in without cutting up your car. I think if I would have read this review, I would have bought on (Not sure if I would have bought the Win unit or the Android unit)and because I would have known more what to expect, I wouldn’t have been disappointed. Now I know someone is going to say all this info is already out there- but it is all over the place, I read about these units for hours but info is all over the place. So in short, they are worth buying as long as you are not expecting Alpine, Pioneer, Kenwood, ect.. Style Radio/Nav. I bought mine from Jeff and would recommend him, but I should have called him on the phone first to find out more about what to expect. Thanks for taking the time to read this and hopefully it helps you understand more of what to expect.
Kyle
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Old 05-31-2011, 01:26 PM   #2
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I think you broke it down pretty clearly there Kyle, the windows based unit is for those who want a conventional car stereo/nav. The android unit is for those who want extended functionality but are willing to and able to tinker to make it happen. The android unit has WAY more potential but out of the box is is basically a blank slate. What apps you choose will make it into whatever YOU want it to be. DO NOT get the android based unit if you just want a basic GPS system.

I have always said that this unit is more like the stock stereo when it comes to audio features, it has just the basic audio adjustments, bass/treble/fader/balance. If you want more, look into something else or run a preamp EQ processor that provides the more advance features (thats what I have in my personal car)

I cannot emphasis enough....anyone considering a dynaivn, you MUST read my dynaivn info post, not the whole thread, just the first page. I go into detail about the functions of the unit, and the good and the bad aspects of it. Im seeing a lot of posts these days with "new" criticisms of the unit that I wrote about a year ago

By the way, I like this post better than the one you posted in the other thread....

Last edited by jeffb325@NavigationSolutions; 05-31-2011 at 01:38 PM.
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Old 05-31-2011, 01:39 PM   #3
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The one Big problem is that there are some many post out there, you might end up bouncing around around for hours reading all different things (Like I did) I read so many posts it made me more confused. That is why I made this post, with a simple title. It is very basic, but in the end I think it will help people understand to call you before buying.

This Android unit is in my wifes car. For her I would have been better off buying the WinCE one (Just because seems more plug and play) If I had a BMW e46, and read this review, I probably would have bought the Android unit. On a side note, until the GPS is proved to be reliable, I sort have found a safety net.. I installed CoPilot on my wife's Cell phone. That way she will never have to worry if there is a glitch in the Radio, she still will have a working Offline GPS (She Travels for work, so GPS is very important)

If you know what to expect, you wont be disappointed at all...
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Old 05-31-2011, 01:46 PM   #4
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Look at the end of the day, if you want a lot of fun functionality and ease of installation, spend 700 bucks and get a dynavin. They are awesome values. If you are an audiophile and want high end sound, spend two to three times as much and get a high end double din from some of the other players.

I don't understand this mentality that you can spend little and get a lot. You get what you pay for. Holds true whether you're comparing steak houses or head units.
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Old 05-31-2011, 01:47 PM   #5
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Yeah, some of these threads are getting a bit out of hand, 100 pages a piece is a bit much .....Ive actually been migrating some of these posts (like the FAQ) over to my website.....its not done yet but im trying to get it narrowed down to only a couple pages so that all of the critical info is in one place instead of spread out over hundreds of pages and multiple threads.

Last edited by jeffb325@NavigationSolutions; 05-31-2011 at 02:14 PM.
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Old 05-31-2011, 02:05 PM   #6
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BTW, Jeff
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Old 05-31-2011, 05:53 PM   #7
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Nice writeup and a bit better than your other post in the Dynavin thread but jeez man my eyes bled trying to read that, breaking your post up into bullet points or using paragraphs would make it a lot more legible.
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Old 05-31-2011, 07:24 PM   #8
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I would say it is a fair assessment of where the android dynavin is right now. But it is changing rapidly. Not very many weeks have gone by without a firmware update of some sort, and Jeff has alluded to yet more capabilities that he has solutions for. I think it is very early to review the android side of this unit. I say this only because 2 years from now someone will do a search on this forum and pull this thread up and think that this is representative of where the unit is. Granted, you have to draw the line and review somewhere, I just think this particular review is early.

I'll also point out that this particular review ignores "assisted GPS" entirely. The android dynavin does navigation in a way that no other car navigation system that I'm aware of can do - it does it like your phone. Speak your destination into a google maps search, use google navigation to get you there turn by turn. It is quite simply brilliant and, in my opinion, the way to use this system and the reason to buy it. As I have said in other threads, offline nav is for getting you out of a jam where you don't have an internet signal. 99.9% of the time I use my dynavin android navigation I will be using it with a data connection using google navigation. It is quite fantastic at that already and I expect it to continue to get refined.

Another thing left out of this review is the android media capability. I use android for all music in the system. I do not use IPOD, bluetooth, Aux, USB, SD or any of the other ways the dynavin allows you to connect. All of my music is loaded on the SD card and played through android and I quite like it. It could be better if the system had a shut-down or sleep capability (maybe even with an internal battery) that would allow it to save the state of where I was so that I can pick up my playlist where I left off whenever I turn the car on. Maybe future versions will have that capability, or maybe the current version can get it. Anyway, literally the only two things I use any other part of the dynavin for is the backup camera, and bluetooth phone calls.

Last edited by Danoff; 05-31-2011 at 07:26 PM.
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Old 06-01-2011, 12:14 AM   #9
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Look at the end of the day, if you want a lot of fun functionality and ease of installation, spend 700 bucks and get a dynavin. They are awesome values. If you are an audiophile and want high end sound, spend two to three times as much and get a high end double din from some of the other players.

I don't understand this mentality that you can spend little and get a lot. You get what you pay for. Holds true whether you're comparing steak houses or head units.
It's not three times the price though.

And as for running an outboard EQ - I tried that and the dynavin messes up the output frequencies at different volume levels which makes it useless.

It's not 'great value', it's a half assed solution. Thats what it is.
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Old 06-01-2011, 01:36 AM   #10
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Scotty_89 - what are you now using in your car?
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Old 06-02-2011, 02:17 AM   #11
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Very informative review. It really sums up the Dynavin unit, and as an audiophile it just doesnt have the flexibility of aftermarket headunits. Thanks!
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Old 06-02-2011, 11:49 AM   #12
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I would like to add a little..

First sorry for the Long OP with no breaks or bullets I am a bad writer!!

This unit is in my wife's car, even though her phone is rooted and has WiFi, She isn't going to remember to turn it on and off to use NAV- That is why I needed the offline NAV. She just want to get in the car and go.

The iPod part- She hates the no resume part (as everyone else stated already), so using the iPod is out for her. Again, she wants to get in and go...

We were driving yesterday and she tried switching to the android part of the radio and it would come up, so she had to turn the radio completely off and then on again for it to come up.

I really would like the radio half of this unit to be more developed. First and foremost, this is a radio. iPod no auto resume was a big killer for my wife. She uses the USB stick but every time she shut off the car and turns it back on, is rescans the USB stick again- takes a long time to start playing the music. But at least is has auto resume.

The A-GPS, I wasn't talking about voice entering destinations, but about actual A-GPS. Meaning google's GPS (A-GPS is how companies like Google make money from you using it)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assisted_GPS

The more I use this unit, the more I am unhappy with the Radio side. The Android side, is just for GPS for us, so that is fine. But man is the Radio side really bad.

I guess the point of buying this unit was to keep it stock looking and ease of installation- and that part was great. But the Radio side is just really bad. The Bluetooth is really bad. I didn't install the mic because I read in one post that the on-board mic was better. While my wife called me while she was driving- unbearable. The BT interface is really bad as far as functioning goes also.

I guess if you are really looking for after-market type of performance, this unit doesn't really cut it.

I told my wife we would give it a month to see if she can get use to it, if she doesn't like it in a month, I will put an Alpine Double Din in it for her. I know it is a Pain in the ASS to do the duct work, but if done super clean I think it would work. I just have to research the duct modification some more. Doing the work is no problem. My friend is a fabricator, so I can have a real nice aluminum piece made for it instead of using ABS plastic. I just have to figure out if the duct work mode restricts the air flow alot.
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Old 06-02-2011, 12:51 PM   #13
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dayusmc, try getting a SD card and using the Android side for music.

It will setup the music pretty nicely with artist/almbum like ipod and also give you album art if it has any. And as I understand has auto resume. Try that, maybe your wife will be happier with using the Android music player .
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Old 06-02-2011, 12:56 PM   #14
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dayusmc, try getting a SD card and using the Android side for music.

It will setup the music pretty nicely with artist/almbum like ipod and also give you album art if it has any. And as I understand has auto resume. Try that, maybe your wife will be happier with using the Android music player .
I don't believe the steering wheel controls work for music on the Android side, but I will try. She Defiantly wants the steering wheel controls to work.
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Old 06-02-2011, 12:56 PM   #15
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I think you are right in that they do not work. Maybe jeff knows.
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Old 06-02-2011, 12:59 PM   #16
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I think you are right in that they do not work. Maybe jeff knows.
Ya, I think I read somewhere on here they don't work. I just wish the Radio side was better on the thing. Most likely I will be pulling the Dynavin out and putting a Alpine in. But I will wait until fall when I have more time!!
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Old 06-02-2011, 12:59 PM   #17
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I don't believe the steering wheel controls work for music on the Android side, but I will try. She Defiantly wants the steering wheel controls to work.
Volume works, track selection does not.
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Old 06-02-2011, 01:01 PM   #18
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Volume works, track selection does not.
Thanks, You save me the trouble of trying. I know she won't go for that....
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Old 06-02-2011, 01:02 PM   #19
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hmm.. I am going to pick one up, I don't think I'll do the double din install because I don't want to hack away at my dash. I'd probably go with a OEM IPOD solution and an aftermarket nav in that case.

Good luck!
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Old 06-02-2011, 01:12 PM   #20
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Look at the end of the day, if you want a lot of fun functionality and ease of installation, spend 700 bucks and get a dynavin. They are awesome values. If you are an audiophile and want high end sound, spend two to three times as much and get a high end double din from some of the other players.

I don't understand this mentality that you can spend little and get a lot. You get what you pay for. Holds true whether you're comparing steak houses or head units.
I dont understand your mentality of getting defensive when someone CLEARLY states their opinion and how it was formed, even going to the trouble of identifying their background so one can decide on the bias given to the opinion/review.

Value is relative, if the unit doesnt work as one expects, there is NO value present.

I was excited about the Dynavin, ready to pull our nav and switch over. Reading the reviews caused a bit of concern and now that I have finally had my hands on one for a bit, consider this review to be spot on. In the near future the unit might be great but as it is now, my SO would not be happy with it in her car.

It is good to see a product with good support and a vendor spending a large amount of time servicing the forums. Hopefully the bugs will be worked out and the product continues to improve.
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