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Pioneer AVIC-Z120BT Navigation System Review

All-In-One Fun

The AVIC-Z120BT Navigation System from Pioneer Electronics

While more and more automakers are offering all-in-one infotainment consoles as options on their new vehicles, Pioneer makes a strong case for forgoing an expensive factory-installed unit in favor of its own high-tech take on the navigation system, the futuristic and user-friendly AVIC-Z120BT. Combining cutting-edge navigation software — Pioneer claims their technology is about 18 months ahead of that used by most car manufacturers — with smart phone compatibility and an endless array of entertainment features, the AVIC-Z120BT provides true hands-free functionality in an integrated and easy-to-use on-board computer.

Featuring a comprehensive map database that covers the entire United States and Canada along with 12 million points of interest such as restaurants and gas stations, Pioneer's Tele Atlas system takes the stress out of on-the-road navigation. The AVIC-Z120BT's advanced hands-free technology makes things even easier, with voice recognition software allowing drivers to input destination addresses verbally.

However, what really sets the AVIC-Z120BT apart from its competitors is its smart phone integration. With the help of the free Avic Feeds app, smart phone users can search for destinations on Google Maps and send them instantly to the navigation system via Bluetooth. The AVIC-Z120BT also has the ability to access your smart phone's contact lists and music library, allowing for quick and easy music streaming and iPhone-esque scrolling with its touch-slide screen.

Other entertainment features include dual zone audio/video with built-in CD/DVD and optional backseat monitors, satellite radio capability, and Pandora internet radio for iPhone users who subscribe to the service. Environmentally-conscious drivers will also enjoy monitoring their driving habits with the ECO Graph function, which provides information on fuel costs and CO2 emissions, and gives suggestions for ways to improve driving efficiency. The AVIC-Z120BT can be fully integrated on a large number of vehicles, with installation costs running anywhere between $100 and $400 depending on the make and model.

Reviewed by Nicholas Winfrey

Price: $1,599 plus installation

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(Updated: 10/07/10 NW)

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