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DIY on installing an inexpensive Android radio/headunit to replace the standard CD30 radio.. (and probably the PCM3)

4570 Views 100 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  deilenberger
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It's being shipped tomorrow. It will be replacing a Rosen headunit that replaced another Rosen headunit that replaced the CD30 radio. I realized I never use CD's in the car so having that was a waste of time, and I can save money and still have SiriusXM by using the Android Sirius app (which is free to use if you have another car subscription, which I do) and either getting another 4G/LTE data connection from Verizon ($10/month) or just using my Android phone as a hotspot and since it will be connected to the unit for Android-Auto anyway - just streaming the data through the "Ethernet" USB connection (they call it that, I didn't..) from the phone. Plus I'll have Torque, so I can make up a nice instrument panel.. lots of real-estate to play with.

More info when it arrives.. they did do an almost perfect job of matching the styling and knobs that Porsche used for the console components. Plus I insist on buttons and knobs - way less distracting than doing all the good stuff via a touchscreen. Cost is less than $300 - a bit more affordable than the very nice but horribly costly Porsche Classic replacement (also Android..):

Porsche PCCM Plus:
Automotive design Car Vehicle audio Technology Plant

Nice - but not available in black yet (was supposed to be available 2/23) and $1,300-1,500.

Update: 04/15/23 - received notification it's been shipped (via DHL) - expected before 4/21/23. Also have had excellent communications with the factory representative in China. Questions have been answered within 12 hours - or usually if I wait until 9PM - instantly.
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It arrived and was unpacked today. Photos to come. Spent several hours going to a foreign car junkyard and obtaining a part I was missing... more on this later. Right now - off to the gym.
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OK - a bit of info: - the 2nd one, 2GB/32GB 8-core, 4G-LTE, Bluetooth, Wifi, Android-12. $225 + shipping and tax = around $255 total.

The trip to the junkyard was a quest to find a factory PCM connector for the car. Whoever installed the first aftermarket radio in it hacked up the harness, leaving that connector behind with about 1" of wire sticking out of it. This headunit was supposed to come with a plug-and-play harness that connected directly to the factory radio harness and transitioned to the connections on the headunit. I waited until it arrived to make certain it DID come that way, and I happily found it did. If my harness hadn't been hacked, I would have possibly installed it today..

Anyway - I wanted the connector with a longer length of wire on it so I could stagger the splices back into the harness and avoid having a very thick difficult spot in the repaired harness (I'm debating soldering it, or using Positap Connectors (I have skills dating back 70 years with soldering, but I also have a small pile of Positap connectors.. depends on how flexible I feel tomorrow.)

The connectors:
Passive circuit component Circuit component Hardware programmer Microcontroller Electronic instrument

The source of the new connector:
Automotive tire Hood Motor vehicle Bumper Automotive lighting

That's a rather sad story -but I'm not superstitious (one Volvo I bought many years ago had a murder committed in it..) and this one was the easiest to get to. A pair of tin-snips got me the connector and 6" of harness to splice into.

So - what'd the radio look like? And what came with it?

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It was manufacturered last Friday and arrived on my doorstep exactly a week later, on the predicted delivery date. Not bad! The dealer on AliExpress claimed to be the manufacturer for it and said they supplied the other sellers selling basically the same thing for the same price. I can't say if that's true - but they were quite responsive with information and responding to questions I had. I had specified the radio connector I wanted to hookup with, and that the faceplate had to be black (it's also available for 987.1 and 997.1 cars in the silver color.) That wasn't an issue.

Opened the box:
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Yes - they even provided a trim removal pry bar. I was impressed. And LOTS of cables/connectors.

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That's the primary harness - with a Can-Bus decoder, two connectors to the headunit, and one to the existing harness (once I splice the replacement connector in.) It seems well labeled - especially for the wires that aren't part of the connectors.

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A bonus in the box - a dashcam/dvr, controlled by the headunit. Since I already have a small dashcam I'm not sure if I'll bother with this one, but I might try it just to see if it provides better night vision. The headunit has three video inputs, one for the rear and then two auxilary video inputs.

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A BIG bag of connectors and stuff. Connectors, antennas, antenna cable adaptors. Lots of "stuff" that isn't so much plug and play.. have to find a place for it.

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Some of the stuff.. labeled. That should be WiFi, not WiWi..

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Connectors for external amps, subwoofer amp, two auxiliary camera inputs, and the SIM card.

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Rear of the unit.

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And the side of the unit. This was interesting since the carrier for the stock PCM in the center console uses a lug at the rear of the PCM to support the rear (the purpose of the top mounting clip in the photo) and has two cutouts in the cage the PCM fits into for locking it in place (the bottom clips.) It appears it should be quite easy to mount the actual unit, and since the unit is about 3" shallower than the unit it's replacing, there should be adequate room behind it for the various cables, boxes, and connectors.

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A front view. Hopefully tomorrow we'll get to see it installed and working.

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VOLUME KNOB! Love it...

How deep is this HU? Looks like there are a lot of wires and cables, so having more space back there would be great. The other Erisin unit looked a lot shallower, while this one seems deep... so I'm wondering if you still have space behind it. Of course, you may not know how much space you have "left" as you haven't installed it yet... but I would like to know...
VOLUME KNOB! Love it...

How deep is this HU? Looks like there are a lot of wires and cables, so having more space back there would be great. The other Erisin unit looked a lot shallower, while this one seems deep... so I'm wondering if you still have space behind it. Of course, you may not know how much space you have "left" as you haven't installed it yet... but I would like to know...
Working on it now.. it's not as shallow as I'd hoped, but I will be removing things like the Sirius/XM receiver wiring which takes up some room, and generally tidying up there. It's perhaps 1-1.5" less deep. I'll try for a side-by-side shot. What is frustrating is wiring the replacement radio connector back in.. it's impossible to crimp in-line splice connectors in that space if I try to do it with my professional tool.. not enough room. The handyman versions of these tools produce real iffy junctions, so.. I'm now soldering them. I thought I had PosiTap in-line connectors, but all I can find that I have is actual PosiTaps.. in various sizes. Not so useful.

So far - I started around 11AM, it's now 3PM and I'm just at the stage of connecting wiring. Sigh. Eilenberger Law #10 on Time.. Laws - this one-hour job might be finished sometime tonight - or not.
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I'm still at it. It took about 6-7 hours to restore the connector to the wiring on the car. I ended up soldering the splices, and using shrinkwrap on them. It was the only way to make reliable connections.

I then sat the unit in my lap and plugged the wiring together. First puzzling thing - the adaptor harness from the Porsche connector to the radio was fine, and the Can-Bus was fine (it uses Can-Bus for various things like the reverse camera) BUT - for some reason known only to them - there is an extra, big, black, UNUSED connector attached to that harness.

Circuit component Material property Electronic component Electronic engineering Cable

The thing on the green circle - has no function except making it harder to install the unit.

Am I happy - not yet - at the moment I'm regretting I even started this job. I've got to find some way to secure the thing in the dash so it doesn't slide out if I accelerate hard.

BTW - I just sent the following to their support, we'll see how quick they reply now that the item was delivered...

heregoes official chat function said:
I have received the unit, and am working on installing it. There are issues with the installation:

1. It doesn't actually fit. And there is no real mounting for the unit. It basically is loose and floating around the radio recess. The clips on the sides don't do a thing to help that. Just based on that issue I wouldn't recommend this radio to anyone.

2. Extra wiring. I ordered it with the adaptor for my car (if you read back in the messages you'll see what I ordered.) The adaptor works, but it has one big black connector that has nothing to connect to it, and that black connector is making it very difficult to get the unit into the radio opening in the dash all the way. Why is that extra adaptor on the harness?

3. Volume - it WAY too high and I'm afraid it will damage my loudspeakers. The iGo navigation app opens in Isreal and any button I press in the application makes a VERY VERY loud click noise, loud enough that I don't think the loudspeakers will last very long. The application also isn't sized to this screen size and all the controls and lettering are way too small for automotive use.

4. Overall volume. The unit is way too loud by default - when set to "3" it is overwhelmingly loud. I went through all sorts of menus looking for a way to change that, but with no real luck. I found the menu for setting default volumes for different applications, but changing the volume on it seemed to make no difference. It needs an overall gain adjustment.

5. The screen layout and buttons are somewhat confusing. What is the purpose of the last button in the row on the right side labeled SD? It seems to do nothing. Is it supposed to open for an SD card?

6. The radio application is awful. It's difficult to tune, it doesn't mute on empty frequencies and it's just a primitive pain to use. Is there something else I can use?

Now - please don't send me more boilerplate responses. Those will limit your sales since I will be reviewing this radio on Let me know what you'll do to make this right.


Circuit component Material property Electronic component Electronic engineering Cable


See the thing in the green circle - it has NO function on this installation. I'm very tempted to just hack it out of the harness, but I'm not sure if I'm returning this item or not.

7. ALL of the installation diagrams are showing the back of a different unit. It's not the same one as you sent me. While I could figure most of it out - it really is puzzling why you can't make instructions for the unit you're currently selling.
Back out to the garage - I see this finishing up sometime tomorrow morning.
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I've got it pretty much secured. Some 3/16" foam tape on both sides keeps it in place. I tiewrapped all the wiring up which made it slightly neater. And I explored it a bit so see what works, how it works and what I think of it.

The tuner function sucks eggs. It's sensitive enough, but the user interface sucks. No dial showing or displayed, just frequencies. The right knob which one might hope could be used to tune it instead mutes it. It has a scan feature, but it's not clear how it actually works. I can get it to scan, but it doesn't save the results of the scan, and it's difficult to get it to stop on one station so it can be stored. I've seen screen captures from Android devices like this that have a nice-looking tuner screen. I'll have to see if I can figure out how to add one.

Android Auto is WIRELESS - which apparently is rather rare on the current generation of radios. Despite telling it to auto-connect, I do have to go to AA on the phone and tell it to connect.. but once connected it does what people seem to expect to see AA do.

The Android screens look just like what you might expect, but I haven't figured out how to remove some things (a few EURO-only apps) I'd rather get rid of. I have successfully added Torque to the device. I'll see tomorrow about linking it to the OBD-II dongle that lives on my OBD-II port. I think I can amuse myself by laying out some neat screens... (like real water temperature! Yea!)

One really annoying thing - most of the time when a keyboard on it is active, it's overlaid by a semi-transparent green color overlay. That makes it hard to read the keys. While I don't need to see a keyboard if it's a real keyboard, I do need to see one if it's a virtual on-screen one. I haven't found how to turn that off or at least down.

The code for the extended user menu and developer's menu is 3386.... and it lets you into lots of more advanced stuff, not a lot useful particularly in the developer's menu.

As I mentioned to them in my complaints - the volume is just TOO DAMN LOUD. The volume goes from 0-10, at 3 it's way too loud. There are key/screen-touch noises made to help the user, but if I turn these on, there is no volume control for them and I think they're at 10 by default. I fear for my speakers. One menu (maybe advanced users) has a page for default volume settings for different apps and functions. I've tried changing them, and while it helps when you first open an app - it still has no effect on the warning tones. Major flaw IMHO.

Google Maps works - nicely with a WiFi connection (I haven't activated 4G-LTE yet) - and if you plot a route on it, it offers to download the maps needed to travel the route when you don't have connectivity. It also has iGo navigation. I was familiar with iGo (European I believe, or maybe Israeli) since the old unit used it. It looks a bit the same, and a bit different. One flaw with both - this has a 1280x720 screen resolution and I think both interfaces for both nav apps were designed with lower resolution in mind. The writing and buttons are all rather small, not good for car use where you don't want to be transfixed by the technology.

I hoped to put the GPS antenna in the center-dash-speaker hole since I thought I didn't have a center speaker. I took off the grille and it sure looks like I do have one, so more thinking about this. The antenna I used with the old system used a Euro antenna connector, not an SMA. So I may have to use the antenna that came with it.

I've got to download and load SiriusXM and remember to call them and cancel the account for this vehicle.

I'm also looking for a cheap monthly data-only 4G-LTE plan - apparently, these do exist, so I might want to give one a try. If anyone has experience with this - let me know.

Oh well - I'm REALLY tired - so the car is almost back together, but there are tools, wire clippings, all sorts of stuff that has to be put away - something to do tomorrow.

I'll report some more tomorrow, and I have more pics to share - screenshots, some mounting, and tidying up of the wiring. See'ya all tomorrow.
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More to come later tonight. But a FWIW - I received answers for most of my questions of the vendor, the only ones I need specific answers to are how to control the overall gain (volume) for the unit, and how to change screen resolutions for iGo and Google Maps. Oh - and the green keyboard overlay (I can't imagine thinking this was a good idea.. but there it is.)

It's pretty solidly mounted (they shipped a different size side clip for the unit - protrudes more from the case, this makes it fit more snuggly in the carrier in the console. I also left in place about 3/16" thick x 1"x2" pieces of foam rubber on each side of the unit case, and some very small strips of 1/8" thick rubber on either side of the bezel where the side panels of the console are. These snug it up quite nicely and center it in the opening.

Future (undone at the moment.. but.. planning..) stuff.. I ordered a male faraka to male SMA connector from Amazon. Be here tomorrow. It's to try the original GPS antenna with the unit, that one is mounted under the starboard side of the windshield cowl. If that works I won't have to mount the one that came with the unit.

Canceled my SiriusXM subscription for this car. Keeping the subscription for the Cayenne and have a streaming account to use for this unit.

Thinking about the installation of the 4G-LTE antenna. It's about 3.5" long by 5/8" wide by 1/8" thick. I'm thinking perhaps on the windshield behind the black surround painted on the glass. I imagine orienting it vertically should work OK. And it wouldn't be really obvious there.

Anyway - lots more pics to follow once I download them and process them.. probably later tonight.
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This post is mostly photos with a few comments along the way.

I basically was finishing up the installation today (total time - probably about 12 hours, going slowly and learning as I went along, plus I'm old and arthritic so I don't do things as quickly as I used to..) I managed to get an installation I'm almost happy with. There will be some more changes by the time I'm done with it.

And I need some help doing Android troubleshooting - if anyone is REALLY familiar with Android-12 and willing to swap some messages, please hit me up... the documentation that the vendor supplied is a classic example of a manual translated by Google Translate from a bad Chinese source file, and no one even coming close to proof-reading it. I add it here as an attachment (in PDF format) for anyone who likes to be amused by an absolutely unusable instruction manual...

So I'm back (it's 4/24/23) with some comments on the photos:


It's when I'm facing this sort of horror that I start to regret starting the job, but I forged ahead. This is about midway in disconnecting and connecting things.

Electrical wiring Computer hardware Electronic engineering Cable Engineering

Arggg!! The horror, the horror!

It did actually come to life, after a lot of sorting out of the wiring.
Electrical wiring Automotive design Computer hardware Electronic engineering Electronic instrument

Luckily I have a few bags with hundreds of the tiny tie-wraps used for cable-bundling kicking around the garage. These were my father's and I have no idea why he had so many, but they're very handy for bundling wires since I didn't want to use the very special cloth sticky tape German wiring harnesses use.

There is one remaining issue with this harness - it has an extra connector...
Circuit component Font Electronic engineering Electronic component Electrical wiring

The connector with the RED X isn't needed, never will be needed, and just gets in the way of things. In discussions with the vendor, they agreed that cutting it out of the harness wouldn't do anything bad - and might do something good. Right at the moment it's still in there - but not for long. That should make fitting the unit into the dash considerably easier.


Finally, it came to life... sitting on my knee. It made a noise when I found the tuner.. so it was working.

Font Electronic device Electric blue Multimedia Gadget

So I next went exploring Android-12. The system came with a choice of 4 different "Home Launcher" selections. It's possible to download and install more, but the 4 it has seemed OK to me. (I'll take photos of the ones it came with for a later posting..)

Audio equipment Gadget Output device Display device Gas

And I discovered the on-board "General Instruction manual - For Reference Only" which means it's missing a lot and some of it doesn't apply to Android 12:

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Some examples of the Instructions:
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Ones like "The default volume setting is valid" for the Default Volume Switch totally baffle me.

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This one seems like it might be useful - on setting the car logo so it displays when the unit boots up - if it had been understandable. There are somewhere somewhat conflicting instructions on how to do this..


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Stuff that happens (photo above) - this green overlay started randomly appearing on various screens of different apps.

The reverse image was one of the ones it really liked to happen in, and any screen with an onboard keyboard seemed to trigger it. What was it? The vendor had no idea. It isn't caused by hardware since the image of the car (in this photo) that's used for backup sensors (which I don't have) is clear and in black and white with no overlay. I tried looking at every setting on the unit (was in the garage from 9-12 PM checking settings) and NOTHING changed the behavior. I went out to it this morning, thinking I'd go nuclear on it and do an entire reset.. losing all the settings and links I'd made to it.

Instead - no green this morning, or during the 3 hours or so I was installing things like WAZE and Amazon Video. A total mystery, but I realized one thing. The thing goes into a standby mode (user time settable) when power is turned off - all the settings and running apps are saved so they appear immediately without waiting for the system to reboot when you start the car again. I think that means some setting changes that might cause system changes don't actually take effect until the system powers down and then powers back up. I think I'm going to set that boot-down time to 15 minutes, then do a manual reboot (so that takes effect..)

Further update on the Green Screen'o'crap.. it turns out there is a setting in the advanced custom super-secret factory development settings to "flash the screen when the unit has high CPU activity" (or something to that effect..) Somehow that got turned on. Then it apparently turned itself off. It hasn't done this again - so forgeddaboutit..

The photo below shows one of the means I tried (and did partly use) to mount the headunit securely in the radio-frame in the console. Two things specifically:
  • - The use of some fairly high-density foam, approximately 3/16" thick total on each side of the headunit helps secure it in place.
  • - The rear mounting "lug" (labeled "Guide" below) - it turns out the radio comes with another pair of these mounting lugs that are slightly taller than the ones shown in this photo. Installing those mounting lugs in place of the ones that came on the radio moved them more securely into the slots in the radio frame. And it turns out - the vendor told me that installing them in a second set of holes that are much closer to the front display makes them even more effective.
    DO use a magnetic screwdriver, the screws ARE tiny, and if they drop (very likely) it will be quite difficult to locate them. "Experience teaches us things we don't want to know.."

Gas Computer hardware Electronic engineering Machine Gadget


That's it for the moment - more to come. I'll be reviewing what I think works well, what I think could use improvement and what I think is useless or unusable.

For fun reading:


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A quick update - came out the next day and the green issue was gone and hasn't reappeared.

I finally finished up the installation today. It took from around 11AM-6:30PM (30 minutes off for lunch) to do the "final" installation (final is always tentative - sooner or later I'll think of some reason I want to change something or redo something requiring R&R of the headunit. It's inevitable - but today was finish up some items, do some items, and make things as tidy as I could.

So - I found my old original GPS antenna works just fine with this unit after I bought a male/male Farka to SMA adaptor ($6 Amazon, next day free delivery) - it seems even more sensitive (it saw about 15 or more satellites IN my garage, with the metal door up over the rear of the car..) than when it was used with the Rosen headunit.

I did move the mounting lugs on it as suggested by the vendor, and it does sit a bit better in the opening. It still needs some foam in spots to center and keep it from sliding out, but less than before and it fits well.

The two pork chops that are on the sides of the center console - I took pliers and bent the top retaining clip flat. That one has always been troublesome to get loose when removing the panels. They come out easily now. I feel that was overkill on Porsches side - there's no way those are going anywhere with two remaining clips AND the T20 torx screws at the rear of the panel.

So - what'd I do today..?

I clipped out (and insulated the wires) the extra connector in the harness. It might seem like a small thing, but it actually was a major roadblock to comfortably fitting all the wiring that goes to the unit back into the hole it mounds in. I left enough on the stubs so it would be easy to reaffix it in the absolutely impossible chance that it needed reattachment. I then used some magic tape that a member here gave me and fastened the CanBus decoder box to the back of the unit. The fins are deep enough that air should still circulate and keep things from overheating.

Electronic engineering Electrical wiring Cable Computer hardware Audio equipment

Finished ready to install. The wires in the circle are the clipped ends left from removing the useless connector. The CanBus interface can be seen attached to the rear of the radio.

I also mounted and routed the wiring for the new 4G-LTE antenna (routing the wiring is a royal PITA, as was removing the old Sirius/XM antenna from the same area.) That alone took several hours of taking parts of the interior apart to try to find a reasonable path from the passenger's side A-pillar to the radio location.

Next I add the final harness to the back of the radio (which now was fairly tidy - as seen in the photo) which gave lots of inputs/outputs (unused for now) and the SIM card holder, again had to route it to where it could be accessed in the footwell.

A few USB cables got routed and everything finally got buttoned up. What did I end up with? A few things I really liked - and was surprised at one of them.

The CanBus interface. I figured it was just some sort of adaptor - that caught data off the CanBus and used it for features in the headunit - like the moving/curved lines when backing up (uses the steering angle sensor).. but it does quite a bit more than that.

Imagine my surprise - when I noticed on the dash:

Gauge Measuring instrument Auto part Speedometer Trip computer

What was this? I'd never seen this before on the display. It was telling me I was listening to USB-2 using the music player. What else could it do? Well:

Odometer Speedometer Gauge Trip computer Car

Vehicle Car Gauge Measuring instrument Font

And similar displays for other functions.... It was telling the car what it was doing and the car understood what it was saying. What also was interesting - this car - like the majority of this era Porsches ends up with errors in a bunch of modules that talked to the PCM after replacing the PCM. I think there were 18 errors in all when I scanned it, all communications errors. I hooked up my Foxwell, did a scan - lots of leftover errors. I cleared them - and ALL the errors disappeared and didn't reappear. That was very pleasing to me.

The CanBus connection, besides feeding the headunit outside temperature (which it insists on displaying in C despite me telling it to use F) and the turning action on the steering wheel, also tells the headunit when you turn on the headlights, automatically switching the brightness down (and the night level can be set..) It can display vehicle speed (in km/h for some reason despite me telling it to use MPH).

Overall - the CanBus implimentation seems really good, and I haven't seen any reports on other units having this ability. The CanBus decoder was included in the price...

I decided just for the heck of it to try out streaming video (no - it won't get used when I'm driving, but if I'm sitting in it waiting for SWMBO it might well get used.) I installed Amazon Prime's video app - and it's super. Designed for this environment, well laid out, logical buttons/controls, and best of all - a great display in high-def (I was connected to the web via WiFi on a 2Gb connection in my garage.)

Television set Flat panel display Gadget Television program Output device

Communication Device Gadget Output device Flat panel display Font

So - what do I wish they did better? Some of the gripes are with application implementations, others are software that came on the unit and can't be removed..

Google Maps (downloaded app) as a navigation tool is almost worthless. The writing on the screen it so small I need reading glasses to see it and have to be about 18" from the front of the unit. Unusable. Waze on the other hand (aren't they owned by Google now) has an excellent interface with print for the most part that's readable, and a layout that must have been designed for the horizontal display.

iGo -- a European GPS application (delivered on the unit and not removable, but it can be disabled) I had this on the Rosen head units I used to have, and it was quite usable and rather clever in some ways. On this device, it pretty much isn't usable. The maps included with it just have info on roads/streets, no info on items of interest or businesses. On the Rosen implementation, it had all that info. The maps were also from 2016.. already 7 years old right out of the box. I will be looking to see if the maps can be updated from NaviExtras - who provided the maps for the Rosen implementation, and those were quite good.

The Radio application (part of the native apps) sucks big time. A confusing interface, unlabeled buttons marked only by icons that really aren't understandable. An earlier radio implementation shown in the useless operations manual (in a post above) had an example of a very useable and well-laid-out radio interface.

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Does anyone want to guess what each of those icons does? There is no explanation, one has to start pressing on them to see what they do to figure it out. Sucks, and is ugly.

Music - their streaming music app (part of the delivered apps, not removable) - uses a similar and similarly ugly unintuitive interface to the radio app. It also had issues with an iPod, and it doesn't work well with folders - which every other streaming music app seems to handle quite well. It will default to playing all the songs in ONE folder, even if set to randomize the playlist. Other applications include ALL the music in ALL the folders in their random selections.

Communication Device Output device Mobile device Gadget Portable communications device

Same designer - same issues. Why the icons? Is there something wrong with buttons with text on them? I guess it adds a bit more complexity due to needing to work in multiple languages - but other people have done it... This interface is ugly and unintuitive.

More to come...
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I now have written Best-Buy off as a sell-now if you own their stock. The "Geeks" in the store are pretty much useless (I can remember when they were actually helpful..) I asked about a "data-only" wireless plan, and was given the fish-eye.. the particular geek I was talking to mumbled something when I showed him my phone with the Best Buy website open which claimed they had one in stock, but even with the stock number, he remained clueless. The other thing was - I was possibly the only actual customer in the store. Remember when there were lines at the Bestbuy checkout? There was no one on the register (and this was about 6PM, when commuters might decide to stop in to buy something. Most of the staff seemed to be hanging around the main door, chatting and looking out. If you have the stock - ditch it. They're the next electronics chain store to go belly up. The Amazonation of American Retailing has taken another victim.

Ditto on Target, although the young man at the phone/electronics counter tried to be helpful, and was civil, he had a basic lack of knowledge of the product they are selling. And the "1 in stock" on their website for this store was a lie. So - I went to the gym and went home and Amazon'd one. $0.99 - a week-long trial one. Free shipping and it arrives tomorrow. If it works, I'll report back here.

What I can report worked just fine was setting my phone as a hot-spot, and then connecting the headunit to it with WiFi. I tried out Wase a bit - on the way down with no network access, and when I got about 4 miles from my house I drove into Neverland - nothing there. Totally blank canvas with the lonely arrow chugging along through it. So on the way back - I tried it with the hotspot. It made me an immediate fan of online GPS. It was quite good, knew how to get out the back way from the Target parking lot, gave simple adequate instructions, and pronounced the street names correctly. It seemed far superior to the built-in nav of my Cayenne and better than the iGo that was on the Rosen unit. I haven't tried Google Maps yet with the hot-spot, but I will.
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I'm pretty much finished (except playing around with some launchers and apps..) and everything is working.

The SIM 4G-LTE connection started up - with excellent speed and connection strength. (I'm using a MintMobile trial account... It's carried on the T-Mobile network.. who apparently own it)

Somehow the music player decided it could do actual random selections from my 700 album thumbdrive (3800 songs)... It's ugly but it works. Luckily once it's in auto-random mode I have no need to display it and the Launcher home skin has a nice display with next/previous/stop-start buttons, so I don't have to look at it.

AM radio does work, I'd just forgotten how bad and barren the AM landscape is. FM is fine - although this interface is lacking in the interface useability and beauty department.

The Google "Assistant" (replacement for Android Auto) connects quite nicely over Bluetooth and is fairly easy to customize.

Google Maps works well in that mode, but now that it has a data signal it works really well in the native mode outside Assistant. In each mode the instructions are given clearly and in ample time to prepare to do what they're asking. In native mode you can run the navigation part of it on a split screen. One side shows the map and turns and route, the other side shows a Google Streets image of every "action" you have to take (like turning at a light..) This looks like it might be quite useful. I'll add a photo or two of it.. It loaded maps from NJ to Yellowstone in about 10 seconds, and took 150k of data doing it.

Waze works great in native Android mode. Much less detailed maps than Google Maps - but in lots of cases that might be an advantage, easier to glance at and understand that way.

The provided GPS application - iGo - is pretty much useless - but I'll leave it on just because it uses internal maps, so it would be available if I was out of cell data for any reason.

Sirius/XM works fine via Assistant - and is free (they give one streaming account free for every paid account you have. If you have none - you can buy into the streaming world for $5/month + fees/taxes.) Sirius-XM also works fine via the SIM/4G data link - but only in demo mode at the moment since I only have one paid subscription. It has quite a useable interface.

Android 12 can load different user interfaces (called "Loaders") - a shell that operates the stuff behind the scenes that controls the hardware. That lets you really customize it.

It also connects nicely to my cell phone via WiFi with the cell set as a "hotspot" - which may be how I'll use it - I have to check my plan with Verizon, I seem to recall "unlimited" data (but I'm sure after a certain amount they start throttling it.) The headunit can also function as a hotspot in the car when it's connected to the web via the SIM 4G-LTE connection.

The CanBus integration with the car is a nice feature - the moving backup lines (which can be modified, although it took me hours to find the menu to do it that I know I'd seen) are a really nice addition and brings it up to the last decade in capability.

Oh - how do you access that menu - tap the screen when the backup camera is displayed on the screen and a balloon type menu will popup, letting you change things.

Other CanBus stuff like displaying the info from the headunit in the dash display is kinda cool, and controlling the headunit screen intensity and button illumination when you turn on the car's lights is very cool. It also will pop-up service reminders - but nothing to write home about.

What I can't get it to do is actually change the temperature display on the top line of the screen (where on an Android cell you will see network, battery, etc sort of info..) from Centigrade to Fahrenheit.

Streaming video is nice - for parking lot sits while the wife shops. Quality is great and the sound is outstanding, better than my home theater 5.1 Dolby setup. I have Netflix, Amazon Prime, and HBO setup so far.

Google Assistant can read texts out loud to the driver, and then the driver (or passenger) can respond audibly and Google does talk to text. I listened to a rather long text from a friend about his health, but that may well be the only time I'll ever use that feature.

It does look great in the dash, like it was made by Porsche and makes the entire interior somehow look more modern. Dunno how it does that, but it does.

I'm sure I'll think of some other things.. and I'll be back later with pics..


Back with some more pictures later..


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Don, maybe I missed it somewhere in this thread - where/how did you mount the usb plug? I didn't see a USB female jack on the radio's face, so it must be plugged-in the back.
I'm just about to deal with this since I'm replacing my 13 yr old Pioneer head-unit tomorrow. It had ancient firmware and maps no longer updateable. I went with a JENSEN J1CA7 from Amazon for around $206 (including rear camera). It too only has a rear USB plug. My old Pioneer had a combo USB/iPod cable which I routed into the glove box. For all these years I left my old iPod connected and unseen in the glovebox. I could control it through the head-unit. But now I need to connect my phone via cable for non-wireless AA/Carplay, so I need the USB port more accessible. At leasst I will be eliminate a stand-alone charger.

I decided I didn't need wifi support or wireless smart-phone interface - which is available on a nearly identical model for $100 more. None of my other vehicles (which I drive 10x more) had wireless so I know I can live without it.
Anyway, back to my question - where did you route the cable? I'm thinking of dropping it down into that cubby storage at the bottom of the stack. I have a small sub-woofer volume control in there. Another possibility is just running it out into the footwell. In either case I would run an extension up to my phone mount on the dash.

Update: I received the Jensen today and unpacked it just enough to do a trial fit in the dash. I could immediately see a problem with pushing the hard buttons at the bottom of the screen. They are slightly recessed and they are partially blocked by the bezel and slightly curved HVAC below. My old Pioneer Z110-BT had hard buttons on the bottom but they stuck out from the display and were easily accessed. I think the low seating position and relatively high radio mounting position in the 987 contributed to the awkward reach. Your hand would be coming up at a slight angle and these buttons would be hard to reach. Oh well, good old Amazon and it's hassle-free return policy.
Otherwise, it seemed like a nice unit if you don't need built-in gps/maps or wireless AA/CP. BTW, I didn't notice until after I ordered - this unit doesn't itself run Android OS. So you can't install other apps. Stuck with built-ins and whatever runs on your phone. Oh Well, the hunt is on again.
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Anyway, back to my question - where did you route the cable? I'm thinking of dropping it down into that cubby storage at the bottom of the stack. I have a small sub-woofer volume control in there. Another possibility is just running it out into the footwell. In either case I would run an extension up to my phone mount on the dash.
If you want it near to your phone - that sort of directs where you'd mount it. In my case, since I can go wireless from the phone to the headunit that wasn't a concern, but I did run one out the side of the console, tucked it up between the console and the removable side piece joint - it just gets pushed in there (and it seems to stay fine) and then routed around the corner into the little cubby at the bottom of the console. The other USB I ran out behind the carpeted piece you remove to get to things (that screw holding that in is a PITA, I've replaced both with 10mm bolts since the Torx recess in both of them eventually stripped out..) and into the glove box. Like you did - I've had an old 30Gb iPod in there forever - which worked great with the old Rosen headunit that had an iPod interface. I've replaced the iPod with a 32Gb thumb drive with the exact same music files on it - and that one lives in the glove box.

So - 1 to cubby, 1 to glovebox. And none to the phone.
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Oh - today's project - sit in the garage with it and try to take a logical sequence of photos of the capabilities of the unit. Back later hopefully with the photos.
A "REVIEW" of this unit

A general comment: this is by no means "Plug and Play" - some smarts are needed to get it setup so it's useable, but for a bang per $$ basis - it's hard to beat. (Cliff-Notes Version)

I'll comment specifically on installing, support, using it, and some other things that may be of interest:
  • Mounting: It has an issue with mounting. I'm thinking of making some rail sliders I can fasten to the side of it that will provide secure mounting. Most people are doing what I've done - relocate the sliders they provided and add foam around the outside of the case. I think this can be done better.

    (UPDATE) - In thinking about this - the metal pieces they use to fit it to the slide recesses in the radio bay - if the taller ones were 4 instead of 2 - a pair in the rear and a pair near the front of the unit - this would provide the stability needed. I've sent them a message asking if I can get another pair of the metal pieces - if I do - I'll report back on using them. Otherwise, I'm thinking the removed shallow ones with spacers under them might do exactly the same thing. More on this as it develops.
    More on this - just heard back from the vendor - he's asking the factory about additional mounting plates.

  • Documentation: There is no manual. No operations manual, and no installation manual. The manual they sent me is for an earlier unit running an earlier version of everything and appears to have been translated from Chinese perhaps to Russian then to English using Google Translate. There's a copy of it up in one of the posts above - read it and laugh.

    The lack of documentation, and the distorted translations in some of the on-system setting descriptions and prompts don't make it feel like a complete ready for market product. The capabilities are there - the implementation needs some attention.

  • Built-in-Documentation: There is a built-in "Function" guide - sadly lacking in details and accuracy and again broken translations from whatever the original source was. This could be made very useable if a native English speaker took the time to rewrite it.

  • Plug and Play Installation: The wiring harness ended up being almost Plug 'n Play, after I removed the unneeded connector on it. I found out that this connector was used on the 2 series PCMs, so the cable was made to be used with either. CDR3, PCM2 or PCM3. The problem was the unused connector took up too much room behind the unit, so I removed it.

    It would be simpler for the installer if the unit was provided with two connecting harnesses - and the user picks the matching one. Or if the user was prompted when ordering with photos of the connectors as to what one they'd need. I can understand the thinking behind creating a universal one from a logistics point of view...

  • On-Line support: So far the vendor has been quite responsive to requests for info that I've made. Their understanding of English is excellent, and I have done "real-time" discussions/chats with them, provided it's after Midnight on the east coast (that's apparently the start of their working day in China.. there is a 12 hour difference.)
General Install Notes and Issues: There's a lot of wiring to run.

Organism Font Rectangle Screenshot Elbow

^^^ The items that need to be installed ^^^

  • The GPS antenna should be mounted under the black plastic cowling at the base of the windshield (above the cabin filter.) That requires fishing the wire through the firewall in the frunk to and then into the cabin (the rubber grommet behind the battery, brings the cable into the cabin near the accelerator pedal.)

    Or I guess you could also mount it directly on the dash under the windshield too, but to me - that looks hokey.

    Happily, I found out that the GPS antenna from my last headunit works just fine, and only needed a GPS Faraka male to SMA male adaptor cable to use it ($6.99 Amazon). But if this is the first GPS for your car - you're going to have to install the new GPS antenna, and that requires some routing of the wiring. It's claimed the factory antenna from the PCM30 will work with the unit, but will also require the male-Faraka to male SMA adaptor.

  • The WiFi antenna: sticks out the back on one of the connectors to the headunit, so nothing to do there.

  • The 4G-LTE antenna: is a different story. It's about 3" long x 7/8" wide, and 1/8" thick. Has a longish wire going to it. I mounted it on the inside of the "A Pillar" on the passenger's side which meant fishing it through the area behind the glovebox and into the console. PITA, but it works well there.

  • The AM/FM antenna: uses the existing one in the car. On a Cayman with diversity antenna system, a dual Faraka to SAE antenna adaptor may be useful. On a Boxster it appears the antenna system only has one output - so the included Faraka-Antenna adaptor works fine.

  • The BlueTooth antenna: I think that's just one of the wires that aren't terminated in the wiring harness. Nothing needs to be installed there. For short distances BlueTooth is likely to be used with - it seems to work fine.

  • USB cables: Two connect to the rear of the unit. Depending on your intended use of them - you may want them in different locations. I ran one to the glovebox (for use with a USB thumbdrive with audio files on it) and one to the cubby in the center console (also for use for audio files.) Some people may want to use one to charge their cellphone depending on how they mount their cell to the car.

  • The CanBus Decoder: It connects the main harness that plugs into the rear of the unit, and then has two wires that go to a different two-wire connector on the unit. It also causes some issues with fitting everything behind the unit if it's just stuffed into the housing. I found it could be gotten more or less out of the way by using some high-bonding 2-sided tape to mount it to the rear of the unit (on the heat-exchanger fins, which have flat ends.) The tape spaces it out a bit from the heat exchanger so airflow should be possible behind it.
  • 2 USB ports. No flash-drive port: That's OK, but just OK since I don't have to connect my phone to it via USB. If I did, I'd not be happy. One USB port is occupied by the aforementioned thumbdrive with ~3900 songs on it, the other USB port has a thumbdrive with 15 years of recordings of Jean Shepard's WOR-NY humor/solo-talk show from 1956-1971.

  • WiFi - works fine if you have a WiFi source to hook up to. It's actually quite sensitive, more sensitive than my phone (despite the tiny internal antennas).

  • 4G-LTE - I can only speak to the MintMobile (T-Mobile really) connection. It seems strong and stable, but I haven't taken it on a long road trip. I imagine it's pretty decent, I think they're second behind Verizon in coverage, and less BS fees than Verizon.

  • BlueTooth - seems to work fine. I can connect my phone via BlueTooth for wireless Android Assistant+ wirelessly, which very few other headunits can do.

  • Comparisons: There are other "high-end" versions of this design. More memory, faster processors, and according to a chap in a thread on that forum I used to be active on - who claims to have designed the face of it - claims they work better and use better components.

    I haven't seen any side-by-side comparisons of the more expensive and the less expensive (this one) products. So the validity of that claim has to be judged on the evidence - so far haven't seen any supporting the claim (it does appear he may have an interest of some type in the sale of these..)

  • Will it last? Dunno - that remains to be seen. I haven't seen any posts or facts about accelerated aging tests, and no photos or descriptions of the components used in them. I think it's doubtful that a company producing basically the same units at different price points are going to save money by putting inferior capacitors in one line, and I've seen NOTHING indicating that happens. Just inuendos ("costs more must be better" sometimes true, sometimes not.)

  • Performance: I'm not sure how they'd work better with a different processor, or if it needs to run faster - this one is very responsive (too responsive for some people) and so far I haven't run out of memory. All for $235.

  • Audio-Quality: Actually quite good overall, with the stock speakers of the non-Bose Boxster system (2 dash tweeters, 2 midrange door, 2 woofer door). I may have one speaker with the foam going, so I can't use the "Loudness" feature. It does have extensive audio shaping capabilities, including time-delay to location for spacial imaging (with absolutely no documentation on how this works.)

  • Ordering: What I might consider spending more money on is more memory. So far it hasn't been an issue, and it seems pretty good about cleaning out its caches when you exit a program (plus there is an easy manual way to accomplish that). I do uninstall anything I can that I know I'm not going to use, and so far that's kept most of the memory that I have clear for use of the programs.

  • Vendor Support: The vendor has been VERY responsive to anything I've asked about and didn't ghost me after I approved AlliExpress releasing payment to him. His written English is excellent. The only issue is the time difference.

General Impression:

With some work on documentation and the user interface for a few built-in features (radio and streaming audio and phone), it could be a winner. As it is - it seems a bit unfinished. Useable once sorted out - but a bit unfinished.

Is it worth it? That's the bottom line.

I think compared to the Porsche offering - yes.

The Porsche offering is also Chinese-made, but apparently, Porsche had a hand in some of the software and physical design. It's limited as to customization, it's a much older version of Android (Android-6) which some current applications won't work with. The PRICE, and the cost dealers are charging raping people to install it means it is not on my Father's Day list. I'm certain the Porsche documentation is excellent, unfortunately as we know, most Porsche owners won't read it anyway.

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Some images captured via cell-camera (I think there is a screen capture option on the headunit, but I didn't want to bother having to capture then save and transfer them, cell phone camera was simple.. but the quality and exposure aren't great..)

Startup screen - can be replaced with a custom file - like the Porsche logo:
Font Electronic device Electric blue Multimedia Gadget

One of the provided "Launchers" main menu:
Gadget Font Screenshot Display device Technology

I really like this launcher - the buttons look like buttons, and everything is labeled. That makes it way easier to use. I think interface designers might learn something from this. Sort of like how I like real knobs for certain functions. And this one allows for changing the background image (or eliminating it entirely.)

And if you hit the "Apps" button on the screen above - you get to:
Gadget Font Screenshot Technology Electronic device

That's a 4 page - scrolling horizontally - selection. Any application added to the system can be displayed there, they default to alphabetical order on this Launcher. Some Launchers allow you to rearrange the order. All of them allow the user to turn most applications off - in which case they won't appear on this screen.

I selected the "Gallery" app from the menu above:
Font Electronic device Technology Gadget Rectangle

You can select one of these by touching it, and see:

Font Screenshot Sky Technology Electric blue

That's album art from one of the files on my USB Thumbdrive. You can click on it again, and just the artwork will show. Or you can click on the play button - and it will start going through all the artwork it found changing them about every 5 seconds.
An example of another Launcher. Some of them allow you to select what displays on the main page of the launcher, but others what displays is fixed. The three icons on the left are (top to bottom) Navigation, Equalizer, Settings. The other click-buttons are pretty obvious. Most Launchers don't allow the user to change the background, but a few I saw do.
Product Output device Communication Device Portable communications device Gadget

The next page of "Apps" - gotten to by sweeping left on the main screen:
Personal computer Output device Computer Communication Device Mobile device

This one is favorable - it has TEXT on each button! No guessing what you have to click!

And yet another Launcher:
Computer Output device Gadget Communication Device Flat panel display

This one was particularly frustrating since I liked the functionality of it - but I could not figure out how to get the speed display to read out in MPH. It is set on the headunit as default - but this Launcher seems to ignore that. And no text on the buttons (n)

It has the Clock, Streaming Player, Speed Display and Radio Tuner. The bottom buttons are Navigation, Phone, Apps, Bluetooth, and Settings. Personally - I'd like them as text labels on buttons myself. But I'm old-fashioned that way. If you hit the Apps icon, a screen opens up with a grid of applications. I don't have a photo of that, but I'll try to take one.


And a final browser example:
Plant Computer Vehicle Output device Flat panel display

Output device Gadget Communication Device Portable communications device Telephony

Nice design. The background can be changed, and has buttons with text under them. Very useable and simple.

To be continued in the next message....
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The Phone Application

Output device Computer Communication Device Mobile device Portable communications device

Boring? I think we can say that.. no labels on the buttons except the number buttons. that's a fail. And there are some buttons that make very little sense.

The ones in the column to the right of the screen are: Some "link" function? Then answer the phone. Hang up the phone Maybe mute the phone? It would be a bunch easier if they had labels.

The bottom row: (1) shows this dialing screen (2) shows the music player screen - why? (3) Phonebook (4) Recent calls (4) Dunno - it's very odd (5) Settings. This screen seems to be dedicated to calling over Bluetooth and the user's cellphone. The issue is if you have a SIM 4G-LTE connection why do you need to use the person's cellphone account? I didn't recall seeing any way to change this, but I'll have to look again. If it can't be changed, obviously a different dialer is needed - that can be attached to the 4G connection. More research on this.

Communication Device Gadget Mobile device Font Portable communications device

The phonebook (boring!) And more unlabeled buttons on the left side.

Communication Device Gadget Portable communications device Font Mobile device

And previous incoming calls (do I need to say it - I will - boring..) Again - more unlabeled buttons on the left side. What do you think a receiver with an X next to it means? I'll have to try it.

Communication Device Gadget Font Portable communications device Display device

This is what pops up if you click on the Music Clef in the bottom row of the dialer screen.

It appears to be a way to stop or start (restart possibly) music being playing on the streaming music player.

There is a default option to turn off any audio when the phone is in use, so I'm not quite clear on what the actual purpose of this was. Perhaps just to restart the music after you hang up? Dunno - will have to experiment with this a bit.

My overall rating of this - Parrot's interface which was used on the Rosen headunit, as simple and somewhat crude as it is - is a world better than this. It uses color and labels and understandable buttons to make itself user-friendly. This interface needs a serious redesign. Or replacement. On a scale of 1-5, it's about a 2.
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Music Streamer

When you start the music streaming app, it might open on this screen..
Communication Device Telephony Gadget Portable communications device Mobile device

This screen has 4 choices in the left column, which depict where it's finding the music. In this case - it's looking at music on USB#1. And on the right, it's showing some of what it found. What it found was over 3800 songs in about 350 albums (folders, directories - whatever you care to call the containers.)

I ripped my entire CD collection to digital and formatted the file layout to be Artist, Album, Song Title, Date. That works if you want to look up a particular artist's work, and a particular recording of a particular song by an artist. That works great in any Windows-based music streaming program, and it worked great on Rosen's music streamer, but it didn't initially work great on this unit. The reason it didn't was it took it some time to build out its index of that many recordings (MP3s) Once it did index everyone, it actually works fairly well.

Or on this one. It depends on which one was last used.
Communication Device Gadget Font Mobile device Display device

This window is more useful IMHO - it shows the selected album in the left-right slider, and on the right side it shows the different albums in the slider. In the bottom row it opens the equalizer app which will be reviewed shortly.

Communication Device Output device Gadget Font Telephony

Tap on an album in this window, and see:

Output device Communication Device Gadget Space bar Input device

There are other options - a bit confusing - but it does work and is useable, if ugly despite being unattractive. They could use a lesson from Spotify..

On a scale of 1-5, a 3.5. It has possibilities if it wasn't so ugly and if it was a bit simpler.
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AM/FM Radio

As with the other default included apps - I find the radio one not particularly user friendly, especially in a mobile environment where you don't want to have to study the screen to figure out what you want it to do. So - unlabeled icons are not a favorite with me.

The radio interface.. cryptic icons across the bottom of the screen. No explanation of what PTY, TA, AF mean on the buttons at the top...

Communication Device Gadget Telephony Portable communications device Clock

User friendly? Well, no.

Imagine if it had this:
Communication Device Font Gadget Mobile device Technology

What a difference labels make. It almost makes it seem like the icons are unnecessary. And I have no idea what happened to the PTY, TA, AF buttons - but since I had no idea what they were for - no loss there.

The settings screen:
Font Communication Device Gadget Display device Electronic device

I suppose I should turn RDS on (it transmits the info about the genre of the stations content, ie - classical, rock, whatchamacallit..) And for the US - one of the US settings should be picked, since other countries use smaller FM station frequency intervals, meaning there would be a lot of blank stations between active ones. I don't think I've tried USA2, I'll have to see if it does anything. Both sensitivity settings are maxed out.

On a usability scale of 1-5, perhaps a 2.5. It's ugly and uses unlabeled buttons. Both of those could be fixed.
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