Reviewer: Alex Kidman
NOTE: This review covers both the Pioneer AVIC-F900BT and the F500BT, however the price accompanying this review refers to the AVIC-F900BT.
Pioneer’s latest range of slick, in-car navigation systems come with all the extras, including an excellent and mostly easy to use interface, large AV-capable screens and plenty more besides. They’re premium GPS units in a world that’s distinctly shifting towards cheaper units, but they do still represent value for money.
The F series Pioneer units come in two styles. There’s the more expensive F900BT ($1999), which is an installed navigation unit that lives in your car dash, and the semi-portable F500BT ($999), which includes an installed amplifier but can be made portable as the core screen and GPS system aren’t permanently installed, but instead sit on a flexible screen-mounted suction arm.
Both units feature Bluetooth for mobile phone synchronisation, along with navigation facilities that feature the latest Sensis map data for Australia. SUNA traffic support is provided in both units for those currently in Melbourne, Brisbane or Sydney.
Both units are also both capable of AV playback, although it’s here that the more expensive F900BT has more of a chance to shine, as it includes an inbuilt DVD/CD player that also supports DivX, Mp3, WMA and AAC audio files, as well as standard audio CDs. The F500BT does support those file standards, but lacks the optical drive, so you’ll have to have material prepared on USB Flash, SD card, or optionally a compatible video iPod.
While both units come with a MOSFET 50Wx4 Amplifier, the F500BT will require installation of its supplied unit, which leaves a small external cable to connect up to the GPS holding bracket.