Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Dual XHD7714 Road Trip Report

After a month of using the Dual XHD7714, during which my family and I took a 4000 mile road trip, I have to say it's a pretty nice system. We used it almost exclusively as an MP3 player, rather than an HD Radio or a CD player. I loaded 800 songs from our home music collection onto an 8GB memory stick. It was great introducing my kids to some new music. By the end of the trip their favorite songs were Shock the Monkey and The Magical Mr. Mistoffelees.

Some problems specific to the Dual XHD7714:

Bluetooth issues:
  • Bluetooth headset mode only syncs with one phone at a time. This seems to be a common limitation of low-end bluetooth car stereos, but it's quite frustrating for two-driver families like mine.
  • Bluetooth audio streaming mode doesn't sound very good on this radio. However, I didn't experiment with this very much, so it may have been source-material related.
USB MP3 player issues:
  • It takes about 5 seconds per GB to index USB stick music each time it starts up.
  • It only recognizes US-ASCII characters. If any non-ASCII characters are present in the album or song name the entire name is replaced with the string "Not supported". We had a lot of Chinese-language tracks that displayed that way, making them very difficult to navigate.
  • It can't fast-forward or rewind through MP3s.
  • When you turn on the radio, it does remember where in the current MP3 it is playing, _but_ it takes a long time to resume playing an MP3 in the middle. So it's awkward listening to long podcasts.
Still, even with all these flaws, I'm quite happy with the radio. We really enjoyed being able to conveniently listen to so many different songs during our trip.

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