|AppRadio 2: Installed and reviewed|
Just as soon as I turned AppRadio 2 on for the first time and set up the time and date, I noticed how snappy and quick the interface is without the iPhone connected. Really breezy! Once the iPhone is connected, there is a slight difference in that smoothness, but is hardly noticeable in most apps.
|Plenty of warning screens to click through|
|The physical attributes are a nice upgrade|
The initial 'Caution' screen still pops up explaining the safety warnings. On clicking 'OK' the home screen shows up. The first thing you'll notice is the extra 'Pandora' icon at the bottom making it 5 icons instead of 4 on AppRadio. And, you can now swipe to scroll those icons, which reveals an additional icons. 'Settings', 'OFF' and 'Display OFF'. Yes, now you can turn off AppRadio 2 completely, including the display. Pressing the 'Home' button turns it back on.
|Now you can scroll through menu home screen icons and actually turn off the radio too|
The 'Settings' menu has been extended to give things like Preout selection, Keyboard language, a feature called 'Ever Scroll', Bluetooth settings etc. Audio settings can be changed only when an audio source is running.
|The 'Settings' menu|
The Radio interface has been completely overhauled. The new one is slick looking. The system wallpaper shows up behind the radio interface with your saved presets along the left. If the radio station broadcasts track information for songs then that information is available too. The clock shows in the upper left corner with FM/AM selection buttons at the top of the screen.
|The revamped Radio interface|
Setting up your iPhone using the bluetooth connection was easy. This interface is also different from before. Access to contact list, keypad and phone settings is available all in one place. The ring tone can be changed and an auto-answer function is also available. Another feature available while on a call is the 'Private' feature which when clicked, switches the audio over to the iPhone instead of your car's speakers. The call volume can be adjusted too.
|The new 'Phone' interface|
|Keypad screen with the new 'Private' mode|
Probably the biggest difference here is the ability to swipe to scroll. Although, the process isn't very fluid and feels kinda sticky. But it's there and is a welcome change. The iPod interface on the whole is revamped. The system wallpaper shows in the background. There is a 'iPod' button with a magnifying glass next to it which when clicked brings up the iPod menus. From here you can access your videos by clicking the respective icon along the left. You can also scan your library alphabetically using the 'ABC' button on the top.
|Swipe to scroll now enabled|
|iPod Music and Video menus|
Videos can be accessed from the iPod menus. On selecting a video to play it starts playing in the background while the menus stay up on the screen. You need to press the 'X' at the top right corner for the menus to disappear. This is a little annoying. But videos look great on the 7-inch screen and fill the screen up. Aspect ratios can be toggled between 'Fill', 'Zoom' and 'Normal'.
|Videos start playing in the background requiring to close this menu to watch them|
|Videos look great on the 7-inch screen|
Launching the AppRadio app when prompted brings up the Allow/Ignore pop up on the iPhone and an Warning on the AppRadio 2 similar to the first generation AppRadio. You need to click 'Allow' on the iPhone for this to disappear. Similarly launching any other app that isn't already running in the background from the AppRadio app on the stereo brings up this warning again. Once allowed, this warning doesn't appear again until you disconnect the iPhone.
The AppRadio app interface is similar to the first generation AppRadio. You can swipe to scroll between icon screens, toggle between small and large icons and launch apps directly from here. By default the system wallpaper shows up in the background but this can be changed by accessing the feature from the iPhone while it's disconnected.
|The AppRadio app interface|
|These type of warning screens pop up way too often|
|Warnings appear on the iPhone too|
The Pandora icon is now on the home screen and you can launch the app right from here. If it isn't already opened or running in the background on your iPhone, the AppRadio 2 will prompt you to launch it. One major difference is the system wallpaper is now visible in the background of the Pandora interface. The interface felt faster and smoother than before.
1. While listening to music from the iPod app, the radio or any other music app, pressing the home button launches the AppRadio app on the iPhone and AppRadio 2. During this process the music stops playing for a couple of seconds, at least, and then resumes. This is very irritating.
2. If you have, for example, AUPEO! playing already and you try to switch to the stock iPod app, the currently playing music app shows up in the iPod interface. Take a look at the picture below to see what I mean. Pandora is playing on the iPhone and I have the iPod app opened on the AppRadio 2. Pandora now shows on this iPod interface. I'm not sure if this is deliberate or a glitch, but I don't like it.
|Pandora playing in the stock iPod app|
4. Every time the home button is pressed the AppRadio 2 tries to launch the AppRadio app.
5. On a few occasions the resolution got resized and did not fill up the entire screen. It looked like it was being displayed on a 6.1-inch AppRadio screen with black borders all around. I could not repeat this action but it happened at least thrice. The video sometimes did not fill up the screen.
6. If you try playing a video on the AppRadio that's not in the iPod app, it can't be done the old way by starting the video on the iPhone and clicking the 'Apps' icon. The way to do this is to click the 'Apps' icon first, let the AppRadio app load on both, the iPhone and the AppRadio 2, then switch to the video source on the iPhone.
I'm sure there are other issues that will surface. I must say overall I am disappointed with how the whole experience went. Using AppRadio 2 for the first time was quite tedious. Maybe because I'm not used to it yet. Although the overall interface is snappy a lot of issues still persist. Scrolling in the iPod menus has been enabled but it isn't smooth, the home button launching the AppRadio app is still annoying and all the popups that make you click 'OK' or 'Ignore' could have been left out.
I hope this time around Pioneer will keep their ears open to customers as to which issues need to be fixed. This device is still not perfect. Well, no device is but the whole AppRadio experience still has a long way to go before it becomes user-friendly.
I will keep posting the issues I run in to as we go along. I am still not sure if AppRadio 2 can be fully recommended as an upgrade if you already own an AppRadio. Apart from the snappier interface and larger screen the basics have stayed the same. Stay tuned for more.
|AppRadio 2 disappointing?|