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Topic: iCruze is in (review)

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Old 12-12-2005, 03:51 PM
Reclined Lounger
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 327
iCruze is in (review)


Note I am posting copies of this on www.maxima.org and www.ipodlounge.com

Note 2 This review is based entirely on my experience with the iCruze in my car (98 Nissan Maxima). The iCruze may work better (or worse) in different cars.

The iCruze is an iPod in car solution that uses your factory stereos CD changer controls to give Limited control of your iPod and use the CD changer input as a line in. If your factory stereo does not have the option to control a CD changer than you are out of luck, if you already have a CD changer you will have to disconnect it.

Retail price for the iCruze is $150 for the 'brain', $100 for the optional LCD display, and $100 for the interface modual for my car. Most cars require an interface modual that costs around $100 but check the iCruze site for info on your car. I would not pay $350 for this system no matter how well it worked but with some patience and careful shopping on e bay I was able to pick up an entire system for my car for less than $150 (including shipping)

The Install
Install was pretty easy, all you need to do is get access to the back of your stereo and plug the adapter into the spot for the CD changer, then tap into a switched power source and an always on power source. Other cars may be more difficult but in my case if you can swap a head unit you should have no problem with this install.

The Controls
The iCruze site says you will have access to as many playlists as your factory CD changer has CDs. My factory CD changer holds 6 CDs but I have access to my first 9 Playlists (obviously I am not complaining). The only control of your iPod is the first X playlists, there is no access to music by Genre, Artist, Etc.

When you hit the button for your CD changer the first song on your first playlist is selected. Even if your iPod is set to random it will be overridden by the iCruze and play songs in order unless you select random on your head unit. My head unit 'forgets' it is on random every time the car is turned off. My head unit will allow you to skip ahead one song at a time or ten at a time depending on what button you push.

I cannot get my iPod to skip more than one song when it is on random, if I switch random off to skip a few songs it will repeat songs I already heard .

The factory stereo display shows 'Disk X' and 'Track X' and 'elapsed time of the current track'. Disk number corresponds to the playlist selected. My factory stereo does not have any pause function, to change playlists the first track on each playlist will begin playing. There is a long pause when changing playlists, it is impossible (for example) to jump to the 5th playlist by tapping the next disc button rapidly.

On the positive side the iCruze will resume the track you are playing if you turn the car off and restart it or switch the CD changer off. It also seems to have no problem finding your place in audio books.

Overall I think the way the controls work is very disappointing and barely acceptable. I am curious if the controls work better in different cars (anyone?)

The Display
The optional display shows the currently playing track and artist only, it will not show the name of a playlist as you scroll through them. It also has a short delay, it does not display the title of a song until it has been playing for a few seconds.

The display is plenty bright to be seen during the day but I can not find any sort of dimmer control, at night it is bright enough to be annoying. Fortunately I mounted mine down low where it is not a distraction at night.

The display does not shut off when you are not using your iPod, it either displays the title and artist of the currently selected song or 'iPod is disconnected', seems like very poor design to me.

The display does not scroll the song title, it only shows the first 20 Characters.

The display unit also seems to be pretty large considering its function. It measures 5 X 1.75 X 1 Inches and displays two lines of text on a screen that is 3 by 3/4. Overall the display is larger than the iPod yet has a smaller screen and it does not serve any other function than as a display.

Audio Quality
Since the iCruze uses the iPod line out and the factory stereo line in it gives the best sound quality possible. However I do sometimes get skipping just like a scratched CD but this is only when I first select a track.

Overall the iCruze is disappointing even for the $150 I paid, mostly because of the awkward way it controls the iPod. I am curious if it works better in different cars (anyone?)

My grade C-, from what I have seen the Harmon Kardon Drive and Play may be a better choice however I have not seen it at a discount anywhere yet and it does not offer any way to input it to your car stereo. If anyone wants to send me a 'Drive and Play' I would be happy to review it

Edit - Forgot to mention, while the ipod is pluged into the icruze the ipod display and controls do not work.

iPhone 4s and various old iPhones and iPods

Last edited by Anachronism; 12-12-2005 at 04:38 PM.
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Old 12-12-2005, 05:46 PM
Reclined Lounger
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 327


(please ignore my horribly dirty floor)

I am not sure why I could not post the images directly.

iPhone 4s and various old iPhones and iPods
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Topic: iCruze is in (review)

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