Value For Money
Though not the most premium model, this receiver is fair value.
Custom smartphone application for audio tuning.
Ease of Use
Tricky to get the hang of, both for installation and routine use.
What I Like
What I Like
This review of the Alpine CDE-HD149BT HD radio head unit with Bluetooth looks at an affordable aftermarket receiver that is both easy to use, as well as producing fantastic sound.
As this product features a range of features and functions, we’ll cover the most important points you need to know, then provide a summary of the product. Hopefully, this will give you the information that you need to choose an appropriate aftermarket head unit.
Around since mid-2013, this is a product that feels sturdy and well-built. It features a 256 x 64 dot LCD display of generous size, which is clear and works well, if a little hard to read in sunlight. There’s a rotary knob for volume control and additional physical buttons as opposed to a touchscreen. This rotary knob gives way to additional options menus when depressed.
Menus are reasonably easy to navigate, though it’s likely that you’ll need to break out the owner’s manual to get started and installed, or when getting familiar with the receiver for the first time. With Alpine products, it’s possible to get a PDF version of these instructions saved to your phone, which is particularly useful for quick reference.
Who is This Product For?
As a mid- to high-range stereo system that costs more than your average budget model, this stereo system is best suited to somebody who doesn’t mind spending a little more to get more functionality.
With a dedicated smartphone application designed for audio tuning, this product is well-suited to the kind of person who likes greater control over their music playback. General smartphone integration is also good.
Out of the box, this system comes equipped with a wired Bluetooth microphone, which can be used for voice control over the stereo’s built-in features. It’s also perfect for taking hands-free calls via the smartphone Bluetooth connection, so you can keep your eyes on the road. Accessories aside, the unit also comes with the required installation components, including the essential wiring harness and mounting screws.
Overview of Features
Music playback and hands-free calling don’t interfere with each other, so there’s no fumbling around with the unit when a call comes in. The stereo automatically switches to hands-free mode when receiving a call, allowing you to speak via the included microphone. This can be conveniently clipped onto your sun visor or elsewhere in the front seat.
What’s more, the brand’s trademark MX setting feature can be enabled to bring an improved audio experience to your vehicle, depending on which audio output you’re using. This works much like a ‘boost’ feature, applying predefined audio enhancements, though you can also tweak and tune these separately yourself.
Finally, a particularly useful feature is the ability to update firmware directly via USB, which is often not a feature included in budget-range models. Some brands choose never to update firmware after the initial release of a stereo system.
For a relatively inexpensive model, you get heaps of functionality with the CDE-HD149BT model. What’s more, a smartphone application provides a vast array of audio tuning options, and you can even update firmware over USB, something not often seen in these products. It’s not the easiest unit to get to grips with, but once you do, you’ll likely love this addition to your vehicle.