Alpine iVA-W505

Author: Sven Rafferty
November 16th, 2009

iva-w505-straight-112007.jpg

Pros

  • Large easy to read screen
  • Feature rich
  • Great sounding built-in amp
  • Plays iPod and DVD video
  • Expandable with Sirius XM, Bluetooth, and GPS components

Cons

  • On-screen soft buttons not responsive
  • iPod listing very slow with large library
  • Extremely difficult to navigate iPod
  • Large screen wasted with small character amount
  • New tracks “blanks” out info and lags on refresh

The Bottom Line
Alpine has a long history of making steller products that push the envelope of technology and its full sized Double-DIN strives to continue this tradition. With its out-of-the-box integration with an iPod, a beautiful looking interface, and excellent sound, one becomes surprised when they find fault with the iPod integration. While it’s first iPod unit, the iAD-X001, excelled even with its short comings, the iVA-W505 leaves one wondering where Alpine missed the boat with this iPod venture.

Ratings

Overall:

Ease of Use:

Features:

Sound:

iPod Integration:

Price:

Recommended
Maybe (Due to Price)

Full Review

When SvenOnTech reviewed the first fully iPod integrated Alpine iAD-X001 upon its release, we were excited to see the advancement Alpine made with the single-DIN unit. Sure, it had some minor issues, but it was a first generation and short comings are always expected with such releases. Sure to Alpine’s character, the problems were all corrected in the next-generation units. So with a large LCD screen allowing large real estate for menus, text display, and easy to reach buttons, the iVA-W505 has the potential to blow the roof off where the little guys left off.

As I had the installer put in the iVA-W505, I was very excited to give the iPod integration a full out testing. Once I sat in front of it, my fingers started dancing over the large LCD face. My big smile quickly turned into a disappointed frown with just a few taps to the blue lit screen. I quickly found inconsistencies with the buttons (see video reviews below for details), lag in digging into the iPod’s Artist list, and the inability to return to where I left off on the Artist list like I could with the iAD-X001with one button press. I scratched my head thinking Alpine had gone backward in its development and starting to doubt myself. So much so, I read the manual! But truth was, Alpine just didn’t make a good enough unit this time and – wow – at over a thousand dollars retail, I’m not sure this is something I’d even recommend, truthfully.

I then went and tested the video feature of the iPod and was once again smiling when the video from the iTunes Store started playing on the screen. “Sweet!” I cheerfully said when the opening credits of “Battlestar Galactica” appeared. Unfortunately, that quickly faded again when I pressed the Next button thinking it would skip to the next chapter. Nope, to the next video is where it went. I couldn’t find any way to access the chapter marks. Even worse, when I removed power to the unit by exiting my truck, the video did not pick up where I last left nor did it remember my position when I dug threw all the menus to restart it. “Weak!” was what I said that time. Why Alpine, why?

I found over the course of use that the soft buttons were difficult to touch and activate, especially when driving. Because of this, you really have to focus on the W505 to insure your finger gets just right on the not-large-enough soft button to make your selection. I can see this unit being banned in California just like texting and driving. It really distracts you from the road.

I cover a lot in the video review that is more in-depth than I can possibly do in written form, so I highly suggest you watch all the videos below. What can not be conveyed on video is the sound. Like all Alpine units I’ve heard, the iVA-W505 sounds great. Using just stock – and crapy stock I might add – speakers from Ford, my F-250 sounded very impressive after slipping this into the dash. Bass was deeper, you know, as deep as those paper woofers would allow, and the highs good enough to replicate the fact that there really are triangles in some of Bach’s works. Add the capability of Imprint, Alpine’s DSP that easily connects to the iVA-W505, and you will make any standard car speaker system sound pretty good for sure.

Another thing I liked about the iVA-W505 that would be difficult to show on the video is how the screen doesn’t show all your finger prints. While Apple proudly boasted to the world of it’s new anti-oil screen for the iPhone 3GS, which I still see tons of finger print juice on mine, I rarely found prints on the screen of the Alpine iVA-W505. Bravo, Alpine!

Video Reviews

Price: $1,100

Platform: Double-DIN

Website: iVA-W505


Leave a Reply