AVIN Avant-2 Android Navigation System Review
After a ton of research, I decided to replace the head unit on my 07 E63 with the new w211 AVIN Avant 2, before I get into my review, let me say that AVIN is one of the best companies to work with in terms of customer service. Tommy is the Man! I worked with Tommy via email/phone for a few days once he had the production done on the unit and the unit was at my house within a few days of ordering it. You guys can check it out here:
The install was fairly easy, although a friend owns an audio shop and I had him do most of the work. This my first go around with a Mercedes and I didn't want to get stuck, plus my AMG is very dear to my heart, so best left to a professional. I will go into further details on the install in a future post.
I am writing this from an android phone standpoint, I am not an apple guy, and never will be, being in IT I prefer the open source nature of android phones. I did try out the IPOD connector that is included with the unit, it is a dongle that is part of a bundle that you run over the the glove compartment, no issues, the format on the avin unit is a lot better than the standard Mercedes ipod adapter, and ties into the steering controls just like the factory unit. Now on to the functionality.
Ok Google- speaking apps that allow you to controls commands via your voice works great and makes the system very easy to use. They are tied right with Google, so when you ask it to "find" something it will refer right to Google, or in the case of directions, Google maps.
Navigation-SYGIC- its a great app, works very well, we ran the GPS antenna up through the side pillar into the rear view mirror, fits nicely, all of the US maps are included on a SD card, that is located on the left top of the unit.
-Bluetooth capability(phone calls), in terms of Bluetooth, it works pretty well. I use a custom ROM on an old Xperia mini, and it connected right up and my contacts synched to the unit. The phone system is pretty good and its fairly easy for the person on the other line to hear you. once you end the call on your steering wheel, the unit picks up where you left off with whichever ever application that you are using at the time. The OEM phone buttons on the steering wheel work just as well with unit as they do with the factory Mercedes unit.
-Bluetooth Music, it works that about all I can say, I don't feel using BT streaming is a value, especially with the unit having a SD card slot which brings me to the next part. the music.........
MX player- comes as a default app, when you press the SD card button, that's what launches. SD shows up on your cluster, with the track #. It work well enough for most users, however if you have a huge music collection I would side load power amp, which is a lot more intuitive, and looks way better. I am working with Tommy to switch the SD button over to default to the power amp app (using poweramp shows up as other in the instrument cluster, but all OEM buttons work) and get rid of MX player all together.
DVD's- DVD show's in the instrument cluster, track and time as well. They work, the display on the unit is crisp and clear.
Torque- there are many uses for this app and if you work on your car on your own, it's invaluable. Tommy throws in 2 BT adapters the black one with the power light works best.
Internet- I use my phone as a wifi hot spot and it works like a charm, if you guys use a android tablet, it exactly the same.
Overall I have to say that the AVIN unit is way better than the factory one and since it fits in the factory slot, looks like the factory unit, and requires no modification, the choice is a no-brainier. There is one caveat. When installing you remove the MOST amp and you lose your factory center channel and Sub, I don't mind this as I plan to amplify and JL clean sweep the sound, which will give me back my center channel and allow me to put in a 10 in the factory mount. The sound is great on the factory speakers with it, there are too many features to list, its essentially like having an android tablet in your dashboard. You also retain the use of all your buttons on your steering wheel like OEM. I have been using the unit on and off for about 60 days now, I have side loaded many applications, downloaded applications from Google play and have had no issues. Tommy hit it out of the park with this one, feel free to hit me up if you have any questions, and once again, go AVIN!