Alpine INE-Z928HD Quick Review

Alpine INE-Z928HD 8″ Double Din Car Audio Receiver

I was recently sent the Alpine INE-Z928HD to test out and review.  Rather than go in to major detail of the features and specs, however, I have chosen to keep this review very short by highlighting some notables from my perspective and provide a video showing menu structure, sound and general features, and notably the graphic user interface (GUI).

Highlights

As most websites will tell you, the body of this headunit is indeed standard double din size but the faceplate itself is oversized at 8″ (corner to corner).  This means while the ‘guts’ of the INE-Z928HD will fit a standard DD opening, the faceplate may or may not fit your car’s double din opening.  My advice is to ask Alpine tech support, your dealer, a car specific forum, or a trusted source (such as Crutchfield) whether or not this headunit will work in your car’s dash space.  Or if you want, you can always mold up your own opening.

Once I got the receiver in, I connected it to a PAC TR-7 bypass so I could access the features otherwise locked out when the unit is not installed in a car with connection to brake wires.  This allows me to test this unit outside of the car.  Once I powered the unit up, I measured the RCA outputs with a scope and a 1kHz, 0dB tone.  The output voltage – unclipped – measured approximately 4.27v at full volume.  I found that raising the SLA (source level attenuation) boosted the output voltage but regardless what configuration of volume number vs SLA value, the highest allowable unclipped output voltage is 4.27.  This was the same for both iPod and CD sources.  Safe to say this is plenty of voltage for most any car audio user.

I went through all the features of the headunit that I could (excluding GPS as I didn’t have time to install this in my car) to test out functionality.  I’ll briefly discuss my personal take aways before continuing with the video:

  1. I found sometimes the interface, when switching menus or sources, would lag a bit.  However, I didn’t find this a problem when browsing my iPod or iPhone 4; the former having approximately 5,200 songs with the majority being in lossless format.
  2. The ability to change colors (Blue, Green, Red, Orange, Black) was nice as it allows for a bit of customization for most users’ dash illumination.
  3. Bluetooth calling worked as would be expected.  In some ways it performed better than the other various headunits I’ve used over the years.  There was no complaints of noise from those I spoke with while using BT.  Though, again, I didn’t test this in car where road noise would be a hindrance.
  4. The “Favorites” feature is pretty nice as this allows you to set up the car for 2 different users.  For example, I can set up my own features to customize the GUI/settings for myself and my wife can have her own settings to use when she drives the car, all with a couple easy button pushes.
  5. The INE-Z928HD doesn’t come with a remote.  Why Alpine decided to not include a $20 accessory with a product that retails for $1500 boggles my mind.
  6. There is only one USB port on this headunit.  I would personally prefer to have 2.  I usually keep an iPod classic in the car connected via USB.  If I want to charge my phone I either have to use a car adapter or disconnect the iPod.  While not a deal breaker, the convenience of having more than one USB port is nice.
  7. *Nostalgia alert*… Pulsetouch… this unit doesn’t have it.  Not that it matters since Alpine hasn’t used this since about the IVA-D106, that I recall.  For some reason, I still miss this.  Maybe I’m the only one.

 

Video Walkthrough

Below is a video walkthrough of the unit’s GUI.  Note the iPod search structure and the relative quickness.  There are a few points here and there where the unit lags but it doesn’t seem to be an issue when searching through the iPod/iPhone menus.  Also take note of some of the sound shaping features such as time alignment and crossover adjustability.

 

Additional Photos