The aftermarket car stereo market still exists, but it is not as robust as it once was. Today's vehicles include better sound systems than in the past, and are now evolving to include many more features. Still, even with better stock systems, some people are compelled to have it all. It is that group of audiophiles that will enjoy the all new Pioneer AVIC-Z120BT.

At a price point of $1,400 the AZIC-Z120BT is out of the price range for mass sales, but the unit is impressive in its full integration of several music platforms as well as GPS and other features. This system integrates sophisticated navigation capabilities as well as new groundbreaking features, including:

  • A revolutionary 3D touch slide interface, Pioneer MusicSphere and ECO Graph. Includes 3D graphics accelerator
  • Built-in navigation utilizing a large motorized 7-inch WVGA hi-resolution touch screen display
  • DVD playback
  • Built-in Bluetooth1 for hands-free calling and music streaming
  • USB connectivity2 for iPod/iPhone connectivity
  • micro SD card slot
  • back-up camera input
  • SIRIUS XM satellite ready
  • HD Radio ready
  • GPS
  • DVD/CD

The system also includes Pioneer’s new proprietary MusicSphere technology. MusicSphere allows users to enjoy their music in a new way by creating unique mood-based playlists via iTunes for their iPod, iPod Touch, or iPhone device. When installed on a user’s computer, the MusicSphere iTunes plug-in software will analyze the entire music library and create specialized playlists based on various musical attributes such as feeling (bright, energetic, gloomy, relaxing calm), rhythm pattern, Beats Per Minute (BPM), year of the song and/or date added to the device.

Additionally, through the MusicSphere plug-in, users can select preferred parameters of their music to create a “DJ Playlist”. This function will create a non-stop mix of up to 100 tracks of the selected music types with the further ability to set the transition effects for blending between songs.

Once an iPod, iPhone or iPod Touch device has been synced with the MusicSphere playlists and is connected to the AVIC-Z120BT, users can access up to 40 specialized playlists through an animated 3D sphere interface. Each playlist can be accessed from a section of the sphere which can be rotated up, down, left and right with a slight touch of the screen. This unique interface provides a quick, easy and highly visual method of selecting MusicSphere generated playlists.

PandoraLink is another interesting feature of the AVIC-Z120BT. Users of Pandora can stream the service through their iPhone have the full user interface on the screen of the AVIC-Z120BT. This is possible through the PandoraLink for Pioneer App.

Thus far Pioneer is one of the few companies taking an approach that combines several platforms in one place. There have been several "combo" units on the market, but none that have taken such drastic steps to make the full menu available.

[via iStockAnalyst]