Mobility Digest Reviews: Sony DSXS300BTX
My car stereo recently began malfunctioning so I figured why not upgrade to something more to my taste. With my Windows Phone, I take advantage of ZunePass a great deal so I was looking for a Bluetooth capable device as I don’t care much for wires. Fast-forward through all my research and browsing, I came across the Sony DSX300BTX. I liked this model as it offered Bluetooth integration with a dot-matrix display. I’m not a huge audiophile. As long as music doesn’t sound like garbage I’m a happy camper. As such, I am not going to compare this with other car stereo units or rate it on sound quality. I don’t have the knowledge base to give you an accurate comparison anyway. What I will endeavor to do is describe my personal experience with this unit as a person looking to find more ways to connect my mobile devices in an efficient and practical way.
The Sony DSXS300BTX is one of the few car stereo units that omits the CD/DVD slot. Instead, it offers a convenient place to store your music player. This slot is meant for mp3 players but works just as well with usb flash drives and portable 2.5” hard drives. I don’t use CDs or DVDs much for music anymore and I find dragging and dropping files into a flash drive much more convenient than burning a cd so I had no problem with the switch. However if you enjoy optical media, there is the option to attach a cd changer. The ability to easily add a hard drive in there was also very tempting. It took me awhile to get it to read my flash drive though. Sony neglected to specify which filesystems were supported and the head unit does not recognize the NTSF file system. It does however support both FAT and FAT32(discovered through trial and error). This limitation shouldn’t be a problem for anyone though, as FAT32 allows for up to 8TB hard drives and files up to 4GB. Since this device doesn’t support video playback, there should be no reason why you need to store a 4GB file. Once you connect your USB device, the device is automatically recognized and it will start scanning for music(usually takes a second or 2). Once found, playback will begin. You can browse through your songs either via your folder hierarchy, artist, album, or song. Having 2 usb ports allows me to keep a hard drive stored inside the unit and still be able to plug any last minute music additions to the external usb port on the front. I also found that the front usb port does a great job of charging my phone without me needing to get adapters for my cigarette lighter. I should note that the front usb port doesn’t provide the full 1mA current required to charge my Dell Venue Pro from a dead battery(most car usb chargers don’t) but it does provide enough current to charge most devices.
Now to my favorite part of the DSXS300BTX, Bluetooth integration. The main reason for my buying this stereo was the Bluetooth connectivity. Setting up the Bluetooth was super simple. Just turn it on and find it with my phone. It auto pairs in a few seconds and everything is good to go. Both the audio and headset profiles are connected(separately) automatically. Each time I start the car, it automatically pairs with my phone and I can begin playback without ever taking my phone out of my pocket. Signal strength and battery life are indicated with icons on the screen. I have used other Bluetooth adapters before and a great deal suffered from interference which resulting in the music cutting out intermittently. I’m glad to report that in the 2 weeks I’ve used this stereo, I have yet to experience any interference while using Bluetooth.
The stereo supports the downloading of contacts to the unit. I was unable to send the contacts through my Windows Phone(it’s not currently supported), but then magically they were somehow downloaded on their own. But once I disconnected the phone and reconnected the contact list was gone. This might be a problem for some but I did not mind. The reason being, I don’t want to navigate through my contact list on the stereo while driving anyway. A simple push of the center knob will turn on the speech recognition function and I can make calls through there. Push the center knob again to hang up the call. I didn’t have any problems makes calls in this manner and since the contact dialing can be handled through the phone, it didn’t need to sync contacts. With all these features I found no reason why I would ever need to see or touch my phone at all. In fact, I rarely take my phone out of my pocket, the only exception being when I’m using GPS to get directions.
While I give high praises to this unit, it isn’t without faults. Song information is not displayed when playing back music through Bluetooth. In addition, you cannot toggle random and repeat modes through the stereo. Callers also said my voice sounded distant, but clear when using the built-in mic, so you might have to speak up. There is an optional mic accessory if you intend on doing a lot of hands free calling.
Having only a Windows Phone, I cannot attest to how the experience will be with other platforms, but I suspect it would be similar as Sony employed generic Bluetooth profiles. All in all, I’m more than happy with my DSXS300BTX. It connects me to my media seamlessly, regardless of where it’s located and that’s what I really wanted.
- 2 USB ports (external & internal)
- Stereo Bluetooth with Built-in mic
- Supports downloading contact lists from your phone
- Internal space for storing music players and/or hard drives
- Displays phone signal strength & battery life on screen
- Scans music from mass storage devices quickly
- Allows browsing via folder structure, artist, album, or song title
- No NTSF Support
- Built-in mic doesn’t pick up sound very well
- Song titles are not shown for playback over Bluetooth
- Cannot engage “random” playback from stereo controls(for Windows Phone devices)
i used to install car stereos and the reason i dont have a zune MP3 player still is because noone makes an MP3 player that will handle digital media (other than on an ipod) well. by the sounds of things sony almost has this one right. generic bluetooth profiles definitely do not allow for anything real flashy or with a “wow factor” but given all the different bluetooth devices its practically a necessary evil.
give us an update in a few months of 90 degree heat and let me know how that sony is still treating you
I have been looking at this unit for some time. I happen to know somebody that works at Cruchfield and can get it for under $175. Knowing that you bought one now I can keep takes on yours and see how it’s still holding up and if you have found and more dislikes and likes.
@sm0k3ydaband1t: You’re right, generic bluetooth functionality doesn’t exactly have “wow factor” for us techie people, but I turn a lot of heads with my less tech interested friends. Most are pretty amazed the music is all coming from my pocket. Also nice to be able to play music from the librarys or other people in the car to mix things up. It’s too bad that Sony didn’t include a Zune adapter in the package. It would’ve been nice if they did. I don’t own a Zune so I’m not sure if it’s supported or not, but it does support generic mp3 players.
@Badger: I got this unit for $200 off Amazon. I’ll post an update in a month or so and let you all know how it handles the California heat(I park in direct sunlight quite a bit). Overall I’m very happy with my purchase so far. I have no real complaints other than the integrated mic, but that’s to be expected when it’s positioned so far away.
@badger if you know someone at crutchfield you should take a look at thier clarion products. ive ALWAYS had good luck with them, and they do have good quality and sound to them. bluetooth profiles have always worked with whatever cellphone i was carrying no matter the manufacturer or OS.
dont mean to irk you in any way danny but ive never had a sony deck last me for more than 6 months and they alway sounded like shit to me. im glad you are happy with yours though. and if it does seem to hold up well an update would definately be nice. one thing about sony is theyve always had decks littered with features. if they could just ramp up sound and production quality a little more id rave about them quite often.
@sm0k3ydaband1t: This is actually my first Sony deck. I never really cared much for the Sony models. I’ll be sure to let you know if it lasts or not in a few months
well i certainly wish you the best of luck. i might have to convert myself if you tell me good things in a few months 🙂
well i don’t trust sony or care for them, the sony deck i had in my car (was stolen last night) lasted me 5 years with no issues what so ever. CDXGT410U
this one looks interesting so i’m curious how its holding up 4 months later