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Dnx893s

 
Old 07-08-2017, 09:05 PM
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Dave's 1st Corvette
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Default Dnx893s

This is a partial review of the Kenwood DNX893S. Not every feature, function and nuance are described. I wrote this as a product review for Amazon.com however I realized that my fellow Corvette owners might also derive benefit.

Before finalizing my selection of the DNX893S and making my purchase, I had posted numerous questions to the Amazon.com web page. A few of my questions were answered but unfortunately most of my questions went unanswered. Since I am now an owner of this device, I decided to post here the answers to all my previous questions along with additional information that might allow others to make a better-informed purchase decision.

Be assured that I did not receive the DNX893S in exchange for these comments. I received nothing for free or discount from Kenwood or any vendor. I paid retail price for my DNX893S and its installation into my vehicle. The facts and opinions described here are based upon my personal experience. I hope this partial review helps others.

First and foremost, Kenwood's website does not provide contact information for customers to call and ask questions (as far as I can tell). Here is the telephone number for Kenwood Product Support. The call center is located in Florida: 800-536-9663. I spoke with a representative and a supervisor, the latter knew the DNX893S extremely well, but dodged my request for her name.

Kenwood does not provide a printed user manual in the product's box, rather an online version. Actually there are two online user manuals: the first is for use of the audio, video and bluetooth telephone functions, and the second one is devoted to just the navigation functions. There is a Quick Start Guide included in the product's box. However as you might expect, it does not go into detail about any of the functionality.

Since it would be preferable to have both manuals in hand while seated in your vehicle learning the DNX893S functions, here is my workaround: Download both online manuals to an iPad. That is, download both the "Instruction manual" and "Navigation" PDF files, which may be found here:

http://www.kenwood.com/usa/car/excel...?model=DNX893S

Also download the "Firmware Update Guide":

http://www.kenwood.com/cs/ce/mm/firm...Wupdate_en.pdf

You may never need it, but it's only a single page. Firmware upgrades are described more thoroughly later in this partial review.

Upon powering on the DNX893S, there a startup "splash" screen that lasts about 12 seconds, followed by the now ubiquitous "nag" screen that requires you to indicate your agreement that you will behave responsibly. Welcome to super-litigious America. If people stop suing over everything, then there will be fewer nag screens on our devices in the future. After touching the large "Agree" rectangle that appears on the display, the DNX893S functions become available. There is one item of good news here. If your setup incorporates a rear-view camera, the DNX893S allows its image to appear right away upon shifting into reverse; that is, need not wait until the splash screen gives way to the nag screen and the nag screen's "Agree" rectangle is touched.

Next you will see the DNX893S home screen, which for some unnecessary reason, shows a small white blob slowly traveling across the center of the display moving left to right continuously. This feature serves no purpose, and is potentially distracting should the DNX893S installation be positioned near the driver's line of sight. Should the rather busy home screen prove too distracting while driving, or too bright while driving at night, there are two options to de-clutter your view:

(1) Pressing the '4-squares' button, which on the DNX893S is second from the rightmost button, blanks the screen completely;

(2) Pressing the MENU button then touching the 'Display Off' on-screen icon blanks the display except for an on-screen digital clock in the upper-right corner. To perform this safely, do not take eyes off the road. Instead, develop a 'muscle memory' initially consisting of finger placement across the row of buttons so that the correct sequence is actuated effortlessly. To accomplish this, I place my middle finger in the center (over the word KENWOOD) which positions my right ring finger on the MENU button. After pressing it, next I raise my index finger and stretch it out towards the left somewhat, and touch the on-screen "Display Off' icon. Mission accomplished.

By the way, the user manual makes reference to an "OSD Clock". Having never seen the abbreviation OSD before, I googled it. OSD = On Screen Display. And with either of these two options, the display does not turn completely off. There is a faintly noticeable uniform glow of the entire display which I estimate to be 3-5% brightness level.

Moving along, there is a tiny rectangle located between the volume up and volume down buttons. This is not a MUTE button like I had originally hoped. I was told that behind it is the infrared receiver for the optional remote control. Since I did not purchase the remote control, I could not confirm this by obstructing the tiny rectangle with a finger.

Actually there is no MUTE button, however upon holding in the VOLUME DOWN button, the volume level decreases to zero within two seconds. Two seconds is not instantaneous like a MUTE button would be, but this functionality is better than having to press the VOLUME DOWN button repeatedly 10, 15, or 20 times to achieve the same result.

The VOLUME UP button has a welcomed nuance. If starting from a volume level below 15, holding the VOLUME UP button in, increases the volume to level 15, where it stops. For levels 16 and higher, it takes one VOLUME UP button press per one level of volume increase. For me, level 15 is the correct volume under most non-expressway driving circumstances. So this hold-in function is convenient to stop the volume increase at level 15 each time it is raised from a level less than 15; for example, from zero.

The front-view camera, if your vehicle is so equipped, is turned on by holding in the MENU button for one second. It is turned off by either holding in the MENU button again for a second, or by touching the lower half of the display's center. With either the front-view or rear-view camera on, switching views is accomplished by touching the top half of the display's center. Of course the vehicle must be shifted into reverse to activate the rear-view camera. I recommend not turning on the front-view camera during ordinary driving. It is possible to become mesmerized resulting is a rapid loss of vehicular control. And remember, you touched the "Agree" rectangle thereby immunizing Kenwood from any liability.

Upon activating either the front-view or rear-view camera, the text "AV Out : OFF" is displayed for about two seconds then it disappears. This minor annoyance cannot be eliminated.

The DNX893S provides parking guidelines for both the front-view and rear-view cameras. These can be activated or deactivated from within the DNX893S camera setup menu. Most after-market vehicle parking cameras also provide their own guidelines; some models' guidelines can be activated or deactivated. Obviously you would choose to view either the DNX893S guidelines or the camera guidelines, but not both. I decided to deactivate my camera guidelines because the DNX893S guidelines can be adjusted while sitting in the driver's seat. This is more convenient than adjusting a camera's built-in guidelines then returning to the driver's seat and repeat until reaching what works best for you.

The DNX893S has no capability to adjust the front-view camera guidelines. They are fixed in position, which I find bizarre, considering the rear-view camera guidelines provided by the DNX893S are very adjustable. Nevertheless my preference was to turn off both cameras' built-in guidelines. That way the guideline graphics for both front-view and rear-view cameras appear the same on the display.

The DNX893S terrestrial radio function accommodates fifteen FM station memory presets and five AM station memory presets. If you're like me and only need a few FM and one AM preset, then you have to consider what to do with the remaining unused presets. They cannot be deleted from view. Since it may be necessary to cycle through all of them; for example, to scroll down to the last FM preset in order to arrive at the first AM preset, I developed a workaround. I simply saved the first FM station that I like to all the odd-numbered presets, the second FM station that I like to all the even-numbered presets, and the one AM station that I like to all five AM presets. This technique not only solves the above problem, but also avoids the nuisance of unintentionally selecting a preset having no saved radio station which would then result in loud static.

Before purchasing, I had asked on this web page if there were a phone mute button; for example, to prevent the other party from hearing a brief private conversation inside the vehicle. The user manual describes an on-screen icon that one would touch to temporarily mute the DNX893S telephone microphone. So the answer is yes.

The DNX893S does not feature proprietary voice activated telephone dialing functionality. However if your cellphone itself does, then holding in for one second the '4-squares' button (see users manual page 85), permits use of whatever voice activated functions that your cellphone has. That is, this DNX893S function simply behaves as a 'pass-through' to your cellphone's voice activated dialing features.

Unfortunately the DNX893S navigator does not feature voice activated navigation. One cannot press a button and say, "locate nearest gas station" like some very advanced automobile navigators provide. However my other vehicle's factory radio/navigator has this function and it does not work well. I still have to manually enter addresses, even though I deliberately speak to it slowly and very clearly.

I have no complaints about the DNX893S navigation user interface. Inputting addresses is straightforward and there are many user-customizable features. I prefer the navigator to display current time, miles remaining until next turn, estimated minutes remaining until arrival at destination, and miles remaining until arrival at destination, which the navigator will do if set up in this fashion.

The navigator displays miles per hour which I do not like, simply because this on-screen 'real estate' would be better served by showing something else rather than data I can see front-and-center on my vehicle speedometer. There is no option to remove the navigator's miles per hour readout and instead view something more useful such as estimated arrival time at destination, or compass direction of travel, or elevation above sea level.

I also own a portable TomTom navigator, that I use when traveling and renting cars. The TomTom's laptop computer application allows for planning a car trip with one or multiple destinations, adding or removing favorite places, and changing other TomTom settings. The TomTom is connected to the laptop upon which destinations, favorites, and other selections are then synched effortlessly. 'In-dash' navigators such as the DNX893S do not have the fabulous capability. Considering the DNX893S has a USB drive connector and an SD card slot, I suppose it would not be so much of a challenge for either Kenwood or Garmin to develop a Windows application by which destinations and favorites could be selected from the comfort of one's easy chair in front of the laptop, then copy to the USB drive or SD card, then connect the USB device or SD card to the DNX893S. I would even pay extra for such a Windows application. Perhaps in the future . . . (not holding my breath).

From time to time, Garmin updates its navigation maps. Unlike my TomTom which includes free map updates forever, Garmin charges an outrageous price to update for your DNX893S navigation map. Perhaps Gary and Min concluded that if somebody can afford an expensive DNX893S plus its installation cost, then they wouldn't mind paying $69.99 for each map update. My DNX893S has the 2016 Garmin map. The 2017 map is ready for purchase and downloading. I can live with my 2016 map. If new roads are built in my area, or the expressway interchanges are rebuilt, then maybe I will cough up the $69.99. We'll see.

I was told by the Kenwood Product Support Group supervisor that should I decide to update my DNX893S map, then the new map would be downloaded (after paying, of course) to an SD card which then would be inserted into the SD slot in the DNX893S. The new map would not be copied from the SD card into the DNX893S memory; rather, the SD card containing the mew map data would have to remain inside the SD slot. I was a little troubled by this for two reasons. First, this arrangement might slow down the navigator's functions since the map data would then reside on a flash drive rather than the much speedier internal memory. Second, the SD card with new map data must not also contain music, image, or any other files. If it were to, then the DNX893S will not read the new map data and instead revert to the original map data that was burned onto the DNX893S internal memory during manufacturing. That is what the supervisor explained.

Interestingly, reading through the Garmin website devoted to in-dash navigators such as the DNX893S, it would appear that the DNX893S transfers the new map data from the SD card to its internal memory. That is just my understanding based on a rather poorly-written help file. This could be a misinterpretation. I will find out in the future if I ever shell out $70 for a new Garmin map. Let's hope I never need to.

While on the topic of DNX893S updates, I learned through reading the Kenwood and Garmin websites that the DNX893S contains Kenwood firmware and Garmin software, both of which might be updated by the respective manufactures from time to time. The Kenwood Product Support Group supervisor advised me that this would be a rare event, and would not be for the purpose of providing additional features like Apple does with its iPhone operating system updates. Instead, she stated, Kenwood would update its product firmware upon the discovery of coding errors and the like. New features, I strongly presume, would only appear on follow-on models.

There is a procedure for updating the DNX893S Kenwood firmware and the Garmin software. One or more files would be downloaded from the Kenwood website and decompressed onto a USB drive. However the process of incorporating the new firmware or software into the DNX893S would then result in the erasure of all the user-defined parameters including customizations, preferences, and presets:

Initial setup selections - there are many
Security code
Time zone and current time
Home screen short cut buttons
Rear camera guidelines
AM and FM stations
Bluetooth pairing to iPhone
iPhone contacts directory and favorites
Navigator: home address, voice and display preferences including custom button layout
. . . and many more

So it would be wise to write down all of your user-defined parameters prior to updating the Kenwood firmware or Garmin software. Additionally, a depleted vehicle battery might also result in the loss of all one's parameters, as well as a temporary disconnection of the DNX893S for servicing it or something nearby -- for this I am not certain. Nevertheless I prepared a Word document that includes all of my parameters, turned it into a PDF file, and loaded it onto my iPad next to the DNX893S manuals, just in case. Too bad there is no mini-battery to facilitate saving all of one's work. I wouldn't mind changing a battery once per year. Theoretically, such a CMOS-style battery could be accessible behind the DNX893S display, near the SD card slot.

Returning to the updates issue, the supervisor mentioned that any Garmin software updates would in fact be distributed by Kenwood on its "Navigation/Multimedia Receiver Firmware Updates" web page:

http://www.kenwood.com/cs/ce/mm/firm...2016i/eng.html

However the "Garmin Product Updates For Kenwood" web page clearly indicates that _it_ is the source for Garmin software updates:

https://auto-oem.garmin.com/landing/site

Click on icon/button for KENWOOD.

I didn't want to cross examine the supervisor, who by that time had been on the telephone with me for nearly half an hour. In the event that I ever desire to update either the Kenwood firmware or the Garmin software, I will call back and question her discrepancy.

I own an older model iPod and discovered to my dismay that it is not compatible with the DNX893S. Although this is not a difficult problem to solve (buy a new one), it is quite shocking that this very expensive car stereo has zero backwards compatibility in this regard. If you own an iPod or iPhone and would like to use it with a DNX893S to play music, see this website before buying anything:

http://www.kenwood.com/usa/car/excel...l=DNX893S#ipod

The DNX893S possesses two USB connectors. One is designated for "iPod/iPhone" and the other is simply labeled "USB". I copied an MP3 music file onto a USB drive. The DNX893S will read the file and play the music from either USB connector. However an iPod or iPhone (containing music files) must be connected to it's particular USB connector. When installing these two connectors into your vehicle, plan in advance which connector will be positioned where, if that matters to you. I placed the iPod/iPhone connector to the left of the other USB connector, being that this represents an alphabetical order therefore is easier to remember. The DNX893S bluetooth will also connect to your iPhone, however of course a physical connection will also keep the iPhone's battery charged.

Lastly, a few comments about the DNX893S power button. As with the MENU and '4-squares' buttons, the HOME button possesses two functions. Pressing HOME retrieves the home screen on the DNX893S display. Pressing and holding in the HOME button for one second powers the DNX893S on or off. When pressing HOME to retrieve the home screen, release the button immediately or else it will power off. Powering on, as you recall, cycles through a 12 second splash screen followed by the nag screen. So if your goal is not to turn the DNX893S off, then press and release the HOME button quickly.

If you enter your vehicle at night and wish to power on the DNX893S, good luck. Under certain circumstances, the DNX893S buttons are not illuminated. It could be challenging to find the HOME (power on) button in the dark. Here is the simple solution to avoid this conundrum. Never turn it off. Leaving the DNX893S on when you shut off and exit your vehicle results in the DNX893S powering up without intervention when you next start your vehicle . . . thereby avoiding the need for ever having to find the HOME button in the dark.

If for some reason you need to power on the DNX893S with the HOME button, once again strive to develop a muscle memory. Starting again with finger placement across the row of buttons with the middle finger in the center (over the word KENWOOD). Slide hand towards the right so the index finger is now in the center on KENWOOD. The right ring finger is on the HOME button. Press and hold. Mission accomplished.

In conclusion, the DNX893S is a revolutionary product and I am very happy that I waited for this model to become available. However it is a very complex instrument and unfortunately the two user manuals do not cover every operation. Furthermore, some of the instructions within are confusing or incomplete. I hope this partial review helps to fill in some of these multiple shortcomings and answer many questions, thereby enhancing current and future owners' enjoyment and minimizing their frustration level.

- - - - - - - - - -

Late breaking update: Kenwood recently introduced it's follow-on model to the DNX893S. Kenwood's DNX994S cost about $300 more. After reviewing several websites, I could not determine what differences there were except for the minimally changed configuration of the row of buttons, the model designation, and the 30% price increase. Please let me know if you know, because these two guys' report was underwhelming:


Last edited by Dave's 1st Corvette; 07-09-2017 at 12:44 PM.
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Old 07-09-2017, 12:25 PM
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Nice review. Super long though.
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Old 07-09-2017, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave's 1st Corvette View Post

Late breaking update: Kenwood recently introduced it's follow-on model to the DNX893S. Kenwood's DNX994S cost about $300 more. After reviewing several websites, I could not determine what differences there were except for the minimally changed configuration of the row of buttons, the model designation, and the 30% price increase. Please let me know if you know, because these two guys' report was underwhelming:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1Epcg2oQH0
The 994 is going to be 200.00 less in retail price
not 300.00 more

the 994 has no hdmi
the 994 has new chip set for audio
994 has connectivity for dvr520

Last edited by Double D Mods; 07-09-2017 at 12:28 PM.
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Old 07-15-2017, 10:23 PM
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Another note. If you have only a single rear-view camera, long-pressing the menu button will reveal the rear camera input regardless of shifter position.

Also I'm wondering if the roving blob you mentioned is indicative of the device being in "demo" mode, which is I believe the factory default.

Last edited by bobeast; 07-15-2017 at 10:28 PM.
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Old 07-16-2017, 09:46 AM
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Great job explaining and breaking down all the features of this head unit. I do have one question though. This is still a car audio head unit that primarily provides an auditory experience to one's ears with the bonus of a video screen. How the heck does it sound? If it doesn't bring it in terms of sound quality all the features in the world mean nothing to me.
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Old 11-30-2017, 01:31 PM
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I'm no "audiophile". I am utilizing the OEM speakers from 2003. I've been told that these wear out over time, and therefore I will eventually upgrade them. Meanwhile, music from each of the various sources, and talk radio, all sound fine. The limiting factor in my Corvette's case is the rather loud road noise. When upgrading the speakers, I will also have Dynamat installed.
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Old 11-30-2017, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave's 1st Corvette View Post
I'm no "audiophile". I am utilizing the OEM speakers from 2003. I've been told that these wear out over time, and therefore I will eventually upgrade them. Meanwhile, music from each of the various sources, and talk radio, all sound fine. The limiting factor in my Corvette's case is the rather loud road noise. When upgrading the speakers, I will also have Dynamat installed.
Sound deadening was the best mod I have done to my Z06 to date. It was horribly loud and I know it was made that way to save weight and is kind of a refined race car. Most say they like the visceral driving experience. I wanted a quieter ride. 9 rolls of sound deadening later, it purrs down the highway like a kitten but you can romp on it and that race car feel and sound still roars right back. The bonus is how much better the stereo listening experience is.
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Old 11-30-2017, 08:35 PM
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Yes, I've been advised to pick up one of these:

Amazon Amazon

(9 rolls of Dynamat)

It's on my to-be-purchased list for, I suppose, next year.

Thank you,

Dave

Last edited by Dave's 1st Corvette; 11-30-2017 at 08:36 PM.
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Old 11-30-2017, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by 02BlownZ06 View Post
Sound deadening was the best mod I have done to my Z06 to date. It was horribly loud and I know it was made that way to save weight and is kind of a refined race car. Most say they like the visceral driving experience. I wanted a quieter ride. 9 rolls of sound deadening later, it purrs down the highway like a kitten but you can romp on it and that race car feel and sound still roars right back. The bonus is how much better the stereo listening experience is.
i need to get around to doing this...
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Old 05-12-2019, 02:32 PM
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Default Long overdue update to DNX893S

It has been about two years since installing the Kenwood DNX893S and I remain very happy with it. There are several additional items to explain to the forum so consumers can make an informed buying decision about this unit or its follow-on models.


1) First and foremost is praising the benefit of having a front-viewing camera. The photo below shows its mounting position on my car, in the center of the bottom of the front bumper, just ahead of the air dam.



With it, no longer am I hitting the parking lot mini-curbs.





Precise position to park, aided by the front mounted camera:



And thank goodness the front camera's monitor image is not compromised like the rear camera's monitor image . . .


2) The rear camera's monitor image has a warning banner across the top third of the screen which blocks exactly what I need to see: vehicles or pedestrians traveling down the street at the base of my driveway. Fortunately tapping the warning banner with a finger turns it off.










3) On the topic of annoyances, the following is now seen whenever I active the navigation function.



I do not wish to purchase the map upgrade because the roadways in my locale have not changed. Furthermore, the map upgrade procedure entails downloading the purchased map onto an SD card and inserting the SD card into the DNX893S's SD slot behind the monitor screen. The new map resides on the SD card. It is not transferred and burned into the DNX893S's internal memory like new firmware would be. Why is this a problem:

a) If the SD card becomes corrupt or the SD slot connection softens up, then a map failure would ensue.

b) One would no longer be able to utilize the SD slot for listening to music or viewing photos that are copied on an SD card. While this is unlikely given iPod/iPhone and/or Pandora and Apple CarPlay, it nevertheless represents a reduction of functionality and personally I do not like that.

c) Theoretically, map data on an SD card might be accessed by the DNX893S's navigation engine slowly in comparison to the original map data burned into the DNX893S's internal memory, because an SD card is an external memory device.

I will continue to utilize the original map until some future event compels me to upgrade.


4) The volume button's thin black plastic coating disintegrated.



I would not expect this to occur on such an expensive instrument, the DNX893S. Luckily replacement buttons are available and I just ordered two.

Last edited by Dave's 1st Corvette; 05-13-2019 at 06:11 PM. Reason: updated knowledge
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