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Alpine Pmd B200 Blackbird Ii

Reviewing: Alpine Pmd B200 Blackbird Ii  |  Rating:
tall_paul By tall_paul on
Badge: Author | Level: 1 | Mobile Expertise:

I bought this GPS unit about 8 months ago to use with the IVA-W205 head unit that I've had for about 10 months. I love the clean OEM look you get by having the unit dock inside of the stereo and that was really the main reason I went with Alpine, that and I've always loved Alpines products. I got the Blackbird when it had just been released and there were hardly any reviews of it. I should have waited for more reviews because I find a lot of people experiencing the same problems I’m having. About 3 months ago I started losing signal while driving, it seemed as though left turns would make it better and right turns would make it worse. So I thought it was either the external GPS receiver connection to the stereo or the docking connection between the GPS and the stereo because taking the GPS out and using it always worked fine. I had the stereo and GPS installed by a shop so I took it back to them. After they did some troubleshooting they determined that the head unit was faulty and swapped it out with a brand new one – something they surely did not have to do, they could have just sent it back to Alpine for repair and I would have been without a stereo for who knows how long. That seemed to solve the problem, at least for a while. Now instead of losing signal intermittently, it sometimes takes 2, 5 or 20 minutes to find the signal and start tracking my location. Again taking the GPS out of the unit solves the problem and once it lock onto the signal and put it back in everything works. It seems to only happen the first time I use it after it has been off for a while. Here are some other issues I have with it:

1. About 1 out of 20 times you start it up, you’ll get a flickering white screen, meaning you’ll have to take it out of the unit and hit the reset button. (A common problem).2. Also about 1 out of 20 times you have a route set it decides to reboot it the middle of it and when it comes back on your destination is gone and some of the setting go back to there default, like the zoom level and the map view.3. There’s no way to set a route and save it. You can only save a destination and the way it takes you there may not be the fastest way, like avoiding known traffic areas.4. If there are two somewhat equal ways to get somewhere and you choose to go a different way than it has picked for you, it will continuously reroute you, back tracking for miles after you’ve passed the way it wanted you to go.5. You can not receive traffic information while its docked in the stereo unless you install an antenna Y fitting, which it does not come with.6. I have been unable to find any map or firmware updates through Alpine or even where they would be if there were some.7. The few times I’ve used the GPS outside of the stereo the battery life had been pretty short, 1 to 1 ½ hours is about it.8. The nag screen at every start up gets very annoying.9. When switching from any other source back to the Nav, there a delay of about 5 seconds where you can not use any functions until the source screen goes way. Switching from Nav to any other source there is no delay.10. The ability to insert a SD memory card to listen to music is cool and easy to navigate through but any time it reroutes or thinks you’ve gone off course the music is paused while it figures it out.

Other than these items it’s not the worse GPS unit but the price is too high for what you get. I guess you have to pay a premium for the clean look.