Pros / This stereo received an A grade for audio quality.
Cons / It doesn't come with a remote.
Verdict / The JVC KW-R935BTS is our pick for the best value car stereo because it produces high-end audio, is easy to use and costs half as much as its competitors.
The JVC KW-R935BTS does almost everything you expect a double-din car stereo to do. For example, it's Bluetooth compatible, which means you can stream music wirelessly, integrate it with Pandora and Spotify, and make hands-free calls. It also has front ports for USB and AUX cords and is powerful enough to rattle your windows. This stereo may not have the most stylish display, but its performance is comparable to that of models that cost twice as much. This is why we believe it's the best value car stereo.
- Max Power Output per Speaker
- Continuous Power Handling per Speaker
- Equalizer Bands
To test audio quality, I played music with each car stereo using the same pair of speakers. I listened for balance in the mix and graded accordingly. The JVC KW-R935BTS emerged from this comparison with an A grade – only the Pioneer AVH-501EX and Kenwood eXcelon KDC-x998 received higher scores.
When you consider this stereo’s audio quality along with its price, the value is clear. Competing models with similar grades cost twice as much. It's even compatible with lossless formats, WAV and FLAC, which are often ignored by manufacturers but preferred by audiophiles.
The JVC KW-R935BTS also gives you control over your mix with its 13 EQ bands and a time alignment tool. The former allows you to emphasize or minimize certain frequencies, which is necessary to optimize sound to your car's unique acoustics, as well as to adjust the audio to meet your own preferences. The time alignment tool uses a microphone to measure the frequencies from your speakers. The stereo then uses this information to adjust their timing to ensure the frequencies arrive where you want the best audio at the same time.
Ease of Use
The JVC KW-R935BTS’s interface received an A for ease of use. The primary buttons (play/pause, repeat, skip, volume) are all clearly labeled and illuminated. The phone button is also both big and fully illuminated, which is rare but ideal – when you need to answer a call, it’s distracting and unsafe to have to feel around for a small button. The USB and AUX ports are on the front, so they are easy to access.
The display is a bit of a disappointment. More expensive stereos have pixel displays, but the KW-R935BTS features a digital clock face design, which isn't easy to read or very stylish. That said, it has a two-zone variable color feature, so you can mix and match colors instead of using just one. It's not exciting, but it's better than most of the outdated, boring displays on the market.
One minor downside is the stereo doesn’t come with a remote control. Rather, you download an app to your phone and remotely control its features via Bluetooth. Many people may find this a welcome feature, especially since it's easy to lose the small remotes that come with car stereos. Also, most people don't use the remotes anyway, as they are unnecessary when you're in the car. Still, traditionalist car audio enthusiasts often don't like touching the display for fear of wearing out the buttons, so the remote is preferred. That said, a phone app is also acceptable.
The power output is 50 peak watts per channel and 200 watts overall, and the continuous power handling rating is 22 RMS watts. These amplifier specifications are average, but average is more than enough for most people. When paired with high-sensitivity speakers, the stereo reached over 100 dBs, which is plenty loud to rattle the windows.
If you plan to expand your audio system with an amplifier, the JVC KW-R935BTS is a good option. The pre-outs are rated at 4 volts, which is excellent, especially at this price. The higher the voltage, the cleaner the audio signal.
The JVC KW-R935BTS is the best value for a car stereo. Its audio performance is among the best, and it features all the amenities of modern Bluetooth car stereos. The interface is easy to navigate and minimizes distractions, even if it is somewhat boring. The power output is standard. Even with its great performance and features, it costs half as much as other high-end double-din stereos.