Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been discontinued. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
The Clarion NX500 is perfectly capable of getting you where you need to go. However, this in-dash GPS does more than just navigate; in addition to the navigational system, the NX500 can play radio, CDs, DVDs, MP3s and more. The Clarion website is minimal and their help and support section could use some work, but we would still be happy to have one of these units in our dashboard.
This double DIN in-dash navigation unit has a 6.5-inch touchscreen monitor, where you can easily switch from an overhead 2D map to a street view 3D map, or from navigation to media functions. The GPS uses a NAVTEQ map database with over 12 million points of interest (POIs). POIs enable you to find popular destinations by name, instead of having to type in an address.
The Clarion NX500 in-dash navigation system offers voice guidance, which can give generic directions and a text-to-speech function which is a little more specific in its directions because it's actually reading the text on the screen. This GPS does not, however, seem to have a voice control function where you can get directions using simple vocal commands.
This in-dash navigation system is sure to keep you informed and entertained as you drive. The built-in Bluetooth feature will let you sync your cell phone with the receiver. This means that you can call people and receive phone calls through your car stereo, which will help keep your hands safely on the wheel. Bluetooth can also work with some portable media players, so you can also play your iPod or other MP3 player through your stereo with no wires. If your MP3 player is not Bluetooth-enabled, you can connect it to the receiver using the USB port or the auxiliary input.
HD Radio and satellite radio are also available through the built-in tuner on this in-dash navigation unit. To get HD Radio, which offers crystal clear radio signals and news information, you need to purchase the THD400 adapter in addition to the head unit. For SIRIUS satellite radio you will need to get an additional receiver. It would be better if these features were built into the car GPS navigation system, but until they become more commonplace, being ready for them is probably enough.
There is a CD/DVD slot just above the monitor that recognizes a variety of disc formats. There are three sets of RCA outputs on the in-dash navigation unit, which gives you more power and control. There are AV inputs on the front and the rear of the receiver, including an input for your back-up camera, so you can see what is behind you while looking at your dashboard.
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You can contact customer support by telephone or fax, but, oddly enough there is no easily found email address for the Clarion company. In our modern world, it seems strange not to even offer it as an option. However, they do have the product manual and the installation manual online as well as a small FAQs page. This product is covered by a one-year warranty.
This in-dash navigation system is perfectly capable of giving you directions on where you go and keeping you happy along the way. Featuring built-in Bluetooth and compatibility with HD Radio and satellite radio ready are steps in the right direction, but it doesn't have all the bells and whistles that other products we reviewed have. Nonetheless, the Clarion NX500 is sure to satisfy those that use it.