As Kenwood’s cousin, JVC is a high-quality product made of tested technology and market success. What’s in them, works. The JVC KW-M150BT is a fantastic entry-level Bluetooth unit with features galore.
In fact, the company is actually called JVC Kenwood. More aggressively priced than Kenwood products as they don’t need to be flagships, they don’t need to trail-blaze because they fill out the budget to mid-range perfectly.
It’s been in our testing and review board for about a week now. From what I’ve seen, the JVC KW-M150BT is a solid unit. With a current price of just $279, it would fit perfectly in any double-din capable vehicle.
Okay, okay - so what's the JVC KW-M150BT got?
Everything you’re looking for in an entry-level double-din unit is present and accounted for in the JVC KW-M150BT. These units are in a different hemisphere than the Sony XAV-AX8000, or the Kenwood DMX9720XDS; they don’t go for wow. Instead, they choose to do what’s needed, very well.
With a sensible feature list including:
- Bluetooth audio streaming
- Bluetooth hands-free calling – with an external microphone
- USB audio with video playback
- AM/FM radio
- Reverse camera ready
Does it work with iPhones or Androids?
This question is inevitable, so we might as well deal with it straight up. The JVC KW-M150BT can connect to your iPhone. Now, this is where you have to pay attention, it can connect and play audio. The same way you could connect your iPod Classic to a head unit in 2009 and play music.
It will only communicate with the iPod aspect of your iPhone. Android users, you’re in a little more luck.
You’ve got the ability to communicate with the head unit using JVC’s mirroring app, Mirroring OB for JVC, you’re able to connect your Android-powered smartphone and mirror it to your screen. You can use the phone’s screen, or the KW-M150BT’s screen to control what’s going on.
Using mirroring allows you to use Google Maps, Waze, YouTube etc. and many more – however, with Road Laws, we recommend you only use these features whilst stationary, and Provisional drivers just straight up don’t use them on the JVC KW-M150BT.
We played with this feature at length, and although, yes, it does work, we’d strongly recommend saving just a few more dollars and getting a certified Android Auto head unit – the experience is just so much better.
How does the JVC KW-M150BT handle phone calls?
In low-end or budget head units, this is always something that pops up. The handling of Bluetooth calls, and the quality of your voice to the caller. Again, being a JVC unit, it’s made of success. They’ve packed in great frequency handling into the unit.
They also include an external microphone that can be mounted anywhere in the cabin. This seems to be the big difference in low-end units. Those with internal mics and those with external mics; those with external mics obviously being the winners.
Coming to you with a 6.8″ capacitive touch screen, with a shallow chassis design for easy installation the KW-M150BT is solidly in the middle of the road. It ticks all the boxes and performs all desired tasks quite well.
Good to know, but what's the bottom line?
As long as you’re paying attention to the fact that this unit is an entry-level model, I can comfortably tell you that yes, this unit is a solid offering. It does what it says, and it does it well. Both JVC as a brand and this unit deserve a lot more love than what they get.
Coming from JVC Kenwood, its backing is strong and it’s built from success. For those looking for something that isn’t a flagship, for something that just does what you need it to do and nothing more.
Out of the Android Mirroring head units on offer, this is one of the only ones that you can use reliably. However, there’s no comparison to legit Android Auto.