Everything’s getting bigger, and everyone wants the latest and greatest. For their 2020 flagship, the JVC Kenwood DMX9720XDS, they’ve managed to throw in everything you could possibly want, as well as some things you didn’t know you wanted until now, into a truly insane 10.1″ high-definition screen – well-done guys!
It wasn’t too long ago when a unit sporting a 6.8″ screen was considered a Godzilla in the market. With the new 2020 range of flagships from the top players, the 6.8″ screen looks almost as small as the iPhone 3G does today.
But does size matter? Are these massive screens more worthy of your dollars than your traditionally sized, double-din units? That’s what we’re here to find out! Read on as we take a look at the JVC Kenwood DMX9720XDS, its feature list, and decide together whether or not you’ll be swapping us $1,699 AUD for one when they drop.
A Kenwood DMX9720XDS, or a TV?
I’m going to do my absolute best with this review and not circle around to the massive screen all the time, but it’s hard not to. I mean… the Kenwood DMX9720XDS is massive. It’s literally the size of the current Apple iPad. We’re talking proper Tesla dash screen territory people. It commands your attention as soon as you see it.
Now, having a great big screen is wonderful and all, but unless you’ve got something worthwhile and important to display on it, it’s more than a little useless and just becomes a bit of a show-off piece – think headrest screens in a convertible!
Thankfully though, JVC Kenwood and their fantastic UI have never been short on useful things to display for you. Couple that with the multi-angle mounting for the screen, the tilting function and the great screen quality that effectively kills glare, it’s a big boii of a screen that you’re happy to look at.
Features, features and more features!
Reading the feature list of this unit feels eerily similar to building a fantasy source unit: “I’ll have a giant screen, HDMI input, I want to connect heaps of cameras, I want to connect and charge all my USB devices, I want Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – but wireless…”
The list actually continues on (we’ll get to that) for quite a while longer. In saying that the list of features is longer than almost anything else on the market, it’s not like JVC Kenwood dumped all of their marketing departments buzz-words and banner buster things into this product and walked away. There was some thought put into each and every one.
At a glance, the feature list includes, but is not limited to – Hi-Res Audio (wired, USB and wirelessly), traditional AM\FM radio with DAB+, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto – both wired and wireless, iDatalink Maestro (a first for mainstream Australia), 4x Camera inputs and HDMI and AV input!
What's this iDatalink Maestro?
This is big, it’s a first for mainstream Australian multimedia units. This technology is by no means brand new, it’s been used in North America for years now. It’s another connection, or port, that your car and the Kenwood DMX9720XDS can communicate through.
Do you remember a while back, Today Tonight did a story on OBD II connectors that you could use to more accurately track your car’s fuel economy etc.? That’s okay, no one watches Today Tonight. But basically, the OBD II port in your car (in front of the driver’s right knee cap) is the plug to your car’s brain or ECU – through it and Tracy Grimshaw, everything is possible.
Any car with an ECU (all since around 1992) collects this information. The car needs to know the RPM, the Oil Pressure, the Oil Temp etc. but all but a few keep this information to themselves. The iDatalink Maestro brings this information to the forefront and lets you see it too!
Whilst the gauges are cool, let’s look at it from a day-to-day perspective. Some cars will have Tire Pressure monitors installed to track flats, but you might not see that read-out. Now you can. This feature has been put into the Kenwood DMX9720XDS as a way of being more in the know about your car.
There is a bunch of other information that the system displays about your car, like Climate Control, engine fault codes (very helpful) and the status of certain systems within your car.
The other reason this was implemented is, of course, that screen. In most cars this will be installed in, the screen will simply take over the real estate that was used for Climate Control functions – you won’t be able to get at the dials and buttons anymore – so, the Maestro handles it for you on the Kenwood DMX9720XDS’s screen.
Cameras, did we mention cameras?
JVC Kenwood has always been great at connecting multi-angle cameras. The DMX8019s could connect two, and that was great. The Kenwood DMX9720XDS can connect four. Yeah – four cameras directly to your source unit!
This means that with the Kenwood DRV-N520 and Kenwood CMOS-130 you can get a 360° view of your car! You’re actually able to view all the cameras in realtime (we recommend this only when you’re stationary) and you can ‘label’ them within the source unit to where they are i.e. Dash Cam, Grill Camera, Reverse Camera, Drivers 45° Camera etc.
Before you ask, yes, we’re told that an OEM JVC Kenwood 360° Parking System is in the works and will be coming sometime in the future.
Being able to live-view content coming from cameras attached to your car is an awesome feature. It’s something that I, personally, really love about JVC Kenwood units and am glad to see they improved upon here in the Kenwood DMX9720XDS.
Plus, what good is that giant ass screen if not for amazing management of resources and having everything you need where, and when you need it?
Smartphone Connectivity - without the wires!
With Apple CarPlay and Android Auto being implemented in new cars by manufacturers, it’s pretty much standard place. What’s not standard, however, is the features, benefits and just plain convenience of having these services, without a USB cable.
2020 is the year where this is being addressed. More and more mid-level models from JVC Kenwood and Pioneer are going wireless. The Kenwood DMX9720XDS is no different. Offering so many wireless connectivity options it’s hard not to be impressed. Multi-phone Bluetooth phone connection, Bluetooth media streaming, including Hi-Res (LDAC) audio and topping it off, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Cool story, but is the Kenwood DMX9720XDS worth it?
In a word, hell yes. I know for a fact, the moment these drop and we get that shipment from JVC Kenwood, one of these bad boys is going in my Colorado Z71!
Don’t get me wrong, is the $1,699 AUD price tag a little much? Yes. But apart from the physical size, there’s a lot of head unit here for your dollars. The technology they’ve managed to shoehorn inside the Kenwood DMX9720XDS is impressive. Not to mention the general amazing quality of JVC Kenwood units.
Some cars might find it difficult to find a home for the 10.1″ screen in the dash, but, that’s why they invented reciprocal saws, #AmIRight? As for the rest of the flagships being released this year, game on – the bar’s been set pretty high.