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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Avin Avant-2 E39 BMW 5 Series review

Here's my review of the Avin Avant-2 as fitted to an E39:

USB/SD
Works pretty well. It found all the music, and being able to use the steering wheel controls (which work flawlessly) is fantastic. The major drawback for me is that it doesn't support ogg format, although it is great that flac is supported.

Other gripes are that the interface is quite clunky (especially compared to the Android Kittykat music app) and the progress bar often freeze. Also, it doesn't like playing FLAC songs over 4 minutes long (resulting in a long gap between songs and generally unresponsive behaviour) and it wouldn't recognise the tags or album art for WMA files. Finally, getting the album art working was a nightmare! (I'll give some tips regarding album art in the next post)

CD
Yep, works fine. The animation is pretty naff, but I can't imagine anyone would use it much.

DVD video
A quick test shows it works fine. Strangely, the disc got hot after a couple of minutes, but maybe this was just a one-off.

Navigation
From what I gather, there is no nagivation software supplied, so it is up to the user to install an android app. This unit had MapFactor Navigation installed, and it is pretty bad. Firstly the keyboard covers all but one line of results on the search screen, which makes it a pain if you are searching for a word that shares the first few letters with another word! And in general, the interface takes a lot of learning, with many of the key functions hidden in obscure places. Also, the voice volume cannot be adjusted separately to the music, so if you are listening to a quiet song, the nav instructions will be blasted at you very loud. Lastly, the choice of route is pretty bad, often choosing a very indirect or congested route.

Apparently the Nokia Here Maps are quite good, so I will report back once I've tried that out. (I need navigation that works without a data connection, so that rules out Google Maps)

Phone
I haven't used the bluetooth phone connection much, but it seems to work ok.

Bluetooth audio
This is the highlight of the system! Streaming audio from your phone works brilliantly, especially with being able to control it via the steering wheel. It would be nice if album art showed up, but it doesn't really matter.

It works especially well in conjunction when Car Dashdroid is installed on your phone. This app is a convenient homepage while driving, which has some handy functions such as setting the volume level when it starts, and the app can be automatically started when the phone connects to the Avant's bluetooth.

Reversing camera
The screen is big and the image is pretty clear, so it works well. Although the guide lines don't align to the edge of the car, they are still handy for working out how close to the gutter you are parking. Also, the option to turn down the stereo volume while reversing is handy, so that you can hear the parking sensors.

OBD live data
I don't have a bluetooth OBD transmitter, so I haven't used this feature.

Equaliser
The basic tone adjustment controls is a half-baked 3 band equaliser, which I don't like.

The 10 band equaliser (in advanced settings) is a bit fiddly to use, but gives much better control. (Note that the advanced equaliser only works when SoundFX is on... I spent ages trying to work out why changing the settings made no difference to the sound!)

Other comments
The ability to turn off the screen, with the system still running, is a very nice feature. As mentioned before, the steering wheel controls work perfectly, which is great. It is also nice that most of the functions (although, strangely, not bluetooth) have dedicated buttons next to the screen, because scrolling through them all (using the Source button) is a bit clunky.

The reversing camera seems to take its power from the rear numberplate light, so it triggers a "Check numplate light" error on the dash.

The overall styling suits the E39 dash very nicely. I think it looks quite "factory".

To conclude, there are a few gripes, but overall I am happy with the audio side of things. Hopefully a change of nav software will make a big improvement to the navigation side of things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Sooo... album art... unfortunately, it isn't as simple as putting the image in the album's folder (dammit!). Each song must have the image embedded in the file, and it's quite finicky. Here's some tips I learned along the way:

- If the album art is causing an error, often the Avin will display the album art but the song won't play

- Before embedding the image within each song (I use MediaMonkey), make sure the image is in the same folder and in their final location. In other words, you can't do the embedding using files on your C drive and then move them to the SD card; the songs and image must all be on the SD card before you embed the image.

- Images can't be too large (not sure exactly what size, but 300x300 is fine). Also, I'm not 100% sure, but I think they must be jpg (eg not jpeg or bmp).

- Changes to tags in songs (eg album art) don't get noticed if the file already existed with the same name. Therefore you should rename the album's folder, so that the system re-scans it for changes. Also, after editing tags, I like to restart the Avin with the SD card removed, switch to SD card as the input, then insert the SD card. I'm not sure if this is completely necessary, but it seems to help.

Hope this helps someone out there!

Simon
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Pics attached.

I am strongly considering this unit due to Android capability. How are you getting internet to the unit? Tethering?
I've actually been using it without internet. Just then I did a test of tethering it to my Android phone's wifi hotspot, and it worked fine. Also, it looks like there is an option to plug in a USB 4G modem.
 

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I really like this mod..
 

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I've been using this unit for a little over a year now. My biggest complaint is the fit in the E39 dash. As you can see from OP's pictures, the contour of the face does not match the dash, and the upper corners dive in beyond the factory wood trim leaving a ugly gap. The lower corners are sharp and overlap the dash, so it hangs outside the dash at the bottom, and dives in at the top.
The back up camera was a great feature for me while it lasted. When it quit working I thought it was the cheap Chinese camera, so I replaced it and still nothing. The connection behind the dash is good, so it is either the unit itself, or the wiring between the unit and camera has failed somewhere. My son drives the car now, so I guess I don't miss the lack of camera anymore.
Overall the unit functions well otherwise. EQ is great, it really brought the average speakers in the car to life. If I had it to do over, I would have bought the Dynavin.

Jeremy
 

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sorry about the camera... what a pain.. i saw some pictures of this unit at night and red looked good..
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My biggest complaint is the fit in the E39 dash. As you can see from OP's pictures, the contour of the face does not match the dash, and the upper corners dive in beyond the factory wood trim leaving a ugly gap.
Interesting that you mention the fit in the E39. Some passengers have commented that it looks factory, others mention that the bottom pokes out a bit. I'm no styling guru, but I think it looks fine. I think the black interior on this car probably means any gaps aren't so noticeable.
 

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Avin Avant-2 E39 BMW 5 Series review

Here's my review of the Avin Avant-2 as fitted to an E39:

USB/SD
Works pretty well. It found all the music, and being able to use the steering wheel controls (which work flawlessly) is fantastic. The major drawback for me is that it doesn't support ogg format, although it is great that flac is supported.

Minor gripes are that the interface is quite clunky (especially compared to the Android Kittykat music app), and occasionally the progress bar freezes when playing large flac songs. Also, getting the album art working was a nightmare! (I'll give some tips regarding album art in the next post)

CD
Yep, works fine. The animation is pretty naff, but I can't imagine anyone would use it much.

DVD video
A quick test shows it works fine. Strangely, the disc got hot after a couple of minutes, but maybe this was just a one-off.

Navigation
From what I gather, there is no nagivation software supplied, so it is up to the user to install an android app. This unit had MapFactor Navigation installed, and it is pretty bad. Firstly the keyboard covers all but one line of results on the search screen, which makes it a pain if you are searching for a word that shares the first few letters with another word! And in general, the interface takes a lot of learning, with many of the key functions hidden in obscure places. Also, the voice volume cannot be adjusted separately to the music, so if you are listening to a quiet song, the nav instructions will be blasted at you very loud. Lastly, the choice of route is pretty bad, often choosing a very indirect or congested route.

Apparently the Nokia Here Maps are quite good, so I will report back once I've tried that out. (I need navigation that works without a data connection, so that rules out Google Maps)

Phone
I haven't used the bluetooth phone connection much, but it seems to work ok.

Bluetooth audio
This is the highlight of the system! Streaming audio from your phone works brilliantly, especially with being able to control it via the steering wheel. It would be nice if album art showed up, but it doesn't really matter.

It works especially well in conjunction when Car Dashdroid is installed on your phone. This app is a convenient homepage while driving, which has some handy functions such as setting the volume level when it starts, and the app can be automatically started when the phone connects to the Avant's bluetooth.

Reversing camera
The screen is big and the image is pretty clear, so it works well. Although the guide lines don't align to the edge of the car, they are still handy for working out how close to the gutter you are parking. Also, the option to turn down the stereo volume while reversing is handy, so that you can hear the parking sensors.

OBD live data
I don't have a bluetooth OBD transmitter, so I haven't used this feature.

Equaliser
The basic tone adjustment controls is a half-baked 3 band equaliser, which I don't like.

The 10 band equaliser (in advanced settings) is a bit fiddly to use, but gives much better control. (Note that the advanced equaliser only works when SoundFX is on... I spent ages trying to work out why changing the settings made no difference to the sound!)

Other comments
The ability to turn off the screen, with the system still running, is a very nice feature. As mentioned before, the steering wheel controls work perfectly, which is great. It is also nice that most of the functions (although, strangely, not bluetooth) have dedicated buttons next to the screen, because scrolling through them all (using the Source button) is a bit clunky.

The reversing camera seems to take its power from the rear numberplate light, so it triggers a "Check numplate light" error on the dash.

The overall styling suits the E39 dash very nicely. I think it looks quite "factory".

To conclude, there are a few gripes, but overall I am happy with the audio side of things. Hopefully a change of nav software will make a big improvement to the navigation side of things.
Better looking than factory!
 

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Avin Avant - iPhone comments

Gents -

Anyone have the Avin Avant 2 installed but primarily use iPhone (calls, music, apps, etc...)??? I know its an Android platform but I'm strictly an Apple Guy.

Also, any use apps for Nav such as Apple Maps or Waze?

I ask because I'm on the fence between Avin Avant and Dynavin N6 for my E39 M5. Thanks for your comments..

David
 

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Gents -

Anyone have the Avin Avant 2 installed but primarily use iPhone (calls, music, apps, etc...)??? I know its an Android platform but I'm strictly an Apple Guy.

Also, any use apps for Nav such as Apple Maps or Waze?

I ask because I'm on the fence between Avin Avant and Dynavin N6 for my E39 M5. Thanks for your comments..

David
David

I don't know if Washington is DC or not but I have a Dynavin N6 installed in my 2001 540i that I'd be happy to show you.

John
 

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Gents -

Anyone have the Avin Avant 2 installed but primarily use iPhone (calls, music, apps, etc...)??? I know its an Android platform but I'm strictly an Apple Guy.

Also, any use apps for Nav such as Apple Maps or Waze?

I ask because I'm on the fence between Avin Avant and Dynavin N6 for my E39 M5. Thanks for your comments..

David
I don't have the Dynavin or Avant (manual swaps are expensive...), but I highly recommend Nokia's HERE maps application. I'm not sure how it treats tablet-like screens like the Avant, but on my iPhone, it's fantastic. You can download maps for your state, or the entire North American continent, if you have the storage space.
 

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David

I don't know if Washington is DC or not but I have a Dynavin N6 installed in my 2001 540i that I'd be happy to show you.

John
Yes - I'm in DC, Chinatown. Id like to see it. Im leaning towards the Avin Avant because it supposedly allows for iPhone Mirroring - which would then allow for app use such as Waze or Apple Maps on the big screen. but not many reviews about that specifically. i don't think Dynavin allows for app use, but most seem to say that the N6 is better navigating around the system (while driving :angel:) and better sound output....
 
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