“You get what you pay for” is one of those statements that holds true for car accessories. Whether that’s good or bad depends on what your expectations are.
There are some car radios in this price range that have a lot to offer. The people that are disappointed are the ones that weren’t looking for what was offered.
The sentiments towards the Boss BV9364B are all over the map. Some love it. Some hate it. Some just aren’t sure what to think. The only consistent comment is that it is a very affordable double-DIN unit.
Let’s dive in and see if we just can’t find something to love.
One of the first things that’s easy to love about this head unit is the fact that it has a CD player.
Way too many head units do not come equipped for CD/DVD players. Yes, the popular sentiment is that such technology is becoming old-school, but it isn’t there yet. This is technology that is still in use and should still be accommodated.
Kudos to the Boss BV9364B for that inclusion.
The display is a touch screen and seems to respond well to quick taps. What it doesn’t have is any swiping technology. Anything you want to do on the screen is done with tapping.
Vital to any setup that will be part of a moving vehicle, Bluetooth hands-free technology is here. The provided Bluetooth microphone lets the people you’re calling hear your voice and the vehicle speakers let you hear them back.
The same technology lets you play and control your apps and your music, including Spotify and Pandora. So even this relatively low-end head unit will let you get the most out of the time on the road for either chilling to music or educating yourself with podcasts.
The CD player is also a DVD player, but you’re not going to be able to watch movies while the vehicle is moving. You know, for obvious reasons. However, there’s a workaround where you can ground the unit to its own body and bypass the video restriction.
If you just don’t have any discs to slip in and there’s nothing on the apps that you want to jam to, then you can always pop in a micro SD card.
Personally, I don’t know of anyone that carries around a micro SD card. It might be a great option to have if you’re on a very limited data plan and you have a way of getting the music you would like to listen to on to an SD card, but most people aren’t going to make the most of this feature.
But like the CD player, it’s still current technology and it should be supported.
If you have a playback device that either isn’t Bluetooth capable or you’re trying to conserve battery power, you can just use the audio auxiliary jack and plug in your smartphone or MP3 player that way.
Sure, with most people, their smartphones are their MP3 players. But characters like me will push an ancient 16 GB iPod as far as the life of the machine will go, so audio jacks provided, you can use such things here.
Now here’s another little highlight for this affordable head unit: A remote control. But you’ll notice right away that it’s quite a brick and it has buttons a-plenty. It’s on par with the size and dimensions of a TV remote control.
With fewer bells and whistles, it’s easier to focus on what these things set out to do in the first place: tune in to the radio waves. Here’s a healthy build of AM/FM features that will keep you up to your ears in sports, music, and news.
Now, about your steering wheel, the good news is that yes, you can use the existing functions on your steering wheel to interact with the Boss BV9364B, but it will require that you purchase a separate interface module. It’s recommended that you use the Metra ASWC-1.
The outputs are the Front left and right and the rear left and right and subwoofer for preamp output. If you want, there’s a video output for connecting an extra screen for even more viewing capability.
And you do have control over how your tunes thump with EQ controls: Balance, fader, bass, and treble and you can control it all with the remote control.
The instruction manual provided is bemoaned by more than one buyer as being too vague about how to install and operate the Boss BV9364B. There are also complaints about the printing being too small.
Camera input gives you the option of making your vehicle a step safer and installing a rear camera for backing up. Naturally, you’ll have to buy said camera separately.
The volume is controlled by rotary dials. Personally, I think that’s better than digital display controls. I might be telling on my age with that statement.
But for whatever reason, the steps between each gradation of volume is dramatic. One tick is too quiet, and the next tick up is eardrum-blasting.
True, if you buy a radio, you should judge it by how well it plays as a radio. But modern technology has changed our expectations from car radios.
Customization of the display is a regular feature of such modern head units. But with the Boss BV9364B, you’re aren’t able to upload a custom background image. You’re limited to the four stock background wallpapers.
More than one buyer has described the OS as difficult to navigate for two reasons: either being laggy or all the menus are too deep. Menus that just keep going and going would be bad for safety on the road, unless someone else in the vehicle is a designated radio operator.
Of all things, the OS includes a calendar. I mean hey. You just never know.
Despite the presence of a Bluetooth microphone, there are no voice commands and no voice dialing. So you’re only semi-hands-free. If you want to make a phone call, you either punch in the number on the display of the head unit or dial it up on your phone.
No. There is hands-free talking, but that’s about it.
Yes, but that requires purchasing a separate device.
No. You can run those apps through your phone, but the head unit has no such things.
It has a calendar.
There are a few things to be impressed with here. First and foremost is the fact that a touchscreen was squeezed into such a budget system.
There will always be a market for people who want a slot for playing physical CDs, a jack for using AUX cables, and someplace to use their SD cards. You get all that here at a very friendly price.
The overall feel here is that Boss tried to offer some above-average features, and they can be commended for that. But the corners that were cut can be a dealbreaker.
You want to keep your eyes on the road. It’s nice that you get to talk over the phone hands-free, but to exclude any voice commands so that you have to make your calls manually? Really?
Plus too, the cluttered remote control and the deep OS menus defeat their purpose. Such a setup encourages you to take your eyes off the road, diverting your focus.
However, not everyone is buying for a car that’s going to be on the road very long.
If your vehicle is on its last leg, this is a super-affordable option that will keep you listening to music for the remaining life of the car.
Plus too, some cars don’t even have a media center like this at all. So this would be an okay way to get started.
You won’t miss the money that you spend on this head unit and it’ll deliver music very well. But there are issues you will have to make peace with unless you want to set aside more money for something better. And frankly, it doesn’t take much money to do better than this.