Kenwood DDX-9703S

7″ Double Din Car Stereo Receiver with Bluetooth & In-Dash CD/DVD Player.

Kenwood DDX9703S Review

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Kenwood has been well-regarded in the automotive media and entertainment accessory industry for quite a while, and the new DDX9703S system is certainly one of their most popular additions yet.

Very competitively priced, attractive regardless of the make or model of the vehicle you are installing the unit in, and featuring support for legacy media while also offering you the opportunity to use cutting-edge technology (including your smart phone or your tablet) with this receiver, it’s easy to see why so many people are attracted to the Kenwood DDX9703S.

With so many different options out there on the market today when it comes to finding your next head unit, though, you want to be sure that your money is well spent.

Let’s dive a little deeper into everything the Kenwood DDX9703S has to offer to figure out if this digital media receiver is worthwhile or not.

What’s in the Box

The box for the Kenwood DDX9703S is a little bit larger than what you’ll find with most other digital media receiver head unit systems on the market today for a couple of different reasons.

For starters, it has to be oversized enough to hold the nearly 7 inch active matrix clear resistive touchscreen display that acts as the central hub for all the technology shoehorned into this Double DIN system.

On top of that, there are a lot of extras you’ll get from the folks at Kenwood on top of the media receiver itself – really helping to cement this unit’s position as a highly attractive choice at any price point (but especially this one).

Not only you get the receiver itself (complete with CD/DVD player) but you also get a dedicated wiring harness that allows you to move through the installation process pretty quickly. You don’t have to do any hardwiring yourself regardless of the manufacture of your vehicle. There are even prewired outlet and extension components to this wiring harness that allow you to extend the capabilities of the Kenwood DDX9703S later down the line (if you’re interested).

A 39 inch USB cable (and extension cord, really) gives you plenty of reach to run from the Kenwood DDX9703S rear USB input to a location in your vehicle cabin that you want to store your device in when you have it hooked up. The connection itself is a proprietary connection (at the rear), but the USB port attached to the “business end” of this wire lets you use it as you would any other.

A dedicated GPS antenna with nearly 12 feet of cable (again terminating in a proprietary connector) means you’ll be able use navigational components of the Kenwood DDX9703S right out of the box. Some other systems require you to have OEM GPS antennas already or purchase an accessory one. That isn’t going to be a problem with the DDX9703S unit.

External microphone hardware attached to a 10 foot cable that plugs into the rear of the DDX9703S unit allows you to use for voice control and command capabilities on this head unit system. You’ll be able to place the microphone in a discrete location near the driver thanks to the extra slack this cable provides, guaranteeing you get crystal-clear audio every time you use voice control or command systems.

Rounding things out nicely is the inclusion of a trim ring to dress up the Kenwood DDX9703S unit in your dashboard, all the mounting hardware you need (including double-sided tape and special screws) as well as instructional manuals and warranty card information.

Key Features

The nearly 7 inch active matrix resistive touchscreen is pretty good-looking on its own but it becomes really special when you fire up your favorite media playback through the Kenwood DDX9703S.

The screen offers fantastic color representation, a lot of vibrancy, and a resolution that you certainly will not find many complaining about. It isn’t quite as razor-sharp as some of the LCD/LED units on the market today (and does suffer a little bit in very bright lights), before the most part it is rock solid and a joy to use.

High definition audio can be picked up from HD radio signals around the country, giving you an opportunity to listen to your music and your favorite radio stations over the air at a much higher quality than standard terrestrial radio. You’ll be able to eliminate static almost completely.

Best of all, the HD radio tuner built into the Kenwood DDX9703S is completely reverse compatible. You’ll still be able to listen to your favorite SD and local analog radio stations on FM or AM bands as well.

The Bluetooth connectivity options built into the Kenwood DDX9703S are top-tier. You’ll be able to pull media directly from your mobile device (Android and Apple devices included), streaming it from your smartphone or your tablet through this wireless protocol with no headache or hassle.

You can also control your phone using the Kenwood UI system itself when connected via Bluetooth. You can send texts, respond to phone calls, and navigate your music and media library without ever taking your hands off of the steering wheel this way.

Integrations with both Android Auto and Apple Carplay are available on the Kenwood DDX9703S, too. This is something we cover a little more in depth in just a moment but the integration is tight, well implemented, and a pleasure to use.

Finally, the overall sound quality improvements you’ll find in your vehicle when you switch to the Kenwood DDX9703S are not to be shortchanged. There’s a lot of fancy hardware going on are the hood of this system to make even stock speaker systems sound a lot better than they did before.

Specifications

Apple / Android Compatibility

Yes, you’ll get to use all of your favorite Apple Carplay and Android Auto capabilities when you plug your smartphone or tablet into the Kenwood DDX9703S via USB.

But even better news than that is that you’ll be able to use the same platforms over Bluetooth wireless connections, too. Not every digital media receiver or head unit on the market today offers this kind of wireless option, but the folks at Kenwood have made sure to not only included it but to really refine these capabilities as well.

You’ll be able to control your device, gain access to your favorite mapping and navigation apps, pull-up weather and music information, send text messages and emails or take phone calls and so much more with both of these very popular on the go operating system/software implementations.

On top of that, with certain Apple and Android devices you can screen mirror from your smartphone or tablet to really take things to the next level.

FAQ

Certain Android and Apple devices can connect via the HDMI/MHL input option on the Kenwood DDX9703S and immediately gain access to a screen mirroring system. Everything on your phone or tablet will be displayed on the Kenwood DDX9703S screen, turning it into and oversized phone or tablet mounted directly into your dashboard.

The Kenwood DDX9703S does fully support OEM steering wheel controls from most automobile manufacturers. You might have to purchase a separate wiring adapter to gain total access over these capabilities, though.

Absolutely. Not only that, if your phone is set up for quick charging capabilities (and the USB cord you use is as well) you’ll be able to quickly charge your device while on the go and still be able to make the most of it when hooked up to this head unit.

Final Verdict

Kenwood has a real winner on their hands when it comes to the DDX9703S model.

Pros
Cons

Top-tier technology has been condensed down into a relatively compact form factor, hidden behind a nearly 7 inch touchscreen device, and paired with a lot of fancy engineering to make this one of the most powerful and proven digital media receivers on the market today.

There’s a reason why this unit keeps popping up on bestseller lists and why it’s likely to continue to do so for at least a few more years. Throw in the legacy media support for CDs and DVDs and the Kenwood DDX9703S definitely deserves your consideration.

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