I finally had some cash to go blow on a new CD deck to replace the 6-disc changer I had in my car, and I finally decided on this little thing. Why did I decide on it? Because it has a USB port that reads MP3s off a flash drive. The CD player is just a bonus so I can write up a disc full of MP3s as well. After finally getting it installed (the stock stereo was a pain to get out), I turned it on and plugged in a USB device, since the stock radio jack isn't standard, and it worked perfectly. For reference, I used my sandisk cruzer 8gb drive. So, I figured, that might have been a fluke, judging by another review here, and tried my cheapie Eclipse Duo, chinese made MP3 player with a microSD expansion slot (SanDisk as well). The stereo wouldn't read the MP3s on the player, but it read the files on the microSD card just fine. So I decided to get really crazy and put this thing through its paces. I plugged my microSD card into the SD adapter, plugged the adapter into my nearly-worthless card reader, attached an old USB cable to the reader, then plugged the whole mess into the deck. I got a read error and was saddened, but then noticed that the card reader, which, as I mentioned, is nearly worthless, wasn't lit up for the card. I jiggled the card, and bam, the MP3s were reading just fine.
I don't have a connection for my phone, but I suspect it'll be the same issue as the MP3 player: it would only read the card, not the phone memory. In any case, so far so good on reading. It simply doesn't like MP3 players, probably because they aren't acting as "mass storage" when you plug them into the deck. Had I sprung the extra $20 for the version that can read iPod/iPhone, it might read phones and MP3 players, but I don't particularly mind.
If you get this, just get a 16gb or 32gb thumb drive, load it up with the same songs as your MP3 player, plug it in and enjoy.
Some good features I wasn't expecting: It resumes from the last song being played, even if you take the thumb drive out; it will do random for both folder and the entire "disc"; it's quite loud for the price, probably louder than most stock speakers can even handle; and it's easy to use.
The cons? Well, it's not going to strain your $400 speaker system, but you bought an amp with those anyway, right? It doesn't seem to want to read ANY MP3 player, let alone an ipod. If you want to plug your ipod in, throw another $20 at the next model up. The menu system is fairly simple and seems to be missing some things. I can't figure out how to get the clock to show up (haven't even read the manual yet, so that'll probably tell me). Hrm... only other complain I can come up with is that my MP3 player didn't fit into the USB properly, so it would wiggle out of place really easily, mainly because the little plastic door was blocking it and my player fits flush against USB ports. Easily fixed with a little USB extender cable.
Altogether, a great purchase so far. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's a tremendous value, but it's probably the least expensive decent-quality deck out there with a USB port that does more than just charge a device. If I could give a half star, I probably would, because I'd just about say it's a 9/10. It certainly meets my expectations. I haven't had anything not work that I thought would work, and it's just as loud (if not a bit louder) than I had expected.
So, if you're just looking for a CD deck that you can plug a thumb drive into, definitely go for this one. If you just want something that can play MP3 CDs, save some money and go with a lower model, and if you're looking for something to hook your iPod/iPhone up to, drop another twenty on the next one up (DEH-24UB). As for a USB drive, I'd highly recommend getting your hand on a 16+gb mini thumb drive. I just chose the Verbatim Store 'n Stay because it has the form factor I'm talking about. That way you can leave it in the deck and always have music in the stereo.
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