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Review of the Pioneer DEH-P8400BH Car Radio    

By Eron Cohen                  

Part 2: Pioneer Car Radio Review

Pioneer P8400 Pros Lots of features, Good Value, Versatile, Accepts Many different kinds of inputs, excellent sound quality
Pioneer P8400 Cons Small Clock, Hard to understand instruction book

If you didn't read part 1 of this review, the quick story is that I decided to get myself a new radio for my Jeep Liberty. The factory installed radio was missing features that I really wanted including:

- Bluetooth Streaming Audio
- Bluetooth connection to my Android phone for making phone calls
- HD Radio

The Pioneer P8400 had these features and more. I feel I got a good price for the radio. I ordered it from Amazon.com for $169. It came with a microphone, remote control, USB extention cable, wiring connector and instruction booklet.

The instructions are pretty bad to say the least. Maybe I am slow, but I think its them. They need more illustrations and more clear writing. I am still working on figuring out some of the features.

There are 5 source modes:

- Tuner
- USB Port 1
- USB Port 2
- Blue Tooth Audio Streaming
- Auxilliary

Optionally, you can add a Satelite Radio receiver so that you can listen to Sirius or XM Radio.

Sound quality of this unit is very nice. I am not much of an audiophile, but I am very pleased. I kept the factory speakers in my Jeep, so I wasn't expecting much, but there was a noticeable quality improvement. There are several preset equalizer settings, so if you have speakers worthy of EQ, you'll be glad to know that those are available, although you can also tweak them for your particular setup.

The faceplate of the radio is removable for security. When you shut of the car, the radio beeps 5 times to remind you to remove it. There are faceplate cases available for purchase. Obviously, suffice it to say--don't loose it. I have no idea what the replacement would cost, but you don't want to need one.

I didn't even know that I would really care about having a USB port, but that has turned out to be one of the best features. I can put music or audio books on any USB Flash Drive (aka Memory Key) and just connect it to the radio. It very quickly starts to play whatever is on there and will pick up where you left off when you shut off the radio or switch to a different audio source and then switch back. Navigating through your files on the flash drive is probably about as good as it could be based on the size of the screen they had to work with. If you have lots of files in one directory, it could take you a little while to get to the one you want.

This head unit has two rear USB ports. The idea is to take USB male to female wires out of the back of the radio and put them someplace where they can be conveniently connected to. When I first installed this radio, I was thinking that one USB port would be enough, so I only ran a wire from one of them. Now I realize this was a mistake. If I had a second one, I could connect TWO memory keys. One could have audio books, the other one could have music, so I can easily switch between the two. Unfortunately, if you switch keys back and forth you will have to refind your place as far as song and position in the song. If you just turn the radio off, it picks up where it left off.

When a phone call comes in, the audiobook is automatically paused and then resumes when you hang up. This seems to work well whether you're listening to something on your USB drive or on the phone through Bluetooth Streaming. When calls do come in, the stereo displays the incoming caller's number and name (It connects itself to your phonebook--at least on my android phone it does). The call quality is very good. People have told me that I sound crystal clear on the other end of the call.

One strange thing about the radio is the fact that the clock on it is so small. It is so small that you have to take your eyes off of the road to look at it. I didn't see any way to adjust this...I am not sure what they're thinking but that is definitely one minus for this radio. Oddly, there is a button on the radio to turn the clock OFF...I should say that if you turn the radio off, the clock is a pretty normal, decent size...but I don't ever plan to turn mine off, so... (BTW, if you DO want to turn off this radio, you need to press and hold the SRC button. There is no dedicated OFF button, so I guess they also never thought you'd want to turn it off either)

Another issue that I have had a couple of times is problems connecting my phone (Android platform, Samsung Infuse) after I already start the car. Basically I cannot figure out how to connect the phone once its started so the only solution is to shut off the car and it will connect as expected when it comes back on. I am not 100% sure that the problem is the car radio--it could be with the phone, but Samsung Infuse is a relatively respectable Android phone and it is running Gingerbread.

When everything is working properly, the phone will link up to the radio and display your battery status and the number of bars you have. If you get into your car while already on a phone call, it will notice the phone when you start the call and change it up so that the call continues on the car's pioneer radio. It also normally syncs up your address book, so that you can use the phone to trigger calls to a certain person and so that you can get the caller's name up on the screen when they call.

In spite of a few issues, I am very happy with this car stereo unit. Since I have installed it, I am much more excited to get in my car in the morning. I definitely recommend it. For a more information about how I purchased and installed this radio, please read part 1.

Pioneer Stereo Car Receiver With Bluetooth Streaming and CD

5/5The DEH-P8400BH is Great!

Great Features, Great Sound Quality! I am glad that I chose this head unit


Last updated August 21, 2014

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