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Kenwood DNX5120 - Photo Review

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Old 09-02-2009, 08:40 PM   #1
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Kenwood DNX5120 - Photo Review

So every time someone makes a post asking what HU they should get, I of course recommend the one I have and gladly answer any questions that come up about it. To save myself from answering the same questions again and again I thought I would do a bit of a "photo review" to help people out.

While the DNX-5120 has been replaced by newer models, from what I've heard there are only minor differences over the 5120.

Onto the review...

I picked up my Kenwood DNX-5120 as a refurbished unit off of Amazon. I paid about $500 shipped and that seems to be the going rate for them whether it be Amazon, eBay, or Crutchfield. I also have the Kenwood KCA-IP301V iPod Video Direct Cable and the Kenwood CCD-2000 Rear-View Camera installed in the Pop & Lock PL5300 tailgate handle.

I don't use any of the following but this HU also has the option of Sirius/XM Radio and Bluetooth capability. It can aslo be wired to work with the steering wheel audio controls.

First thing first, you need a dash kit. Scosche and Metra are the two out there and I've had them both.

The Scosche has a smooth finish to it and looks nice but uses plastic mounting brackets to hold up the HU. Mine squeaked and bounced like hell and had to go. Picked up the Metra and have had no problems at all. The Metra kit uses the metal brackets off of the stock radio and takes the weight of the new HU with no problem. As you can see in the photo below, the Metra has a textured finish very similar to the stock radio and AC controls.




The start up screen and the wallpaper can both be customized with any image. For the start up I have a chrome Toyota logo and for my wallpaper I have the graphic that matches my bedside decals.


There's something of a main menu where you can easily access all of the features and functions of the HU. You can have a menu consisting of only 3 choice be the default setting so you have less to look at and larger buttons to press. I of course have my most commonly used functions on the short menu.




The display and button color can be changed to any color you could possibly desire. I have mine set as close to the stock look as I could get, the Amber color that is listed by default is a bit too orange to match the stock color.


A quick look at blue (makes me want to change my interior to blue).


A simple shot of the radio, pretty basic stuff.


The iPod screen behaves just like the screen on your iPod.


Pick your album and the songs are listed.


Press the CTRL button at the top right and this screen appears, all of the information fields can be changed but I have mine set to Title, Artist, and Album.


While any screen is displayed a secondary function can be displayed at the bottom. In this example I'm listening to my iPod but the GPS is running in the back ground. If I was driving, the text for the next direction would appear at the bottom of the screen while the audio instruction would turn down the music enough to say what it has to say and then turn the music back up automatically, if you don't like the interruption then that feature can be turned off.


The GPS is Garmin based and can be set to North always at the top of the screen or the default of the direction you're currently traveling to the top of the screen. If you've ever had an experience using a GPS where it's locked to North as up no matter what, it can be a pain in the ass. I believe the Pioneer AVIC series uses this method and that's what turned me away from them and towards Kenwood.

By default the GPS cannot be accessed while driving but this can easily be disabled while instaling the unit. The antenna for the GPS doesn't require any fancy running of wires or complicated placement. Simply plug the GPS antenna into the back of the HU and stash it underneath the dash board right behind the HU.

I thing that I really like about the GPS is you can load your own custom points of interest (POIs). There are quite a few sites out there that have speeding and red light camera POIs availabe for download. It doesn't matter if I'm using the GPS or not, everytime I get within a 1/4 mile or so of a red light camera my music turns down for a second and a dinging sound plays alerting me to the camera. If the GPS navagation screen is active when I approach a camera, the location of the camera is displayed on the map and red and white text tells me what street and what type of camera it is (speeding or red light). Useful information to have when deciding to attempt to clear that yellow light or not.





Video play back can be accomplished with either a DVD or a video iPod. Of course it looks better in person.




The back up camera automatically comes on when the vehicle is placed in reverse. There is a button on the HU that allows the camera to come on anytime you choose but the camera must be installed a certain way in order to do this, mine only comes on in reverse.

I originally had the camera mounted down by the tow hitch but all it was good for was a quick look behind you, it gave you no depth perception so it wasn't useful when trying to back up close to something. The camera is now mounted in my Pop & Lock 5300 (now that it FINALLY came out) and makes backing up to within an inch of something very easy. I had to do a bit of trimming since the camera opening was made for the factory camera but everything fits inside the handle just fine.





I'm sure I've forgotten a few things here and there. I'm also sure that people will have more questions and I'll update this post over time to add those questions in and make it more comprehensive.
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Old 09-03-2009, 12:05 PM   #3
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Very informative post. Thanks. I've been trying to decide which unit I want to go with, and you've helped alot. I like what you did with the camera, but any idea if the factory camera from an '09 will wire up to this head unit?
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Old 09-03-2009, 12:17 PM   #4
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I have the same unit, only problem I encounter is it freezes up sometimes. Its usually when using XM.

Cheap pickup: http://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_...-DDX-512-.html
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Old 09-03-2009, 12:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jigzor View Post
I have the same unit, only problem I encounter is it freezes up sometimes. Its usually when using XM.

Cheap pickup: http://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_...-DDX-512-.html
Nice price, but not the same unit. The 512 is navigation "ready" meaning it doesn't come with navigation. The 5120 has navi built in. Not sure of any other differences.
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Old 09-03-2009, 04:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unholycumulus View Post
Good review! I ahve the same unit.. how do you load a startup picture on??
I don't remember off the top of my head how to load a start up picture but it's in the manual. If you tossed out the manual let me know and I'll dig mine up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by galpd320 View Post
Very informative post. Thanks. I've been trying to decide which unit I want to go with, and you've helped alot. I like what you did with the camera, but any idea if the factory camera from an '09 will wire up to this head unit?
I'm not sure what the wiring for the factory camera looks like but I'm pretty sure that I've seen threads before where the factory camera was hooked up to an aftermarket HU.
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Old 09-17-2009, 09:43 PM   #7
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Please take note to all that purchase this HU and use the Metra kit....you will have uneven spaces around the HU that make it look like crap....take a look at his pictures closely around the edges. The HU is kinda set in the lower right portion of the opening...very tacky.

I'm thinking about getting a schorshe dash kit to solve this problem unless someone else knows how.
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Old 09-17-2009, 09:55 PM   #8
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Great review. Thanks!

Quick question: I have the steering controls on my steering wheel and I really don't want to give that up. Do you know what my options are? Do you have the steering controls?

Also, I want to make sure it works with my JBL system. You're the man!
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Old 09-17-2009, 10:00 PM   #9
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I see you stated my question about the steering control. NVM about that!
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Old 09-18-2009, 05:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nighthawk87 View Post
Please take note to all that purchase this HU and use the Metra kit....you will have uneven spaces around the HU that make it look like crap....take a look at his pictures closely around the edges. The HU is kinda set in the lower right portion of the opening...very tacky.

I'm thinking about getting a schorshe dash kit to solve this problem unless someone else knows how.
I don't know if you're talking about this from personal experience or my photos. If from personal experience, you had a bad install or something warp or bend during the process to create uneven gaps around the unit. If from my photos, you might want to take into consideration the angle as which the photos were taken. My Metra kit is solid and the HU is evenly installed. No "tacky" problems here.

If anyone has any other questions just let me know.
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Old 03-01-2010, 03:13 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccoorreeyy View Post
Great review. Thanks!

Quick question: I have the steering controls on my steering wheel and I really don't want to give that up. Do you know what my options are? Do you have the steering controls?

Also, I want to make sure it works with my JBL system. You're the man!


sonic electronix . com has exactly that. i little module that you wire in to keep your controls
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