I purchased this car audio receiver after much searching for a player that matches my car interior, has a legible display, and offers mp3 playback.
Recommend this product?
The Blaupunkt Bermuda is designed with a minimalist aesthetic that is uncommon for current car audio head units circa 2005. The simplicity of the display and controls appeals to my bias for an easy to operate unit. The ergonomic design of this unit is very good. The operating controls are relatively large making them easy to find and use while driving - something that OEM's understand very well (look at the size of the control buttons on a "factory" radio), and that aftermarket manufacturers continue to ignore. I feel that aftermarket units almost always have too many tiny control buttons that make a head unit difficult to operate, particularly while driving. Aside from their size, the buttons on the Blaupunkt Bermuda use shape, size and location to help the user differentiate among the controls. The silvered buttons are highly visible against the black faceplate, and the backlighting (red in color) is even and legible at night.
While I generally find the feel and control offered by a rotary volume control superior, the up/down pushbutton volume control on the Blaupunkt is large, easy to find by touch alone, and the control speed seems just right - the volume ramps up and down quickly when necessary but also allows one to easily change the volume by individual increments.
The white colored, fluorescent, seven segment, alphanumeric characters of the main display may seem somewhat primitive with their "blocky" appearance, but they are legible without being oversized and, in my case at least, they match well with the other displays in my car - a 1993 BMW 318. After extensive hands-on shopping for a car radio I discovered that the Blaupunkt Bermuda is one of the few units available that does not use a polished, contoured, plastic lens to enhance the visibility of the display. I owned two high quality head units of Asian manufacture before buying the Blaupunkt, and I was quite surprised to find that many, if not most, head units available today are not visible in my car on a sunny day regardless of whether the display is exposed to direct or indirect sunlight. It became apparent that one of the reasons the sunlight completely washed out the displays on aftermarket car radios was the reflective plastic lens over the display. The Blaupunkt, by contrast, has a small, rippled, washboard type of non-reflective plastic covering its display that makes it much more legible during the daytime hours. I feel that being able to read the radio display is a necessity, so I am surprised that it is so difficult to do with so many elaborate, expensive units. Once again the OEM's have this problem solved, but aftermarket manufacturers seem to ignore it.
The Blaupunkt unit is very positive in operation and has a reassuringly solid feel to it. It accepts five inch and three inch discs of either pre-recorded, recordable or rewritable variety. And it plays mp3 files across the full range of compression bitrate settings, and reads out mp3 tags V1 and V1.1. It also fits in the dash of my car more snugly than the other units I tried. The economy of design extends to the back panel of the unit as well, where Blaupunkt has segmented the wiring by function allowing the owner to use only the wiring necessary for functioning in any particular type of installation. For example, if one does not use the unit's internal four channel amplifier then it is not necessary to install the loom that hold the speaker wiring. Simply plug in the individual looms for power and output to external amplifiers to accommodate the installation. This makes for an easy and uncluttered installation.
I'm sure it's obvious by now that I find a lot to admire in the Blaupunkt Bermuda; however it has a design characteristic that I consider a flaw, and that I consider almost unacceptable. The unit places a brief pause between successive mp3 files and, inexplicably does so with cda tracks on cd-r/w's and even on purchased, prerecorded CD's. I was certain this was improper operation and the retailer kindly exchanged the unit for me. When the second unit exhibited the same behavior I called Blaupunkt thinking perhaps they would recall these faulty units and replace them with properly operating ones. The Blaupunkt representative I spoke with by phone seemed rather insolent and explained he was well aware that the model Bermuda inserts a silent pause between *any* musical tracks whether mp3 or cda, whether recorded at home or at the most elaborate record studio. This is the way the unit is intended to operate he assured me, and he sounded as if I was a bit off center for expecting anything else! Apparently, this is not a characteristic of Blaupunkt's more expensive receivers and the representative's suggested solution to the problem was to buy a more expensive unit! I am surprised since, to discover just how many recordings I own that have contiguous tracks without a pause between them. Everything from Pink Floyd's "The Wall", to opera, to live jazz sessions captured on two-track tape. I still consider this failing inexcusable in light of modern engineering practices and reasonable consumer expectations. However, the Blaupunkt Bermuda fits so many of my other requirements that I have decided to live with it's flaws for now, and I have no qualms recommending it to others as long as they are aware of its peculiarities.
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Amount Paid (US$): 97.00