Product Reviews: Westinghouse 32H570D & Jensen HD5112
Thursday, August 21, 2008 1:57 PM
I don't normally do product reviews on my blog but recently I have come across some really poor electronics and have had such a bad experience I want to warn any potential buyer -- These products are beyond poor, they are unacceptable! So I have decided that at least for the time being I would share my experiences online.
There are all kinds of new electronics out there to buy. Flat screen TV's, iPods, iPhones, HD Radio's, BluRay, etc.. However, I personally feel that there are some companies who's business model is to produce junk and sell it as these new style electronics. In the case of both of these products it is obvious that they rushed to market in such a way that makes them completely worthless! This is much reminiscent of the late 90's where computer manufacturers were pushing out components before they were ready resulting in very unstable PC's!
Another thing to note is that I am a little more savvy than the average consumer. Not to tout too much my credentials as a "product test guy" but I did used to work for a service company called Service West and I would fix electronics. When you see the guts of some electronics you really see the difference between brands! You could (at least then) really tell the difference between a Sony and a JVC! The Sony was eloquent and beautiful inside and I never saw many of them! Some of the JVC's I worked on I had to de-solder wires just to get the unit open to perform a simple mechanical adjustment and they were always in there because the user tried to do two things at once (like change disks and press play in rapid succession). In short, you get what you pay for. Unlike computers where you buy a Dell for the name or cereal where you pay a lot more for the little improvement in quality; electronics are a little different. If you can make a cheaper brand electronics component work for you then that's great but it is not going to be as good as quality as a better brand.
Westinghouse 32H570D Flat Panel TV
When we first purchased this TV we loved it! The best feature was the DVD player, it is built in such a way that you can pop a DVD into the front of the TV (front loading) and it will turn the TV on and start playing the DVD. How they were able to do a front-loading DVD slot and keep the TV so low profile I'll never know. I bought this from Target back in April 2008 and returned it exactly 90 days later. I was hoping to find something else to replace it with but we're going to be doing a lot more homework before trying that again.
- Front loading DVD slot!
- The price
- Very low profile
- Great picture
- Easy to play DVD's
- The TV would hang every one in a while. Not an innocent "the picture is frozen" but it completely LOCKED UP! You would have to get up, un plug it, and plug it back in! You can't even power it off with the remote! Yes, there was adequate ventilation and the TV did not appear to be hot.
- The audio inputs did not work! I spent literally DAYS trying to get audio from my computer (where we would watch online content) to the TV! Getting the audio from the laptop speakers was not desirable!
- The HD tuner was clumsily laid out. You could literally take a full 20 seconds just to flip past channel 7!
- The remote was nothing special! It had a poor layout as well and did not have buttons for things you would do often.
- The menu did not have a lot in the way of customization & function. This may be part of the "easy to use" but I was unable to select an audio source.
I would not recommend this unit to a friend! It's possible they fix the "bugs" and will have a good product in the future, but from other reviews their technical support was very poor and sending the TV for repair is very expensive. I can not recommend this brand to a friend either.
This radio supposedly had it all! Literally! HD Radio, MP3/WMA playback on CD/CD-R/CD-RW, SD Memory, USB. IPod link, Aux input, pre-outs, Satellite ready, EVERYTHING! The problem? None of it worked! (more below) I really wanted this product to work for me -- epically since these puppies aren't easy to install! Plus it was pretty inexpensive and I knew that anything else wouldn't have as many features. I thought that if I can just find 1 brand of product compatible with the SD reader or USB, or CD ROM then I would be fine. I couldn't find any combination that worked! I purchased this from WalMart in August 2008 and returned it days later.
- Very Featureful (on the surface)
- Price is right!
- I really liked the HD radio. It seems like the Satellite radio companies are fighting very hard to limit the number of units with this feature so it was nice to find one. HD Radio is pretty cool and one of the main reasons for buying this unit.
- I didn't get to try the iPod link (as I do not yet have an iPod and would probably opt for a Zune)
- Once I got the correct dash kit (don't say that you support *any* Pontiac when you don't stupid first dash kit!) installation was pretty easy. The wires were ISO compliant so I just had to match colors with my GM/Pontiac pigtail.
- The unit seemed to have pretty good power. It went much louder than my stock radio.
- I could not install it without removing the "warranty void if removed" sticker! It was right over where the sleeve slid over. You slide it over that spot more than twice (which is usually required) that sticker is gone man!
- The installation instructions couldn't be accessed. They are usually provided online through a 3rd party. You enter your serial number and it will let you download installation instructions for your vehicle. I suspect I was the N'th person to buy this particular unit and so it wouldn't let me download the instructions!
- I tried 6 different SD cards in this unit and could not get any of them to read. I tried formatting these every which way possible and even tried a number of different MP3 formats just in case it was not capable of playing VBR. I tried renaming the files to have as few as possible chars. I never got this feature working!
- I tried 15 different CD brands! Nothing would play. Though in defense (if you can call it that) this unit must have been defective because the CD playback didn't work with a regular music CD (CDDA) that came straight from the store. That's right, I couldn't play my Blink 182 album!
- I tried all 6 thumb drives I had and it wouldn't read any of them so I bought a new one, and it wouldn't read that either! Reading other reviews these last three are common. One guy could only get 1 thing to work and that was a SD card reader to work in the USB slot. I believe he described it as "an abomination sticking out of my dash!" and that a sudden stop would snap his card reader & radio like a twig!
- The clock looked weird and it would never display the information I wanted.
- The aux port worked but only if the faceplate was not open (expected but still annoying)
- The faceplate didn't detach or attach without a fight!
- The snaps that hold the radio to the sleeve weren't great. After I installed it I couldn't get the right side to snap into place.
- The product manual was very poor! The website had few answers.
I would not recommend this unit to a friend. Based on the whole number of poorly implemented features I could not buy this brand of electronics again.
I have bought the XOVision DVD player for my car to replace this CD Player. It should get here in the next week so look for a review on that.