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JVC KD-R600 mini review

September 1st, 2009

Being a commuter, spending countless hours behind the wheel of my car stuck in traffic I need a versatile sound system. For my money, that turned out to be the JVC KD-R600 head unit for my 2002 Volkswagen Golf. One of the nicest features of this head unit is iPod and iPhone control support via the front faceplate’s USB port. Now that I have an iPhone 3GS, my battery is always topped up, and I don’t know how I did without this feature before. The unit also plays back audio and MP3 CD’s, in addition to USB thumb drives and USB hard drives.

iPod/iPhone control in the stereo deck is a much safer way to control how you listen to music in the car. When I get in, I place the phone in my center console, connect the USB cable and off I go. Unless my phone rings, I don’t have to touch the device at all. When the phone does ring, it fades out the music/podcast/whatever and pauses the playback while you are on the call. This has the added benefit of allowing me to actually hear my phone ring while listening to loud music.

Sound quality is excellent with the stock speakers in my car, and the difference in dynamic range over the stock head unit was astounding. I’m not a huge audiophile, but I tend to be a stickler for audio quality. I was pleasently surprised at how good it sounded, and very happy that I didn’t need to spend any additional dollars to upgrade my speakers.


The JVC KD-R600 also has the ability to change the color of the display, including 30 pre-set colors, and the ability to change the color using the jog dial to one of 30,000 options. I haven’t played with the custom colors yet, I’ve set mine to the dark blue to match the interior dash of my car.

I have noticed a couple of minor issues, and they are mostly iPhone related, but its worth mentioning. I notice that my iPhone seems to crash and reboot about once every week or two, I notice it mainly in the car as thats where I use it the most, but I have noticed my phone rebooting while I was watching TV, so I’m not going to blame my JVC KD-R600 just yet. Podcast playback suffers from an annoying quirk, it doesn’t seem to list the episodes in the order in which they should be played back, so if I happen to fall behind, then I have to try and figure out which episode to play manually. I’ve noticed this while using the iPhone via the Aux connector as well, so its not a JVC issue, its just tedious via the jog dial control. Podcasts with chapters tend to to start the chapter over again if you pause, disconnect, and then re-connect and hit play later, this appears to be related to how the JVC detects the chapters, so this issue falls under the KD-R600.

For about $160 Canadian, I’d recommend the JVC KD-R600 to any iPhone or iPod users out there as a great way to charge and use your iPod/iPhone safely while driving.Useful Gear, JVC KD-R600 mini review

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  1. nick
    November 8th, 2009 at 23:36 | #1

    how did you install it in your vw golf? did you follow a certain guide you found on the internet? i’m trying to install this same head unit in my 2002 golf.

    • November 8th, 2009 at 23:57 | #2

      @nick – I ended up buying the wiring harness when I bought the deck, so it was a simple plug and play install. I didn’t follow any guides, etc. I just winged it since I had the harness. In hindsight, I should have taken some pictures.

      Good luck with your install.

  2. Joe Daniels
    January 8th, 2010 at 05:20 | #3

    Trying to install a KD-r600 into 97 Toyota Corolla. Have purchased recommended installation kit TA2154B from Scosche. The radio and install kit, do not appear to compatible. Any ideas??

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