Heathrow, Fla. - Dual is expanding its selection of mech-less head units with fold-out iPod/iPhone docks, shipping a new model that adds multiple features, including the option to dock iPods and iPhones horizontally, not just vertically.
Also unlike the other models, the $149-suggested XML8150 digital media receiver lets users control their docked device via the head unit's front-panel controls, not just from the docked device's controls. Other changes include built-in hands-free and stereo Bluetooth, front-panel USB, SD memory card input, 3.5mm aux input and HD Radio-ready capability. iPods and iPhones can also be connected via the front-panel USB input.
Thanks to the new docking mechanism, the new model lets drivers mount an iPhone horizontally for use as a portable navigation device (PND), charge it, and play navigation prompts through the car speakers for louder playback. A 30-pin Apple connector sits on the end of an accordion-like arm that folds out of the front panel and rotates for vertical or horizontal docking. The arm also lets drivers place the docked device to the right of the head unit's front panel and angle it toward them for easy viewing.
The previous two head units, in contrast, featured a dock that folded down from the front panel, allowing only for vertical use and offering no ability to angle the device display toward the driver.
"We are not the only company doing receivers with iPod docks, but our dock design/solution is definitely unique in the way it folds out from behind the faceplate and adjusts to horizontal and vertical positions," said marketing director Joanna Lukins. "I believe other manufacturers provide shelf-like retractable docks as well as built-in docks, where you put your iPod inside a receiver like you would a CD. Our solution allows consumers to safely dock their devices in place and in clear view for the driver no matter what they are using them for." That includes hands-free calling, she said.
The 4x60-watt head unit accommodates most iPhone and iPod devices with 30-pin connectors, including the iPhone 4, iPod touch and iPod nano models, the company said. Other features include MP3/WMA/AAC formats through the USB and SD Card inputs, steering-wheel interface input for use with optional module, three-band EQ with adjustable center frequency and low pass filter, two-line black-and-white LCD display, and three pairs of RCA-type preamp outputs for front and rear speakers and for subwoofers.