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Alpine's UTE73 BT: Car Stereo Review

While many new cars come with an infotainment system with larger touch screens and connectivity out the ying-yang, sometimes you need a replacement stereo for your older car that won’t break the bank. There are many aftermarket options available that’ll allow you to cruise with the top down while jamming out to your favorites tunes.

The Alpine model UTE-73BT is a powerful and updated head unit replacement for OEM stereos, that are best left in the junkyard. It is easy to self-install (providing you have the proper wiring harness and brackets). With little experience required and a lot of youtube videos, you can easily DIY and save a few bucks while you’re at it. This is one of the best attributes of this head unit among others.

It comes factory-ready or “plug and play” with all the needed wiring already attached. You simply remove your dashboard and its surrounding housing pull the old radio out and connect the new one. There are a plethora of Youtube videos that can guide you through the process. If you’re like me you appreciate a video demonstration. Once the radio is plugged in and fastened you’re good to go. It’s really that easy to do.

Another benefit of this stereo is the easy-access USB & Aux ports. There are both aptly placed in the upper corner allowing you to simultaneously charge and play music off your phone!

This is ingenious as you already know how poor our phone batteries are! If you need more juice you simply can plug in and jam on. It even has a handy door covering the USB port keeping out dust or dirt when not in use. Pretty clever!

If going wireless is your “jam” then have no fear. This model is Bluetooth (BT) capable as well! So many of us are used to pairing our phones to everything from portable speakers to car stereos or anything in between. This unit is no exception and will accept up to 2 BT devices so you and your partner can rock out if you share the car. While most comparable stereos offer this feature, not all BT pairing is created equal. Similar models in this price range will allow up to 4 or even 5 devices. If the road ahead calls for multiple passengers each with their own musical tastes, having more than two devices pairable will make a difference! This stereo does not offer multiple device memory.

On a similar note, while this unit is BT capable, it is very difficult to navigate its menus and successfully pair it with your phone. Regardless of your phone choice, Android or Apple, it’s still a chore to do. In fact, it was so confusing I had to refer to the owner’s manual! How about that for not being user-friendly.

In fact, after I had some work done to the car it took a good few minutes to fumble through multiple buttons that needed to be engaged in order to pair my iPhone. This is not the case with a similarly priced Kenwood which I also tested. The pairing was one button simple and required no special instructions. Once you get past the pairing complications the rewards are plentiful.

The Alpine sound is crisp and robust even without an amplifier. Retailing under $100 this little unit is the stereo that could! It boasts a max output rating of 50 watts which will allow for punctuated sound at a high volume without distortion. While most users choose to buy an amp to bring out the bass boom of their chosen music, this unit will hold its own without one. It comes equipped with bass enhance feature which will boost the low-end vibes-no amp required.

Another enjoyable feature of this stereo is its customizable display colors. This is especially helpful if you’re like me and want to match your car’s dashboard lights. There are a plethora of colors you can choose, from including a combination of two different schemes! The displays are not only customizable but are also dimmable which can be a handy feature if you prefer low dim dash lights. Most stereos in this price class offer this feature.

One that is not as common, however, is a removable faceplate. If removing valuables from your car is important to you then having a removable faceplate is vital. This unit includes an easy release button that you can just pop out the faceplate and no one will ever know you had music in your car. A plain black, nondescript panel will remain. While this may seem like a small feature it can make a difference if you don’t want wandering eyes scanning your interior. This attribute is not widely available and sets this stereo apart from its competition.

Overall, Apline’s stellar reputation for quality car audio products has once again proved to be true. This unit has much to offer in terms of sound clarity and easy installation. If you can bear with its frustrating menu setup and only need two devices paired at once this is a good candidate for an OEM stereo replacement. Competitively priced below $100 you’ll have to look far and wide to find a better system available on the market.

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