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Alpine KCE-300BT Bluetooth® Interface

For 2007-up Alpine in-dash stereos

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  • Alpine KCE-300BT Bluetooth® Interface

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Item #: 500KCE300B
 

Review Summary

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Our take on the Alpine KCE-300BT Bluetooth® Interface

by Robert Ferency-Viars
Alpine
Alpine Authorized Online Dealer

Drive safe — talk on the phone hands-free with your compatible Alpine stereo. The KCE-300BT Bluetooth adapter plugs into your 2007-up Bluetooth ready Alpine stereo, using the Full Speed iPod® connection. A handy pass-through connection lets you plug in your iPod, too.

You get on-screen displays of most cell phone information, including Caller ID, missed calls, dialed calls, and received calls. You can also access any music stored in your phone, stream it through your Alpine stereo, and check out song info on the display.

A one-time process prepares your phone for use with the KCE-300BT. Once the system has been set up, the Bluetooth connection initializes automatically when you get in the car. From there, you get the safety and convenience of a mobile speakerphone. Includes an echo-cancelling microphone. Warranty: 1 year.

Note: If you have an older Alpine Ai-Net stereo, you'll need the Alpine KCA-100BT Bluetooth adapter.

Note: Bluetooth compatibility with this device may vary, depending on your phone and service provider.

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Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Product Research
What's in the box?

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  • Bluetooth module with attached Velcro pad
  • 8" Power harness (4-pin molex plug on one end and bullet connectors on the other)
  • 6.5' Constant power wire extension (bullet connector on one end and bare wire on the other)
  • 6.5' Switched power wire extension (bullet connector on one end and bare wire on the other)
  • 6.5' Ground wire extension (bullet connector on one end and bare wire on the other)
  • 6.5' Mute wire extension (bullet connectors on both ends)
  • 6.25' iPod Full Speed cable (has 10-pin Molex connector on both ends)
  • Microphone with attached 10' cable (2-pin Molex terminal)
  • Visor clip
  • Microphone clip
  • Velcro pad for microphone
  • Self-tapping screw (3/8" length)
  • Owner's manual (English/ German/French/Spanish/ Italian/Swedish/Chinese)
  • Customer care registration card

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Features

Overview: The Alpine KCE-300BT Bluetooth Interface allows you to make and receive calls on your Bluetooth-equipped cellular telephone through select 2007-up Alpine head units. The interface includes a microphone and the other party's voice is played through the stereo speakers.

Bluetooth Hands-Free Telephone Feature: With this interface you can place, answer, and end a call without touching your phone.

Compatibility: The Alpine KCE-300BT is compatible with the Apple iPhone, BlackBerry as well as select Bluetooth compatible mobile phones from Audiovox, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Palm, Samsung, Sanyo, Siemens, and Sony Ericsson. Please visit www.alpine-usa.com for a complete specific listing of compatible Bluetooth mobile phones.

Pairing: Your phone must be paired with the KCE-300BT before it will work. Up to five devices can be paired to the adapter at once; numbered 1-4, plus Guest Mode. The Guest Mode is for temporary pairing; that device is deleted when the ignition is turned off.

Placing Calls: The exact feature package varies based on the Alpine head unit and your phone model; generally the following are available:

  • Redial: press the phone button within 5 seconds of ending a call
  • Call History: previously dialed numbers can be retrieved and dialed from memory
  • Received Calls: retrieve and dial someone who called you
  • Missed Calls: dial a number from the missed call log
  • Phonebook: up to 1,000 entries can be downloaded from your phone

Receiving Calls: When you receive a call, the caller ID information is displayed on the head unit. You can set the phone, or KCE-300BT to answer the call automatically. If you prefer answering manually, it only requires pressing the phone button.

Mute: When you make or receive a call, the audio from the stereo is muted. When using the Bluetooth interface, no other device can be used with the mute (interrupt) function.

iPod: Although the KCE-300BT uses the iPod Full Speed jack on the head unit, a second Full Speed jack on the interface allows connection of your iPod also.

Bluetooth Streaming Audio: You can also listen to streaming audio from your phone or other Bluetooth audio devices through the interface. Some devices with streaming audio functionality also have command and control protocols, allowing you to use the head unit's buttons for play, pause, previous track, and next track commands.

Note: The Apple iPhone does not stream music audio wirelessly through Bluetooth.

Microphone: The supplied microphone allows you to speak to the other party on the telephone call hands-free. The microphone comes with clips and hardware for a variety of mounting options. Microphone dimensions:

  • Diameter: 0.548"
  • Length: 1.327"
  • Cable Length: 10'

Bluetooth Specifications:

  • Version: Bluetooth 1.1
  • Output Power: +4 dB max (power class 2)
  • Profiles:
    • HFP: Hands Free Profile
    • HSP: Head Set Profile
    • A2DP: Advanced Audio Distribution Profile
    • AVRCP: Audio/Video Remote Control Profile
 
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Alpine KCE-300BT Bluetooth® Interface Reviews

Average Customer Review:

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4 out of 5

I'm quite happy with it!

Written By Russell, Tampa, FL on Thursday, November 20, 2008
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I bought this unit in February but didn't get around to installing it until this
week. I read through some of the other reviews and was concerned about
how it would sound but installed it anyway. With those reviews in mind I
decided to shorten the excess wiring, keep them as far away from other
wiring as possible, and experiment with the microphone placement. After 3
tries I found that mounting the bluetooth box under the center dash grill (I
had room) allowed me to turn the volume down a bit which lowered the
dreaded echo effect others have reported. It comes through loud and clear
and paired with my 3-year-old LG phone. No problems here!
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Works just fine.

Written By JOEL, Spotsylvania, va on Monday, August 11, 2008
 
This product works fine for me. I feel that people don't quite know how to install it correctly, which if probably alpines fault for not giving more tips on where to mount the microphone. Works beautifully with the iphone. Occasionally there is an echo but usually remedies with volume adjustment. It will not play bluetooth audio from the iphone but I could care less. Definitely worth it if installed correctly.
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5 out of 5

Works great for me

Written By Eric, Vallejo, VA on Monday, August 04, 2008
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
After reading the reviews, I was very skeptical about buying this unit. Since
I already had the Alpine CDA-9885, I decided to try it out. If things were as
bad as everyone said it was, I would just return it.

Well, it turns out that everything worked out just fine. The pairing process
was very simple, and callers reported no echo at all. Some said it sounded
like I was very far from the mic (like I was on speakerphone but really far
from the phone), but I fixed that my moving the mic a little closer to me and
by speaking up a little louder.

I am also using the KCE-422i for my iPod. I have no issues with the
playback. When you first select the iPod source, there is a little noise &
feedback before the music starts playing, but is not noticeable during music
playback or while muting.

The only problem I had was accessing the phonebook. When you first pair
the phone and hit the 'phone' button, it would hang on the 'updating'
screen. It would just flash "updating" for a while, then go back to the
previous source. Only after placing or receiving a call was I able to access
the phonebook. But I later found out that if you wait a couple minutes after
the first pairing of the phone, hitting the 'phone' button would give you full
access to the phonebook.

Overall, I'm pretty impressed with the product. Not so much that it does
anything well, but more so that it didn't fail me like it did everyone else.
Maybe I just got lucky & got a working unit with no problems.
3 out of 3 people found this helpful
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1 out of 5

The Echo....

Written By JVis, Seattle, WA on Sunday, April 06, 2008
 
I love the CDA-9886, I love it's interface, the CD changer works great with it and the iPhone works well with no noise when hooked up through the KCE-422i running through the BT adapter, so I have been lucky that I havn't had the problem some other people are describing. I don't even have to put the iphone into airplane mode, so it still works as a regular phone and can hook up via bluetooth to the BT adapter. It all works as it should... ALMOST

But seriously, ECHO ECHO ECHO ECHO... It is REDICULOUS... I have had the same problems that everyone else has said with the terrible echo in the background. I've tried moving the mic ALL over, I've tried moving the mic and fading all but one speaker in different locations... NOTHING worked.

The only way I could eliminate the echo successfully was to put my finger over the mic... i knew it because in my MANY test calls everyone said immediately "oh wait! the echo's gone!"... but of course that doesnt work very well either because then I sound like I'm 100 yards away to the caller.

What really bugs me is the fact that the microphone is advertised as "echo-cancelling"... what a joke. I install maybe 20-30 Bluetooth car solutions a month, from Parrot, Kenwood, Pioneer... this was the first Alpine experience... needless to say, it's terrible. We even switched out the unit twice... no improvement... so either Alpine sent me 3 defective units... or the product is just defective. I mean, the fact that this problem seems to happen so frequently from what I've read, I'm offended that Alpine didnt pull the units back by now because these complaints about echoing go back to November of 07. That's over 6 months ago.

The other thing that KINDA irritates me but I havn't totally decided that it isn't fixable is the fact that the device doesnt seem to automatically pair up with the phone, even though it is the only phone in the "paired device" list...
10 out of 10 people found this helpful
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1 out of 5

Not what I'd expect from Alpine

Written By Stephen, Louisville, KY on Friday, April 04, 2008
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I bought into the Alpine brand in hopes of putting together an integrated
entertainment system (iPod control, HD Radio, Bluetooth hands-free) for my car
that would eliminate the clutter of various add-on controls and displays that
would normally be necessary when adding these features. Given Alpine's
reputation for quality, I was dismayed by the difficulty people were having with
iPod control on the new CDA-9886 receiver; however their misfortune led me to
purchase the older, but rock-solid CDA-9885. The second purchase towards my
goal was the KCE-300BT bluetooth interface which unfortunately has me
believing Alpine's good reputation may be more about the past than the
present. Although difficulties with the interface have been thoroughly
documented in these reviews and elsewhere online, I ordered the 300BT with
the false assumption that Alpine would surely have resolved the issues with an
obviously faulty product.

Although the voice quality of calls inside the car is quite good, people on the
other end of the connection suffer echo which ranges from mildly irritating to
completely unlistenable. No mic placement inside the car was able to eliminate
the problem; not even placing it in the back seats. In contrast, the similarly
priced IHF1000 which I used with my previous Blaupunkt receiver
never suffered the least bit of echo no matter the location of the mic.

For as little as I use the phone in my car, I may have been able to deal with this
issue if not for the high pitched whine induced by the interface during iPod
playback. Since the iPod plays back perfectly when the high speed interface is
plugged directly into the 9885 rather than through the 300BT, the bluetooth
interface must be at fault. Listening to my iPod is something I often do in my
car and this is a deal breaker for me.

I understood going in that the Alpine interface only supported a very limited
selection of phones for full hands-free control from the receiver. In fact, for the
vast majority of phones, basic hands free and perhaps caller ID display is all you
can expect. No dialing, phone book access, etc. Although this was not an issue
for me because of my limited phone use, the Motorola IHF1000 did provide all
these features for my phone as well as voice control.

The poor performance of the KCE-300BT would have been disappointing from
any manufacture; but from Alpine, and at a premium price, it is simply
unacceptable. Should the new TUA-T550HD HD Radio tuner prove to be a less
than stellar performer, I'll be looking to Kenwood or Pioneer for a replacement
system.
13 out of 13 people found this helpful
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2 out of 5

Alpine KCE-300BT Bluetooth® Interface

Written By Peter, Auburn Hills, MI on Thursday, March 27, 2008
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I purchsed this along with a CDA-9887 reciever. Like a few others, I have experienced the high pitch whine and hiss when playing the iPOD through the adapter. If I am listening to something on the iPOD, I hear a constant hissing, and sometimes a high pitch whine. If I make a bluetooth phone call, the noise immediately goes away, and returns when the unit switches back to the iPOD. The problem is definitely related to how it works with the iPOD. Again, if the unit is doing Bluetooth phone call, the noise is gone. It is only present when the iPOD is playing. I also hear a noise sometimes when the disk in the iPOD spins up.



Alpine support wasn't much help. Crutchfield was awesome. They sent me a new KCE-300BT and iPOD cable to try, but that didn't help. They then sent me a new CDA-9887, another KCE-300BT, and another iPOD cable. Unfortunately, the problem still persisted.



I decided to eliminate the KCE-300BT and just plug the iPOD cable directly into the reciever, which also eliminates the noise.



It's too bad. If they fixed the noise issue, it would be a great combination.
7 out of 7 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Works great

Written By Scot, Tampa, FL on Saturday, March 15, 2008
 
I bought this unit a little over a month ago. The reviews for it were somewhat negative, but I really wanted the hands free capability and it was really the only option available for the ida-x001. Biting the bullet and anticipating the fact that I could just be throwing away $200 I ordered it.

After a rather simple installation process, I'm now a convert. This unit works great. I tested the sound quality of this unit several times by calling my voicemail at work and each time the quality of the message left was excellent. As of today, I have had no issues with anyone understanding what I'm saying. I will caveat this review by saying that I haven't tried this unit with the windows down and the A/C on max, I usually try to reduce the amount of ambient noise when someone calls.





2 out of 5 people found this helpful
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1 out of 5

Echo, Echo, Echo........

Written By Greg, Lemont, Illinois on Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I purchased the KCE-300-BT, 9887, XM adapter, Imprint program and the IPOD adapter based on my previous experience with Alpine car audio equipment. All of the components interfaced with little trouble but the quality of this interface has been a dissappointment. The biggest problem has been the annoying echo which is heard by those who call me. On my end things sound great but soon after the call initiates the person talking to me just can't take the echo any longer. On the advise of the Crutchfield's technical support staff I have moved the microphone to different locations within the vehicle but I have not found a location that eliminates the problem. As other viewers have mentioned, the stero volume can be turned down to eliminate the problem but having the volume that low makes hearing the caller almost impossible at anything greater than a car not moving with the engine turned off. I called Alpine USA using the BT adapter to see if there was a magic location I should try but there answer was the same. The technician heard the echo and I could tell it was getting distracting to him.



My IPOD adapter passes through the BT adapter. There is a high pitch wine, not related to engine noise or interference, when I play my IPOD. When I took the BT adapter out of the system and plugged the IPOD directly into the 9887 the noise was gone. So, now I am waiting for a replacement BT adapter from Crutchfield though I am not sure the new unit will address the echo issue.



The sound quality of this system has so much potential, especially with the Imprint system. The CD clarity is spectacular but the IPOD and Bluetooth........ they just do not work as they should. I have been a faithful customer of Crutchfield for years and their support staff has been great but unfortunately this time they could be stuck in a no win situation with this product since it just doesn't work as advertised. My plan now it to reinstall the replacement BT adapter and see what happens....... if the issues persist I will remove the BT adapter and possibly the whole system for one from another manufacturer.
10 out of 11 people found this helpful
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1 out of 5

Don't bother wasting your money...or your time

Written By Jordan, Blacksburg, Virginia on Saturday, November 17, 2007
 
This unit has so much promise, and yet falls so flat. I have no connection issues with the unit and my HTC TyTn PDA phone (well, I did at first, but a hard-reset cleared it up; also, the answering function is quite slow, requiring me to announce my self twice at times). The audio quality over bluetooth, even with all the tweaks is not that great, but is passable.



What is frustrating is the horrible echo heard by the callers at the other end of the line. It was so bad I took my unit to a local installer, who worked on it three times, including switching my unit for another new one, before we gave up.



Here's the issue: The first 15 seconds of a conversation is fine, then "the echo" starts for the other party. The delay is about a second so they hear their voice while they are speaking, making their end of the conversation almost impossible. The echo isn't heard on the Alpine end, so you won't know about it unless the caller complains. Reducing the volume to a very low level (too low to hear at highway speeds) mitigates the echo.



Alpine suggested a windscreen on the mic, along with alternate placement. Neither worked effectively. When pressed by the tech for more guidance, they said that they had heard of the issue, but didn't know how to fix it - blaming the problem on the car acoustics (It's an '05 Ford 150, one of the most popular vehicles made). It's not an issue of noise, as most callers find my end of the conversation to be far clearer than when I use my jawbone headset, nearly on par with when I use my phone directly. Imho, their feedback circuit is buggy.

8 out of 8 people found this helpful
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2 out of 5

NOT AS GREAT AS IT SHOULD BE

Written By Nick, LITTLE FALLS, NJ on Monday, November 05, 2007
 
I HAVE HAD THIS FOR ABOUT A YEAR NOW... THE BLUETOOTH MUSIC CAPABILITIES WORKS GREAT. AS FOR CALLING, EVERYONE I SPEAK WITH COMPLAINS OF AN ECHO. I HAVE REPROGRAMMED MULTIPLE TIMES AND HAVE GOTTEN NO WHERE. ALPINE HAS REALLY LET ME DOWN WITH THIS PRODUCT. I USE IT WITH THE ALPINE CDA-9855.
7 out of 7 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Good integration with the IDA-X001

Written By Scott, Twin Cities, MN on Friday, July 13, 2007
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Aweome integration with the IDA HU. Only had it for 24 hours, it did drop BT connection once. Works with the Treo 755p, except for the phonebook, which I knew beforehand, so no big deal. No complaints on voice quality or clarity. It is my first car BT unit, and I am happy with it.
7 out of 8 people found this helpful
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2 out of 5

Alpine KCE-300BT Bluetooth® Interface

Written By Richard, San Angelo, TX on Friday, June 22, 2007
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
First of all, I do not have phone compatibility issues with this unit. I use a Moto Razer and it connects fine. The primary problem I have is that whoever is calling me (or I am calling) hears a loud echo whenever they talk. You do not hear this echo on your end but everyone I talk to on this unit complains about this problem. Alpine is saying that the problem is the mic is too close to the speakers. While this echo does reduce as you lower the volume on the stereo (at the point where there is no longer echo, you cannot hear your call), the mic in my car is placed as far from the speakers as is physically possible and this is still a problem. Since Alpine advertises this unit as having echo cancellation technology with the mic I think that the product is faulty.
10 out of 10 people found this helpful
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2 out of 5

Limited phones supported

Written By dnodorft, Houston, TX on Saturday, June 09, 2007
 
Very dissapointed to find out after completely installing this unit that it doesn't support my Blackberry 8700 with all the features listed. It is not in or on the box and I didn't see it clearly labeled in the instructions. Only found this out when trying to search the web for answers as to how to make it work. Now I have to change phones to get even some of the listed features.
11 out of 13 people found this helpful
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1 out of 5

ALPINE KCE- 300 BT

Written By HOTGREEK, NEW YORK on Thursday, May 17, 2007
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Taking into consideration Alpine's outstanding credibility and realiability, this model that I bought turned out to my surprise to be the worst purchase I've ever made. I've purchased Alpine products for over 15 years and I've been nothing but satisfied. However, this bluetooth interface only works with a few different types of cell phones. The one phone that I tried that worked, it didn't work 100% for example the caller id didn't function properly. I bought this item on 2 different occasions from 2 different sources and both times the interface didn't function properly.
8 out of 8 people found this helpful
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1 out of 5

Alpine KCE-300BT Bluetooth® Interface

Written By Mark, Houston on Tuesday, April 10, 2007
 
I finally gave up on trying to get the Alpine CDA-9885 head unit (purchased thru Crutchfield) and the Alpine KCE-300BT Bluetooth Adapter to work together as advertised.

The issue has to do with feedback, a combination of high pitched ringing and hissing. According to the installation instructions for the 300BT, you connect the full speed cable from the 300BT to the back of the 9885. If you are also running an iPod, you connect the iPod full speed cable to the back of the 300BT. When I did this, I got feedback on phone calls, and even more pronounced when playing music from the iPod. If I plugged the iPod directly into the 9885, I had no feedback. No feedback on CDs or radio tuner either. So the problem was definitely the 300BT. So I swapped out my 300BT with two other brand new 300BT units. Same feedback occurred. I then swapped out the 9885 with another. Same feedback. Calls to Crutchfield were very friendly, but all of their suggestions were things I had already tried...changing the grounding location, checking to see if pressing the accelerator changed the feedback, moving the location of the 300BT. Calling Alpine, they suggested trying a new full-speed data cable, which I did. Still no luck. I then completely redid the power harness wiring for the 300BT. No improvement. Finally, I was able to determine that if you turn off the 9885s internal amp, the feedback was reduced, but not eliminated. I finally gave up, and just switched to the Pioneer DEH-P7900BT with built-in Bluetooth, & it works perfect. No feedback issues
13 out of 14 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Alpine KCE-300BT Bluetooth® Interface

Written By oro, Cleveland Ohio on Tuesday, April 10, 2007
 
Very nice. Works as advertised.

I am using the kce-300bt with my 2007 Alpine CDA-9885. The installation was easy, and the unit is very small so you should be able to find a good spot within your dash to put it. The microphone is also very small with a thin chord, very good.

The setup was very quick, and it paired with my phone with very little effort. At this point, it downloads all of your phones contact info (this happens at start up each time, to update the missed calls etc). This process took less than 1.5 minutes.

Phone calls are great! Sounds great, and the microphone is great. I tried talking closer and farther from the mic, while moving my head around (I was leaving myself a voicemail for this experiment), and the sound of my voice on the message sounded loud, clear, and consistent. Great phone functionality!!

As for steaming bluetooth music. Good stuff. My phone (Ericsson z710i) supports A2DP, and this is something you need to check before ordering. The bluetooth audio is very cool, streams right from the phone. One thing.. The sound quality is not PERFECT. Almost, but not quite. Almost sounds like a lower bitrate mp3 (when the same file, played on the CD player, sounds better, so I know its not the file). Its not at all horrible, just sounds very 'digital' up high in the trebble. Bass and mids are *superb* on the bluetooth connection. Still very neat.

One thing, you cannot see the track/artist name on bluetooth music streaming, at least w/ my setup.

overall, a GREAT product and I cant wait to get out of work to keep playing with it.
11 out of 12 people found this helpful
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3 out of 5

Compatability

Written By Paul, Clermont, Florida on Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This unit is not compatible with T-Mobile's Blackberry Pearl.
3 stars are an attempt not to skew the rating average as I was unable to use this product.
14 out of 23 people found this helpful
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For a more in-depth review and enhanced detailed information on the Alpine KCE-300BT Bluetooth® Interface, please visit the Crutchfield website product page (/ISEO-rccbcspd/p_500KCE300B/Alpine-KCE-300BT-Bluetooth-Interface.html ).