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JVC KDHDR44 Review

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JVC KDHDR44 Review

The JVC KDHDR44 is an entry level head unit that has offers some premium features.

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  • Includes a built-in HD radio tuner.
  • Offers two auxiliary inputs.
  • High quality MOSFET amplifier.
  • Compatible with MP3/WMA files.
  • Bluetooth-ready.
  • Preamp outputs.
  • Remote control.
  • No USB connectivity.
  • Controls are somewhat unintuitive.
  • Only one front-facing auxiliary input.

Premium Features at a Budget Price

The JVC KDHDR44 is an attractive choice for anyone who wants to upgrade an old head unit without blowing a lot of money. Priced well below $100, the KDHDR44 includes a built-in HD radio tuner, two auxiliary inputs, and uses MOSFET technology to put out 20 watts RMS on each channel.

Unlike pricier models, the KDHDR44 can't control your iPod or other devices. However, you can plug an MP3 player into the front-facing auxiliary port, and you can pair it with Bluetooth devices if you purchase JVC's optional Bluetooth adapter. (Compare Prices)

The Good

JVC has a reputation for packing in the features without pumping up the price, and the KDHDR44 is a prime example. Some similarly priced car stereos include an auxiliary input, but this unit has two. One of them is on the back of the unit, which makes it well suited to semi-permanent installations. That means you can easily plug a satellite radio adapter into the rear input while leaving the front one free for your MP3 player.

Unlike many other units that fall into the entry level range, the JVC KDHDR44 also includes a built-in HD radio tuner. If you've been wondering what's lurking on all the HD radio stations in your area, this head unit is your ticket to crisp, digital sounds.

The JVC KDHDR44 also puts out pretty respectable sound for a budget model. It uses a built-in MOSFET amplifier that can put out 20 watts RMS per channel, but it also includes pre-amp outputs if you ever decide you want to add an external amplifier.

The Bad

The JVC KDHDR44 does include auxiliary inputs, but it doesn't have any additional connectivity. That means you can't plug in your USB MP3 player, and you can't connect wirelessly. It is Bluetooth ready, but you have to purchase an additional accessory if you want to pair your Bluetooth devices.

Another connectivity issue is that the JVC KDHDR44 only has one front-facing auxiliary input. The second input is on the rear, which makes it relatively difficult to access. If you have an accessory that you want to install permanently, that's fine. However, the rear auxiliary input is useless for any other devices unless you want to purchase an extra cable and just leave it hooked up all the time.

The controls of the JVC KDHDR44 are also somewhat unintuitive. The unit packs a lot of functionality for a budget-priced model, but some users have a little difficulty accessing all of that functionality. Many of the functions are hidden in menus that you have to scroll through, and the documentations leaves a lot to be desired.

The Bottom Line

If you need to upgrade an old head unit, the JVC KDHDR44 is one of the best sub-$100 options you'll find. The built-in HD radio tuner boasts CD-quality sound on FM band stations, and it also provides access to any additional digital stations that are available in your area. It also includes a high quality MOSFET amp, two auxiliary inputs, and is compatible with JVC's Bluetooth adapter.

You may have to struggle with the unintuitive controls for a while, but the unit is definitely worth the asking price.

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