Personally I am a fan of Pioneer's stuff. If I was to do a comparison with the three this is how I would go about picking it.
Amongst the three their features seem limitless and the design is comparable between all of them. That is it is not like one of them is touch screen, has a LCD screen or is heavy on colors. As for the individual units:
JVC - I'm not a fan of this particular unit. It has features, most of which require expandability (which is not uncommon for most radios). This is also probably the main reason still I did not choose it over the others. What I mean by this is if you wanted to use an iPod you have to buy the iPod adapter for it separately. JVC quality is their so that was not a concern. I think the only consideration I gave towards it was that it had plenty of RCA outputs. This would be good if you decide to expand the audio set up with aftermarket equipment. You can basically run all your RCAs right from the HU. This is much better for sound quality.
Motorized face for the unit is nice. I don't see this as a plus or minus because it can go either way, really just depending on your mood that day. The SD card slot is cool but I think the reality is that not a lot of people put music on an SD card. Especially when you have iPod functionality and USB connectivity. USB is also nice for all your songs that you have on their, but I don't think most people carry the majority of their songs on USB.
Kenwood - Kenwood has really come up as a brand along with the Pioneer and JVC units. Again it has what seems like limitless features: iPod control, USB and enough RCA outputs to power your basic needs. Again the expandability of it comes at an even bigger price. Tag on HD radio tuner (+ subscription), BT adapter, and an extra USB iPod adapter. The iPod here uses the same cable you use to transfer your songs from iPod to computer (and vice versa) but you will need to use that same cable and plug it into the front USB slot. Also the Kenwood faceplate always seems to busy for me.
Which brings me to my choice (I think I covered the basics for the previous radios anyway).
Pioneer - The thing I like most about Pioneer is the faceplate. I've always felt (read: opinion) that Pioneer is the most easily navigated, has the biggest, most uncluttered screens. The plus for this particular model is that the colors are OEM green. If the dash lights in your car are stock (i.e. OEM green) then having a green lit radio may be more appealing to the eyes.
The big thing for the Pioneer is that the iPod cable is included with the radio. It also usually plugs into the back of the HU, so you can route the cable to the glovebox or anywhere you really choose and keep it hidden from would-be theives. Putting your iPod in the glovebox (for instance) keeps the items out of view so you "don't have to worry" about it getting stolen. I don't know how true it is but if I remember correctly Pioneer and Alpine used to be the only HU that actually properly charged iPods. Other manufacturers just allowed for audio playback.
If you have a Zune or another type of MP3 player like one from Creative, the audio jack is nice since you can easily plug and unplug the device from the front audio jack - and you'd only have to buy a $4 audio cable to do so.
The Pioneer's "software functions" such as EQ bands, andother such adjustments seem like the opposite on the others, and that is actually limited. But unless you are fine tuning the audio controls using the EQ I doubt you will really miss this feature. It also only has one set of rear RCA outputs, which basically means if you ever want to amplify your speakers the best would be the rears. Subs would work but may not filter the higher frequencies and any surround sound in the audio would be displaced if you amped more than the rear (but now it's getting a little complicated and is a tangent of the actual situation).
What you have to do is ask yourself what you want in the radio.
- iPod function?
- SD Card?
- Aux Port?
- Motorized faceplate?
- Detachable faceplate?
- OEM Color?
- HD Radio?
- BT (BT Audio, Cellular BT, Both)?
- Amps? How many? And For what audio components?
These were at least a few of the main concerns I pointed out.
If you are open to another suggestion I would suggest Pioneer's DEH-P3100UB
. For another $20 bucks on the Pioneer you mentioned you get the same as the DEH-2100IB plus all the other features. You get the expandability
of BT and HD Radio. Pioneer's IP-Bus allows simple add on functionality as well. Also if you decide to go with amplifiers this has just enough RCA outputs to have you covered.
Enjoy my novel.