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This was originally a post in my QualiR review thread: http://mazda3revolution.com/forums/...ad-unit-2010-mazda-3-ql-mzd313-lots-pics.html, but I felt that it was too long for a single post.

I don't mean to completely discourage people from buying from these Chinese sellers, I just want to post this thread as a warning to anyone who's considering to get one of those fancy OEM-like touch screen head units. I'm writing about my personal experience with my head unit from autodvdgps.com, but almost all of the Chinese sellers have the same return/repair policy and sell the exact same items with different model numbers.

It took nearly four months from the time I sent my Head unit for repair, to when I got it back. Here's a run down of the RMA progression:

During the month of December I exchanged emails with QualiR describing the problems with my head unit. They were quick to respond and went through everything to make sure the head unit was actually defective. They asked me to take a picture of the problem I was having, gave me a different map software to try, and then asked for a video of the problem.

After all the troubleshooting didn't work out, they sent me an email with the RMA form to print out. I emailed back asking if I would have to pay for shipping and they said they would refund me $50 when it arrives at their warehouse.

On January 17 I got everything packed up and went to Canada post to get this thing shipped back to QualiR... and by their request on the RMA slip, I shipped it via regular post (which cost $99, Xpress would have been $174) and declared the package to be worth $40. This left me feeling a little uneasy, because if the package would have gotten damaged or lost... I would be out of a $550 head unit and I would only get back $40 of the $99 it cost to ship the damn thing. But I decided to ship it anyway since I really need the GPS to work. That's why I bought this HU in the first place.

It took exactly a week for my package to even show up on canada post's tracking system... not a very good start. Here's how things went...



It took a few weeks for the package to leave Canada (Feb. 2), and it wasn't until March 9 that it finally reached China. And on March 15th it arrived at QualiR's warehouse. It was painful to refresh the tracking website to see that it hasn't moved an inch for over a month. As I mentioned earlier, the package was only claimed to be valued at $40... so a little bit of panic was starting to set in.

Once QualiR had it in their hands they sent me an email saying that they will be sending it to "the factory" and that it should be repaired within two weeks. On March 30th (two weeks) I sent an email asking if my head unit was fixed yet and they replied within a few hours saying that it was repaired and it's going through testing.

Two weeks after that (April 15) I sent another email asking if there were any updates, and they told me that the factory was in Hong Kong for a product show... which really blows because I was told that it was already repaired.
It seemed like they were having trouble communicating with the factory. And told me that they asked them to be faster. Eventually they finally got back to me with a DHL tracking number. It was shipped on Friday (April 29) and arrived on Tuesday (May 3). Extremely fast. The customs fee was $11.

To be fair, I can't really blame QualiR for the long repair time. They were polite and quick with with their emails. And I'm guessing "the factory" they were talking about is probally the same wholesale trader that all the other Chinese websites get their DVD/GPS head units. My guess would be Alibaba.com.

It sucks that it took so long and that I had to shell out $60 of my own money to have it repaired... but that's the risk that you have to take when buying a head unit from these China based companies. I don't regret my purchase, I love my head unit... but I hope I never have to send it back again.
 

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Agreed on all counts on these Chinese made systems. Based on my research, (including Matt174e's great review) I knew these systems were more or less the same. So I opted to go with what autodvdgps was selling on Ebay, with free shipping and free map card. Overall I'm fairly satisfied with my purchase.
(Model: QL-MZD723 for $435.50 shipped)

I just pray that this HU lasts at least 2-3 yrs. If it gives out after that, if I have the coin, I may go with a Tier 1 system like Pioneer or Kenwood. Which currently are $900 and $1200 respectively. I compared some features on the Pioneer unit on Crutchfields website and it has voice command BT calling, which I miss from the OEM HU. Also if you have an iPhone, Pioneer has an app you can download so you'll have voice command control similar to Ford's Sync system ("Play Beyonce, Put a ring on it") They have an option to add Satellite or HD radio as well.

My issues:

- These simple and cheesy interface screens on my Chinese unit would never fly over here or any major market for that matter. I work in IT, so it was easy for me to figure out that touching ".." was to go up one level But for non techie types? They'd probably be thinking WTF.

- The ipod control is only manageable when I choose a playlist, because finding a song by artist, title, genre, etc. takes forever and forget trying to do that while driving.

- Steering wheel controls work for volume and switching songs from mem card, USB, or ipod. Otherwise, in Radio mode, volume controls work, but hitting the up/down channel switch has it scanning up or down instead of going up or down to the next station preset.

- After making or receiving a BT call, it won't let me go into any other mode other than NAV. If I try to go to radio it briefly flashes the radio UI, but then goes back to BT UI. Only recourse is to turn off HU and turn back on, then all modes are functioning again.

- Again, I hate the fact that I lost my voice commands from the OEM unit. The fact that I can't hit dial button and just say "call home". At least I was able to map the mode button on the steering wheel to answer calls. The mode button was useless anyway, because hitting it called up the menu and only moved the selection bracket to the next mode (with each steering wheel button press), but no way to accept/enter from the steering wheel.

All that being said,

- Touch screen is responsive, bright, and the unit looks great in the dash. I installed it with no issues and its nice and flush.

- NAV system works pretty well. I wish it said street names and also indicated whether my destination was on the left or right side of the street. Day/night mode works well and the interface is fairly user friendly.

- I ordered a $24 reverse cam from Ebay thats fitted to replace the license plate light housing and it works great. Its very cool to be able to see what's behind you and at a wide angle.

- DVD/CD/Media player works great. Again, the UI isn't that great, but it played all the MP3, avi, mpegs, etc. that I threw at it.

So for a good built in NAV, backup system, media player, and so so BT system. I have enough new features that it was worth the $$$$ and after almost a month using it, I can still be patient with all the little glitches. Cross my fingers I don't have to send it in for any repairs. Nearly 4month turnaround? Geez :eek:

Thanks to Matt and all the others on the boards that provided their input on these Chinese made GPS/DVD systems :smiley: Not having any of those features before I got this system, I would never have shelled out nearly a grand or more for the Pioneer or Kenwood systems. But the features seemed enticing enough to take a chance on a no name brand at less than half the price. But now after having all these new features available, if I had to do it over again? Hmmmm, I could be in my car right now saying "Play Beyonce, put a ring on it"....lol Ask me again a year from now how well my system is still working and I'll let you know if it was worth the savings to go the no name route.
 
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