Kenwood DDX5706S Review – Best Touch Screen Receiver With Bluetooth

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Kenwood DDX5706S 6.2" Double Din A/V Multimedia DVD Receiver with Wired Apple CarPlay (Renewed)
  • 6.2" Clear Resistive Touchscreen Display
  • Parking Grid Lines For Rear-View Camera
  • Siri Eyes Free Control For Select IPhones
  • Waze And Google Maps Ready With Apple Car Play

The Kenwood DDX5706S is a new car receiver that was introduced at CES 2012. It has an iDatalink Maestro module built-in and an iPod adapter and HD radio as standard. On the video side, it does pass-thru through HD signals to external monitors and can playback 3rd party DVD movies with full touch screen control.

Other features include phone calls over Bluetooth with automatic muting when you talk, dual USB inputs for iPod/USB, and front/rear camera compatibility (for parking assistant). The internal amplifier delivers 50 watts x 4 channels and there’s also a dedicated subwoofer output. There are no PIP/PAP functions on this unit which we’re usually used to seeing included in Kenwood car stereo receivers.

The DDX5706S is a 6.1″ touchscreen standing tall on the dash, with a no-nonsense design and just 11 buttons surrounding it. The unit itself is very slim and comes with a detachable trim ring to match your car interior. USB, HDMI, and Aux inputs are behind a small door on the face of the stereo. The three buttons on the right side will power it on and off, go back to one screen, and switch between sources.

The DDX5706S has a new “Superior Sound” which Kenwood claims is noticeable compared to its predecessor models. Optional modules for SiriusXM or HD radio can be installed into the Maestro RR unit that comes with this receiver out-of-the-box. The audio upgrade is made possible by adding better audio output components according to Kenwood engineers.

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As expected from a touchscreen car stereo, the main user interface gives you direct access to music files via artists,, songs or playlists as well as a button to access the radio. I noticed right away that going from file browsing to changing presets is extremely fast – no waiting whatsoever. The steering wheel remote does pause and play your music but it will not automatically seek out new/unheard songs. You have separate buttons for seeking up or down though so you don’t have to hold it all the time, just press once and let go when you’ve reached the section of the song you’re interested in hearing more of.

Overview [Kenwood DDX5706S Review]

Customer Reviews

This head unit is very popular and has a 4-star rating on Amazon with over 375+ customer reviews. A lot of reviewers say the touchscreen doesn’t respond well to some touches (e.g., touching and dragging your finger across it), that some features aren’t prominently displayed as they should be, and some flaws in its overall design but these issues haven’t dissuaded many customers from loving this head unit!

I think more than anything else if you want to make the best use of the DDX5706S’ capabilities (especially for video inputs), get an HD dashcam like BlackVue DR650GW-2CH or Transcend DrivePro 220. I have both, love them both, and they work perfectly with this head unit.

Key Features

The DDX5706S comes with a nifty (and free) dash kit for installing it into your vehicle. The iDatalink Maestro RR module lets you retain factory features like steering wheel controls, voice prompts, and warning chimes on compatible vehicles. It also provides support for aftermarket accessories like backup cameras and remote starters.

A nice bonus feature of this receiver (particularly if you don’t pay extra to get it installed at a car audio shop) is that once you’ve removed the trunk/hatch trim panel off your vehicle and set up the wiring harness correctly, all it takes to remove or replace this unit is just about 15 minutes! You remove bolts holding the receiver in place, disconnect a few wires from the factory radio connector, plug in your wiring harness and a few knobs here and there, but the trim panel back on, bolt it back into place and you’re done! It is that simple.

Kenwood DDX5706S Review

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Specifications

  • Plays CDs, DVDs, USB media devices (thumb/flash drives) with MP3, WMA, and AAC music files.
  • 6.95″ WVGA display screen.
  • Bluetooth hands-free calling and audio streaming.
  • iDatalink Maestro compatible.
  • AM/FM tuner with 18FM & 12AM presets (18FM frequencies can be used for RDS info displayed on the touchscreen while you listen to different stations).
  • 7-band graphic equalizer with 10 different tone/color settings.
  • 3 sets of 4V preamp outputs (front, rear, and subwoofer).
  • Hidden buttons for controlling your factory steering wheel interface and backup camera if you have these features on your vehicle.
  • Pre-programmed for GMS (grand caravan) & GMRS (cobalt) vehicles.

Installation and First Impressions

The DDX5706S is a pretty decent-looking unit. It’s got a nice, bright 7″ 16:9 touch screen with LED backlighting. The iDatalink Maestro module actually has its own “pause”, “rewind”, “fast forward” buttons on the touchscreen so you can control the Maestro interface directly from the head unit if needed. This is certainly better than having to use separate remotes for it, especially since I’ve seen some complaints that the remote doesn’t always work well .. at all! Hitting pause or rewind/fast forward on this touchscreen works fine though.

This touchscreen comes with a detachable faceplate and plastic trim ring to install it into your vehicle. It’s recommended you get an installation kit for this (including the brackets) and some wiring harness adapters if needed – you’re on your own there since we don’t carry any of that stuff.

Note: Installation parts & accessories mentioned in this article are offered by single or multiple retailers, not including electronics/radio shops where Kenwood products are often sold as add-ons. When buying from any retailer, ensure you understand what is being sold before making your purchase decision.

The DDX5706S has a good number of video inputs including two sets of RCA jacks for backseat passengers running their displays, a USB port (for Apple devices), and an HDMI port. There’s also a dedicated auxiliary input, the headphone jack (so you can listen to MP3 files on your iPhone or Android), plus one for the rear camera if you want to use it with the parking assistant feature.

Design and Appearance

Kenwood DDX5706S Review
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The Kenwood DDX5706S has a generous number of steering wheel controls so you can adjust the volume, change tracks, etc. without taking your hands away from the steering wheel. This is good for driving safety because your eyes are still on the road instead of fumbling through touch screens while driving.

There’s also an option to control it via touchscreen but since this head unit doesn’t have gesture controls like some other models do, I don’t use that feature often. If ever! The main screen is sufficiently large and bright enough to see in day or night time conditions which are nice.

Accessing different menus & functions with this touchscreen does take some getting used to though – there are definitely areas where they could improve user-friendliness. So far, so good though!

Sound Quality

The DDX5706S has a pretty decent sound quality for a factory head unit. It’s certainly better than stock stereos from other manufacturers I’ve had experience with.

I was pleasantly surprised by how powerful the subwoofer sounds were – it can definitely pump out some good low-end response under heavy load. This head unit also features Kenwood’s “Bass Boost”, adjustable up to +18dB which is quite substantial. The bass boost feature works on all speakers but only at low frequencies, not midrange/highs as well, unfortunately still useful though especially if you want to give your system that extra kick in the pants without spending hundreds of dollars on an aftermarket system or component upgrades. You can also adjust bass and treble via separate knobs (adjustable up to 10dB for each) which makes it easy to find a good balance.

The head unit has a “Sound Retriever” feature I sometimes use when listening to FM radio, which seems like an afterthought feature compared to the rest of the sound system focused on playing MP3/WMA files from your SD card or USB drive. You can turn this off if you want. I leave it on most of the time because having loud, crisp-sounding music is more important than using up space on my 16GB microSD card with 1:1 quality copies of songs.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Good price for a touchscreen head unit that plays MP3/WMA files from an SD card or USB drive (no iPod cable required)
  • CD/DVD playback, including DVD-R/-RW/+R/+RW
  • Video inputs (RCA + HDMI) which is great if you want to use this deck for in-car video recording
  • 4-volt pre-out (3.5 volts is standard)

Cons

  • Doesn’t support FLAC playback, only MP3/WMA files
  • No built-in Bluetooth, only wirelessly tether your smartphone for hands-free calls
  • No Gesture Control (for phones with Android 4.4+), supports voice commands though
  • Touchscreen controls are sometimes unresponsive upon initial tap or press
  • The low pass filter is not adjustable unless you use an external equalizer
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FAQ’s [Kenwood DDX5706S Review]

Q: Can I get HD Radio on this model?

A: No, but you can listen to your favorite FM radio stations in CD-quality with the Sound Retriever feature. Other head units in this price range also have better sound quality so it’s something to consider when looking for a new one.

Q: Does this have Bluetooth capability?

A: Yes! It supports Bluetooth hands-free calling and audio streaming (A2DP). You can pair up to five devices via Bluetooth with the Kenwood DDX5706S.

Q: Can you control Pandora/iHeartRadio/Spotify with this head unit?

A: Unfortunately no, you’ll need an Android app or Windows PC called “TuneIn Radio” to stream internet radio stations, or a Spotify premium account for audio streaming.

Q: Can you watch videos with this head unit?

A: Yes, there are two video input jacks on the back of the head unit – a rear-view camera input and an AUX input which is perfect for dashcams like BlackVue or Transcend.

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Conclusion

The Kenwood DDX5706S is a terrific head unit for the money, especially if you’re looking to upgrade your car’s factory radio setup and want something that can be easily updated using USB flash drives or SD cards. It has good overall sound quality and power, more than enough video inputs to keep things interesting, and tons of built-in features and settings for tailoring it exactly how you like it – including GPS navigation! It won’t let you down. If I ever get a new car for myself this will likely be the first thing I put in it again because there’s no way I’d go back to stock after having such an awesome experience with this beast. Well done Kenwood.

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