Alpine UTE-204DAB: car radio in test (2022)

With a retrofit car radio, drivers of older vehicles can retrofit an infotainment system that contains many of the functions of modern cars with relatively little effort. One such radio is the Alpine UTE-204DAB. The DAB+ radio is equipped, among other things, with a hands-free system, Bluetooth and connections for a subwoofer. In the AUTO BILD car radio test 2022, it achieved 223 out of 300 points and thus received a grade of 2.5 (“satisfactory”). (You can read all the results in our car radio test.)

product test

  • very good workmanship
  • extensive equipment
  • stable radio reception
  • cumbersome Bluetooth function

Price €174.90

Alpine UTE-204DAB in the car radio test

Furnishing: The Alpine UTE-204DAB has its very extensive equipment. In addition to a USB and an AUX connection, the radio is equipped with four amplifier connections and also a connection for a subwoofer. Several mobile phones can establish a Bluetooth connection with the radio at the same time. The hands-free system is equipped with an external microphone. The display color is freely selectable and can be adapted to the instrument lighting of the car.

“Equipment” rating: 41 out of 45 points

Installation: The enclosed installation instructions are clearly laid out and formulated in a way that is easy to understand. In order to be able to receive DAB+ radio, a DAB+ antenna must also be purchased, as this is not part of the scope of delivery. If the vehicle is already equipped with DIN plugs, connecting the radio is quite easy, a suitable adapter is included. With an installation depth of 180 millimeters, however, the UTE-204DAB is not one of the most compact radios: This can cause problems in cars that only have little space behind the dashboard.

“Installation” rating: 22 out of 50 points

Service: Even if the operating instructions for the Alpine UTE-204DAB are written in a way that is easy to understand, operating the radio only becomes intuitive after a certain period of familiarization. The control panel may seem clear at first glance, but the buttons are quite small, and in some cases there are two functions in one button. Switching between music sources is easy. Music files can be played from a USB stick if they have been saved in a folder. Switching between folders is also easy. Both FM and DAB+ reception are stable, with minor dropouts in the tunnel. In both modes, the stations can easily be found and saved manually or automatically. The speakerphone is crisp and clear both in the car and on the other end of the line.

However, the Alpine UTE-204DAB has a clear flaw in operation: it often took two or three attempts before the radio recognized the mobile phone and the Bluetooth connection could be established. But that’s not all: Every time the ignition was switched off, the cell phone had to be paired with the radio again, the connection was simply not saved. If you then need two or three attempts to reconnect the cell phone, your patience will quickly wear off.

“Service” rating: 112 out of 150 points

Quality: The processing quality of the Alpine UTE-204DAB looks very high quality. The buttons are tactile and respond quickly. Which you can’t necessarily say about the rest of the radio. Not only does it take a long time to establish a Bluetooth connection, it also takes some time to turn on the radio. There is no reason to complain about the supplied accessories: everything is very high-quality processed. The lighting of the radio can be dimmed using the car’s light switch and is therefore not dazzling in the dark.

“Quality” rating: 48 out of 55 points

Conclusion: Very high-quality workmanship, clear radio reception and many functions: the Alpine UTE-204DAB is a great retrofit device. Only the cumbersome Bluetooth function denied the radio a better rating. If you are looking for a great radio with many connections and good features and do not want to use the Bluetooth connection but would rather connect your cell phone via USB cable, the Alpine UTE-204DAB would be a really nice radio.

Facts about the Alpine UTE-204DAB

Furnishing: Bluetooth, speakerphone, USB, AUX, DAB+
Playback formats: MP3, WMA, FLAC, AAC
Perfomance: 4 x 50 watts
Price: 169 euros (RRP)

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