actually chris your right ya know.. back in the Day the JVC head units used to be one of the best you could get. (Chameleons and voice controled units, i know you remember these dude!!) Pioneer didnt really have much in the way of ICE as they were more the home hi-fi leader,and Alpine was far to expensive. Kenwood and jvc used to very much so lead the pack.
But it seems like most good things, they all come to an end, (unless your going to spend alot) jvc budget units are rubbish. there really is no other way to say it. as are kenwood now days, tho if i had to choose between to 2 i would have the kenny. (and i really dislike kenwood)
Also true in what you say, you can make any head unit sound good with the right components, amps and such likes but really is a pointless way round things. To the OP.... i would personally save an extra £20 and get the second link you posted.
you do most deffo get what you pay for now days and head units is deffo one of these products unfortunately.