Written on: 27/05/2008 by Fozzplod (8 reviews written)
Rugged design - well built
Won't connect to Vista
I was sooooo looking forward to trying the Sony Nav-U53 - other reviews suggested it was a good little gadget.
I was waiting for the price to come down enough to make it affordable; lo and behold, bank holiday weekend at Halfords ... £99.99 down from £139.99.
'Bargain' I thought. Gave the nice man in Halfords £100 of my hard-earned and off I trotted home to play with my new toy.
I got it out of the box and first impressions are great - it's solid, it's rugged, it's quite weighty and you feel as though you've really got a bargain.
There was no charge in it whatsoever, which is odd, because most of them carry a little charge. 'No matter' I thought, 'It'll just be a little longer until I can have a play'.
It charged up in a couple of hours and I decided to put it through it's paces. It took a good 15 minutes to find the satellites on the first attempt, but my experience with Satnavs are farily limited (two) and the first one I had took it's time the first time around, so don't panic.
The interface is not as easy to navigate as some other GPS systems (The Navman for example is simple and rewarding). The Sony has a lovely widescreen, but unlike the Navman, you're not confronted with a map straight away and some obvious choices. The menu is limited. It takes you through the set up mode including inputing your home address. I did this and was a little amazed to find it only took the post code and you couldn't get down to house level. It would find the street for you but then you're on your own.
For some bizzare reason, I had been told by a salesman in PC World where I first saw them for sale, that the NV-U53 had bluetooth and traffic updates. Not so - this is on the higher end spec models, so don't expect lots of whistles and bells on this one.
The points of interest data base was ok but not as extensive as the Navman.
Then the fun really started....
I put the CD in my computer to load the software suite. It didn't have one... I am running Windows Vista on my PC and according to the instruction manual (yes, I actually read it for once), if you're running Vista you need to make sure you have Windows Mobile Device Suite 6.1 installed. I had.
I connected it to my computer. The unit re-booted. Then it said 'Connecting to computer'. Despite what it said it was doing, my PC would have none of it. A Couple of error messages from Vista later and I was on to the Sony support site. Nothing. Nada. Zip.
I tried everything I could think of to get the PC to see the unit and there was just nothing. The fact that there was no suite included meant that I was relying upon Vista (never the best idea) to pick the unit up.
I never put the Sony to the test on the road because within an hour of that, I was explaining to the man in Halfords that I'd been ripped off and he could keep his Satnav and give me my money back.
It's looks good.
But then I'm all of the above too - and I'm useless at navigating and reading maps but at least I can connect to a computer!
If you're running XP then you might be in with a chance, but if I were you, I would avoid this unit and go for something with a bit of support.
Sony - like.no.other (thank goodness...).