There are no half-measures with Sony – when it decides to plunge into a new market, which it did with sat-nav at the end of 2005, it goes in with all guns blazing.
The U92T, its new flagship model, immediately leaps out at you from the shelves with its distinctive orange packaging. Out of the box, the device itself also appeals. It’s well-made, with a 4.8inch widescreen, and a clever cradle that can both stick to the windscreen or to a horizontal dashboard surface.
The price is right
And it’s not over-priced: the U92T’s street price compares favourably with other models, with Euro maps and TMC, but not Bluetooth. If this is a deal-breaker, the imminent new generation of Nav-U will pack the wireless tech.
Sony engineers have clearly set out to put the company’s stamp on its sat-nav products and this is immediately apparent. Menus and maps have a unique grey and orange livery, with slick animation and overlay effects.
Slick, that is, if a little slow. If you are running late, or trying to alter settings before the light goes green, you might begin to curse those effects.
Using the U-92T is a little fiddly. Of the two touch-sensitive buttons, the ‘View’ button’s effect is the easiest to predict. The ‘Voice/Pos.’ button better demonstrates Sony’s love of oblique labelling, and, under navigation conditions, actually brings up an overlay of the four nearest POIs. Useful, but poorly labelled.
In its defence, Sony has included something called Gesture Command: stroke your finger across the touch screen in one of four directions to access commonly used functions. It works, if can remember which way to stroke.
But it’s the speaker that really lets the Sony down. Perhaps it’s the thin chassis of the U92T, but at typical driving volume, the female navigation voice sounds tinny. It certainly grates on our nerves: it’s essential that you let your ears approve this device before you make a decision on what is otherwise an appealing product.