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SONY AND TOMTOM SHOW YOU THE WAY

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sun, Jan 9, 2011

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

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Music, video and navigation come together By Tommy Grafman Sony’s first in-dash car A/V receivers with navigation (powered by TomTom) are among the best built-in’s I have ever seen. The first two models are the XNV-770BT (7-inch widescreen) and XNV-660BT (6.1-inch widescreen). These are more than simple GPS navigation systems. In typical Sony style, they are packed with technology and innovation. When first seeing the Sony GPS navigation I was blown away by how bright and clear the high-resolution TFT (WVGA) touch screen is (and in broad daylight!). There are no problems viewing the display—no glare, no fuzziness, no squinting. The 6.1-inch model has a touchscreen with manual buttons (see image above). The 7-inch model is a complete touchscreen-only unit.

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The best part of the Sony A/V Navigation units are that they are powered by TomTom—one of leaders in GPS mapping. TomTom’s system is very user friendly, an easy-to-use GUI and full of great features including: Spoken Street names along with turn-by-turn directions. Quick GPSfix that will automatically update satellite locations if you change course to your destination. This is one of my favorite items with TomTom. When driving in Los Angeles one often needs to change routes to avoid traffic accidents, road closures and other such irritations. The TomTom system updates your location and re-computes the way for you. Another great feature is the “IQ Routes” which calculates all route options based on actual traffic and will recommend the fastest route for the time of day and not by posted speed limits. The TomTom system is packed with over six million points of interest including gas stations, hotels, restaurants, ATM’s and more. It is preloaded with maps of the US and Canada. The Sony TomTom lets you change the voice settings and choose from a collection of different voices, so you can customize your navigation experience. And if you want to add more fun to your GPS, TomTom has celebrity voices for your system, including Looney Tunes’ Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and more. Star Wars’ Han Solo, Yoda, C-3PO and Darth Vader. Other ‘cool’ voices include Snoop Dog, and my personal favorite, Mr. T.

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Not just a GPS system The new Sony A/V Navigation system is more than a GPS, it’s a complete multi media center. The new system can play music CD’s, MP3’s, WMA and AAC files as well as CD Jpeg and MP4 files. If this wasn’t enough, the system can also play movie DVD’s (for safety reasons, the DVD playback option will only work when your car is in park, so you won’t be tempted to drive and watch a movie at the same time). The system has a built in USB port in the back, so you can connect and control your iPod and iPhone (and, yes, even a Walkman). This feature lets you see all the metadata information like Artist and song name. The unit is also Satellite Radio and HD Radio ready. With Bluetooth technology you can sync up with Bluetooth capable devices. More to hear Both the XNV-660BT and XNV-770BT feature CSO (Center Speaker Organizer) for multi-channel playback creating a virtual 5.1 surround sound in your car. Hearing the music pumped from my iPhone in surround sound is amazing! Sony also included The Advanced Sound Engine (ASE), which is like a DSP that allows users to customize the in-car sound field to match their audio tastes. The unit is also car speak custom configurable to how you want to hear your turn-by-turn instructions from the GPS. You can hear the commands from all speakers, just the front speaks or just the front left drivers side. But wait, there’s even more Being the owner of a portable TomTom, I’m used to updating the unit from my home computer, so I was a little curious as to how one goes about updating this built in unit. The brains of the system is called the TomTom Navigation Module. While in the car, the Module is placed inside your glove box or under the dash in a place easily accessible. The unit disconnects easily and can be connected to your computer via a USB port. Final thoughts Sony’s has created with TomTom a premium built-in A/V navigation system. And that premium comes at a price. The XNV-770BT (7-inch widescreen) costs about $1,300 and XNV-660BT (6.1-inch widescreen) about $1,000. This does not include the professional installation needed. These units are made for high-end cars that did not come with a navigation system. If you crave the ultimate A/V navigation system, your units have arrived. To find out more about the new Sony A/Vs, check out your local Sony Style store (or dealer). Or check out sonystyle.com

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