This article reviews the recently released Sony NV-U53 satellite navigation system. Sony is a name you might not immediately associate with sat nav systems but the NV-U53 performed very well.
The NV-U53 is at the budget end of the Sony nav-u range but still packs a good punch. There are a few minor niggles but overall this is an impressive looking device.
This is what you get in the box.
Vehicle suction cup mount
Vehicle power cable
USB computer cable
Quick start guide
CD-ROM containing application software
Pre-loaded NAVTEQ 2007 UK and Ireland maps
Full 7 digit UK postcode entry
4.3” widescreen touch screen display
512Mb resident flash memory and Memory Stick Duo support
Dynamic Route Information displaying what’s coming next on your route
Points of Interest (POI)
Gesture command allows you to trace figures on screen to be taken to frequent destinations
SiRF III GPS receiver
Intel PXA270 300Mhz processor
Dimensions (mm) 133W x 79H x 20D
Weight approx 210g
Cradle with gel layer suction support
Battery Capacity 890mAH
The NV-U53 is an impressive looking device. The widescreen looks fantastic and the whole device has a nice sturdy feel to it. The Sony is slim and compact, fitting easily in a coat pocket.
The NV-U53 comes with a quick start guide covering over 20 pages which is sufficient to get you started. If you require any further information then the CD-ROM contains a PDF manual covering over 100 pages. The Sony is so easy to use though that you probably won’t refer to the manual much anyway.
When you first switch on the device you are guided through the startup configuration wizard. This wizard will allow you to setup the language, distance unit (miles or km), brightness (day, night or automatic), time format (12 or 24hr clock), and home address.
The only disappointment was the lack of a wall socket AC charger in the box. This means you can only charge the Sony by plugging the USB cable into a computer, or by plugging it into the cigarette lighter socket of your vehicle. You could always buy an AC charger separately but Sony should have really included one for the price.
The NV-U53 comes with a built-in SiRF III GPS receiver. I’ve found these GPS receivers to be very good on other sat nav systems and the Sony performed just as well. You can establish a GPS signal even inside buildings provided you are situated close to a window.
The very first time you use this device it does take longer to establish a satellite signal, but thereafter a satellite signal is established quicker.
The NV-U53 comes with pre-installed NAVTEQ 2007 maps of UK and Ireland. I found the mapping software extremely accurate, in fact on a couple of tests it performed better than Garmin and TomTom. Some sat nav systems I find can miscalculate the number of exit points from a roundabout but the Sony worked perfectly each time.
There is also partial map coverage for France and Belgium, but you’ll need to purchase separate maps if you want to seriously use the Sony around Europe.