The Good The Sony NV-U83T boasts a spacious 4.8-inch touch screen, and you can perform certain operations with the swipe of your finger. The in-car GPS also has text-to-speech functionality, integrated Bluetooth, and 3D views for complicated intersections.
The Bad Satellite acquisition time is erratic and route calculations weren't the most efficient. Planning a trip on the NV-U83T isn't as streamlined as other GPS devices we've tested.
The Bottom Line The Sony NV-U83T is a seemingly attractive in-car GPS with a large display and useful navigation features, but it shows its ugly side with poor directions and subpar performance.
First introduced at CES 2008, the Sony NV-U83T is the company's flagship portable navigation system. With a focus on safety, the NV-U83T features a number of nice and unique features, including pressure, gyro, and acceleration sensors to provide for more accurate positioning even when driving through tunnels and in between tall buildings and 3D renderings of complicated intersections. Plus, it boasts a large 4.8-inch screen with a Gesture Command function that lets you perform certain tasks with just the swipe of your finger. Throw in the integrated Bluetooth and text-to-speech functionality, and you seemingly have good in-car GPS for pretty fair price of $399.99. However, you've got to have the performance to back it up, and the Sony NV-U83T just doesn't bring it, lagging behind the completion from start to finish.
At 5.6 inches wide by 3.4 inches tall by 0.8 inch deep, the Sony NV-U83T is larger than recent portable navigation systems but with good reason. The NV-U83T features an extralarge 4.8-inch touch screen (compared with the more standard 4.3-inch models of late), and with its 480x272 pixel resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio, maps are nice and easy to read on the unit. The display is also readable in various lighting conditions.
For the most part, the touch screen is responsive, though address entry isn't a seamless process on the NV-U83T (see Performance section for more). To make device operation easier and safer, Sony does include a unique feature called Gesture Commands that enables you to perform certain functions by "drawing" symbols on the touch screen with your finger. For example, drawing an inverted V (like a rooftop) will automatically route you home from your current location, or you can change the scale of the map by making a clockwise or counterclockwise circle. Other commands include calling home and routing to two predefined favorite locations.
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