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Saturday
Jun062009

Sync - first impressions

Although I can't take it home until Monday, I visited the dealer and sat in my new FFH today.  I played around with Sync for about 1/2 hour - put my 64gb music flash drive in the USB port, paired my phone, played music over USB and Stereo Bluetooth, etc.  Everything seemed to be in working order.  Voice recognition worked well.  However, Sync must have the worst media player interface I've ever seen.  Take a look at this screen where I'm playing music off the USB drive:

Now I know you're wondering, what's the album title?  How long is the song?  Where's the cover art?  What's the track number? What other tracks are on the album?  Aren't you?

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    Sync - first impressions - Blog - Ford Fusion Hybrid
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    Sync - first impressions - Blog - Ford Fusion Hybrid

Reader Comments (10)

Hit the 'text' button and you'll get the album title and genre. You can see the track number on the top left, and the other songs if you click on the album (music library -> artist -> album). I don't believe there's a way to show the song length or time remaining. Oh, and no it doesn't load the artwork, that's a good idea...

I think you'll find that the interface isn't bad once you really start using it while driving. I find that between the on screen info and the voice-commands it works really well. It may be that they don't want to present too much info, since you are driving after all.

Also, If you hit the home button on the bottom left (the one that looks like a house), you'll see a split screen of the navigation and the media or radio/sirius. There you will see the same details you see in the screen above.
That's how I usually leave mine set as it still shows the artist and song name, time, etc.

Here are a couple of photos I just took from mine...

Artist
http://i378.photobucket.com/albums/oo226/chipdigits/artist_track.jpg

Album
http://i378.photobucket.com/albums/oo226/chipdigits/album.jpg

Songs
http://i378.photobucket.com/albums/oo226/chipdigits/songs.jpg

June 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEric

Thanks Eric,

I wondered what that Text button did but didn't have time to explore it - not a very descriptive button name is it? The track number isn't really shown, as far as I can tell that's the total tracks not album tracks. So "43 of 463" is nice to know but they could show the track number next to the track name.

Don't get me started on that interface for finding artists and albums - I'll probably post about that later.

I'm sure you're right, that I will adapt to the interface and it won't be that bad but why should it be bad at all? It could be great! Why not have coverflow like the iPhone?

- Bill

June 7, 2009 | Registered CommenterBill Wood

I kind of thought the same thing, Bill. The music interface isn't very snazzy for company that also makes the Zune, and Music Player for windows, and even the x-box. I know each team is different, but come on, one company should at least be able to collaborate on stuff like a music player interface.

But then again, when I'm driving, as long as good music is playing, I don't look at it. There is already enough distractions. :-)

But I still agree, it could be better.

June 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRob M

Hi Bill,
Check out http://www.autoalliance.org/. This is a group that some major players in the auto industry use to help them self-regulate and standardize some industry practices. They have a relatively robust standard for driver information/navigation systems. This, coupled with SAE J2364/2365 is why most manufacturers won't allow text based destination entry in built-in navigation systems (SYNC supports voice so that by-passes that issue).

Additionally, there is some verbiage about "complex images," initially thought to relate mostly to navigation system map scrolling and zoom in and out, also seems to apply to any image displayed in the vehicle.
Basically, since there is no way the system can identify the picture you are putting up there, they don't allow any. The concern is that someone would put something visually intensive or text based on the screen, thereby creating a distraction.

Also, was the album info in the MP3's data file? You can sort music by album so I am puzzled why it didn't display the info.

June 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLilEngineeringBoy

The track number isn't really shown, as far as I can tell that's the total tracks not album tracks. So "43 of 463" is nice to know but they could show the track number next to the track name.

Ah, that's because I was playing on shuffle from a playlist of 463 songs. If you look at the photo you posted, you'll see it reads "Track 3 of 9". I presume that was playing a single album.

June 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEric

Just to add...the main thing I find annoying is not the touch screen, but the SYNC top menu system for selecting a feature to control.

For example, if you want to set SYNC to the media player plugged into the USB port, you have to say "USB" or "User Device" after hitting the media button on the steering wheel. It just seems a little awkward, especially when you're showing someone how it works. It'd be nice if they could program it to understand "iPod" or "Zune" if you have one of those plugged in, or even allow a few custom voice commands instead of only the predefined geeky-sounding ones.

The other annoyance is that if you have autoplay enabled, the USB device automatically plays when you say "USB" and doesn't give you the chance to further delve into the sub-menu and say an artist or album, etc. So, you end up having to hit the steering wheel mounted media button again, say "USB" again, and then it finally gives you the option to voice command a sub-topic for the USB device. I think if autoplay is disabled it might not do this, but I haven't given it a try.

June 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEric

I presume that was playing a single album.
Yes, correct. I'd like to see the album track number next to the song title.

June 8, 2009 | Registered CommenterBill Wood

Just to add...the main thing I find annoying is not the touch screen, but the SYNC top menu system for selecting a feature to control.
I'll have to play with this.

June 8, 2009 | Registered CommenterBill Wood

Additionally, there is some verbiage about "complex images,"
I believe you can display jpg files on the Sync screen so this would be a moot point but I'll have to check.

Also, was the album info in the MP3's data file? You can sort music by album so I am puzzled why it didn't display the info.
Yes, it is. Eric says above that it will display the album name if you press "Text". Seems to me it could show it in the blank area below the artist name without having to press "Text".

June 8, 2009 | Registered CommenterBill Wood

Bill,

How are you liking the flash drive that you chose? Is it causing you any problems? I've done a lot of digging on the syncmyride community , the sync forum, and blue oval news and there is no general consensus on the best thumb drive to use. Sure, there are some I know to stay away from, but there is also a lot that no one has commented on. Currently I'm using a Sansa Clip+ mp3 player without good results. I frequently have to reboot the mp3 player and today I had to reboot the apim (fuse 13). Needless to say its pretty frustrating when the gal says "no usb device ... bluetooth audio." For as long as you've owned this car it would be a huge testament to that thumb drive if you have yet to see any issues. I would like something high capacity like yours and I'm ready to buy if you say so.

Duff

June 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDerek Duffy

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