XAV-72BT Comments

I had two main reasons for replacing the head unit in my car; I wanted the RDS data and I wanted bluetooth connectivity for handsfree calling. I've purchased lots of Sony products in the past and I've always been happy with them. My main and secondary TV's are both Sony. I have a Sony DVD player and VCR (yea - I know - 'what's a VCR?') Late last year I bought a Sony digital camera - DSC-HX100V. They all seem well-designed and reliable. I'd read some of the complaints on-line about the XAV-72BT and some of the favorable reviews. I thought - 'how bad could it be? it's a Sony'.
I bought the XAV-72BT and installed it in my car. A lot of the features are well designed and work well. But a number of things have me asking; 'what were they thinking when they came up with that?'
I have a number of questions for the designers/software developers of this unit:
The RDS data is limited to 8 characters at a time. So getting the entire song title and artist can take quite a while. The driver has to keep glancing back at the display to avoid missing a piece of the data. This could certainly be called a distraction to the driver. There's an abundance of screen space; why limit the RDS data to 8
characters? Think about how many words in song titles or artist names are more than 8 characters. The preset display for each band includes space on each preset button for the frequency and 8 characters of RDS data. That data is updated on the currently selected station if it is one of the presets. But not on the other preset buttons. Perhaps this is why the RDS data on the main screen is limited to 8 characters. But what is the point of having
stale 8 character fragments of RDS data on the preset buttons?
The RDS data on the main display is covered by the preset buttons display. I guess this design choice was made because the RDS data for the active station is displayed on the preset button. But it's not as easy to read there as on the main display. Maybe that's why they made it green on the preset button. Green? Really.
The display includes an attenuate button ('ATT') when the preset buttons are displayed. The buttons can be removed from the tuner display by touching the screen at a non-button location and gestures can then be used to change between presets or to tune to the next station on the dial. But the 'ATT' button is also removed. This seems wrong too. It takes a few seconds for the preset buttons and the ATT button to reappear when the screen is tapped. This negates the convenience of the ATT button.
The user can also use a PTY button to tune to another station that broadcasts program material from a list of types. Interestingly, when using this mode the buttons are removed from the screen automatically after a few seconds. Why isn't this kind of option available when using the preset buttons?
There are two available 'visualizer' selections (wow - two!). I thought that visualizers responded to the audio being played. If these two do that I can't detect it.
When an audio CD is being played a cheesy musical note graphic appears on the right side of the screen. I suppose it seemed appropriate to put something there but if several options couldn't be available, the user should at least be able to turn this off.
Several years ago I purchased and installed a Kenwood single DIN unit for a different vehicle. The display was monochrome and of course much smaller. But it had quite a bit of flexibility in selecting what to display and where to display it. It had a simililar motorized panel to provide access to the CD and unfortunately the electro-
mechanical design was poor. It failed on its own (not through abuse or misuse). I had it fixed and not long after it failed again.
The sound from the XAV-72BT is terrific. The audio setup options are very good. My car had an OEM unit from Alpine but I was surprised how much better the Sony sounds. The handsfree functionality via bluetooth is great. I'm satisfied with the setup and usability.
The touchscreen response is a bit inconsistent and can be frustrating. I suppose I may buy the optional remote to avoid some of that (this is kind of a surrender I guess). I don't have an iPod and don't plan to get one so I can't comment on some of the complaints I've read about the slowness of the interface.
I think Sony could do a lot to improve this unit. Shame on them for releasing a product with obvious flaws like these. If the firmware in this unit cannot be upgraded by the user then shame on Sony again for not including this capability.
I'm kind of a minimalist. My vehicle has other LCD driver displays. At the very least I'd like to be able to select the background color to match the other displays (this means NOT from a limited list of colors).
This unit has a large screen. It just seems to me that the designers had no imagination when it came to providing the user with a
lot of flexibility in how that screen space should be used when listening to the tuner.
All in all I'm pretty disappointed with this unit. I'm even more disappointed that there is no indication that Sony has any intention to respond to the user complaints.
Bear Deleware

Thank you for your post and comments - I'm sorry to see you are disappointed with the XAV-72BT, we have forwarded your comments and observations to the relevant Sony team for investigation.

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