The "unboxing" of Sync yesterday didn't go quite as well as I was hoping, but no fear, there's a trusty 80-page manual to guide me through setting up the Sync in-car entertainment system. I was able to connect my Zune to the system pretty easily yesterday, so today's setup revolved mostly around setting up my cellphone, which was quite the task. See some of my frustrations in the video above, and hit the jump for commentary about the Sync system, how I decided to approach it and setting up a cellphone.
Don't be intimidated by my unboxing yesterday. I approached the Sync the same way I would review any other kind of consumer electronics—and the way any ordinary human being would use a similar type of electronic doodad. Meaning: Play first, read later.
The first hurdle setting up Sync was determining the method of standard operations. It took me a little while to figure out the menu system for setting everything up. It's a tree-based menu system similar to how a computer file directory works, but until I determined that the OK and Phone button on the steering wheel acted almost as the forward and backward button throughout the tree menus, it was painful trying to navigate through and remember the menus, all while managing the total Sync setup. I would have preferred an entire computer integrated into my car. Learning new operational standards and systems is not something anybody likes to do.
As mentioned yesterday as well, consult SyncMyRide.com to determine just how capable your cellphone is when operating with the Sync. The majority of the setup video was me trying to get all of my contacts onto the Sync. Because my phone didn't support the entire address book push, it required me to manually send (over Bluetooth) each contact to Sync, a process that I repeatedly botched. Eventually I ended up just dialing the number I wanted to call directly on the number pad, an adequate workaround and a way to buy time until I could further investigate why the Sync wouldn't accept my Bluetooth contacts pushed individually.
Once the cellphone address book is established, then many other features can be utilized, such as voice commands when using the phone, along with other options.
On the plus side, the media set-up process was nearly flawless. A little menu tweaking was required to determine what source the Sync recognized as the input. In my case, I set it up as my Zune through the USB connection. But it can also be configured to receive music over Bluetooth and through the auxiliary input. I was also happy to learn that Sync is capable of playing DRM-restricted music for a select number of the many supported MP3 players—including the Zune and the iPod. This is an excellent in-car media system that became a pleasure to use after I began to memorize a lot of the voice commands.
Overall, I can't put all of the blame on set-up on the Sync—my cellphone caused some of the problems, because I doesn't support all features available on Sync. Stay tuned for part three in the series where I give the Sync a full-blown road test.