It's part three of my adventures with the Microsoft Sync. I unboxed the hell out of it, then attempted to set up the entire system and now I am going to take the 2008 Ford Focus SE out on a joy-of-technology ride around the greater Dallas area, try to not kill anyone in the process. Check out the video review above and see some of my final impressions of the system below.
Overall, I was pretty happy with Sync. The media functionality was superb and actually using the system while driving is very easy. The commenters are ripping on me for owning a Zune (and likely my taste in music, as well), but Sync worked wonders when paired with this device, and would work just as well with players from Apple, Creative, iRiver, Sandisk and so on. With the CD, AM/FM, Sirius, USB, auxiliary input and Bluetooth connectivity, the entire spectrum of media is covered and capable of being played through the Sync system. Unless you still favor cassettes. If so, you are free to cease reading now and return to devoting yourself full-time to getting hell out of 1995.
The phone functionality was pretty good, as well. Once you overcome the agony of getting it all set up—and I endured some significant agony—it works well. The option to receive and send (limited) text messages is a definite bonus, compared to other in-car systems. But as I have urged in my two previous installment, check out SyncMyRide.com to see if your cellphone is fully compatible, because that could be a big deciding factor in taking the plunge on this $400 option in Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles.
The Sync did have a bit of a learning curve. I am a pretty technically savvy person, but I struggled through the unboxing and setup. Sync didn't have a similar feel to other consumer electronics or gadgets. The menu system and button-functionality took some time to get accustomed to; in the end, it was like learning an entirely new system. This threw me off because the vast majority of consumer electronics employ tried-and-true functionality that is in most cases easy to grasp without being forced to consult a manual (Sync has one, of course, and it's substantial, but when it comes to stuff like this, you want to play first and ask questions later).
The final word is that I would recommend the system. Once you get over the initial setup and learning curve hurdle, the Sync pays for itself in terms of convenience and functionality. Just be sure to first determine whether your gadgets are compatible.