Ford Sync review and comparison

Ford continues to improve Sync, its comprehensive in-car infotainment system; the latest version is easily worth ponying up for, despite various flaws.

Source: Ford Sync (With MyFord Touch) Review & Rating |

So I was in a friends Ford Explorer 2015 and I used this Sync system. It had some helpful and unhelpful things if you are thinking of choosing a car based on its electronic features.

First I should say that nothing in my opinion beats the Lexus Enform system. It is beautiful and with lots of features. I also like the Chrysler Uconnect, which was fairly easy to use. The BMW system is complex but it is logically designed. In last place was this MS Sync powered system which was confusing and not very responsive.

It didn’t help that my friend’s car didn’t have navigation. The error message when you hit navigation said “insert SIM card”. Not the best message to give the average person. It should say instead, this feature is unavailable. Or even better, don’t offer a feature in the interface that you don’t have. It is a waste of time and energy.

As far as the Sony powered sound system the Ford had and was controlled by this system. It was average at best. No amount of adjusting the sound really fixed the hollowness of the speakers. But that isn’t the fault of the Sync system that is can’t fix a lack of good sound options. What was the fault is that the system was pretty stupid in how it dealt with light.

As you know if you have any car from probably 2005 and newer, is that there are sensors for light on the car that try to adjust the car based on the amount of light they receive. So if you go in a dark tunnel, many cars will automatically turn on the lights and dim the in dash LCD and interior lighting. The problem with the MS sync system is that because the day was overcast or shadows from trees on the road, it kept switching from being brightly illuminated to dark contrast. It was irritating when the dash stay dark even though it was fully light outside. This isn’t just an inconvenience in adjusting the sound/temperature it was also affecting the dash that tells your speed. A dangerous oversight in my opinion.

Does it connect a iPhone and play? Yes. If you care about sound quality you probably aren’t buying a Ford. The voice control isn’t very smart. It wouldn’t recognize anything I clearly said to it. It probably was because there were other people talking in the car. It is a disappointing system. I would not recommend you by a Ford if you like electronic conveniences.

HP Zbook 14 a good choice for business use

I helped a friend select and test a HP Zbook 14 for possible roll out in his company. It is an interesting machine. PCMag wrote a glowing report on it, and so did about a dozen other laptop review websites. PCMag said it was its new editors choice.

It is surprising isn’t it that HP makes good laptops? I worked at companies that have tried many different manufacturers, and they all had serious issues. For example, one place that tried a Lenovo Carbon got bit hard when they had a high failure rate. Another company that used Dell laptops was frustrated by the high cost of repairs and frequent need for repairs. Another company tried using Sony and they said they weren’t as reliable as they had hoped. What makes me say that are good is that they are reliable. This laptop model is built to a MIL specification which among other things protects from a 4 foot drop and liquid being spilled on the keyboard. This would significantly cut down on repair expenses for most companies.

Another helpful feature of this laptop is that it has workstation (desktop) performance in a laptop. They didn’t skimp on hardware so the speed is fantastic. They didn’t load it up with junk software either so it is responsive out of the box. The design isn’t anything remarkable, but almost everything else is good on it. The keyboard/mouse I found to be responsive and the screen was beautiful in its crisp and clear image. I didn’t have any complaints in the week I used it.

If you are a regular reader you might remember that I have also reviewed Toshiba Kirabook which is still a very fine machine. How does this compare to that? I would say they are for two different audiences. The Kirabook is more for executives in which the appearance is often more highly valued. This doesn’t have the most beautiful appearance, but it makes up for it in raw power and reliability. I imagine this laptop could be used for everyone in the company but executives who might find its appearance not what they expect for a “luxury” laptop. Most people expect the slimmest thing possible, and if you want that then you should be looking at an Apple MacBook Pro. However if you can’t afford the $2500 this is reasonably well configured at around $1900.

In short if you are an apple person the Kirabook is like a Macbook Air, and this Zbook 14 is like a Macbook Pro. Not as pretty but certainly very functional, fast, reliable. What more could you ask for in a Windows laptop?