Newsflash! Sony sat-nav “still an absolute piece of shit”


This little beauty is Sony’s NV-U50 sat-nav system, which you can buy right now. Don’t. After extensive testing, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s still an absolute piece of shit.

Back in May, I posted about the problem with the Sony’s maps: driving around Ireland, I spent most of the time with the sat-nav telling me that I was in the middle of a field because its maps were out of date (some bits of Glasgow are affected too – one-way systems that have been in place for a while that the satnav doesn’t know about). Sony promised to update the maps in August and of course, didn’t.

But that pales into insignificance when you look at the more fundamental problem: the system’s bollocks. It doesn’t let you enter street numbers and only accepts the first half of postcodes, although you can make it more precise by telling it which street junction you’re going for – which is handy if you ALREADY KNOW WHERE YOU’RE GOING AND THE NAMES OF THE SIDE STREETS. If on the other hand you’re using the system because you’ve no idea where you’re going, it’s about as useful as a roller-skating pig in a tu-tu.

The postcode thing is just crap: for example, Glasgow’s Great Western Road is approximately two and a half million miles long, and narrowing it down by half-postcode means you can get within, ooh, at least seven hundred miles of your destination. The other week I used the Sony to help me find a hotel on the Strathaven Road near East Kilbride, which again is a billion jillion miles long. I ended up hopelessly lost in the middle of nowhere, with the sat-nav telling me I’d reached my destination.

In the bad old days, to get anywhere new and unfamiliar you needed two things: a map, and a telephone to call for directions. Now, thanks to technology, all you need is a £200-plus sat-nav system, and a map, and a telephone.

Sony’s current advertising tagline is “like no other”. Yeah, other manufacturers’ sat-nav systems actually bloody work.

56 replies on “Newsflash! Sony sat-nav “still an absolute piece of shit””

It’s absolutely bizarre how Sony have gone from being the best of the best to being unable to get anything right.

Newest cock-up – they’ve recalled 8 models of cybershot cameras due to a glitch.

For a very, very long time the Sony badge, to me at least, was a sign of quality: given a choice between paying a bit more for a Sony TV or whatever or buying a slightly cheaper non-Sony, I’d pay the extra. Not any more.

I have a sony uv50 and your dead right it’s a piece of shit
I live in shankill Co.Dublin and use the new part of the M50 but guess what the uv50 does’nt have it. So when you want to go anywhere that uses that part of the M50 it by passes it , making your trip twice as long.

Not True , managed to get an update off Sony in liffey Valley in early december and now maps are very upto date and have most if not all minor roads , has changed usefullness of system completely.

Hi David. Can I ask what version number you’re now running? As of two days ago, the most recent update available from Sony – I asked – was released in June, and that was a bug fix for the optional TMC system.


Not sure what firmware i’m running but have , as i have loaned my satnav to someone , but yes it is the june version , but this is only Firmware, the maps are independent of Firmware, have you asked at liffey valley Sony centre , if you want i can copy my CD and send to you ( if that’s allowed !!)

Thanks for the offer, but yeah, it’s illegal. I’ve got rid of the system now anyway :)

Sounds like sony’s support people need a kick if there’s a map update available.

used the satnav four times and got to the door three of the four times, only failed once and then in got me within 300yds of the address which to be fair was in the middle of nowhere. oxfordshire!

If you contact Sony Ireland support, they can let you know where you can get a disk to update your nav-u for free. Then also, there’s a site where it says there’ll be maps available for a fee from April. Let’s see. BTW, I have also spent many hours driving through fields on the motorway.

Thanks for that, Emma. It’s a bit disturbing when the sat-nav thinks you’re crazy…

I raced home to download the new map update for my 50 that I’m sure was promised for 04.April.07. no show! Now say’s sometime in April 2007? Looks like they are going to charge as well. Why should we pay when the maps are so out of date on purchase of original unit?
Comments appreciated.

Hi Bob. If you’ve bought the sat-nav very recently I’d argue that if the maps are really out of date, you’ve got grounds for complaint under the Sale of Goods Act – the product isn’t fit for the purpose for which it’s been sold. It’s certainly worth a shot.

I purchased the NV-U50T in december 2006 and I just cant believe how out of date the maps were I paid or rather my wife paid £349 for my xmas I was gutted when it couldnt even find my own house that has been here before the war and I think you are all right its a piece of shit. I have all sony products in my house and they have all been great but this is the worst thing we have ever bought Totally and uterly crap. I think we ought to start a pettition or something to help sony get off their asses and get this mapping issue sorted or give us a replacement that actually works

my wife brought me a sat nav sony v50 in october 2006 used it twice and keep sending me home doesant notice new post codes enterd im really fed up with this ,we got it to help us on our holidays with our camper van

yes the new maps are here but i hope u dont get the same problems as i,i bought the download 42 pounds extracted the file and all that now im left with a nav u with no maps at all i have contacted sony for 2 weeks and still im left with no answer,im computer literate but i havent a clur how to get these maps to download into my device and guess what neither do sony.if there is anyone there who could help me with this please let me know.on the good side of this navteq maps are the best its just sony that has let me down big time and caused me serious frustration and literal headache

by the way if your going to get a sat nav use navteq maps they are far superior,i had to buy a tomtom after the sony nav u caused me so muchh problems but they use teleatlas maps so again im left disgruntled the tom tom is great but their maps arent its a pity about sony doing this to me as to be honest the device was great only the maps were too old so i waited for a year to get them,now im left with nothing,if sony had helped me more to fix my device after the new download caused me so much trouble,i would really have said they were the best in navigation until now that is.

A few disgruntled users eh ? Well I bought a NV-U50 on e-bay and it works a treat with the 1.05 update. Anyone know if free mapping is available anywhere on the web ? Like others, 40 sovs is a bit rich. El cheapo strikes again eh ?

Works ok for me with the update but they can stick 42 bucks for the updated map

As for postcodes you can forget that

Hi there, i have a sony nav-u50 and yes i can say that it is a bit of a let down but more so the support from sony i have recieved has been the worst customer service possible.

finally there is a map update from them but has anybody noticed that the billing address does not include Ireland!! the support service said “this is because there isn’t any map updates for Ireland” what a load of Bulls**t!!

if this is the support offered then my advice is ditch the sony, cut your losses and buy something better

I don’t think free maps are available other than from Sony, and that’s only for the areas you’ve already got – so if you’re UK only and want Europe, you’ll need the EU DVD. Which, if I remember correctly, is £100 plus.

Me, I ebayed the Sony and bought a Navman N40i. And the odd glitch aside – pressing “summary” on the route menu reboots it instead; a GPS glitch meant for a few days in France it was 100m out, which was a pain in the arse at busy, complicated junctions – it’s brilliant. I’ve used it throughout the UK and Ireland and now France too, and minor irritations aside it’s been excellent.

To be fair Sony has updated its sat-nav range so the current ones might have addressed all the problems that plagued the first lot. But having had my fingers burned with the NV-U50, I’m buggered if I’m giving them a second chance.

Hi Gary, you are correct about the new maps being quit expensive €119 and thats way to much to spend.

I have to agree with you about not giving them a second chance. I have been to hell & back with the sony suppot without any resolution. the machine itself was good but the support IS crap.
like you i was in the market for a new one and avoided the sony altogether and bought a tomtom. had to deal with their support team for info and hve to say they were excellent

TomToms are groovy. You can get Eddie Izzard’s voice, which would be funny for a while at least…

I bought the nav-u 50 for my dad at xmas and he thought it was fairly good around dublin and wexford BUT I borrowed it today for a journey to the west of Ireland and OMG what a pile of crap!!!! It didn’t recognise most of the N4 region and kept telling me to turn around as the arrow (ie the car) hovered on a blank screen or veered off the main motorway. It also kept interchanging the words veer and turn as if they meant the same thing which made the journey more interesting (NOT!!!). It also had some fairly small areas bizarrely divided into north and south ie Drumcliff in sligo and there is also equally bizarrely a Dublin 1 aswell as a Dublin and a Dublin county???? I came home convinced it was because my technophobe dad had not uploaded recent maps and sat down to try and download them for him and also to download a map of france which I was told it covered when I bought it, because I knew my parents were going to France in the Summer. Only 2 problems: I can’t fix the downloads online I have to contact Sony in person and also my parents are going to the South of France which apparently isn’t in whatever weird parallel universe Sonyworld is in. What happens when you cross the middle of France does the rest of France disappear??? Is this definately the case? How disappointing to find out your gift that you thought was cool is actually complete bollox.
Ps I had a vaio-oh-no for 2 years before it completely died though it had stuttered to a grinding pace of working after about 1 year. They are very unreliable, generally low memory capacity and are a classic case of if it looks too nice to be true then IT IS!!! Avoid, avoid, avoid!!!!I think I ‘ve bought my last Sony item!

Hi Orna. I had the same problems as you with the N4 – most of the time the Sony thought I was driving through fields.

> What happens when you cross the middle of France does the rest of France disappear??? Is this definately the case?

It does ring a bell – I think by default the UK/Ireland maps go as far as northern france to cater for the booze cruise crowd, but beyond that you need the whole-Europe DVD. Which costs money. That was one reason I went for a different satnav altogether: Sony’s DVD was £100-plus, and a satnav with all of europe included, full postcode search blah blah blah wasn’t much more than that.

i have a sony navu50g and would appreciate any tips on downloading the free map update !!!!£42 no chance

£42? yep we two punters have navu50’s but are looking for updated maps any ideas to avoid the rip-off. We don’t mind a charge but we are not having our legs lifted!

Isn’t there a free update on the Sony site? Or are they demanding you buy a DVD to update the UK/ireland maps?

Thats our point exactly, there is so far only a download chargeable at £42 can anyone help?

That’s ridiculous. Unfortunately I can’t think of any legal alternative.

Hi Orna, and everybody else too,

Gary is right the nav-u 50/ 50T only just covers regional countries depending where you bought it ie Ireland/uk. the other version the nav-u 70T was released as the European version, although now Sony have new released sat nav devices.

anyhooo, the cd/dvd that you get for free from sony, is not the same as the dvd you purchase from sony now released on their website…. the free cd just updates the device to version 1.0… same as if you bought it early last year….. without all the new roads and roundabouts etc….
in other words the fre cd is crap. new map update costs €119 or £42 stg which they can stick it where the sun dont shine!!

I think it’s perfectly fair for Sony to charge for upgrades, so if you’ve got a UKIE system and you want Europe then sure, pay more for that. But to sell a device with out-of-date maps and then charge to make it accurate seems very wrong.

I don’t know what the law’s like in Ireland, but certainly in the UK if I’d recently bought a U50 I’d be demanding my money back under the Sale of Goods Act under the “fit for purpose” criteria. You can’t expect firms to provide updates for things that happen after you buy the device – so if someone builds a new road tomorrow and your sat-nav doesn’t know about it, that isn’t the manufacturer’s fault – but if you’re buying a brand new device and its maps are already out of date then I do think the firm has a responsibility to provide the necessary updates for free, or to give you your money back.

If you’ve bought one recently and you know for sure that its maps are out of date, it’s worth noting the inaccuracies – better to have evidence than “waaaah, this is crap”. I can’t imagine ireland’s consumer protection laws are much different from ours.

yep I fully agree. . . . . the problem for us owners of the Navu50 the £42 charge is extortionate given that prices generally of competitor Sat-Navs are falling like a stone and have many other up to date features.£20 would be fairer.How many others will ignore the update denying Sony of the charge altogether!! Ha Ha.

Please forgive me if this posts twice but after approx- 1hr it still hasn’t shown so repeating.

I have read the posts with interest as I have also complained to Sony that after paying so much for my NV-U50 the map was way out of date as was the firmware revision. I did update but not to the 1.06 Ver not available at the time. I was very disappointed at there response (yes they did reply weeks later) as they expected me to pay a further £42 for a current map. I believe other manufacturers supply FOC. I will never buy another Sony product as this Sat Nav is not fit for use! The map is incorrect by years not months both locally (Bristol) and Scarborough where, after 3 filling station locations I actually found one that existed.
Anyway after the moan, can anyone supply a map update = the 2007 release and possibly a firmware update to 1.06. I rely don’t think anyone should swell the purses of Sony for an item that is not fit for use!

Sorry mate. . . like the rest of us you have had it unless you fork out the£42.Buy something worthwhile like an atlas with the savings. JB 69

I’ve taken the plunge and got the updated maps, which also updates to a new version of the firmware. £42 isn’t cheap, but is a lot cheaper than updates from Garmin. I had a Street Pilot III, and they wanted 150 dollars to update the maps (european coverage)!

I don’t know whether they have added some functionality to the device with the update, but it seems to accept the full postcode. However, if you do this, it just resolves to a lat/lon.

I’ve also installed a freeware speed camera detection program called Speedlimit (not a Sony program). Sony should have included this function by default!

It is pretty good, but they do charge for database updates (9.95 euros per year) – cheaper than Garmin.

My problem is that my Sony satnav can take 10 minutes or more to lock onto a satellite, so for shorter journeys, I can be there before the damn thing locks on!
Has anyone experienced similar? And is there any resolution? I have seen a write up that confirms this but no one on this forum has mentioned time to lock on. I find also that it often only shows 1 bar of satellite connection and so often doesnt stay locked on leaving me high and dry at times. I have driven many miles the wrong way waiting for the damn thing to lock on and its very frustrating. Something that could be so useful can also be a complete bag of shite!

Hi! Chris.
Any chance of forwarding the update? I really would appreciate it.
Mail me first I would appreciate a chat.
You could mail me at “”

Oh! Thanks for the Speedlimit link. I will try it this evening.

Really frustrated,

Hi guys
any chance of sum1 forwarding me the map as mine got lost in translation….
Did the backup map thing and it saved to pc….. installed speedlimit with Active sync v4.5 and everything went T%@* UP….reinstalled all old software and backed up map only to find the it wont load map and there isnt 1 on the cd….
mail me or msn on
even more frustrated (than bob)

Hi guys,
I purchased my Sony NV-U50T a few months ago and when I first setup it said the software was out of date, the unit was not cheap and a extra £42 is rather a bit over the top, and may I say to Chris! many thanks for the speedlimit page, I downloaded the software but cannot get it to work, I must be doing something wrong, rather new to all of this, as for Sony!! I think we should get up a petition and send it to the newspapers and let future buyers of their satnavs know what to expect for their purchases, I also think there satnav is crap, have had many problems with the postcode directions

Hi all – the NV-U50 is available with 2 versions of firmware – 1.05 (this is the last free upgrade level with partial postcode – this is what can be downloaded from the sony site for free), and 1.06 – this has full postcode and was only installed in a limited run of units (I think they were supplied to Sainsbury’s).
The maps for the 2 versions are different.

I’m running the 1.06 version and to be honest it works like a dream – never had any problems and if a postcode isn’t recognised you can still enter the address or navigate to it on the map.

Nick mentioned that his takes a while to lock on to a signal – if you turn the unit off on the bottom, it can take a while longer than normal, also if you are driving while it’s trying to lock on it will take longer – it’s recommended to be stationary while trying to get your initial signal lock (I think the longest I’ve ever waited when stationary is around 1 and a half minutes).

Anybody know what the firmware version is after installing the £42 update and anybody fancy posting this latest map. I have also repaired a few of these units – if anyone’s got any problems I may be able to help …..

Hi Kimi, thanks for that – I didn’t know about the firmware differences.

anybody fancy posting this latest map.

I’m pretty sure that’d be copyright infringement, I’m afraid.

Hi Kim,
I have just downloaded their £42.00 update and the firmware version is 8.31 and the product verson is 1.50.02. i hope this is of some use to you. You can only install the software once (pity?)

I have the NAV-U50 and U-50T the latest firmware and european maps updated to June 2007 if anyones interested.

is it more up to date than the 8.31 for the NV-50T which was for April 2007, and will it load ontro my satnav

Hi just found this thread. If anyone does have the latest firmware and maps that wouldn’t mind sharing it would VERY helpful. Sony’s website only does to 1.05 which still does not include 7 digit postcode. Ah!

I’ve been grant with a nav-50, friends gifted it to me, almost a year ago for birthday. I think it’s a crap tool.
sometimes it take 30 min to find satellites. same car, same position few days after that works fine.
it lack several roads in france too.
last month datas get self-erased, the nav-50 didn’t tells me the map wheren’t available. the sony support tells me to reinstall the software using my PC’s. my laptop & my desktop were using office 2007 that is not compliant with the soft provided. with no consideration for my garanted, Sony Support didn’t help. I had to find a computer with older office soft to fix my problem.
since, the home adress didn’t register and the calculation option is set on TMC, i didn’t have this option. so i had to change it on every calculation ! otherwise the system didn’t complaint it does as if i didn’t click!!!!!!
The POI that interest me for my professional use are the TOTAL GAS STATIONS, i owned a buissness card to refill at those stations only. The GPS print them on the screen, in 3D mode, only when they are at my side, not before ! that’s totally unuseable.

Just sold my Nav u-50 today. The money I got will go towards the new Sony Sat Nav Model NV-U92T. I had a good experience with the Nav 50 and can’t complain too much about it; it never let me down too badly. I quickly installed newer firmware and after that it was fine. It had excellent signal acquisition and hold, even in town and wooded areas. The maps were out of date of course – there’s no such thing as an up-to-date map after all. I didn’t begrudge paying £42 for an update – it must be a mammoth task to keep these maps as current as possible, and the US government spent billions putting the GPS system into the sky, so smile and pay up! It doesn’t take people very long to start taking amazing technologies such as GPS and mobile phones for granted…
I will let you know how the NV-U92T performs soon.

Surely, by now, this conversation must breach about a billion new laws on copyright. I would’ve thought that offering to give free copies of obviously copyrighted material on a public forum would be, for want of a better description, dumb-assed.

I agree. I’ve removed the offending posts and disabled further comments.