I thought it was cool when I first bought a cell phone that allowed me to place calls by saying the name of the person I wanted to connect with. Now, however, it seems you can do far more with your voice, and SYNC® by Microsoft is an excellent example of this. If you purchase a Ford, Lincoln, or Mercury vehicle, you can choose to include the SYNC® package, which was designed in conjunction between Ford and Microsoft.
The levels of SYNC® features available depend on the type and model year of the vehicle you drive. SYNC® by Microsoft adds new features each year, according to the Ford web site, and some features require the owner to specify they are desired. Nevertheless, even the most basic features are intriguing.
What is SYNC® by Microsoft?
At its bare-bones level, SYNC® is a “car connectivity system” that links your cell phone (which must be Bluetooth-enabled) with your media player and/or USB drive, which allows you to control certain features with the sound of your voice. It’s more than a hands-free communication system because phone calls, music, and other features are routed through your vehicle’s speakers, giving you far more volume control.
What features are available through SYNC® by Microsoft?
As mentioned above, the available features change from year to year as technology improves. Currently, according to the Ford web site, SYNC® benefits drivers in areas of convenience, safety, entertainment, and organization.
For example, SYNC® by Microsoft enables audible text messaging, which is both more convenient and safer than texting with your fingers. You can also receive turn-by-turn directions, check up on your travel plans, select the music you want to hear, and even access news via voice command.
How does SYNC® by Microsoft help with vehicle maintenance?
If you initiate a vehicle health report and a serious problem with your car is detected, SYNC® will send an Urgent Diagnostic text message to your cell phone. And if you are in an accident where the airbags deploy, 911 Assist will contact the local 911 center so you can receive help immediately.
How much does SYNC® by Microsoft cost?
Some vehicles, including all Lincolns, come standard with SYNC®, which means there are no extra costs associated with its installation. This is also true on high-end Fords and Mercurys, according to Ford, but if SYNC® is available as an option, it will cost U.S. drivers $395. 911 Assist and certain other features are considered “upgrades,” and cost more.
Are there other costs associated with SYNC® by Microsoft?
Some features are available only via subscription. For example, if you want to receive directions and traffic information through the system, you will have to subscribe for $60 per year after the first three years of ownership. You will also have to pay the rates your cell phone carrier charges for any text messages you send or receive via SYNC®.
Is SYNC® by Microsoft worth it?
It is important for all drivers to evaluate the features offered by SYNC® and other similar services to determine whether they will actually use them. Some of these features are often redundant if you utilize other gadgets in your driving habits; for example, directions and traffic information might not be necessary if you already own a GPS receiver.
In addition, make sure you read all literature provided by the Ford dealership where you purchase your car. Make sure you can agree to all the terms and conditions.