Sony CDX-GT414U car MP3 CD Player with USB slot

Sony CDX-GT414U

Remember my mental note to check out products myself instead of relying on other’s recommandations? This time I got lured into a retailer’s shop cause they advertized a bargain on one of those car mp3 CD players featuring an USB slot which would finally save me from having to burn my own mixes to CD-RW. Since they assured me it could play more than a puny 500 tracks from USB and I had ample time to test and compare it to others mounted alongside the wall in the shop, what could go wrong? Unfortunately I didn’t realize the flaw until I drove home that night:

The USB slot faces the stick’s LED towards the driver!

Thus you always have this distracting blinking light in the right corner of your eye while driving at night. The clip I made of this effect doesn’t quite convey the annoyance it causes:

Yeah, I know, Sony :(

The company that always thinks to know better thus flooding the market with proprietary technology like ATRAC, Mini Disc, Memory Stick, UMD and so on despite consumers ignoring these schemes. Was I too stupid despite being warned by Sony’s track record? Afraid so…

A friend of mine who was riding shotgun in my car made a good point: why does the LED have to blink in the first place? But since this apparently is agreed upon by manufacturers I tried to verify my suspicions which turned out to be correct: all USB-sticks I’ve seen so far (which is a lot) do have the LED on the same side in reference to the connector and only Sony has the slot facing inwards, all other players I’ve checked (by Kenwood, Alpine, JVC, Blaupunkt, Clarion) have their slot installed the other way round so the stick’s LED blinks facing outward. This can’t be due to left-hand traffic in Japan either cause this would require the main controls (volume, skip, source) to be placed on the driver side too.

Sony knows best… not!

P.S. Aren’t you just thrilled by the caution alarm the front panel makes to keep you from forgetting it in the car?


8 thoughts on “Sony CDX-GT414U car MP3 CD Player with USB slot

    1. Techflaws

      It might be cause you have too many (little) files on it for the radio to store in its RAM. I’m using a 16 GB stick for MP3s/AACs exclusively and never got that message.

  1. Marvin Post author

    I still consider it a flaw either way: the main controls should be on the driver’s side, anything else doesn’t make sense. As well as distributing a left-hand traffic design (which is quite the minority, mind you) to the rest of the world.

  2. Paulie

    I am from a right hand drive country too, and ALL the head units have the main controls on the left. Which is the side away from the driver. Maybe it’s one of those unwritten standards. It aint a big deal as it’s not much further to reach. The upshot is that this IS the right way around for us “keep left” drivers.

    Just something to think on.

    PS I have seen a few lightless sticks in my travels, I didn’t really pay much attention of the brand/model though, just noticed it in passing.

  3. Marvin Post author

    How about just never buying Sony anymore?

    Seriously, like I said above: I’m not lacking workarounds, I’m lacking sympathy with pointless and stupid design flaws.

  4. Marvin Post author

    I guess this would be an acceptable workaround to some people but I don’t like having anything dangle down from my dashboard, that’s why I switched to a very small Aeneon USB-stick with a less bright (but still visible) LED.

    Of course I’m still annoyed with Sony being the *only one* doing it this way for no good reason whatsoever.

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