The Doctor is inherently the most dangerous man in the Universe. Monsters fear him--even some Daleks back up in fear when he appears before them. He's defeated entire armies and massive space fleets.
And he's done this armed only with a sonic screwdriver.
There's nothing wrong with how the sonic is used in the show, in fact, I think it's better used now than during the classic run as a fairly multipurpose tool. It's very plausible that its sonic waves act as sensor waves or radar. When the current version of the sonic is fully deployed (extended with the arms out), there may indeed be a small indicator in the exposed casing the Doctor can read that displays sensor data (the Doctor does often have to squint when he looks at it).