Friday, July 10, 2009

The New GPS first impressions with no depth

The new GPS arrived yesterday and I had a small chance to play with it.

Here is how it looks.

The unit is pretty nice looking. The brushed plastic feel on the front-frame is nice for grease-free operation, but a bit extra. It comes with a very nice and sturdy wind-shield bracket, which mounts pretty easily.

The GPS (that's the name, really... GPS) came with chargers, a 2GB SD card, that holds the software and data, ear-bud phones, and a carrying pouch.

I haven't played with a lot of the options yet, but it comes with video player, mp3 player, image viewer, text reader, and some games. What kind of games can be played is unknown to me yet, but the system is Windows based.

Back to the GPS. There are several quirks that I haven't worked out yet. The touchscreen works better with a stylus (included) than fingers. The software runs off the SD Card, so it is a bit slow. There were slow downs during route annoucements, and the voice hiccuped. The routes were calculated rather well, but the system hiccuped on occasion trying to locate me.

The maps are a bit strange, some of the streets that are straight as an arrow are shown with zigs. Some of the simple turns are shown as though there is a split in the street. I may have done something wrong, but the 2D view does not zoom in to a detailed level.

The text-to-speech in the unit can be provided in 16 or so languages. I am yet to try Natasha or Vladimir.

The POI search is a bit cumbersome. You have to first select where to search, then city, and then it will allow you to enter POI name. What is nice in the address or POI search is that it builds it out for you, so you have an option of selecting an address in the city, or go state, or country with an easy click.

Couple of other things, the menus don't take a lot of space but some of the options are hard to read in the color scheme. The compass is in a strange airplane cockpit type fashion (rotating ribbon) but it's cool, if again a bit hard to read. The unit has car, pedestrian, and about 5 other modes, speed limit, turns, lights warning system built in, which is really nice.

I will check later how the players work and how they interact with the Navigation.

Overall, at first glance I can tell you one thing. I got exactly $80 worth of GPS unit, but not in a bad way, if you know what I mean. Everything works, the way it's supposed to, plenty of options and customability, but there seems to be a lack of overall polish to the system.

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