GET LOST. . .or DON'T !
Written: Jul 7, 2006 (Updated Jul 7, 2006)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Easy setup, seamless PDA integration, Bluetooth, small receiver, excellent battery charge time, clean functional GUI,
Cons:Maps are not 100% accurate, sometimes it resets my TREO 650
The Bottom Line: A reliable GPS navigation package with Bluetooth connectivity to PDA. Perfect for managing a modern-day mobile sales team/territory. Would be perfect if I could edit/update maps.
WHAT IS IT & WHY DID I BUY IT?
In my work, I need to drive quite a bit around the NY/NJ/CT tristate area. So far I had been using Google and MapQuest for getting driving directions and location specific information. I had seen many GPS navigation solutions, however did not buy them because they were notoriously slow in acquiring and maintaining the satellite signal. Also the standalone units can cost anywhere from $300 to over $1000. I never seriously considered these units until the Palm store started advertising GPS bundles for my TREO650. After a short amount of research on the web, I found that TomTom was the smartest choice of GPS mapping and navigation products compatible with my Treo650. Even the TomTom receiver w/Bluetooth was one of the best available. The bundle was selling in the range of $260 to $360. I purchased by package on eBay for $228 including shipping.
WHATs IN THE BOX?
- TomTom GPS Satellite receiver with Bluetooth
- Cigarette lighter charger
- Application CD with user manual
- 7CDs with maps for USA and Canada
- Map software activation kit with Product Code
- Quick start and install guide,
- One month FREE trial for TomTom Plus subscription services.
The GPS receiver and software are compatible most Windows Mobile and Palm based PDAs. Here is a list of compatible devices, taken from the TomTom website:
Palm: LifeDrive, Treo 650, Tungsten E2, Tungsten T3, Tungsten T5, TX, Zire72
Acer: N30, n310, n311, N50
Dell: Axim X30, Axim X3i, Axim X50, Axim X50I, Axim X50V, Axim X51
Fujitsu Siemens: Pocket LOOX 720
HP: iPAQ H1940, iPAQ H2210, iPAQ H2215, iPAQ H3970, iPAQ H4150, iPAQ H4350, iPAQ H5455, iPAQ H5550, iPAQ H5555, iPAQ H6340, IPAQ HX2110, iPAQ HX2190, IPAQ HX2410, iPAQ HX2490, IPAQ HX2750, iPAQ HX2790, iPAQ HX4700, iPAQ RX3715
Imate: JAM, Jas Jar, PDA2K
O2: XDA Exec, XDA II, XDA IIi, XDA IIS
Orange: SPV M1000, SPV M2000, SPV M500
Qtek: 2020, 2020i, 9000, 9090, S100, S110, S200
T-Mobile: MDA Compact, MDA Compact II, MDA II, MDA III, MDA Pro
Vodafone: VPA Compact, VPA III
WHATs HOT ?
Initial Setup, Mapping Software Activation:
The initial setup could not have been easier. The unit does not come with a home AC charger. So I charged the receiver using a radio shack home converter with the cig lighter charger. While the unit was charging, I installed the TomTom navigation software and maps for the tristate region. The installation program prompts you to insert the appropriate CD. However when you synch the TREO with the PC, the install took almost 20 minutes because the map file for the northeast was extremely large. I even installed a map for Florida as I frequently visit my mother-in-law who lives there. The application and maps got installed directly onto the SD card in my TREO
The map software needs to be activated the first time you use it. You will need to access TomToms activation website either via GPRS, or on your home internet connection. A GPRS connection allows you to automatically activate your maps, right on your TREO. The manual activation process over a home computer, requires you to input your unique device and product codes. The website then returns a unique activation code for your specific PDA or smartphone. Write this down and store it in a safe place as you will need to input this on your portable device to activate the maps. The TomTom product activation ensures that you CANNOT use the map software with more than one device (similar to Windows XP). However if you just happen to lose your phone like I did, TomTom customer service will register your new device code and issue you a new activation code
but you have to ask nicely
Fast Satellite Signal Acquisition:
The wireless Bluetooth receiver uses the latest generation of SiRF STAR III chipsets. This along with a 20 channel capacity, allows for very fast acquisition and retention of multiple satellite signals. I have found the factory claims of 60/10 cold/warm acquisition times are accurate in fair weather! On cloudy days and particularly in heavy rain/snow storms, the acquisition time can increase significantly. This is common to all GPS receivers as they work by line-of-sight. But once connected, the unit updates its position once every second. This allows you to get accurate positioning and vehicle speed information.
Wireless Bluetooth Connection to PDA:
Your PDA or wireless device must be Bluetooth capable in order to connect to this GPS receiver. I added the receiver to my list of trusted devices on the TREO, and now the phone connects to the receiver within seconds. If I get a call on the TREO, the navigation software pauses and allows the call to be answered over my HS850 Bluetooth headset. Upon completion of the call, the navigation software automatically resumes where it left off. However sometimes, the navigation software automatically resets/reboots the TREO (read below).
Clean & Functional GUI:
All routes and maps can be displayed as a typical overview map (similar to paper maps), or a dynamic 3D rendering of the streets you see in your windshield in front of you. You can very easily zoom in or out in both display modes. This is particularly helpful in areas with very tightly packed streets such as south Manhattan. After sometime you will always use the 3D maps while driving, and the overview maps for planning a route or browsing a particular location. The map colors can be customized to your liking. There is even a night-time mode which displays the map in darker (blue/grey/black) colors. This reduces the glare in your night-time field of vision. The menus are organized in a logical and functional manner. Similar functions or options are grouped together. All aspects of the interface ie: keyboard, left handed operation, voice and language options, units of measure (miles/kms), etc, etc can be changed in preferences. All aspects of the status bar on the display can be changed as well. You can choose to display various minutia ie: driving distance & time to destination, straight point-to-point (as the bird flies) distance and direction to destination, a magnetic compass, current vehicle speed, distance to next exit or turn, satellite strength indicator, etc, etc.
Planning a route:
You can plan a route from your current location to your saved personal favorite locations, a specific street address, a specific cross street or intersection, or just to the center of the city. Once entered, the TREO can be set to play a DEMO of the route at up to 500 times the normal speed. This allows you to review how you are going to get to your destination, and select an alternative route if needed. If you just happen to miss a turn, dont worry. Within seconds the software automatically recalculates and displays a new route to get you back on course to your destination. While planning a route, you can choose the fastest route, shortest route, avoid highways and tolls, or even choose a walking/biking route. In normal mode (while driving) the unit shows a 3D moving view of the roads in front of you, and guides you turn-by-turn to your destination using both visual and voice prompts. The voice prompts are clear and loud, and get more frequent and urgent, as you get closer to each turn or exit along the route. You can change the voice to one of many male and female voices in many different languages and accents. TomTom has many optional and even humorous voice packs (ie: John Cleese) for purchase. Unfortunately they didnt have a Hindi voice pack. (I gots to look out for my peeps !!)
This allows you to simply plan a route to your destination, from any position OTHER than your current position. This is great for figuring out approximate travel time and distances, even before you hit the road.
Plan an Itinerary:
This allows you to create a detailed multi stage trip which includes various stops and waypoints. This mode also allows you to save the itinerary and share it with other people traveling in your group (eg: a group of cross country RV enthusiasts).
Points Of Interest (POIs):
The maps come preloaded with millions of POIs such as restaurants, hotels, airports, parks, bike trails, gas stations, etc, etc. You can choose which POIs (if any) are displayed on the map. If you display all, the map looks overcrowded with too many POIs. You can even create custom categories of POIs (ie: my favorite jiggle joints).
Dimensions & Design:
The Wireless GPS Bluetooth receiver is just about the size of a match box. It measures 3.5X1.7X0.5 inches, and weighs 2.5 oz. It has a flush mounted power on/off button on one side. This needs to be held down for 2 seconds in order to power the unit on or off. There are two LEDs next to it. One stays lit during satellite signal acquisition, and blinks while staying connected. The other LED stays lit while charging, and blinks when the battery is low. Usually I place the GPS receiver on my dashboard, and my TREO in a windshield mounted gooseneck holder. This keeps the navigation display within my normal driving field of view, without causing a distraction.
TomTom Plus (Optional Subscription Services):
For an additional cost, you can suscribe to various optional services such as TomTom Traffic alerts you to the latest traffic conditions including accidents and bad road conditions along your route. TomTom Weather alerts you to the latest weather patterns along your route. This subscription also allows you to download many extras such as new maps, POIs, voice packs and other updates. TomTom includes a 30 day free trial to these optional services. However be warned that all of these require considerable use of you expensive GPRS mobile internet connection.
WHATs NOT ?
Software causes my TREO650 to reset:
If I leave the software running on the TREO while the receiver is turned off, the software automatically reboots the TREO after about a minute. This bug is a known issue, but I have not found a patch to fix it as yet. The only way to avoid this is to Exit Application on the phone, before turning the GPS receiver off.
Maps are not 100% accurate:
Considering the massive growth in real estate development in the tristate area in recent years, there are many new streets that are not included in the map files. TomTom should allow me to modify and amend the map files as I travel along newly created roadways.
This is a reliable GPS navigation package with Bluetooth connectivity to your PDA. It comes in an extremely portable footprint about the size of a matchbox. It is great for managing a modern-day mobile sales team or territory. It would have been perfect if I could edit/update maps with current road information. There are some minor bugs related to Bluetooth but they certainly do not detract from the impressive capabilities of this product. Most importantly it ensures my safety on the road, by preventing me from juggling various MapQuest pages around my steering wheel.
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