Advantages FAST acquisition, good battery life, BlueTooth
|Ease of Use|
|Look & Feel|
|Durability & Robustness|
|Value for Money|
The NavMan GPS receiver is a fine piece of kit. Slightly bulkier than a mobile phone and made of a reasonably impact-resistant plastic, it has a tacky (as in sticky, not gaudily coloured) rubberised base to stop it sliding around and a single button on the top with which you switch it on/off. Able to run from 3 AAA batteries for an amazing 30 hours (under optimum conditions), it also comes with a Cigar lighter adapter for a more reliable power source. The supplied windscreen mounting bracket is sturdy and well angled, providing the ideal view of the sky when positioned on most windscreens. If you've got a heated or treated windscreen, you may experience problems receiving a satellite signal, in which case you will either need to relocate the receiver to a window (or sunroof) that isn't treated/heated or invest in a either re-radiating or extended patch aerial to plonk on top of the car roof. This is where the BlueTooth bit comes in handy, because unless you're in a (very) stretched limo, you should be able to place the receiver pretty much anywhere and still maintain the link to your PocketPC, which should allow you to oversome most heated windscreens without the need to purchase additional hardware.As I've just mentioned the receiver connects to the device running the navigation software via a BlueTooth serial connection. The pairing of the GPS with the PocketPC is a trivial affair once you've spent 10 minutes rifling through the manual to find out that the passphrase is NAVMAN. The SmartST software will automatically enliven the BlueTooth connection at start-up (if it isn't already on), prompting the user to choose which BlueTooth device should be connected to from those that have been previously paired. Once connected with the PocketPC, the Blue LED that hides underneath the translucent power button stops flashing twice in quick succession, to flashing once every two seconds to indicate that a link has been established. In the event of the batteries running low, the power button on the uit will begin to flash red.
Switched on and given a clear view of the sky, the GPS unit will begin it's job of acquiring GPS satellite signals. The average time to acquire it's position from a cold start is an incredibly swift 40 - 45 seconds. Re-acquisition of signal (after going through a tunnel or similar) occurs before you can notice, easily under 2 seconds. This has to be one of the best-performing GPS receivers I've used (and I've used a fair few), even under heavy leaf-cover or though office-lined streets in the city it will maintain a tenacious grip on the signal.Given that it costs the better (or worse, depending how you look at it) part of £150, this is certainly one of the more expensive GPS receivers on the market. For your money, you do get a fine device, but how much is 15 seconds saved on the initial acquisition really worth to you? Without doubt, the main reason for the steep price is the fact that it is BlueTooth enabled. This does have its advantages when it comes to siting the receiver in a car. It also means fewer cables and you could even use it for more recreational purposes, perhaps stick it in your rucksack while you're out walking with your iPAQ, it even comes with an armband for just this sort of use but truth be told, there are other devices much better suited to this role. Given the Bluetooth conenction, the battery-life is also an impressive achievement, but one that I can't honestly vouch for as I run mine of the cigar lighter. It's portability is also a plus. After all, you wouldn't necessarily want to leave a £150 lump of high-tech stuck to your windscreen while you're parked up. It only encourages folks to smash a window and make off with it. The small size means you can easily stash it in a glove compartment, coat pocket or bag.
So given then what I know now, would I have opted for the Navman combination?In truth probably not. The GPS receiver is undoubtedly a fine piece of kit but I would advise you to consider whether this buzz-word laden beastie is really what you need. Would something with one more wire be good enough and such a hassle to live with? Particularly if it's £50, maybe £60 cheaper?
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Bluetooth GPS Receiver For PPC with SmartST Pro (EUROPEAN)
amazon marketplace electronics
Availability: Usually dispatched within 24 hours