magellan iPhone car kit review

We recently received the Magellan Premium Car Kit for iPhone or iPod Touch (compatible with iPhone 3G and 3GS or iPod Touch2G). We knew we were going to like it immediately upon opening, as it went from the box to mounted on the windshield in less than 2 minutes. After installing the Magellan RoadMate app for iPhone, we were off! (A somewhat lengthy download and install process, but one that is well worth the wait.) Using these two together - Magellan Premium Car Kit + Magellan RoadMate app - has at least one notable benefit; the Car Kit has a built-in GPS receiver, enhancing the performance of the RoadMate app. While we didn’t test with the iPod Touch, clearly the Car Kit is a valuable and compatible mate. Unlike the iPhone, the iPod Touch does not have any GPS capabilities of it’s own. Combined with the Magellan Premium Car Kit, your iPod Touch becomes a navigation tool.

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QSTARZ 5Hz GPS Recorder review

People at Qstarz kindly sent us the latest 5Hz GPS recorder that we recently talked about so we have a short review for you. The product is actually called BT-Q1000ex Xtreme Recorder but we won’t be using that because it is a hassle to type or say. We’ll simply call it the 5Hz GPS recorder - highlighting one its best features. It can update/log your position 5 times a second! That’s pretty extreme and makes this device almost a specialty gadget for those who need it.

You may be racing cars or bikes and need to know how you’re handling every single curve or skiing down mountains and need to keep track of exactly where you’ve been without missing a single turn - in which case this is the correct GPS recorder for you.

Let’s talk about the features first and then we’ll move on to build quality, included software, battery life, etc.

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Garmin Dakota 20 review

You remember Garmin Dakota 20 right? Considering buying one? Well, we have a review for you.

It looks like Garmin Dakota 20 survived crash tests, was usable with wet and muddy gloves, and great for navigation.

Setting up routes for recording seemed like a bit of a bigger challenge but still manageable.

The bottom line is:

If you need a GPS unit that can master maps, deliver data, record your ride and fitness data, and direct you to your post-ride pasta when it’s all over, this is a good do-it-all option.

Mind you the review was done for bikers but most of this should still apply.

Tracking Key Pro Review

Tracking Key Pro is a GPS tracking system. We recently got our hands on this little but powerful device and now we’d like to share with you what we think.

Tracking Key Pro is not the smallest of GPS receivers we’ve seen but it is still very compact. Actually most the space is taken up by the 2AA battery slot.

As soon as we take the GPS device out of the packaging we get the ‘run cd first’ warning which you can’t miss. So we pop the CD in and it starts installing Past-Track and some other drivers. No problems. Then as per quick start guide we put in a pair of fresh AA batteries and connect to our PC. PC says hardware is ready to use.

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NPR does not like Google Maps Navigation

gpsOur favorite news source NPR just talked about our favorite smartphone OS Android - developed by the mighty Google. The article is actually comparing the new (and free) Google Maps Navigation application which is now available on Android 2.0 and Android 1.6 to standalone GPS navigation systems. It is not good, they call Google Maps navigation unreliable. It takes a lot of guts to call something from Google unreliable :) Previous reviews and our own review had better things to say than NPR.

To be fair the reviewer likes the voice recognition and Verizon’s 3G coverage for the Droid. However manual traffic warnings, wrong directions (no left turn on rush hour), wrong prediction on travel time, no choice for shortest/fastest option ends up with an obvious thumbs down for Google Maps Navigation application.

Google Maps Navigation on myTouch 3G - first impressions

Google just made their Google Maps navigation application available for Android 1.6 devices - which includes my T-Mobile MyTouch 3G.

To get the latest version what you need to do is go to the Android Market Place from your phone and find Google Maps. It should say “update available”. As you may have guessed you need to install this version. It will change the appearance of the little icon and you’ll have to agree to some new terms and read some warnings about the how it is beta and you need to keep your eyes on the road and stuff.

On the way back home from work I gave this a try and here is what I thought at the end:

  • it works
  • trip duration was almost dead on - it considered traffic accurately on an unusually congested day
  • text-to-speech is a bit robotic but still very clear
  • phone is noticeably sluggish while running this app
  • answered a call while navigating - couldn’t go back into app and mute it - very annoying
  • phone was warmer possibly because both the GPS and screen was on for the whole 40 minute drive
  • switching to street view at the destination was a nice touch

That’s all - I didn’t really play around with the other features.

TomTom car kit review

Engadget has a decent review of the TomTom’s car kit for the iPhone 3G and 3GS. What they did was to use the iPhone 3GS with a regular car kit and let it use its own GPS receiver, and an iPhone 3G with the TomTom car kit.

In the end both iPhone’s performed very similarly suggesting it may not be a great idea to spend an $120 on the car kit on top of the $100 app…

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Google Maps Navigation reviews

Google - master of the universe - as you know came up with their own, completely free GPS navigation program, Google Maps Navigation. There are a few reviews around and we thought we could share them with you:

gadgeteer: Mostly positive review but the down sides are screen size, voice quality, and of course data access…

A nice fix would be for the navigation to load in all the maps for the route, so I don’t need to sweat the connectivity. Every network has holes, I assume Verizon has far fewer, but it is still annoying.

pocketnow has an 8 minute video review:

gizmodo loves the voice search, and text-to-speech, but not that impressed with regular text search or the street view:

It’s an extremely powerful program, but the execution isn’t the best. Not by a stretch.

TomTom for iPhone review

There’s a new review for TomTom’s GPS navigation app for the iPhone. It does not review the highly expected TomTom car kit though - only the software.

The review was mostly very positive. Here is the bottom line for you:

The TomTom iPhone App is a solid first step platform onto which TomTom can build a world-class navigation product. The application offers a lot of capabilities that are damn convenient to have right in your iPhone. The trusted TomTom performance and ease of use is in there, as is the familiar layout. It is a simple navigation product that is a great addition to anyone with an iPhone who wants navigation

NYTimes review for iPhone apps

New York Times’ Eric Taub just recently reviewed four iPhone GPS apps.

TeleNav’s AT&T Navigator, Alk’s CoPilot Live, Navigon’s MobileNavigator, and TomTom’s iPhone app. I know we’ve talked about all these many times here on Navigadget before but maybe you just want to hear it all over again from NYTimes.

…According to a report from the iSuppli research firm, GPS applications for smartphones are about to explode, growing from 2.5 percent of users today to 10.5 percent in 2013. And half of those will be iPhone owners…