TeleNav Shotgun review


Alright this review is dedicated to you troopers that like to pack a leftover Turkey sandwich and camp out in front of the stores Thursday night in hopes to be one of the first consumers in the door on Black Friday! Good luck to you, and let’s hope the tryptophan doesn’t make you oversleep!

You may recognize the company name, TeleNav. Their GPS Navigator software product can be found on many mobile devices. Now they’ve taken that proven navigation software and put it on a sleek 4.3” LCD two-way, Internet-connected Personal Navigation Device (PND) called the Shotgun, and just in time for the holiday season. Let’s start low-level and work our way up…

Hardware Features
telenav-specs

Okay so that’s our feature list. The highlights are as always the great screen size. On the Shotgun, the screen is nice and big; too big to carry around in your pocket comfortably but great when mounted in the car with the included mount kit. There is no carrying case or pouch included in the unit so maybe there never was an intention to fanny pack the unit. What was included in the box was the aforementioned Mounting Arm & Cradle, Car Power Adapter, AC Wall Charger, USB Interface cable, which I could write a review on by itself! (I’m kidding, it’s a USB cable) and Getting Started Guide.

Also included is a SIM Card for the Internet Access and T-Flash card.

The case itself is black and has a soft rubberized exterior which has a cool feel to it. The power, and reset buttons are flush the unit as are the SIM & T-Flash holding areas. The front of the unit has 2 LEDs. The BLUE LED flashes to indicate the TeleNav is connected to the Internet Service and let me tell you that this is quite annoying! Its quite distracting in my opinion.

The LCD display has good picture, there aren’t any intense graphics that would give me cause to brag about the resolution nor is there any reason to complain. The size and brightness of the screen is good as well. There is an ability to adjust the backlit brightness but it doesn’t have an automatic light sensing mode.

The voice on the unit is clear and not garbled. However I still had difficulty hearing the voice even when the volume was at its max.

All in all I like the packaging size, weight and feel. Though, I would not be opposed to a way to turn off the flashing blue LED. For now I’ll have to take the tape covering my check engine light and put it on the GPS unit instead.

Now that we’ve covered the hardware, let’s turn the unit on!

Navigation

TeleNav Shotgun powers up quickly and obtains GPS & network connection within a few seconds.

The TeleNav Shotgun has the standard options of Driving to or searching for a destination. You can view the Map & Traffic information for where you are and there is an Extra bucket for some additional features.

On the Map screen you have many different types of information displayed in a nice fairly clutter free way. The standard items such as ETA, distance to next turn, direction of travel are shown on the left side. What I find lacking is a Speed, Clock, and Speed Limit information. The Shotgun does calculate speed but this information is located in the Extras->Compass screen and unfortunately you cannot configure the device to show it on the Navigation screen. The speed limit for the road you’re traveling on and clock information is not available from unit. If you have the Internet connection, the TeleNav Shotgun also displays specific traffic incident information, speed/flow of roads along your route, and updates the estimated time of arrival (ETA) as you drive. The unit provides audio prompts with Text-to-Speech technology to announce street names before each turn and also visually the street names will appear on the top of the screen.

The Map has the ability to show in 2D or 3D mode and in Day/Night/Auto colors. I like the option to choose between these modes, but my quip with the Shotgun is that you cannot change your display mode without exiting the Navigation Mode and going back to the Home screen and then the preferences menu. I find this to be way too many clicks and changing one of these settings requires you to exit and re-enter/calculate your destination seems unnecessary. On the other side, if you like your display to always be in 2D or 3D mode and hardly ever switch between the two, this is not a deal breaker for you.

Zoooooom! From the Moving Maps screen you can Zoom In and Out in both 2D and 3D modes. The 2D mode will provide you with a scale on the bottom. It would be nice if there was a button that would bring you back to the default zoom view, instead of having to adjust In / Out yourself. If you exit the current view and get back into it, the zoom levels are reset for you. In my opinion the unit does not Zoom out all that much in the Moving maps mode, however it does in the Map Summary view. The Zoom out also seems a bit sluggish, but I’ve seen that as typical on other devices as well. This view allows you to see the entire route to be traveled in one window, without having to zoom out manually and it can zoom very far out, for example if you’re driving from Los Angeles to New York City.

The Route summary view is easy to use and typical of GPS Navigation units. For those with the TeleNav Connected Service, the Traffic Summary screen is a nice feature.

As you drive, TeleNav Shotgun checks for traffic every five minutes, and alerts you if there’s a traffic slowdown or incident along your route. With the Traffic Summary view the different steps in your route will have traffic information and flow information and you can have the unit find an alternate route, taking into account the latest traffic conditions in your area. Another feature in the Navigation mode is to find alternative points of interest along your route. Though if you search for an intermediate destination and choose not to recalculate your route, it takes many (~4) clicks to get back to the map, which I think could be shortened easily by having a “Back to Map” button. Also the Shotgun does not allow you to plan a route with multiple stops.

The search mode on the unit is well laid out. The Keyboard is spacious and easy to use even with bloated fingers.

With the TeleNav Connected service you also have the ability to search Gas Stations based on Price. This is a pretty cool feature which even lets you search for all types of gas or a specific grade. So if you’re friend found out you borrowed his BMW and calls you up warning you that you better fill up the tank, you can find the cheapest Premium gas.

Also with the Internet service the Shotgun has Fuzzy Search capabilities, which tries to best match your destination as you type in the letters. Without the Internet service the unit has a built-in database of business to search from so you can still find what you need.

Okay for those of you with real big sausage fingers who hate mobile devices with QWERTY keyboards, have no fear! TeleNav also provides the ability to create an account on their website where you can add addresses and categories online and they will be sent wirelessly to your Shotgun device.

Currently the website lacks the ability to search for a business online, you must know the address to enter it into your Favorites. To search you’ll still need to go to Google, Yellow Pages or another site. However, TeleNav has a browser plugin which allows you to highlight an address on another website and use the plugin to have it send the address to the TeleNav website.

Summary
In summary the TeleNav is a fairly robust device. The size of the screen is great, the software is easy to navigate through. There are a few features that are missing such as lack of clock, current speed & speed limit information but the two-way Internet connection makes up for these by providing great up-to-date traffic information and the ability to enter in addresses from the web and wirelessly have them sent to your device.

The unit turns on and obtains signals quicker than other units I’ve used. The Shotgun operates quickly, even when searching and it doesn’t have much delay when using the touch screen, which also has a calibration option to keep it accurate. Other than the flashing blue LED, the unit is a great physical package with quick response time during operation and in route calculation and recalculation.

Happy Turkey Day everyone and good luck on Black Friday!
by Gautam Khattak

8 Responses to “TeleNav Shotgun review”

  1. Timmers Says:

    Um yeah.. dude, Mercedes are so much better than bimmers. Sorry to hear you are wasting premium gas on your friend’s lame car.


  2. Not_a_useful_review Says:

    I was really hoping that this review would have details about the two-way connected searches compared to Dash Express. “With the TeleNav Connected service you also have the ability to search Gas Stations based on Price.” That’s a great feature but what about all the people who are interested in the search of POI’s via the internet. Dash Express fails because it relies on a condensed version of Yahoo! Local search. Please add an update with more details about the search capabilities. Ideally compare it with a true internet connected computer to see if the same results come up.. and of course, let us know if the search is through Google or some alt. search.


  3. Review: TeleNav Shotgun | GPS Map Says:

    […] read full review […]


  4. Mary Beth-TeleNav Says:

    Gautam – very thorough review! Just wanted to provide a couple of updates:
    1) We have heard many comments about the blue light/wireless network indicator and have come up with a solution. Anyone purchasing the TeleNav Shotgun now will have an opaque cover over the blue light – this mutes it considerably.

    2) You can search for business listings online (My TeleNav) – click on “Maps & More” at the top. This will allow you to search for businesses and save them to your Favorites (sending them to your Shotgun).

    3) We’re having a Cyber Monday sale on the Shotgun today! Anyone purchasing it from our website today should use this Cyber Monday coupon code (sgcybermonday) – they’ll receive six months of free TeleNav Connected Service.


  5. Gautam Says:

    I’m sorry my review wasn’t useful to you “not_a_useful_review”. I was scrambling to get the review out before the Thanksgiving sales, but I will take what you suggested into consideration with future reviews. I no longer have the unit to add the information you requested.

    Regards,

    Gautam


  6. TeleNav Shotgun - Round 2 | Go and Track GPS Tracking Says:

    […] November right before Turkey Day I did a review of the TeleNav Shotgun. Since then, the TeleNav engineers have been busy churning away and they provided me a new Shotgun […]


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