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Old 01-22-2007, 02:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Impressions - 8700c, GPSlim 240 and Telenav

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I just returned late Friday night from the first business trip with the above combination, using it instead of Hertz's "Neverlost" GPS which costs $9.95/day (making Telenav at $9.95/month a bargain!) So here are my impressions and thoughts, after giving the combination a great workout - had rental cars from LaGuardia and Washington Reagan last week.

Holux GPSlim240:

I'm very pleased with this GPS puck. Uses the latest SirfStar III chipset, and has worked great for me. Bought it about two weeks ago, paid only $65 from an authorized Holux GPS reseller on eBay. Its attraction to me over any of the other units is its size. Without a doubt the smallest unit on the market, smaller footprint than one of the old 5-stick packs of gum:

It charges via a mini-USB, so can use your BB charger or USB cable, nothing extra to carry. It seemed to lock quickly, and has rubber feet on the bottom to let it sit relatively securely on the dash or console. I often just left it in my shirt pocket, and it worked very well that way too.

Telenav service on the 8700c:

I had an overall positive experience with the service throughout the trip. I'd say I'd rate it at about 80% of the capability of the "Neverlost" which is a high-end Magellan system. The mapping and directions worked very well - probably about 90% as good as the Neverlost. About the only negative "navigation" that I noticed was that in the DC area, it directed me to a couple of "HOV-only" routes, which if you blindly follow it, could get you in trouble if you're driving alone. DC seems to be somewhat unique (to me) in that regard, as there are a couple interchanges from Hiway A to Hiway B that are HOV ONLY at certain hours, with the alternative being at least a mile or two longer.

The POI database doesn't seem to be as good though, as I looked for hotels and restaurants. I'd probably rate it at only 65% or so of the utility of Neverlost's system - although with a bit of advance planning Berry411 supplements it quite nicely.

General observations:

I'm using a BlackBerry/Plantronics HS-655 bluetooth headset, and for the most part didn't have any problems with it and the HOLUX both on. Had an occasional dropout of connectivity of the headset, most of which reconnected without me doing anything, and none of which happened while I was on the phone using the headset.

One thing I hadn't thought about as much as I maybe should have, and which quickly became apparent. If you're out on a hiway with a number of miles until the next turn, you can go ahead and use the phone. But while on the phone, the displayed map will quit updating, as of course it can't download new maps from the Telenav server while you're using the phone. This means that if you're in an urban/suburban area where your navigation is commanding frequent turns, and you're not pretty darn sure where to go on your own, you simply can't make or take a call and be on the phone at the same time you're trying to navigate.

Within that limitation though, I came away from this trip generally impressed with the utility of the combination as a good GPS nav system.
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