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Cydle T43H

Jan
13
2010

In years past it seemed like I was always adding new companies to the product database here. Every month there were new companies launching GPS devices, or existing companies expanding into the GPS market. The list of companies who are no longer in the North American PND market (or are nearly gone) continues to grow…. Dash, Fine Digital, Harman Kardon, HP, JVC, Lowrance, Mio, Navigon, Novogo, Polaroid, Sony, etc… Remember those? Now for the first time in quite some time there is a new game in town, Cydle. Is Cydle worth considering?

We have a Cydle T43H thread in our forums where I’ve listed a few thoughts, many of which I’ll echo here. There are also many user comments there as well, including a few happy owners. I’ll be reviewing the T43H shortly, but until then I’ll put out a few thoughts about the devices in general.

First Impressions

Several times per day I get asked “which GPS device offers both feature X, Y, and Z”. Often the answer is “none” with some devices that have one or two, but rarely all three. The Cydle will probably be a valid answer for those types of questions, as the feature list includes the kitchen sink. Widescreen? Check. Bluetooth? Check. Free traffic updates? Check. Multi-segment routing, movie player, calculator, photo viewer, calendar? Check. Lane Guidance– yup, that too.

HD Radio

One rather unique feature to Cydle is an HD radio receiver. So you can tune into your favorite HD radio station and listen to tunes over the radio if you didn’t dump some MP3 music into the device. One caveat though… there is only one radio tuner inside the device so if you are listening to HD radio, the Traffic receiver (which also works off radio) won’t give you traffic updates.

All of those features could have wide appeal. But here is the bad news… possibly.

Not Exactly “Simple”

Similar to Navigon’s tactic, Cydle has given the user everything they might ask for. But that comes at the price of simplicity and ease of operation. To a certain limit, I’m closer to a “less is more” kind of person and I think that is where the majority of the market is too. At one point while driving down the road I started to count all of the data fields on the primary map display. I was overwhelmed, so I pulled over and wrote it all down.

  • current speed
  • current street
  • current time
  • destination flag
  • distance to destination
  • distance to next turn
  • map display mode
  • menu
  • next street
  • next turn icon
  • satellite signal strength
  • scale
  • speed limit
  • time at destination
  • time to destination
  • traffic signal strength
  • volume
  • zoom in
  • zoom out

Yikes. You would think that it wouldn’t give any room left for the map! And to be fair, many of those fields are transparent. However many of them are also displayed in a tiny size to cram it all in. I’m still lucky enough to have near perfect vision, but from the driver’s seat I had a hard time reading many of those fields. Again… similar to a few Navigon devices. There are a good amount of ‘Help’ menus to get you through, although they also happened to be riddled with grammatical errors.

Do you know EnGIS Gogo?

But perhaps the biggest drawback is that the navigation software is just another incarnation of Nav-n-go’s iGo EnGIS’s Gogo software. Don’t get me wrong… the software has appeal to a certain segment of users. But since Cydle doesn’t write the navigation software themselves, they are at the mercy of another company to address bugs or make any other software changes. Sure, as a customer Cydle will have a certain amount of leverage, but it isn’t as though Cydle is going to come out with a new breakthrough feature that nobody else has. The other big limitation is that the underlying Tele Atlas maps don’t come with the Speed Profiles database, the same data that powers TomTom IQ Routes. Without it the route quality and route ETA values noticeably suffer.

I think there will be a limited market for the Cydle devices like the T43H– mostly from former Navigon champions. Cydle will also appeal to people who really like tinkering under the hood and having every feature at their disposal, sans elegance or ease of use.

9 Responses


  1. “But perhaps the biggest drawback is that the navigation software is just another incarnation of Nav-n-go’s iGo software.”

    Tim, Tim, Tim,…….. you knew I would comment, right? :)

    I know that I am biased but I consider iGo one of the premier navigation software packages. The limitations that I have seen seem to be more a result of the rest of the operating software and hardware such as screen resolution, music and video player, BlueTooth, etc. Also, since it is a self contained package, it seems that companies that are just testing the waters of PNDs are attracted to it because they do not want to spend their own money on resources. They come in and out and then leave users hanging.

    I also like the idea that NavNGo uses other mapping companies when the area they want is underserved. How many companies offer both TeleAtlas maps for Europe and Navteq maps for the US? Granted NavNGo switched from TeleAtlas to Navteq, but neither has decent coverage of Eastern Europe so they used another company for that and eventually bought them.

    And maybe there is the rub….. Is Cydle just another company testing the waters that won’t be around a year from now?

    It’s looking like more and more each day PNDs are going to go the way of the telegraph in favor of smartphone apps. If that is the case, I think NavNGo has a jump on it.

    patruns - January 13th, 2010
    • Unless you know something I don’t, I don’t think you have any reason to be “biased”, Patruns. Having a strong opinion doesn’t make you biased. We’re all entitled to our opinions.

      As I mentioned, I think this company will have their champions, and there are certainly people for which it will be a good match. But I don’t think it is going to be a great device for the average user. And you are far from the average user. :)

      But I also can’t help but look at the history of devices based on iGo in the USA… Amcor, HP, Harman Kardon just to name a couple that were here and then gone. I don’t think there has been one success story with iGo based PNDs here in North America. And so far I don’t see much from the Cydle device to think it will succeed where others have failed. A year or two ago the iGo devices could at least compete on price. But now that TomTom dropped their prices at the bottom end and everyone else has followed, there is more competition at the bottom too.

      Tim - January 13th, 2010
      • “But I also can’t help but look at the history of devices based on iGo in the USA… Amcor, HP, Harman Kardon just to name a couple that were here and then gone. I don’t think there has been one success story with iGo based PNDs here in North America.”

        I guess that is part of my point. iGo is pretty much a self contained navigation product which has made it a prime choice for companies that just want to dip their toes in the water in a half-hearted effort. Maybe if they would just go out and buy a small electronics company to make their own units we would see more widespread use of it in the US. I hope Cydle proves to be the exception this time, but I wouldn’t bet money on it. :(

        patruns - January 14th, 2010
  2. I want this but I’d like to see some more reviews too.

    Joe D - January 31st, 2010
  3. Just a note I’ve updated the post with info that Cydle is using EnGIS’s Gogo software and not Nav-n-go’s iGo software as originally told to me by Cydle.

    Tim - April 27th, 2010
  4. read cydle might be shutting down in US due to complete lack of sales. have you heard anything about it.

    Greg Johanson - August 8th, 2010
    • Cydle is not shutting down in the US. Unlike TomTom and Garmin, it doesn’t have to sell millions of GPS to stay alive. I heard it is coming out with other CE products to expand its product profile.

      Ric - September 27th, 2010
  5. it does not have to sell millions but it has to sell more than a handful and not have those sent back. i saw on a forum only one or two people replying. i have not read anything about them in ads as someone else said so how can they sell.

    Greg J - September 27th, 2010
  6. In your brief review you indicate that the cydle t-43h has bluetooth capability, but on their site there is no reference to such a feature. Can anybody confirm or refute this feature on this unit. The B series is not on cydle’s web site.

    Donald - August 29th, 2011



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