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Palm Bluetooth GPS Navigator Review


Pcworld has written a narrative about the new Palm Bluetooth GPS Navigator. The system offered by Palm combines a Bluetooth GPS receiver with TomTom Navigator software. I found this review interesting because I can compare this very well with a review I wrote about DeLorme Street Atlas 2006 Handheld. We both used the same Palm device connected to a Bluetooth GPS receiver.

One notable difference is that the Palm GPS Navigator kit comes with a cradle that affixes with suction-cups to the windshield. This is a nice feature I wish I had for my Treo. The reviewer thought that the unit took too long of a time to pickup a GPS signal. An external antenna probably would have helped tremendously.

Palm’s GPS unit showed no signs of picking up signals, let alone establishing my location. Eventually the GPS kicked in, the map began displaying colors, and I was in business–but it seemed to take at least 3 to 5 minutes, and sometimes I had to cycle the power a couple of times to kick-start the thing.

One thing I’d certainly disagree with regarding the review was the assessment of the Treo’s screen size as a GPS navigator. I believe it is much too small if you have more than just occasional GPS navigation needs.

My fears about the Treo screen being too small were groundless.

The reviewer noted that after reaching the destination and looking for parking the device would constantly suggest new directions thinking she was lost. This is something I really liked about DeLorme’s software because it gives you the option for rerouting, but doesn’t automatically do it for you. If it thinks you are lost you can have it reroute with a click, but it doesn’t force it upon you.

The reviewer didn’t note what happens when you receive a call while navigating. The Palm PR guy told her that you cannot make calls while using the TomTom software but didn’t address what happens when you receive a call.

Overall, though, I’d rate Palm’s GPS kit as a strong candidate for drivers who want their handheld to double as a navigation tool. TomTom’s software is a strong incentive–and if you already own a Bluetooth-enabled Palm, it’s certainly cheaper to buy the Palm kit than to purchase a dedicated GPS system such as Garmin’s soon-to-be-released StreetPilot i3

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