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I've now had a few days to evaluate my aftermarket NAV from PowerLoc. (It's called Destinator). www.ipaqdestinator.com is the place to go if u wish to find out more.

Here's my review.

The package comes with
1. A GPS-unit that is placed onto the dash. It stays still even when the car moves over bumps etc. From the GPS there is a cable that is connected to the
2. Power cable from lighter outlet which merges with the GPS-cable into one connector that goes to the bottom of the iPAQ.
3. A bag to put the stuff in.
4. A Vent-Mount unit to mount the stuff on a vent in your car. Well...it's no good for your 6, I will have to come up with something. (The 6 has very special air vent, remember...)
5. A CD with installation software, maps, manual (there is no paper manual which is a flaw).

That's about it. To go with this you need an iPAQ. But you need plenty memory also. Many maps require more than the 32 Mb of memory that the basic iPAQ has. Personally, I have a slide-on-back for the iPAQ with a 256 Mb Flash card in it. That card easily stores map for all of Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland plus major roads of Europe. Or all of US if I needed that.

Besides map, the system keeps track of point of interest. It impressed me that you can at all times find out how far your favourite gas station is. Or how far it is to the closest gas station. Or mail office, or restaurant, or...pick a choice.

The maps are very good, they know of roads around here that I never heard of during my life here...35 years by now. It's very impressive how it updates the 3D map when you drive. It goes realtime, and the map is smoothly updated and turned when you turn your car.

It gives loud audial instructions, together with visual guidance. The volume is loud when the iPAQ is set to its highest value. No problem there, which I had expected.

In many cases, the maps contain information about street addresses, but in smaller villages it only has the street programmed. Not a big problem, though. The maps contain information even about very small villages (300 citizens or so) on street level, but even extremely small villages (one street only) are on the maps. And so are many very small roads like forest-roads.

The screen shows:
1. The map (2D or 3D, which one you prefer) and where your car is in it.
2. The route suggested (picked roads highlighted in red)
3. The name of the street you're driving ON
4. The name of the street you will be driving on NEXT
5. The distance to the next manouver
6. The direction of next manouver (right, left, U-turn etc)
7. GPS data info (number of satellites giving data. The GPS has 12 channels, updating every second, which is very good).

The voice tells you:
1. When it's 500 m to your next turn
2. When it's 200 m to your next turn
3. When it's time to turn
4. "Recalculating route" when you failed to follow the suggested route

It takes approximately 10 seconds for the system to suggest a new route if you didn't follow the suggested one. If there is no other way to get back to the suggested route than a U-turn, the system suggests that.

You can also activate speed-warning, and then the voice (female, do the math...) keeps telling you "You are driving too fast", just about every ten seconds. It's like having your wife in the car. I turned her off. (The voice, not my wife...:D ).

The system also has two different settings for the calculation of suggested route: fastest one, and shortest one. I tried both. Both of them took me to my destination, but neither felt perfect...the shortest was perhaps the shortest, but it took me on some roads I would never have used as I am familiar with the surroundings here. And the fastest did the same, but added a feeling of not being the fastest at all. Probably because the map failed to recognize some of the higher speed limits in my neighbourhood (seems all my town was programmed for 50 km/h as is the basic speed in cities here in Sweden).

There is no special night-screen-mode, but the iPAQ itself has sufficient settings for back-lighting. It can even be turned off so you can operate by voice only at night.

So, how does one pick destination? You can use several methods.

1. City, Street, House
2. Street, City, House
3. Zip, Street, House
4. Street, Zip, House
5. Earlier destinations
6. City, Intersection (Name two streets)
7. Point of interests - browse a very good "explorer" with info of gas stations, police stations, mail offices, restaurants, shops...you name it, it's there. Ever felt like borrowing a book in a library while on the road? No? Well, you could...it's there...

When you've picked your destination, just hit the "Go!" button, and drive off. The rest is taken care of by the Navigator system.

So far, I'm very pleased. At times I would have wished the system had picked another route, but it never failed to get me where I was going.

And all this at a cost of about one tenth of the system that you can get with your 6 (if offered on your market). That is the iPAQ excluded...with it it's about half.

Another good thing is that you can turn the thing into pedestrian mode and use it while city walking. Try that one with your built-in factory NAV from Mazda...:D
 

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Replying to Topic 'Aftermarket NAV good'

QUOTE
Originally posted by Steve 6er

Besides map, the system keeps track of point of interest. It impressed me that you can at all times find out how far your favourite gas station is. Or how far it is to the closest gas station. Or mail office, or restaurant, or...pick a choice.[/b]
Are these points of interest user-defined?

Sounds way cool. Sounds like enough reason to buy a WindowsCE device just to keep in your car for that purpose.

Does the GPS also tell you wich route would be the most fun? :)
 

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Replying to Topic 'Aftermarket NAV good'

No, they are not user defined, but you can store your own if you wish as favourites.

Nope, it doesn't tell what route is most fun. But it's rather fun just having the thing in the car. Another good reason to take the 6 for a spin...:D
 

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Sounds like a nice GPS, Steve. Thanks for the review.

1. When you approach complex intersection does it zoom in and higlight the route?
2. Does it display current vehicle speed, time travelled and time to destination?
3. Have you encountered roads (especially winding ones) where your car was displayed like it was travelling off the road or where GPS was confused?
4. Did you have troubles acquiring satellites in big cities/downtowns?

Thanks,
-Bob

P.S. another info site about the Destinator
 

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Replying to Topic 'Aftermarket NAV good'

QUOTE
Originally posted by mbd_int


            Sounds like a nice GPS, Steve. Thanks for the review.

1. When you approach complex intersection does it zoom in and higlight the route?
2. Does it display current vehicle speed, time travelled and time to destination?
3. Have you encountered roads (especially winding ones) where your car was displayed like it was travelling off the road or where GPS was confused?
4. Did you have troubles acquiring satellites in big cities/downtowns?

Thanks,
-Bob

P.S. another info site about the Destinator[/b]
1. Yes, it highlights the route all the time, marking the route with red while other streets/roads are black. No zooming though, I don't think it's necessary. The map is, at least in 3D, in zoom position all the time.
2. You can read current speed when watching the GPS data, don't know about the rest. I'll check the next time...
3. No. Never. The system interpolates position while in vehicle mode so you always are on the road. In pedestrian mode I think you can walk "between roads" on the map. Haven't yet tried that out yet.
4. No. Haven't tried it in any big cities like New York where skyscrapers cover the sky. But the Destinator has a 12 channel GPS. That's as good as it gets.

Hope this helps.
 

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Hi Steve,

Would it be possible for you to take a photo of the unit on your dash, so we can see how it looks.
Satellite Navigation is still relatively new in Australia, and not many cars have it fitted. I dont think its even an option on the Mazda6 here :-(
Does your unit popup from the centre bin on the dash?

Thanks
 

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Replying to Topic 'Aftermarket NAV good'

Steve,

1. What PDA do you have?
2. What car mount kit are you using? If it is vent mount, then how good is it on the 6?

Thanks,
-Bob

Just ordered the Destinator for my iPAQ 3955.
 

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Replying to Topic 'Aftermarket NAV good'

Bob, I have the 3630 iPAQ, and have not yet found a descent way to mount it in my car. There was a vent-mount (or two actually...) included in the kit, but it's useless on the 6 due to the unique vents on the car.

I am going to manufacture a steel plate and attach it to the bottom of the storage compartment on top of the dash, and bend it to follow the contour of the dash so the compartment can be closed anyway.

On that plate I will attach the VentMount unit. But I haven't had the time to fix this yet...
 

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Replying to Topic 'Aftermarket NAV good'

Here are some reasons why I would go for an integrated nav solution:
1. When you actually need it, you don't have the add-on/PDA solution with you (mostly)
2. When you leave the PDA in the car, it's another reason to break into the car and have it stolen
3. The built-in solution hides smoothly when you want it to
4. Systems that run on MS-Windows suck :D (o.k. my personal point of view)

But anyway, anyone who can live with the add-on...go get it. After all it's doing the same job. It's only a hassle if you'll have to install all that stuff every time.
 

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Replying to Topic 'Aftermarket NAV good'

QUOTE
Originally posted by Driver6


            Here are some reasons why I would go for an integrated nav solution:
1. When you actually need it, you don't have the add-on/PDA solution with you (mostly)
2. When you leave the PDA in the car, it's another reason to break into the car and have it stolen
3. The built-in solution hides smoothly when you want it to
4. Systems that run on MS-Windows suck :D (o.k. my personal point of view)

But anyway, anyone who can live with the add-on...go get it. After all it's doing the same job. It's only a hassle if you'll have to install all that stuff every time.[/b]
1. You're wrong. You can easily stowe it away in the car (out of sight) in the glove compartment (or even in the compartment where the integrated NAV is).
2. You don't have to leave it visible. And if you wish, you can use it in pedestrian mode also. Try that with the built-in NAV...
3. Yeah, and so does the add-ons...
4. Could be, but Pocket PC isn't very "windows" even though it has the appearance of it...

And oh...the Destintor described here is about a tenth of the cost...if you already have the iPAQ, that is...:D
 

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Replying to Topic 'A

Every system has its pros and cons. Just the fact that someone is preferring the one or the other solution doesn't mean that anyone else is wrong with his/her choice. Of course a portable system is great, that's why I prefer my laptop over my desktop pc. As far as aesthetics are concerned I try to avoid as many add-ons as possible in my car. That's what my concern was.

Need a mp3-player..get an add-on, need a md-player...get an add-on. After a while all that junk ends up in your glove compartment or your trunk. I don't need that. ;)

Edit: Are you able to load an entire map (Sweden) onto the iPaq or do you have to load excerpts from the full map onto the device for each trip?
 

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Replying to Topic 'Aftermarket NAV good'

Sweden is covered by four maps - north, west, east and south (Sweden is the second largest country in Europe, only France is a bit bigger); while Norway, Denmark and Finland is covered by one map each.

I live in a small town, and it knows its way around here. Even knows local things like restaurants, gas stations etc. Not all of them, but enough to serve me well if I had been a tourist here.
 
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