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FOLLOW-UP: Went up to Vancouver for a week and used TomTom 5 for getting around
Posted by Thomas Chan - on Monday, 07.08.06 - 12:19:39 CET under 07 - Follow-Ups - Viewed 18194x
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07.08.06: Here are some new/updated findings of using TomTom 5 and OnCourse Bluetooth GPS on such a trip:

1. Battery life of the OnCourse Bluetooth GPS device did last me about 4 days with around 3 hours usage each day. It is a bit short of the 15 hours advertised, but then my usage was not continuous and involved a lot of turning the unit on/off with short trips, which did drain the battery a bit more.

2. It's a great relief to travel without bringing along maps and having to read them on every planned route. And being able to get from point A to point B with the shortest routes was a great convenience. My mother in law thought I knew the routes like the locals, until my GPS unit ran out of battery on the last day while my car adapter was packed in the suit case. ;-)

3. Found one minor UI short coming is that TomTom does not give indication whether your destination is on your left or right. Most in car navigation systems provide this, which save you the trouble in looking out for street numbers to figure that out.

4. another quite significant UI shortcoming is that when navigating to an address, it asks for city name first without the option of skipping that part. When traveling, you may not know the city you are in or traveling to. We ran into this problem when traveling between Richmond and Victoria, trying to navigate to the ferry ramps, which are located in the city of Tsawwassen and Brentwood Bay. My in car navigation system allows you to enter street address, then gives you a list of cities to choose from. IMO, that would be a better user interface as it would at least give you a chance to take your best guess when the city name is not known to you.

5. POI navigation was not useful with the UI issue mentioned in the original review and I was not able to find Butchart Gardens on the list, which is supposed to be one of the main attractions.

6. did not get a chance to try out the traffic update as there wasn't a lot of traffic except on Friday afternoon, and I was able to navigate through local streets with the guidance of this GPS system.

So in summary, this is definitely a keeper. I was able to go all over town with this and surprisingly, it was very stable and I did not have to reset or restart anything. Kudos to both the Windows Mobile 5 platform and the TomTom software teams. If we can resolve those UI issues, this would definitely be a winner. Wonder how I have traveled and survived without this before.

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