When portable GPS navigation systems first hit the market, they were slow, quirky, and in some instances, got you more lost with it than without it. With better hardware and more accurate maps, today's GPS systems finally have what they need to be an asset on the road. Travelling the roads of a foreign city without one seems almost unimaginable these days. Today, we check out Delphi's latest contribution to the GPS market, the NAV300.
The Delphi NAV300 features preloaded maps of the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, and Canada, even Puerto Rico. Driving directions are provided by the industry standard NAVTEQ mapping database which are accompanied by Text to Speech directions that announce street names and turn by turn directions. While driving around, the NAV300 dazzles you with branded icons, speed limit warnings, and when you start getting hungry, the ZAGAT survey steers you towards good grub you can trust.
Other unique features include Bluetooth hands-free capability and a built in rechargeable battery that allows you to take it with you while pounding the pavement on two feet. When not navigating, the NAV300 doubles as an MP3 and Movie player by simply plugging in a new SD Card loaded with either file type.
The NAV300 also has the option of a traffic information service via Clear Channel, using RDS-TMC (Radio Data System-Traffic Message Channel) technology to give real-time traffic data and weather report that helps the unit adapt its routing to help you bypass traffic jams, road closures, and extreme weather. This option is available for an additional $199, but will not be part of this review. Did I mention it has games and a calculator too?
What's In The Box?
Before we start setting things up, we need to pop open the box and make sure everything is there...
- NAV300 Portable GPS Navigation Unit with Map SD Card Installed
- Car Charger
- Suction Cup Mount
- Dashboard mounting plate
- Handspree Microphone
All instructions are included on the CD inside the box. Our unit was also recently updated with the new ZAGAT Survey software and GPS Updates so we were good to go. The included stylus kind of worried me because I know that fumbling around in the car is bad news. It's also a sign that onscreen letters and numbers might be on the small side. There's also nowhere to put the stylus in the NAV300 so it'll probably go missing pretty quickly. I decided to leave it in the box.
The NAV300 is a fairly compact unit that fits in the palm of your hand. At 7.6 oz, it's not heavy, but it's no lightweight either. Personally, I like my electronics with a little meat on the bones. The 3.5 inch Anti-Glare display sports a 16:9'ish aspect ratio and a 320x240 pixel resolution offer full touch screen capabilities. I was pleased to see that the screen had decent viewing angles which is important when placing it on the confines of a dashboard. On the face of the unit, the left side allows quick access to the main menu and the hands-free Bluetooth, while the right side features a set of up and down arrows for quick scrolling.
The back of the unit houses the speakers and the GPS antenna that folds flat when not in use. There are two speakers allowing the unit to bark out directions loud and proud or allow you to listen to your MP3's and movies. The sound quality isn't great so don't expect to get the party started with this player.
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