In a continued effort to check out the latest and greatest accessories for our toys, I contacted Garmin and requested to try out their Garmin Mobile 10 navigation package. They were quick to respond and sent me a package via overnight mail to try out. I have used TomTom and Odyssey Mobile in the past but have never tried the Garmin Navigation software, so this was exciting for me to try it out. I got it in the mail the next day and tore into the box. The Garmin Mobile 10 package is a combination of navigational software and their Bluetooth GPS receiver. The GPS receiver is called the GPS 10X. The software itself is called Garmin XT. It is compatible with Windows Mobile for Smartphone and Pocket PC, Palm Treo, and Nokia S60 2nd and 3rd edition. Bluetooth is required on your device. My review will be focused on the main features of this. I tend to try show the everyday users such as myself the good and the bad. While I may not get into every single detail, I think you will find this very informative.
What you get
This package contains all you need to get going. Inside the box, you get the Garmin Bluetooth GPS receiver, a plastic clip on belt clip for it, GPS battery, car power cord, instructions and inserts, and the software that is loaded with the application and maps on a Mini-SD card with SD adaptor. Traffic alerts, Weather, Hotel rates/ratings and fuel prices are also available through the software, as long as you have a data plan to get onto the internet. All in all, it’s a complete package. Note that the package I got was Garmin Mobile 10 for Smartphones. The package for the PDA’s is different, but the same software. Also note that you can get the software separately as well, which will most likely be on a DVD.
Product Highlights and Specs:
-Navigation to your destination or POI with detailed information
-Plug and Play package
-SiRFstarII GPS receiver (which also can be used with a Laptop)
-Turn by Turn voice and auto recalculation
-Compatible with multiple platforms as listed
-Very finger friendly
I am using an iPAQ 210 for my testing device. I made sure I made a data backup should there be any issues. After I tore open the box earlier and looked at what was inside, I installed the software. The software, which is on the memory card, is plug and play. A window pops up on screen asking you if you want to install and run it. I clicked Yes. Done, it was ready to go. I turned on the Bluetooth on my device and the GPS receiver, all the while sitting at my desk at home. I enabled the communication between the receiver, the device and the software. Within probably 30 seconds, I had a solid fix with the Garmin GPS. I was impressed with that. I have always used a compact flash GPS receiver in the past, which has taken a little longer to get a good fix on. This was also the first time I have ever used a Bluetooth GPS Receiver. I may actually have to buy one of these receivers because I can already see the benefits. Inside the box is a 17 page setup and go manual/ guide. With the exception of briefly opening it, I did not have to read it to get this working. This shows you how simple this is to run. I went through the various screens of the software, which by the way is very finger friendly. The software I was testing was version 4.20.50wp.
Before I get to the different screens, let’s talk briefly about the GPS receiver. A battery comes with it. In my case, the battery was already installed because I have a loaner unit. The official size of the receiver is 1.65"W x 3.04"H x .7"D. It is reported to give up to 22 hours of use on a full charge. It comes with a belt clip and a power adaptor for the car, which connects to the receiver via mini-usb. It is a nice light little gray unit with a power button, power and Bluetooth indicator light. There are 4 rubber feet on the bottom as well. To me, it feels like and reminds me of a pager and is very light.
Here are the screens and a little description of their functionality and purposes.
On the main screen, you have buttons for your destination (Where to), map viewing, Tools, settings, Exit, and an icon at the upper left to get to the BT receiver connection. The “?” is you help button for topics
Garmin Online-Here is where you can access the traffic, fuel, hotel info, and weather. You need data access to the web for this. I checked it out and it is pretty neat. If you click on the weather, you get the current and upcoming forecast for your location, which can be edited. If you click fuel prices, the data comes back with the gas prices and locations based on your current GPS location. You choose one and it will route you to that gas station. If you choose the hotel rate check, you get a list of hotels, their rates and miles to. You can select one to get routed to that hotel. I tried the traffic option but no data was returned form where I am.
Route Details: This gives you the written details of you trip/route you set up
Browse Map- This is pretty self explanatory. Map pops up and you can explore it from here. You can zoom and also put some pins into to save the locations to you’re my locations area.
Where am I: This gives you the location detail of where you are when you click on it. This can come in handy if you have no idea where you are and need to call someone or some sort of emergency service. It lists the nearest address, your current location coordinates, and the nearest major intersections.
Manage my Data: Access your info saved such as your locations, contacts, tracks, map sets, and custom POI. IN your locations for example, you can change the name of it, change the locations, delete it, change the categories or symbol. Very customizable.
Trip Computer: This shows a bunch of different times, speeds, etc of the route you are on.
Simulate Route: This will allow you to check your route out after you have set it up. You are not connected to a live GPS when you activate this.
Map- This screen lets you customize your map settings. Examples are 3D, map features, street labels, etc. There are a lot of options. You can let them stay as is, change a coupe or change them all. It is all up to you.
System- These are additional system settings.
Routing- This is your routing preferences screen. A think I liked about this is that you can change it to show car, motorcycle, pedestrian, emergency, bus etc. There are 9 settings for this. But I really liked the pedestrian option, which I why I think the belt clip is in the box.
Display-These are your display settings. Very straight forward.
Audio- This is your audio settings screen. Very straight forward
Garmin Online-This is where you allow or do not allow access to go online for the data services. You can also set it up to prompt you for access as well.
Proximity Points: Additional custom POI based on your needs. You are notified via an alert / tone when you are nearing the data that you had set as the proximity point. The alert tone is extra, as if you were using just a POI, you would get an on screen only notification. The proximity points give you visual and verbal notifications.
About-This lists the software version and licensing info
Restore defaults-Pressing this resets the GPS software back to factory settings. Another nice feature I think.
VIEW MAP (On main screen) - this brings you right to the map
WHERE TO (On main screen) - This is where you set your route. You have several options to choose form.
-You can set your home address as your “home”.
-Set up by keying in the specific address,
-Go to a POI (hotel, mall, Food, Fuel, Attractions etc),
-Contacts (which reads the info from your built-in contacts application on your device)
-My locations- your destinations you have saved / programmed
-Recent Finds (your recent routes)
-Extras-This is where your Custom POI’s and extra downloaded map items would me. You can route directly to these
-Cities- cities and towns that are near your current location pop up
-Intersections-another search feature
-Coordinates-Type in the coordinate of you have that info
GPS INFO- This area gives you your GPS connection info. There are also bars on the screen that show you signal strength as well. Note that the software works with some 3rd party GPS receivers, but not all. I would suggest that if you have a question on your particular device / receiver, that you contact Garmin Support before purchasing the software for compatibility purposes. If you have built in GPS on your device, you should not need the extra receiver. Do a little research first. I tried to connecting to my CF Receiver, but I could not get it to communicate.
How does it work
My original intention was to put this to a three week test because I was gong out of town. My plans changed and I had to cut it extremely short, so I stuck to local trips. I took it out on some trips around for testing in the car. Because the iPAQ 210 itself has low volume output with the built-in external speaker, you may need to use an external speaker or car stereo adaptor. I used a cassette adaptor to hear the voices on the car radio. The destinations programming was easy to do. When you program an address, you input the State first. The city name is next. You get the option to type the city name in or search all cities, based on the street address you type in after that. For example, I chose that option to search all cities and only typed in a street address of my destination. I typed in “100 West.” It gave me results of any street names called “100 West (ST, Ave, CT, etc)” in any city in the state I chose. It also listed the city/town info. I programmed my trips this way and I had also used the “Home” feature as well to come back. All times, directions and routes were perfect. The voice prompts were clear. I went in a different route to activate the auto reroute feature. That worked as well. There is not a lot of clutter on the route page that you are looking at when you are moving. Depending on where you are, the street info and or the next action is also shown on screen. There is a - / + button for screen zooming. I liked to see more detail on the streets I am driving, so I zoomed close, but that is all up to your preferences. I was not disappointed at all in the in car performance. The GPS receiver gets a fix real fast.
I tried it in both landscape and portrait views also. Same good performance and screen looks. I mentioned above that the screens were very finger friendly. I only used my stylus a few times when the package arrived.
I tried it in pedestrian mode as well. I walked my son to school, carried my iPAQ and had the receiver on the belt clip on my belt. I was not able to get a fix this way. There was a constant popup message and scanning bar saying it was trying to acquire a better signal. On the way home, I held the receiver in my other hand and had the same thing happen. I thought maybe that the trees were a problem, but I do not think so. There were many spots I was in where these were no overhead obstacles and the sky was clear. I do not know why it did not connect, especially since I got a fix from inside the house.
I tried it again on a different walking route in my neighborhood. It worked great. I got a signal on the GPS when it was on my belt with the clip and when it was in my pocket of my shorts. I could see where I was walking when I just went into view map mode. When I set up the directions for going home, it gives you the voice prompt to drive, but the written direction on screen say walk. This was accurate all the way home. A cool thing also was that I could zoom out and see my whole neighborhood and the town and streets around me. I thought this is cool, especially if you are in an unfamiliar area and walking around in a city or town. On my second pedestrian walk, I had gone under the same tree cover conditions as I did the first time when I did not get a GPS fix then. I guess I will have to admit there was probably some user error involved in the first case.
There is another feature I need to tell you about that I was not able to test because I have a traditional PDA. If you were using this software on a Smartphone, you would have an option that appeared called “peerpoints.” In a nutshell, as it was described to me, it’s basically sending a text message to someone else who has the Garmin software that includes a dynamic map of where you are in the message. The person receiving this message would be able to route to you. If the person who got the message did not have the Garmin navigation software, they would instead get a street address and static map. Sounds pretty cool to me.
-Easy to use
-The bundle seems expensive to me. (A positive from this is that you are paying for quality and you can find it for a lower price through an online dealer)
Pricing and availability
You can purchase this from Garmin or through one of their dealers. Visit the How to Buy page for details. The suggested retail price for the Garmin Mobile XT maps are $99.99. If you want the Garmin Mobile 10 bundle (The software and the receiver), the suggested cost is $199.99. Visit through the dealer links and you will probably find a better price on it.
Garmin has a buyers guide you can also visit.
First off, thank you to Garmin for sending this test unit for me to try out. The representative that contacted me when I made the request has been awesome to work with. Being a TomTom user for years, I thought it could not get any simpler or easier to use a GPS. That was until I actually used the Garmin XT set up. I was very impressed with the simplicity and accuracy of it. Plug, Play, and Go. I am a fan of simple. But don’t let that fool you because it is loaded with lots of features as well. You can’t get any easier than that. Not using any previous versions of Garmin GPS software in the past, I cannot make any comparisons of the different versions and the, what got better and what did not. However, as a first time Garmin user, I was very pleased. I am also very pleased to see that Garmin is still supporting traditional PDA’s for GPS software navigation. If you get a change to try one out or see it in action, do it. It was fun and you will like it.