ASUS R600

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ASUS R600
  • ASUS R600
  • ASUS R600
  • ASUS R600

Pros

  • Large 4.3in display with auto light sensor, solid Destinator navigational software, Bluetooth handsfree calling

Cons

  • Large and bulky, chunky window mount, no text-to-speech technology

Bottom Line

The R600 is a solid, but not outstanding GPS unit. Its large display and simple user interface are positives, but the large, bulky size, combined with a lack of text-to-speech technology are downsides.

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Offering fully fledged turn-by-turn navigation, a photo viewer, video and music player and handsfree Bluetooth connectivity, the ASUS R600 is a well specified GPS system. It's not the most compact unit on the market, but its features and ease of use make it a decent, if not outstanding choice.

The R600 has a straightforward, simple interface with clearly labelled selection boxes for most sections. The large 4.3in display is bright and clear and contributes greatly to an excellent user experience. Depending on the lighting of where you are, a built-in light sensor automatically optimises the backlighting of the LCD.

The downside to a large display is that the design of the R600 has been compensated. This is one of the largest GPS units we've seen recently and the bulge on the rear right of the unit makes it a heavy unit. This also affects the window mount as well – it's large and bulky and does take a lot of space, especially on smaller windscreens.

The strength of the R600 is the solid Destinator navigational software, also used on previous Hitachi models. Unlike most other units, suburbs aren't filtered by state. Instead you'll get a full list of suburbs in Australia, with the state in brackets. For example, Fairfield (NSW) and Fairfield (VIC). Street names are then filtered by suburb, reducing the list of streets during searching to a manageable number. The R600 allows navigation directly to a house number or to the middle of a street.

The main menu of the Destinator software consists of large boxes with text and coloured icons. Tapping the settings button on this screen also allows users to adjust all navigational options, while a host of POI's are available, such as airports, shopping centres, parking stations, hospitals and cafes. In our driving tests, the R600 took an average of between 30 seconds and a minute to acquire a signal. It uses the popular SiRF Star III GPS chipset seen in many other units currently on the market and re-routing times were positive as well, taking just a couple of seconds in most instances.

The maps are simple and easy to read and can be zoomed in and out of easily using the large + and - controls on the touch screen. Users can select either a 3D or 2D view, switch between day and night mode and plan multi-stop trips. The R600 also has an avoid roads feature; you can program the unit to avoid certain roads when you plan your trip. The R600's voice commands were loud at the highest volume, although there is only one English voice option and no text-to-speech technology.

Bluetooth 2.0 is present for handsfree calling via your mobile phone. In addition to being able to answer incoming calls automatically after five seconds (if you wish), you can use the R600's touch screen to dial phone numbers and view your call log. Unfortunately, you can't access your phonebook or read messages through the unit.

A basic MP3 player, photo viewer and video player are also features. Files can be stored on the unit's 64MB of internal memory, or on an SD card – the latter means you'll have to buy an extra card and swap them over, so you can't use the GPS functionality until you reinsert the default card.

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