Garmin iQue M5
- Easy to use, effective navigation
- Screen not bright enough for well-lit outdoor areas, poor battery life when GPS enabled
If you spend a lot of time driving around unfamiliar areas by yourself, the iQue M5 could be a substantial time saver. It is well-built and easy-to-use, but a little pricey.
Price$ 1,279.00 (AUD)
Garmin's iQue M5 elegantly blends the functions of a GPS and mobile handheld device into a surprisingly useful package. The Garmin unit runs on Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition, and comes with a full suite of Pocket PC applications, including Pocket Office and Windows Media Player Mobile. Data can be synchronised with a desktop PC via USB, infrared or Bluetooth.
At the heart of the 170g M5 is an Intel PXA272 XScale processor running at 416 MHz, laden with 64MB of RAM and 64MB of ROM. Familiar navigation buttons are present beneath the 3.5", 320 x 240 transflective display, which proved a touch dim in brightly lit outdoor conditions. The slim silver device features a protective cover and measures 72 x 128 x 19mm.
You can turn on the GPS by pulling out a foldaway antenna from the back of the device. It takes just a couple of minutes to access satellites and pinpoint a position. The antenna is surprisingly sensitive, and we were able to get a position reading even from within a house.
The GPS functions are driven by a 48MHz coprocessor, which keeps the entire system functioning quickly while accessing satellites and drawing maps. MapSource software is bundled to help navigate city streets, and it's quite easy to use. Routing functions are fully supported, so you can select a destination and the device will tell you how to get there. And if you miss a turn, it will plan a new route for you automatically, which is handy for those of us who can't navigate to save our lives.
A car cradle and charger is bundled, along with a speaker to amplify the voice directions. This is a clever inclusion, as the GPS has a significant effect on battery life. With the GPS enabled, the machine managed to push on for a little over four hours from full charge during our testing, compared with more than six-and-a-half with it turned off.
Bluetooth is included as standard, so it's possible to pair the device with a mobile phone, but corporate users looking for Wi-Fi support will be disappointed. A SDIO slot is present, though, so anyone desperate for Wi-Fi support could always add a compatible SD card.
The Garmin iQue M5 is a touch pricey; however, if you spend a lot of time navigating unfamiliar cities, it could pay for itself in no time.
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