Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Uniden TRAX 5000 GPS unit
Uniden's latest GPS unit comes with a massive 5in touch screen and features 3D terrain
- 5in display, aesthetically pleasing design, simple and easy to use UI, clear map screen, lane guidance, 3D terrain software
- Screen can be hard to see in sunlight, keyboard can't be changed from standard ABC layout, can't adjust volume from the map display, volume could be louder, no Australian text-to-speech voice
With an extra-large display, a good user interface and some nifty mapping features, Uniden's TRAX 5000 is certainly good value for money. It has a few niggles that detract from the overall experience, though, but if you can get past these you're left with a competent GPS unit.
Price$ 349.95 (AUD)
With one of the largest screens we've seen on a GPS device, Uniden's TRAX 5000 certainly looks appealing at first glance. Also boasting advanced lane guidance, 3D landmarks and terrain and built-in safety warnings, the TRAX 5000 is good value for money, but it has a few frustrating niggles that detract from its overall appeal.
The Uniden TRAX 5000 has a flat display with a glossy black bezel. From the front it's quite a stylish GPS, and the flat design makes using the touch screen effortless. The resistive touch screen doesn’t require a firm press to activate — using the TRAX 5000 is zippy and responsive. At 5in, the TRAX 5000's display is one of the biggest on the market, though it does reflect sunlight, so it's sometimes difficult to see.
The user interface is simple, colourful and effective. It's certainly an improvement on previous Uniden GPS models, which offered plenty of features but lacked an easy to grasp interface.
The Uniden TRAX 5000's software takes a little longer than we expected to power up, but once operational provides a comprehensive navigation experience. The main menu has a simple layout: three large buttons for "destination", "My Route" and "more". Navigating to an address on the Uniden TRAX 5000 is a five-step process (the selection of country, state, city and street name and number) but it takes place on a single screen. We liked the fact that a single press of the "destination" button shows the last address you navigated to, in addition to the options to search for an address, a place or a saved favourite. When searching, the TRAX 5000's large on-screen keyboard eliminates letters which do not correspond to possible addresses, but it can't be changed from the standard ABC layout to a QWERTY one.
The Uniden TRAX 5000's map screen is clear and effective. Street names are clearly displayed on the map and the layout is uncluttered. We also liked the day and night themes — you can select from a variety of themes and most of them are bright and clear. One annoyance is the fact that you can't adjust voice volume on the map display — you'll have to go into the settings menu to do so and it’s a frustratingly lengthy five-touch process. We also found volume wasn't loud enough, even at its highest setting. When travelling with the driver's window open in busy areas we found it difficult to hear the voice instructions at times. Fixed speed and red-light camera alerts and an over-speed alert are both included.
The Uniden TRAX 5000 has text-to-speech technology, but only two voices out of the 12 available announce street names. Unfortunately, both of these are American (the two Australian voices don't announce street names), and they struggle with the pronunciation of even basic words such as road. Being told to "turn left at Hunter raad" is rather underwhelming. The TRAX 5000 doesn't include Bluetooth hands-free and Uniden has stated no models in the future will come with Bluetooth either — the company claims its customers favour of using a separate device to handle mobile voice calls in the car and that Bluetooth on GPS units is plagued by poor quality.
A real strength of the Uniden TRAX 5000 is its 3D terrain software, which shows road elevations and land contours. This is very useful for displaying bridges and underpasses. The TRAX 5000 also includes 3D city maps that show important buildings and areas of interest, though the map screen can become cluttered when driving through the city with these switched on. Advanced lane guidance and signpost information are also included. Though only useful for large freeway and motorway exits and intersections, the lane guidance feature is handy.
The Uniden TRAX 5000's battery life is rated at up to three hours, which is about average. We experienced closer to 2.5 hours of battery life before it needed a recharge — this is likely due to the size of the display.
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