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iPAQ 310 Travel Companion GPS

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In a tumble of 2006, HP dipped a toe in a GPS marketplace with a navigation-equipped PDA, a iPAQ RX5900 Travel Companion. More than a year later, a association has finally taken a thrust with a initial dedicated GPS device, a $449 iPAQ 310 Travel Companion. Offering a sleek-looking pattern and a beautiful wide-screen display, a iPAQ 310 is packaged with all a higher-end facilities and extras we’ve come to pattern from GPS in a cost range. Unfortunately, indolent opening and refractory navigation reason it behind from a crowd.

Measuring 4.3×3.4×0.7 inches and weighing 6.6 ounces, a iPAQ 310 boasts a slim support that’s both appealing and portable. The centerpiece of a device is a 4.3-inch touch-screen display: with a pointy 800×480-pixel resolution, clever backlighting, and effective antiglare coating, it’s one of a nicest screens we’ve seen on a GPS device. You’ll find a few other well-thought-out pattern features, including a built-in stylus-storage container and multiuse lope dial that lets we adjust volume and shade liughtness yet wading by menu screens. We also like that HP used a customary mini-USB pier for both information sync and charging (many GPS inclination use a exclusive connection). There’s also a headphone jack, a microphone jack, and a SD/SDHC label container for supplementing a device’s 2GB of onboard memory.

Thanks to a wide-screen display, a iPAQ 310’s user interface looked transparent and vibrant, with entertaining content and big, confidant menu icons. One would consider such a attractive interface would be easy to navigate, yet unfortunately, that isn’t a case. Our biggest beef is with a menu icons: We found it tough to tell what functions certain icons represented or what shade they would take us to. As a result, we were constantly dire a wrong idol for even elementary tasks such as pausing song playback or returning to a prior screen. And while a hold shade was responsive, a opening was usually plain slow; after dire a menu icon, we mostly had to wait several seconds before a device installed a new screen.

Our categorical dispute with iPAQ 310, however—and it’s a deal-breaker—is a bad navigation performance. The difficulty started during power-up: each time we attempted to enter a navigation mode, we had to accept a disclaimer before a section would start acid for a satellite signal. (We couldn’t find an choice to invalidate this feature.) The device’s flaky course-plotting was an even bigger letdown. Our initial exam was a elementary track calculation between dual neighborhoods in Queens, New York. Instead of a candid 10-mile outing we expected, a iPAQ 310 conjured adult a devious track that sent us north by a Bronx.

Over a march of a testing, we gifted a brew of spot-on track calculation and wonky directions—a churned bag, during best. What’s more, while a device’s 2D and 3D maps were splendid and legible, a voice prompts on a text-to-speech underline sounded perplexed and a diction of transport names was reduction accurate than those we’ve listened on other devices. Worst of all, a iPAQ 310 totally sealed adult during several prolonged trips, forcing us to reset. You have to use a stylus (or any other tiny implement) to press a device’s reset button—not a safest thing to try while behind a wheel. Still, some aspects of a navigation complement have their merits. In further to a customary route-planning facilities that are built in to a device, we can devise routes on HP’s iPAQ Web site and download them directly to a iPAQ 310. This underline was still in beta during press time, yet we found it worked well: it’s a useful choice for those who need to customarily pre-plan multi-day routes with churned stops.

Another accessible feature: a iPAQ 310 comes preloaded with Tele Atlas maps of both a United States and Puerto Rico; we can bucket additional map information regulating a device’s SD-card slot. Also onboard are over 12 million points of seductiveness in several categories such as entertainment parks, restaurants, and gas stations. The device will even describe certain landmark buildings in a 3D map view; yet some-more gimmicky than practical, we suspicion this underline done good use of a screen.

The extras, duration are a churned bag. Like many high-end GPS inclination on a market, a iPAQ 310 pulls double avocation as a unstable media player, charity music, video, and print support; it can hoop a decent series of record types, including DRM-protected WMA audio marks purchased from online stores such as Rhapsody and Napster. You can also sync a device with your Microsoft Outlook contacts or use a built-in Bluetooth 2.0 to bond it to a concordant wireless headset or phone. (Live trade information is accessible around an discretionary receiver.)

As we expected, video playback looked good on a colourful display, yet once again, we gifted some opening hang-ups. In a tests, a WMV files we played stuttered constantly, as if a device were not absolute adequate to routine a files. And that wasn’t a usually audio problem: a built-in orator is diseased and tinny-sounding. Bluetooth connectivity, on a other hand, was straightforward: a device simply famous a Samsung Blackjack that we attempted to span it with.

Overall, HP’s newbie GPS doesn’t seem prepared for primary time. Though a association took good caring in conceptualizing a attractive device with a beautiful shade and lots of features, interface and opening issues make it formidable to suffer a good points. More pointedly, refractory navigation abilities done us retiring to use a iPAQ 310 as a transport companion. With all a clever offerings out there from determined competitors like Garmin, Magellan, Mio, and TomTom, we simply can’t suggest it.

Hewlett-Packard Co., 877-203-6108

www.hp.com

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