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Garmin iQue M5 Pocket PC with Integrated GPS

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GPS

The Garmin iQue M5 has a built-in GPS receiver. When you need to use the GPS, unlock the hinged panel antenna and turn it up 2-3 clicks to acquire satellite signal. The Garmin has a 12 parallel channel receiver with WAAS station support. The initial satellite acquisition for a 3D fix took about 2 minutes in our test in the Silicon Valley. Warm and hot starts take anywhere from ½ minute to 2 minutes depending on weather conditions. The receiver tracks about 5 satellites and sees a few more with WAAS turned on. The QueGPS, a part of the Garmin’s Que Technology, provides the interface for the receiver and visual report on GPS activities including the number of satellites in view and tracking in pie chart and bar chart modes, position info, elevation and speed and accuracy data. For battery power saving settings, the QueGPS offers three modes of operation: WAAS on, normal (without WAAS) and power saving modes. There is also a GPS signal status icon on the Today screen to keep you updated on the signal strength the receiver is getting.

screen shot

Above: the QueGPS screen

 

Map Installation

Unlike add-on GPS systems, the Garmin iQue M5 has the signature “Que” navigation technology. You will use the QueMap, QueFind, QueGPS, QueTrip, QueRoutes and QueTurns to navigate your trips. The only thing you will need to install is the map data. The Garmin ships with MapSource City Select North America version 6 which includes detailed maps of the US, Canada and even Puerto Rico. MapSource is a backbone mapping system that Garmin uses for most of their land and sea maps which supply data to Garmin’s wide variety of GPS devices. The map data is collected by NAVTEQ and the MapSource system provides the customization and download-ability for the map data. The City Select package included with the Garmin iQue M5 provides detailed maps of major metro areas as well as rural coverage. It includes streets, highways, interstates as well as turn restrictions and speed categories. The package includes over 5 million POIs (points of interest).

To install MapSource, click on the Install Map link from the included companion CD to start the installation process, followed by inserting the City Select Disk 1 and 2 alternately. Follow the installation process, then unlock the map data using the orange-colored unlock code sheet included with your Garmin. Once MapSource is installed on your computer, you are ready to plan trips, cut maps and install them to your Pocket PC.

MapSource gives you plenty of flexibility to create maps and routes, and keeps the file size down by cutting the map covering only needed areas. To plan trips, first you need to create destinations/waypoints in route planning mode. The pop-up window gives you the prompts to search for your destinations on the map, using them as waypoints and calculate routes and get direction. Once the routes have been planned, you will see the yellow highlight on the map and on the list of Routes showing you the length of the trip in distance and in estimated time. You can create multiple routes or send them to the iQue M5’s internal memory or an SD storage card.

 

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If you only need maps of certain areas, you can use the Map Tool in MapSource to select the areas you need and create your own maps. As you drag an area on the map, the MapSource software will show you the cities in the areas and the size of the map. You can also create multiple maps and download them to your Garmin for navigation on the Pocket PC. And yes, you can just enter a position (Lat/Long data) as a destination or waypoint. MapSource also allows you to track, upload trip records to or from your mobile device.

desktop map software

 

GPS Navigation

You can plan the trips on the desktop or navigate routes on your Pocket PC. MapSource gives you the tools to plan trips and get directions. In addition to creating destinations/waypoints or search POIs, you will likely need to play with the Routing Preferences. MapSource gives you many options to customize your routes, and these options will make you life a lot easier if you spend a bit of time to go through them. These options include calculating routes by faster time or shorter distance, by vehicle types (car/motorcycle, taxi, emergency, etc.), driving speed and by type of roads to avoid (highways, toll road, u-turns, etc.). If you don't have any preferences on any of these options, you can use the Auto-Routing to map out your trips.

The Garmin iQue M5 offers many ways to navigation routes and get directions on the Pocket PC. The integrated navigation software QueFind, QueRoute, QueMap, QueTurns and QueTrip allows you to map out trips and follow the step-by-step guidance to reach your destinations. The “Que navigation applications” are a little bit different from other navigation software available for the PDA, such as TomTom, Destinator or OnCourse Navigator. While most of the navigation software provides one interface for accessing maps, routing, guidance and tracking, the “Que Technology” separate these into several applications. So you will need to take some time and explore each application and see what functions they handle with which features.

To navigate with the Pocket PC, you can use several ways to get your destinations into QueRoute. You can use your current location or any location on the map, addresses you enter, addresses in Contacts, intersections or POIs as destinations for route mapping. To navigate from anywhere on the map, just tap a location on the map and save it as a destination. You can give it a name and file it under the categories you create for organizing your destinations. You can also enter a position value (Lat/Long numbers) as a destination. It's quite easy to search for an address if you can't find and pinpoint it on the map; just enter the full address or use the intersection and save it as a destination. The iQue M5 has a tight integration with the Contact application. If you have a full address in any of your contact, you can tap and hold that contact and follow the "Que" menu to tag that address for your route navigation. When you go to navigation application, the "tagged" addresses from your Contact database will appear as available destinations. The City Select map has an incredibly large number of POIs and the Que applications make it very easy for you to search for a useful POI close to your destinations.

The QueRoute on the Pocket PC offers the same type of options you will find in the MapSource desktop version. You can map out your route base on Faster Time, Shorter Distance, Off Road or even tip the sliders to set your preferences on adding or avoiding major roads, medium roads or minor roads. It offers the same options for vehicle types on the handheld as the desktop version. You can add avoidance for Highways, Toll Roads and Unpaved Roads or add any areas or roads you wish to avoid into the "avoidance" database. The navigation is easy to use once you've explored all the "Que Technology" applications.

The routes in our tests have been mapped well, especially after we played with the routing preferences, and we were satisfied by the different results based on our preference tweaking.

Guidance

Like other navigation software for PDAs, the Garmin has both map view and text turn-by-turn view for your driving convenience. You can actually watch a 3D demo of your mapped route before getting in your car. The QueMap offers large size fonts, color-coded road types and POI icons to make it easy for you to see and read the maps on the go. You can even assign special icons to any destinations you've created so that you can find them easily on the map. The mapped route will be highlighted and refreshes quickly as you progress on the route. There are several large menu buttons on top and the bottom of the map to give you easy access to Zooms, QueRoute, QueFind, map filter and "Where Am I" function. The map filter gives you the option to check off the POI types that you will never need to make the map view cleaner. The "Where Am I" button will bring up the info on your location, nearest major streets and the option to save this location to your destination database. Very convenient feature!

screen shot

Above: QueRoutes navigation application.


Above, a map on the Pocket PC.

If you wish to use the text-based directions, tap on the QueTurn icon after you've navigated a route. The QueTurn will show you the step-by-step turn directions with distance info for each turn. The text font is large and easy to see. All map guidance screens can automatically switch to night-view mode using the clock on the Pocket PC. You can track the trips and upload them to your desktop via ActiveSync.

The voice guidance seems to be on target unless there is a route recalculation on fly when you miss a turn. It gives you voice guidance twice for each turn, and once you have turned the voice guidance will tell you how long you need to drive on the current road. The voice volume is not hugely loud through the built-in speaker compared to the Mio 168, but should be sufficient for most road conditions and vehicles. But if your vehicle or the roads are very loud, consider using the included external speaker which is a part of the windshield mounting kit. The timing for the voice guidance is very good if you follow the original route. But if you miss a turn, the Garmin is a step too slow giving updated directions. However you can always use the map view or the text turn-by-turn directions to supplement the voice guidance.

About the Map Data

Like many GPS and navigation package bundles, the Garmin comes with the NAVTEQ map data for North America including all 50 US States, Canada and even Puerto Rico. NAVTEQ map data is one of the most detailed map sources and is usually updated every 6 to 12 months. The street-level maps and database from NAVTEQ include 5 million POIs (Points of Interest). They not only get the most up-to-date material collected from all levels of government, planning agencies, police and fire departments and aerial photographs, but they also collect first-hand data in real time. NAVTEQ has a large number of field offices staffed with over 400 analysts and engineers who drive every day to collect data and feed it daily to the live database. NAVTEQ uses up to 150 data attributes in each road segment that may affect the way you get from one place to another. These road attributes are characteristics of the roads and include road names, address ranges, turn-restrictions, one-way Info, time of day restrictions, speed limits, and more. If you wish to sample the map data, you can use MapQuest.com since it also uses the map data provided by NAVTEQ or check out NAVTEQ's web site.

Conclusion

Let's face it, you don't have many choices when it comes to PDAs with integrated GPS. There's the Palm OS Garmin iQue 3600 and 3200, and the Mitac Mio 168 Pocket PC. That said, the Garmin offers a strong set of features, including a fast processor, integrated Bluetooth, and the latest Windows Mobile operating system at press time. The GPS gets a good signal, and the map data is excellent. The navigation and guidance system offer plenty of features and are accurate and fairly easy to use once you familiarize yourself with the software. Since Garmin makes both the hardware and GPS software, you'll get one-stop shopping for support and upgrades. The price is high, and you could buy a 400MHz Pocket PC and separate Bluetooth GPS for a bit less cash, but you won't get the integration.

Pro: Fast processor; unless you're a speed demon who must have the very fastest processor available, you should be pleased with the Garmin. Excellent graphics perforrmance. Integrated Bluetooth and an SDIO slot make expansion a breeze. Solid GPS hardware and software. Excellent maps with a large number of POI's.

Con: The separate Que apps raise the learning curve. Rather than learning the features of one central application, you'll have to learn the in's and out's of each app. The Bluetooth software is less than intuitive. The price is high!

Web Site: www.garmin.com

List Price: $750

Shopping: Where to Buy

 

Specs:

Display: Transflective TFT color LCD. 64K colors, screen size diag: 3.5". Resolution: 240 x 320.

Battery: Lithium Ion Polymer rechargeable. Battery is user replaceable. 1250 mA.

Performance: Intel XScale PXA 272 416 MHz processor. 64 MB built-in RAM (63.07 megs available). 64 MB Flash ROM with 15 megs available in Safe Store for your use.

Size: 5 x 2.8 x .8 inches. Weight: 5.9 ounces.

GPS receiver: WAAS enabled, 12 parallel channels. Integrated flip-up antenna.

Audio: Built in speaker, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone jack. Voice Recorder and Windows Pocket Media Player 10 included for your MP3 pleasure. Has vibrating alarms.

Networking: Integrated Bluetooth 1.1.

Software: Windows Mobile 2003 SE. Microsoft Pocket Office suite including Pocket Word, Excel, Internet Explorer, and Outlook. Also, Terminal Services, MSN Instant Messenger for Pocket PC, File Explorer, Pictures, Windows Media Player 10 and Voice Recorder as well as handwriting recognition. 3rd party software and value-added software: Sprite Backup and BT Explorer. Garmin Que GPS software. MapSource mapping software for PC. ActiveSync 3.7 and Outlook 2002 for PCs included.

Expansion: 1 SD (Secure Digital) slot supporting SDIO and SDIO Now!.

 

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