The first time you launch the GPS software on your Pocket PC,
it will bring up a Bluetooth Console window showing you the BT-GPS
with which your Axim will pair. If this process doesn't start automatically,
go to Settings, click on the Connections tap to start the Bluetooth
Manager manually. The process is fast and simple.
The Dell branded Bluetooth GPS receiver has
three LED lights on top indicating Bluetooth connection, satellite
status and low-battery warning. There is an A/C port as well
as a power on/off switch on the left side of the receiver. There
is also an external antenna port on the right side should you
choose to get an external receiver to help with signal reception.
The 12-channel GPS receiver uses the SiRF II/LP high performance
and low power chipset. It comes with a built-in Li-Ion rechargeable
battery which can be charged via the in-vehicle adapter. The
receiver is WAAS enabled. Dell provides a dashboard/windshield
suction cup mount along with a PDA pouch that can hold your PDA
in place. The pouch has Velcro straps that can connect to the
mount securely. The mount has a flexible arm that allows you
to aim the Pocket PC to the best viewing angle.
The Dell Bluetooth GPS took under 1 minute to get a 3D fix in
a cold start, and only a few seconds in warm and hot starts. It
consistently tracks 6-7 GPS satellites with 11 in view. You can
check the GPS status anytime by either clicking on the GPS shortcut
icon in the map view or by accessing the Menu->Features->GPS
Status. The GPS Status screen gives you a quick view of the number
of satellites that are being tracked and the signal strength level,
location-based information such as Latitude, Longitude, Altitude
and moving Speed. This screen also provides you the UTC (Greenwich
Mean Time) and your local time. The NMEA window shows you the incoming
satellite data which is also shown in the graphics below. The Dell
receiver gets very strong signal in the Silicon Valley. I can even
get pretty good signal indoors with partial access to the sky.
You can access the map, calculate routes and get guidance using
the navigation software on your Pocket PC. The navigation software
makes it easy to find or enter destinations for calculating routes
and viewing them on maps. The navigation software is integrated
with your Outlook Contact database, so if you have an address in
your Contacts, you can easily look it up and set it as your destination.
If it's a new destination, you can enter it as a new address, an
intersection or by selecting a POI (Point of Interest) from the
map database. If you have entered the destinations before, you
can save them into your Favorites for later use, or simply look
up one in the Recent destination list. If you have no clue about
the street address you are looking for, the navigation software
has a very nice feature where it lists all the street names in
a City. Once you've set the origin and destination, you can calculate
the route. The navigation software also allows you to add waypoints
or detours easily to routes you've calculated.
The hardest part in route calculation for navigation software
is often related to how much users can customize their own routes
based on their travel needs and how well the routing and map reflect
their customization. The Dell navigation software does well by
offering many options to help narrow down to the best routing options
possible. You can choose either the Fastest or the Shortest route,
Main Roads or Local Roads and you can choose to include or exclude
Ferries, Toll Roads and Carpool Roads. The route calculations have
proved to be quite accurate in our tests and handled various option
combinations well in our route customization.
There are several guidance options for you to follow the route
to your destinations. The map view, which can be displayed in either
2D or 3D, offers a visual display of your route by highlighting
it in bright red color (for daylight mode) and green color (in
night time mode). The maps often include some basic topographical
indications by marking waters, parks and various types of POI in
different colors, as well as marking road types in different colored
lines. There are also options for viewing the map in daylight mode
or night time mode to suit different levels of light, and if you
don't touch these options, the navigation software will automatically
turn the appropriate mode on based on what time it is when you
are driving. The Maneuver Details view adds turn-by-turn instructions
to the map view so that you can see both the route map and text
instructions on the same screen. The text instructions are accompanied
by estimated time of arrival and the distance to the next turn.
You will also see a progress bar appear when near a turn to show
you how close you are to the turn. There is also an option where
you can choose just to read the turn-by-turn instructions in text.
The voice guidance comes on a few hundred feet
before a turn with a small "dong" sound at the turn.
The turn warning only comes on once for one turn, in comparison
Destinator gives two turn warnings. The volume is quite high
and can easily be heard over the driving noise. There is a convenient
shortcut below the map for adjusting the voice volume.
The navigation software will recalculate the route if you've missed
a turn on fly. The recalculations seem to be slower than other
recent GPS solutions we've tested. However the recalculations have
been very accurate which means it won't make you take too many
turns to get back on the right route. Combine the slow route recalculation
and the minimalism in voice warning, it might create some confusions
when you drive off of the planned route. Once saving grace is that
the route display is very clear on the map, you will see you've
gone off the course the minute you've missed the turn. The map
re-draw is very smooth on the 624MHz X30 when tracking your position
on the map.
In addition to these guidance options, Dell
navigation software offers a couple of safety features including
Speed Alert and Fog Driving. Speed Alert allows you to set a
fix speed limit or give you the best guess of the speed limit
based on the class of the roads if you choose the automatic speed
limit. When you drive over the speed limit, you will get voice
warnings. The Fog Driving is a very nice feature if you live
in the fog zone of cities such as San Francisco. The guidance
system will give you a special "Dong" warning
sound when you approach a four-way intersection, which will be
very useful when you can't see it too far ahead of the time in
a thick fog. The Dell navigation software also offers the option
to record and playback your trips.
For easy and quick access to some major routing and guidance features,
you can assign the hardware buttons on your Dell Axim to launch
3D map mode, Detour, Current Position, Enter Destination and more.
The Dell GPS Navigation System uses the NAVTECH map data which
has one of the most detailed map sources and is usually updated
in the last 6 months to one year. The North America map bundle
includes street-level maps and highway data for the 49 States
in the US as well as selected metro areas and highways of Canada.
The street-level maps and database from NAVTECH include a large
number of 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. NAVTECH has
over 100 field offices staffed with over 400 analysts and engineers
who drive everyday to collect data and feed it daily to the live
database. NAVTECH 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 NAVTECH or check out NAVTECH's
web site. In the Dell GPS package, you will find a bingo card
from NAVTECH. If you mail the card in you will get future map
If you have a Bluetooth enabled Dell Axim
X30 or X50 and need
a GPS, this package is a sound and solid solution.
GPS receiver gets great signal strength and is quick to get fixes.
The in-vehicle power adapter can charge both the GPS receiver and the handheld
at the same time.
The route calculations are reasonable accurate with good number of options
to customize your trips.
Map views and turn-by-turn instructions are easy to see.
The voice guidance has good timing and very good volume.
Some nifty features such as Fog Driving, trip recorder and Almanac are added
The PDA holder in the mounting kit isn't very sturdy which means you probably
will look for another holder or mounting kit.
The route recalculation needs more tweaking to speed up the process.
It could use more voice guidance than what it offers now.