HP iPAQ rx1950 Navigator review

Price when reviewed

We first reviewed the rx1950 Navigator bundle four months ago, but since then the software has been updated and we wanted to give it a second chance to shine.

HP iPAQ rx1950 Navigator review

And we still love HP’s compact and lightweight rx1950. At 130g, it’s only a touch heavier than the tiny i-mate PDA-N yet has a 3.5in 240 x 320 screen and integrated Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, there’s no room for a Bluetooth radio, there’s only 32MB of RAM and just 64MB of ROM, but it still feels nippy thanks to a 300MHz processor.

Another thing that hasn’t changed is the car mounting kit. While the concept of an all-in-one cradle, loudspeaker, suction mount and GPS receiver seems like a great idea, in practice it’s a pain. For a start, to generate suction you have to reach round and twist a large circular cap, but there’s nothing to grab hold of on the slippery surface. Then there’s the fact that the GPS receiver won’t work without power from the car, so you can’t use it while out walking.

However, the main point of contention in our original test was ViaMichelin’s Navigation software, which often took us to the wrong destination.

With the new 4.5 version of ViaMichelin Navigation and 2005.3 Tele Atlas maps, we’re happy to report that some of the problems have been addressed. While the old version regularly showed our position around 10m away from our actual location, it’s now much more accurate.

However, there are still problems. We were directed to drive the wrong way up a one-way street, frequently told to perform U-turns, and sometimes told when to exit a roundabout after we had driven onto it rather than being warned beforehand. ViaMichelin was one of two systems that didn’t take us to Farm Close, Lyne through address searching, so we had to pick it from the map.

And although ViaMichelin’s interface is clean and uncluttered, functions are limited. You can pick your origin and destination from a map or search for a destination through the menu, but you can’t build up trips with multiple stops. Address searching can also be frustrating, as there’s no auto-complete.

Unfortunately for HP, we still arrive at the same conclusion as before: the rx1950 is a superb PDA, but the software and GPS-cradle combination are simply not up to the job.

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