I usually don’t get Christmas gift. Not that I don’t want one, but nobody gives me, including my wife. We give each other gifts at anniversary as well as on birthdays, but not Christmas. This year, however, I did get a little Christmas gift, a Pocket Loox N100 portable GPS navigator. But it wasn’t from my wife.
About two weeks ago, I got an email from TigerDirect at midnight with an ad of the Pocket Loox N100 on sale at $99. Though we have a GPS on our 2005 Odyssey, I always wanted one that I can carry with me, one that’s small and not too expensive. One that we can use if we travel. The minute I got that email and saw the price, I went immediately to the site to check it out. Meanwhile, I did a quick search to find some reviews of the device (on Cnet.com and gpsmagazine.com) which made me feel it is the one that I want. Then, without wasting too much time, I ordered one before it was gone the next day.
Since receiving the device, I have used it a couple of times just to test it (I don’t need a GPS just to go from home to work) and here are my quick observations.
It’s small yet elegant. Loox is shorter than my Razor phone, but slightly wider and thicker. I can carry it in my pocket without feeling too much extra weight.
The touch screen is clear and sharp. Some people complained the reflective screen makes it hard to see what’s on the screen at certain conditions, I found that can only happen at some extreme angles.
The map and the navigation are quite accurate. Though there are errors, they are marginal.
It’s not just a GPS navigator, but also a multimedia player. I can use it to play MP3 music and video.
It supports both 2D and 3D maps with street names and POI information.
It supports Day/Night modes, so I can switch between them to have different contrast on the screen for different driving conditions.
It shows speed limit information and alerts me when I exceed the limit. This is actually very helpful.
A fully charged battery can last up to four hours and the packages supplies a car charger so I don’t have to worry it runs out of battery when driving long distance.
The device only needs to be calibrated once as long as the battery stays. And when it’s turned off, the previous session will be saved.
The biggest drawback is its slow response. When I turned it on the road, I had to wait several minutes before it was ready due to bad reception of the GPS signal.
If I quit current session and restart the navigator, it takes about 50 seconds to just load the map.
Every time the navigator is restarted, I have to choose a map before starting navigation. No default selection.
Making a change while driving is quite difficult because of the small screen and small buttons. And because of the small size, it won’t be easy to see the map and road names if the navigator is mounted on the windshield.
Build-in speaker isn’t very helpful even when the volume is high. To hear the turn-by-turn instruction, I have to use the ear phone.
Though it can be used as a multimedia device, the pre-loaded maps use most of the 2GB capacity of the miniSD card. To play movie with it, a higher capacity card is needed.
The package doesn’t include a case.
In summary, it’s an affordable device that does the job of getting me to my destination and I can use it both on and off the road. There are many GPS navigators out there that are more powerful and with more functions, but at less than $100, the Loox is enough for me.
*Photo from gpsmagazine.com
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