August 15, 2005

GPS Review: Pharos EZ Road Pocket GPS Navigator

Pharos has released a new compact GPS reciever that includes MP3 support in a small handheld size that can go anywhere as well as funciton well as an automotive navigation system.

The Pharos EZ Road Pocket GPS Navigator is based on the same shell as the Mio 136 GPS receiver, which houses a a 3.5" touchscreen in 65,000 colors at a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels. The GPS connects to your computer to download maps (not pre-loaded) through a USB connection (ver. 1.1), and updates through Microsoft's ActiveSync program. The unit comes with a 128MB SD card for storing maps or MP3's. Since that will fill up fast, you'll probably want to get a bigger one for yourself anyway. The unit also comes with a suction cup mount for the car, which is reported to be solid in use. When out of the car, the Pharos EZ Pocket GPS Navigator runs about 4.5 hours on a Lithium Ion battery. The unit also has some basic PIM funcitons like a calendar and a contact database.

The CNET article likes the software and user interface. This included Pharos Ostia software lets you choose smaller regions or cities that you need and not huge regions that require more memory or long upload times. CNET says,

"Loading maps is a breeze; simply select the region(s) you wish to download, and Otsia Mapfinder tells you what cities are included and how much memory they use. You can then upload your selections directly to the EZ Road via the USB cable and ActiveSync software. A detailed map of the New York City metro area, including Manhattan, Long Island, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Staten Island, and Yonkers, required 23.9MB of storage on the SD card. Unfortunately, it took more than five minutes to transfer the map to the EZ Road via the slow USB 1.1 port."

The Pharos EZ Road Pocket GPS Navigator also includes Smart Navigator functionality, which is a web-based traffic and weather service ($66 / yr) that you can download to the device before hitting the road...... too bad you can't receive the info while on the road.

Overall, CNET liked the unit and gave it a 7 out of 10, saying: "We were generally pleased with the Pharos EZ Road's tracking performance as we drove around New York, but it suffered from occasional signal loss," and, "The Otsia maps were clear and easy to read, and our location on the map was correct. Voice and text driving directions were accurate too, although we would have liked more advanced notice of upcoming maneuvers. As a pedestrian GPS device, the EZ Road did a fine job of finding nearby police stations, museums, transportation centers, and hospitals, but we were disappointed that it lacked a restaurant search."

Read the full CNET article here.

Read More in: Automotive GPS | GPS Reviews | Handheld GPS Reviews | Pharos GPS News | Pharos GPS Reviews

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Posted by Scott Martin at August 15, 2005 5:17 PM

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