April 13, 2007

V7/MyGuide Navigator 1000 Review

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The V7/MyGuide 1000 is a value priced GPS that has a good feature set and for those who have seen the Mio C310x the interface will look familiar. The V7/MyGuide 1000 is loaded up with the iGo interface that is also the underlying engine on the Mio systems. The V7/MyGuide 1000 is a compact, thin device that goes easy on the wallet. The unit offers a 3.5-inch touchscreen and solid turn-by-turn directions.

Design
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The design of the V7/MyGuide 1000 is certainly of the flat genre, which is a good first step. The unit has four buttons on the front, starting on the right, you have the “+” and “-“ buttons which are quick to find zoom buttons while looking at your maps. On the left side there is a more interesting set of buttons that are more mysterious. The top “menu” button is a button to get to a menu button, but it doesn’t actually work. There are sites dedicated to helping you “hack” in a solution for the V7/MyGuide 1000. It’s easy if you are fairly good in your computing skills. If you can’t hack the solution, it won’t kill you and it didn’t kill me while using the unit. On the bottom left, there is a backlight on/off button that puts the unit into a low power state that I use when I duck into a store or am out of the car for a short while so that the unit is still tracking satellites but not consuming much power. The internal battery will last several hours.

On the right side, there is a small but effective volume dial that is not often found on GPS units. The power in and TMC antenna in outlets are there. There is no word that I can find about the TMC antenna availability. On the left side there is an “[ear]phone” jack, and a small power button that boots the device, which brings it into a main home screen where you have the option to navigate, edit main unit settings, multimedia (view pictures, listen to music or watch movies) or play games. The on/off button takes a bit to master, as you need to hold it down for a second or so to activate the unit, but hold it too long and the unit won’t respond. It’s a touch finesse thing that takes just a bit of time to get used to. After using the unit for a few days, I had no problems.

The GPS patch antenna is a flip up style that locks at 90 degrees. On the outside edge the antenna has an antenna input jack if you need to use one. I don’t have a lead on where to get external antennas for this unit.

The windshield mount is a flex arm style mount that that is mounted on the glass via a cam action lever; no falling off here, it’s a solid mount. The issue with all of these flex mounts is that they tend to vibrate a bit when driving unless you have them sitting right on the dash. Now since the power cord comes out the side of the V7/MyGuide 1000 so that having the unit sit on the dash isn’t an issue. The mount snaps onto the unit with two gray clips but does take a bit of extra dexterity with two hands to dismount the unit.

Navigation & Use
The V7/MyGuide runs on WinCE 4.2 and it starts up, booting into the main menu. Once you tap on the Navigation application, it will bring you to the main navigation screen that gives you the option to see the map, a cockpit view, that I like to use when navigating, [GPS] settings, and an “about” button. The bull’s-eye of the screen is the “Find & Go” button that brings you into a Point of Interest screen.

Find & Go

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A quick punch gets you to a simple where do you want to go type screen, with address, history, LAT/LON coordinate, POI, Home and work buttons. The look here is similar to the Mio and it’s Mio Map software, which is a customized version of what is on the My Guide V7 1000. So while the underlying engine is similar, the look and some more detailed features are different. To summarize, I would say that the Mio Map system has a pared down version that is a bit more straightforward, with less ability to totally customize the interface. There are some settings that are on the V7/MyGuide that allow you to increase or decrease the map detail, and alter the route generation preferences.

Within the Route Preferences section, the unit can be set to “Fastest”, “Shortest”, and “Economical” which avoids tolls. On top of this, you can affect the route by moving a slider button up and down the “Fast” to “Optimal” scale that seems to alter how the unit considers routing possibilities and as a result how fast the unit generates the routing. Set to Fast, the unit performs on par with other value entries into the marketplace at this price level. When set to optimal, the unit took twice as long to calculate my torture test route from my house in Massachusetts to Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. On the “Fast” method setting, it generated a route that took 52 hours, but while on the optimal setting, the unit calculated a route that was to take only 46 hours. That route took me up through Canada, and then down. The two routes were within 2 miles of each other for overall distance. In more everyday routing, I didn’t see a big difference in travel times.

Navigating with the V7/MyGuide is good, and mimics the Mio C310x in its voice prompts, and warnings. “Cockpit” data fields can be customized, the prompts are clear, and the volume can easily be adjusted with the dial on the side, or muted with the mute icon on the screen. The maps data is still the older map data from TeleAtlas that is less up to date than the new releases. So, you will encounter some issues with missing roads. There is no word yet on an update plan. The pre-loaded maps are of North America, including the 50 states and Canada right out of the box.

The onboard battery lasted several hours in use, not forever, but certainly enough to pull the plug and go for a quick trip. The unit comes with a 12V adapter and an AC adapter. The adapter has a clip in US and continental Europe plug, just in case you want to take it for a trip. If you do though, you’ll need additional maps, which you would load via the SD card slot in the bottom of the unit.


Extras
The V7 MyGuide Navigator 1000 has a few extras built in that are worth mentioning. When the unit boots, it boots into a main screen that allows you to go into the navigation application, or into the multimedia applications. The unit can play MP3s, video clips and allows you to view pictures. In order to load these, you’ll need to add them to an SD card, and slip it into the SD slot, which unfortunately has the Map data SD card right now. It’s not hard (or expensive) to get a larger SD card, move the maps to it and have extra room for the media files.

Review Summary
The familiar iGo interface is a good one on the V7 navigator 1000 unit, and the unit performed well in my testing. The added options present here on the V7 MyGuide Navigator 1000 added a bit of complexity to an interface that is not necessarily needed. Overall the interface is a decent one, and the added options may never be used so in effect it just may never change the overall experience for you. The unit’s navigation is sound, and its flat form factor is right on. The map data is older, and for many this will be OK, but for some who live in areas that have a fast roadway infrastructure, it my not be. I would add the V7 MyGuide navigator 1000 to the growing list of units that are decent entries to the market at the value price level.


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Posted by Scott Martin at April 13, 2007 8:28 AM

Recent Comments

I bought 3 V7 gps in last few years and what a horrific mistake.
They provide terrible support and broken links on their website.
And if they have a lot of problems they kind of ignore the issues and don't answer the emails and if you can get anything done it is only after you model is out of warrenty, they will then be happy to charge you to fix it.
DON'T BUY V7 !!!


Posted by: Ed at June 16, 2010 12:25 PM
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