October 19, 2008

Insignia GPS NS CNV-10 Connected GPS - Unboxing & First Impressions Review


UPDATE: See my Full Review of the Insignia CNV-10/CNV-20 - a Must Read BEFORE you waste your money.

The new Insignia Connected GPS unit is shipping and I thought I would grab a new Insignia GPS NS CNV-10 Connected GPS over the weekend to check out the Best Buy house brand's new connected GPS out, then put up a First Impressions Review. The CNV-10 and CNV-20 units just became available and are the second brand of connected GPS to hit the US market; the first being the Dash Express. The benefits of having a connected GPS can be numerous, but for now, the Insignia is counting on better traffic data, better search results through Google, and the ability to email locations straight to your GPS from websites like Google Maps. The Insignia CNV-10 offers a 3.5-inch screen while the CNV-20 offers the 4.3-inch widescreen.

A quick trip to Best Buy had me walk out with the goods and a few hundred dollars lighter ($399 + Tax). The box reminds you that you had better like this or else, with its 15% re-stocking fee reminder. Open the box up and you'll find the diminutive unit set in a large cardboard holder, which when removed will reveal the rest of the ingredients that will make up the entire batch of connected GPS goodness.


More after the Jump......

The Insignia CNV-10 has a 6 pin connection on the bottom that joins it to the mount allowing you to send power through the mount or directly into the unit through a mini-USB power cord. The box contains a spring loaded (not my favorite) coiled power cord for the car as well as a wall charger. The battery is rated for 2 hours according to Insignia.


The left side of the unit has an SD card slot, while the right side of the unit has a volume rocker switch, the USB power input as well as the SIM card door. Yes, the SIM card is loaded in the CNV-10, which allows you to operate the GPS as a stand alone device without the power cord or the mount.


The Insignia CNV-10 comes with the GPS unit, a 12V power Cord, a cam lever mount with a bracket adapter for the back of the GPS, a wall charger/power cord, an instruction manual, and a mini-USB cord.


First Impressions

The interface starts out with a welcome screen that has three options reminiscent of the Garmin interface, offering you a settings button, as well as a "go To" and a "Map" button. Garmin has their version as Where To? and View Map...... I will say the similarities end there. There is some good, some bad, but I haven't found any ugly yet.

Windows CE Interface - The unit runs on a Windows CE system that is usually an indicator that the interface is going to be a little rough, and it is. (This is the "Bad".) The roads are narrowly drawn and the fonts and writing are a bit awkwardly drawn too making it feel like a slightly newer generation Atari, or that someone drew the interface with a fat crayon.

Integration with Google Maps - I went over to Google Maps and grabbed a location and sent it to the Insignia GPS via the cellular modem that is onboard the CNV-10. A few minutes later I tapped the "Favorites" button and it let me know that I had a new location, asking me if I wanted to see it. Any address that you send to your device gets put into your Favorites folder.

Google Search - The Google Search replaces the POI listings in a way by searching in realtime for different locations that mirror what a POI listing would do. Because you are being offered Web Results, you can sort by popularity, offering you a new insight into where to go. I found a few basic searches lacking - it missed banks in my hometown, as well as a few gas stations. I like the "Pamper Me" category where you can find Spas, barbers, health and fitness clubs, etc. Interesting slant on classifying these types of outlets.

Gas Buddy Fuel Price Search - I love the connected GPS idea for finding cheap gas. Tap on the Gas Prices option and you get to see what the price of regular gas is at gas stations around you - sorted by distance from your current location. Sort it by price and you can find the cheapest gas within a few miles. The distance of the search area is not configurable.

Choosing Routes - the deCarta traffic engine - The Insignia CNV-10 will offer you a single route if you find a location and tap "Go". If you want to see three potential routes that take traffic into account, tap the "Traffic Routes" button that shows three potential routes with the expected distance and travel times involved. The map has color coded traffic patterns alongside the roads as you consider your three routes, but the colors are hard to see in sunlight. Unconfirmed but from the looks of things, the Insignia utilizes the deCarta CNav (Connected Navigation engine) that was announced last week. Just check out this post on the Insignia, versus this press release from deCarta (scroll down to the image with the three routes offered). Pretty similar eh? If true, the Insignia could offer faster routing and better utilization of local roads; something that I have noticed isn't often done when traffic gets bad. deCarta offers their reasoning behind the capability in this whitepaper Understanding the Efficiency of deCarta's Routing Engine (PDF Link).

Navigation - The CNV-10 has a basic, not great text to speech engine that stumbles a bit more than a TomTom or a Garmin, and also sounds a bit more like a computer than I would prefer. It has appropriate warning for turns and offers up reasonable routes for the very simple navigation I had it take me on this weekend. I'll dig more into this as I use the device more.

Overall, a good start so far, but the interface is a drag. The $399 price tag for a connected GPS plus a year's worth of connections is a little steep, but I'll hang in there for now and get back to you in a few weeks.

More at the Insignia Products website.

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Posted by Scott Martin at October 19, 2008 5:46 PM

Recent Comments

I just picked one up, subscription and all, for $75 at Bestbuy. Was gonna go buy a car map for $15 so I figured it was only $60 more. ???

Posted by: Peezi at November 27, 2009 11:54 AM

Will the keyboard have an option for qwerty? Or a voice option?

Posted by: jeff at March 24, 2009 9:24 AM

No the GPS is not Plug and Play. That feature was turned off during the Beta Testing.

Posted by: Nick at February 20, 2009 8:53 AM

I just got one of these insignia 3.5 gp systems for a really good deal. I have a few questions. Is this plug and play? I ask because I am trying to find a less robotic guide voice as well as some other small details via the internet. I plugged it, and no play. I have windows xp on my home computer, is this why it doesnt work? One last thing, your review is very accurate and I would really appreciate a reply.

Posted by: Matthew Huskins at January 10, 2009 3:49 PM
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