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New Treo Smartphone Navigator GPS Edition2: Hardware Impressions

A couple of days ago I finally received my own new Treo GPS Navigator Smartphone Edition 2 which is bundled with the latest (and by far my favourite) TomTom 6 GPS navigation software.

First impressions were extremely good as I opened the box to reveal the single most complete GPS kit available today for the Treo (pictured below) which includes:

  • TomTom NAVIGATOR 6 software conveniently provided on a DVD this time (with US, Canada, Guam and Puerto Rico maps) instead of the 10 or so CD’s which came with TomTom 5…
  • 1GB SD card pre-installed with map of the continental United States and Canada
  • A useful pocket USB 2.0 SD card reader
  • a beautifully designed small (about half the size of a pack of cigarettes) and light (20% lighter than Palm’s previous model) GPS receiver powered by SiRFStarIII (instead of older SiRFStarII) with Bluetooth wireless technology
  • Vehicle device cradle with mounting bracket and suction cup pad
  • An extremely convenient vehicle power adapter with dual connectors to charge your GPS receiver and Treo smartphone at the same time in the car

[Note: Please see my previous post New Palm GPS Navigator Smartphone Edition 2 for a breakdown of the terrific $$$ value that this package offers.]

The new GPS receiver pictured below is extremely elegant and beautifully designed with a ‘brushed steel’ look and a minimalist Palm logo embossed at the front as well as three clear indicator lights for GPS (orange), Bluetooth (blue) and Battery (green/red).  However, there is no doubt that the main appeal of this bundle is that the TomTom Navigator 6 software now comes extremely conveniently pre-loaded with US and Canada maps on a single 1GB SD card (below right) which means that you can now start using GPS navigation on your Treo in under 5 minutes with no need for a PC installation at all…

The bottom part of the GPS receiver (image below) has the new USB connector for charging (finally) and on the left side is the On/Off slider as well as an external antenna (not included) connector. 

At the same time there is a back cover which slides out to reveal a thin 850mAh battery but unfortunately I found that it did not fit perfectly into place – it moves about 1mm or so – making the unit feel somewhat ‘flimsy’ – a shame since it looks terrific.  Additionally, where most other high-end GPS receivers cover large sections of the back with rubber to provide additional surface grip on your car’s dashboard, Palm have opted to only add three small and fairly useless rubber dots which provide almost no grip at all.

Another valuable piece in the Treo GPS Navigator Smartphone Edition 2 kit is the vehicle power adapter with dual connectors which allows you to again conveniently charge both your Treo and GPS unit with a single accessory.

As advertised, getting started using the TomTom GPS navigation software was done in a snap thanks to the new pre-loaded SD card:

  1. I switched the GPS receiver on
  2. I turned Bluetooth on my Treo to ‘On’
  3. Inserted the TomTom SD card in my Treo (which automatically installs the required Navigator software on your Treo)
  4. Selected ‘USA and Canada’ maps immediately after the TomTom software launched
  5. Activated the software with the 15 character product code written on the TomTom DVD sleeve (keep this product code in a safe place) using the ‘Automatic’ activation option which authenticates the code with TomTom’s servers over the air
  6. I paired the GPS receiver
  7. Less than 5 minutes after inserting my card I was ready to start navigating with GPS on my Treo and I used it to plan a car journey that I will have in a couple of weeks from LA to San Diego…

I will write a separate more in-depth post next week about TomTom’s new version 6 software as well as the TomTom PLUS services.  In the meantime, overall I can happily repeat that I consider that this Treo GPS Navigator Smartphone Edition 2 kit offers absolutely terrific quality and value on all fronts with the most complete accessory bundle around.

If you do not currently own a GPS solution for your Treo then this is undoubtedly the one that I would recommend.  If like me you already own the TomTom Navigator 5 bundle then I would wait for TomTom to release their new/upgrade version 6 software on an SD card as the existing GPS receiver in this bundle (pictured below left) is still my favourite (even though it does not offer USB charging).  Yet others who have separately purchased the TomTom 5 software and a GPS receiver (such as the excellent new Globalsat BT359W below right) will probably also want to wait for the version 6 release.

Comparatively speaking below, the two drawbacks that Palm’s GPS receiver has is a relatively low operating time of only 5 hours (due to its size and therefore smaller battery) as well as the lack of an ‘Auto Shut-Off’ functionality (which turns your receiver off if no Bluetooth connection has been detected in XX minutes to save battery).  Having said this, arguably both the battery life and Auto Shut-Off functionality is only relevant if you do not typically have your receiver plugged-in to the charger.

            

Treonauts never get lost


Posted by Andrew on August 31, 2006 at 03:00 PM

Treo Accessories , Treo GPS

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Comments

1
by m stein | Aug 31, 2006 3:27:05 PM

Added to my shopping wishlist. I think the 5 hour charge time is relevant if you're using it away from a power source.

However the smaller size is always welcome especially if you're used to travelling with kit... now if only these kits came with a convienient built-in cable management solution like the Apple power supplies do.

My bag always looks like mixed spagetti by the time I've packed and repacked several times when traveling on business.

2
by Henry Evans | Aug 31, 2006 6:18:48 PM

Hey Andrew,
Let me know when you're going to be using your new GPS to come down to San Diego. If you want to get together for lunch and chat tech, I've been a Treo user since the Treo 180 first came out and it would be a pleasure to meet you.
Let me know!
Henry in San Diego
hjevans@yahoo.com

3
by Kevin McGovern | Sep 1, 2006 12:24:25 AM

A dumb question, if you can get up and running after installing the SD card, what's on the DVD's?

4
by andrew | Sep 1, 2006 6:55:00 AM

Kevin - the TomTom DVD contains a backup of all the maps so that you may install them on another (perhaps larger) SD card or if you lose the one that comes with the pre-loaded maps.

Cheers, A.

5
by Mark R | Sep 1, 2006 10:32:49 AM

Another comment on the receiver is that the on and off switch has a tendency to move into the "on" position during storage. This will drain the battery very quickly. Make sure when not in use that the switch is in the "off" position.

I also find that the SD disk (although being very convenient having all of the maps on one disk)is inconvenient because you have to either carry it around with you or store it somewhere, Its so small its very easy to misplace. Having all of the maps YOU NEED in your phone already elimates having to carry around this sd card especially if you already have another sd card in your phone which most treonauts do.

Just some thoughts....

6
by Mark R | Sep 1, 2006 10:36:01 AM

is there anyway of charging the receiver other than in the car. The Nav 5 has a home charger as well.

7
by lido | Sep 1, 2006 12:55:13 PM

I've got tomtom5 and a globalsat bt359w so I'm interested in in upgrading to tomtom6 when it's released. So the only thing I covet from the bundle is the vehicle power adapter with dual connectors. Where can I buy that????

8
by William | Sep 1, 2006 5:42:23 PM

Well, It looks like the included SD card wont work with the up commming Lennon, as the new 750p seems to only have a miniSD slot. How large are those now, just 1 gb?
I was hoping to get a 4gb card for the new 750p when it came out so I can have all my maps and my podcasts on the same card. I listen to podcasts while tomtom is running, I use the sedio adaptor to plug into the car's cd/aux input.

9
by Bob R | Sep 2, 2006 9:53:10 AM

San Diego-

Last Easter I was on a business trip to LA from PGH. I took the family with me on this trip because none of them had been in S. California before. Along with my family I took my Treo 650 and "New" TomTom Nav. 5.0 equipment. I must say the unit was spot on the entire trip. Ontario to LA, LA to Beverly Hills, Beverly Hills to Hollywood, Hollywood to San Diego Sea world, Sea World to the Zoo and Mission Valley. I can say also, that on the East coast the unit has been working (accurate) fantastic. Though- Every once in awhile I find myself driving in a field because the maps are not up to date.
I can't wait to get the updated 6.0 software. I am hoping that they include updated maps also.

10
by Mark R | Sep 2, 2006 10:12:22 AM

Don't be too surprised if you find the maps are quite similar to 5.0. The subdivision I live in has been here for over 10 years and it still doesn't show up on the maps. There are locations in my area that are still not on the new maps and they have been around for more than 5 years. This was a disapointment.

11
by Patlin | Sep 8, 2006 6:09:28 PM

Anyone know if a treo in a skin case will fit in the included holder?

12
by SlowTwitch | Sep 20, 2006 10:16:47 PM

Andrew,

How is the full review of Palm's new GPS bundle and TomTom6 coming along. I am eagerly awaiting your review before pulling the trigger on a GPS bundle. Also wanted to check when you expect to have the new Palm GPS bundle back in stock.

Thanks

13
by Voytek | Dec 24, 2006 3:22:55 PM

Hi! Does anybody know if Tomtom Navigator 6 works with Palm Treo 680? I just bought one and I'm interested in expanding it with gps. Thank you

14
by geoman | Apr 6, 2007 9:18:56 PM

Yes it works with 680. You need to download from http://www.palm.com/us/support/downloads/gps_nav.html

15
by Joshua | Jul 16, 2007 3:54:54 PM

Hello, I just purchased version 6 and am waiting with baited breath for it to arrive. I just have a couple questions I hoping someone can answer for me. 1, is it possible to receive and place calls and leave the GPS software running? I have to mention that my Treo is new as well, so I am new to it. My wife likes to make calls while we are on road trips sometimes. Also, and this may sound stupid, if it is possible to be on a call while using the GPS (place and receive) can I use a Bluetooth headset at the same time? Thanks for the help.

16
by David | Oct 4, 2007 8:53:17 PM

I have the same Palm smartphone bundle you describe above and it works great right out of the box with the TOmTom 6 software. However I also want to use the gps for golf software etc. My Treo Bluetooth can't discover the GPS. Is it possible to use the GPS with other gps software on Treo 650?

17
by cable management | Feb 14, 2012 6:59:53 PM

nice device in looking vise or in layout and nice machine i like it and so good and informative machine such a nice

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