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A new Nuvi

A new Nuvi

The Nuvi 765 adds 3D buildings, lane assist and Bluetooth on top of the standard feature set of Garmin car navigation units.

Build

The Nuvi 765 is actually one of the higher-end models in the Garmin Nuvi line and offers a Bluetooth handsfree connection to your mobile phone, junction view with lane assist and 3D buildings on the map.

These features aren’t new if you look at the other brands on the market, but it is new on a Garmin, which until this model, only supported junction view.

As far as handling goes, the Nuvi 765 is much the same as its other siblings — about the same size and shape (but heavier) and now comes with a non-slip coating on the back so it’s more secure when you’re holding it in your hand.

You also get a generous 4.3in LCD screen which is bright and easy to read even in bright light.

The biggest change is that the Nuvi 765 comes with an all new connector at the bottom and a new suction cup windshield mount, which means accessories meant for the lower-end models probably won’t work with the Nuvi 765.

The 3.5mm stereo minijack port is a hint of one of the new software features present in the Nuvi 765 — yes, it comes with a music player which supports MP3 files and Audible.com audio book files.

There is however, no video file support, so music is all that you’re going to get on this device.

Photo viewing is also carried over from the previous Nuvi devices and allows you to store JPEG photos on the device or in an SD card and view them on the Nuvi 765.

Last but not least, the Nuvi 765 comes with Bluetooth A2DP support, which means the GPS can also act as a speakerphone for your Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone.

Performance

As far as navigation goes, there are no surprises here — like all Nuvis, the interface is familiar, uncluttered and it works.

I quite like the Garmin interface as the icons are large and easy-to-understand and there’s no ­confusion when accessing the various features.

GPS lock was pretty quick at under a minute from cold start, and typically only a few seconds if you’ve turned it on recently.

There wasn’t any surprises for navigation either although in the time that I used it, there weren’t that many 3D buildings and junctions that I could see — some buildings, like the KLCC and major junctions were represented, but I find it still a little lacking compared with some other brands.

Standalone GPS car navigation unit

GPS chipset: SiRF Star III

Memory: 4GB ROM

Storage: SD expansion slot

Display: 4.3in (480 x 272-pixels

Battery: Lithium-ion

Other features: A2DP Bluetooth

Weight: 184g

Dimensions: 12.2 x 7.6 x 2.0cm

Price: RM1,150

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BigPond

BigPond

Of all the 3G hardware on display this month, the BigPond USB modem is the most impressive. It’s also the biggest, but it’s eminently pocketable, and best of all there are no parts to lose.

We had no problem finding a signal in Sydney, but those on the fringes of BigPond’s coverage may be able to solve problems with the included accessories. A USB extension cable is included, plus an external antenna complete with Velcro pads to mount on your laptop’s LCD.

The BigPond application for managing your connection is easy to use. The software includes at-a-glance details of which operator you’re connected to (useful for international roaming), signal strength, and data sent and received during your current session.

Information such as connection speed and long-term data downloads, included with Vodafone and Optus’ software, isn’t shown, though, so you’ll have to visit your account on BigPond’s website for full information.

Unfortunately, BigPond’s data plans are the most expensive on test. BigPond is the only 3G provider to offer data plans larger than 7GB, but its 10GB plan is no substitute for a home broadband connection at a staggering $130 a month.

Even its modest plans are more expensive than most. Where most providers’ monthly charge for a 5GB cap is around $40, BigPond charges an astonishing $90 for just 3GB.

So what does that extra cash get? Apart from the hardware, BigPond claims it covers more of the population with its network, and our speed tests suggest BigPond is the best bet for those concerned with speed.

At the time of testing, BigPond and Optus were the only networks to have rolled out high-speed HSDPA across their 3G networks, with a theoretical maximum speed of 7.2Mb/s download.

In our speed tests, BigPond was the fastest: averaging over 4Mb/s in our download test. The fastest we saw was a shade over 5Mb/s, near enough to BigPond’s claim of a burst speed of 6Mb/s.

For most users though, there’s little appreciable difference between a 1.5Mb/s connection and a 4Mb/s connection. If you frequently download large files you’ll notice BigPond’s speed increase, but you’ll also hit your data cap – and BigPond’s extortionate 25c per gigabyte excess fee – sooner.

If you live in a metropolitan area with coverage from another ISP, sacrificing a little speed will save you a lot of money.

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Sonic Gear Xanadu X1000: Stylish headphones

Sonic Gear Xanadu X1000: Stylish headphones

HAVE you always wanted to be a DJ? If you want to look the part and perhaps compromise on sound quality just a little then the Sonic Gear Xanadu X1000 is perfect for you.

It must be said that the sound is really not all that bad. It may not have enough bass but think about it — if you had bass thumping through your ears and so close to your eyes, you will go deaf faster.

The X1000 headphones are good for casual and everyday use. Keep your expensive headphones at home but use these when you are on a train or in the office or just out and about.

They are lightweight enough to be portable and can be quite eye-catching with the shiny silvery surface.

They are also not that expensive so if you do get them soiled you will not feel the pain or the loss as much.

The X1000 also comes with a microphone attached which is quite helpful. Although the specifications may list the X1000 cord length as only 1m, the review unit was definitely longer than a metre which is great if you intend to use it with your computer. More cord length is better any day.

The X1000 does have some issues. To the untrained ear, the X1000 is decent enough but they don’t have noise cancelling feature.

They may muffle things a bit but it all depends on how loud you pump up the volume.

Speaking of which, the X1000 does not come with its own volume control.

On top of that, they can also get quite uncomfortable after prolonged use, clipping your ears and squeezing your head that you may feel the onset of a headache coming along.

Luckily it comes with a spongy earpiece to alleviate the pressure but you will need to rest your head every half an hour or so to feel better.

Another great thing is that the X1000 comes with extra earpads so you will not have unsightly disintegrating earpieces.

So although the sound is just decent, the headphones are quite a steal for RM69. And they may even make you look like a DJ at an affordable price.

Headphones

Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz

Sensitivity: 112dB

Impedance: 32 ohms

Cord Length: 1m

Price: RM69

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