Garmin Mobile PC One for the road
Garmin Mobile PC software brings navigation to your PC for a reasonable price but with some drawbacks.
With the popularity of Intel Atom-based mini notebooks that last five to six hours on a single charge, I recently started thinking about another possible use for it — as a GPS navigation device.
Of course, since no mini notebook currently on the market has built-in GPS, you can’t just get an out-of-the-box experience with it — for one, you need at least an external GPS unit which connects to your mini notebook via USB or Bluetooth.
If you already have a Garmin Bluetooth or USB GPS receiver, then you can use that, but the good thing is that Mobile PC isn’t limited to Garmin-branded GPS receivers.
The software works with all third party GPS units, but with one limitation. We’ll talk about this later.
The other requirement is that you have to download a local map. You can download one from www.malsingmaps.com, which has a free map that was last updated on February 2008.
The regularly updated maps are only available if you actively contribute to the website’s mapping effort.
By the way, there are shops in Kuala Lumpur which sell the software but it is a little cheaper if you buy from an online site like www.semsons.com/garmin.html.
Based on functionality alone, the Garmin Mobile PC software is excellent — it provides all you need for navigation as well as a few more features found only in high-end Garmin Nuvi devices.
The only problems really arise from the choice of notebook you install it on and whether you get loud enough audio or battery life to justify using it as a navigation tool.
So the answer is yes, Mobile PC is great, but you need to consider the limitations of your notebook before you use it.
Pros: Lots of features; easy-to-use interface; voice navigation; compatibility with Malsingmaps maps.
Cons: Using it on a notebook in dim light can be a bit fiddly.
Garmin Mobile PC
GPS navigation software
System requirements: Windows 2000 SP2/XP/Vista, 256MB RAM, 1.3GB HDD space
Features: Garmin Online
Price: US59.90 (RM200)
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