Eclipse AVN2210p review: Eclipse AVN2210p

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
  • Overall: 8.0
  • Design: 9.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Performance: 7.0
Pricing Unavailable

The Good The Eclipse AVN2210p provides a usable portable navigation system with a feature-rich, in-dash system for navigation, entertainment, and communication. Its intuitive interface for navigating digital audio connected via its USB connection is particularly nice.

The Bad The system's interface for playing digital audio discs is disappointing. In standalone mode, the TomTom device can lose its GPS signal in built-up areas; its lack of a pedestrian mode means that it's of limited use when on foot; and its sub two-hour battery life is way below par.

The Bottom Line The innovative Eclipse AVN2210p has many attractive features, including an intuitive navigation system, a great Bluetooth calling interface, and USB connectivity for digital audio. While it has a few usability drawbacks, the system is tough to beat for its price.

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The Eclipse AVN2210p is a novel addition to the aftermarket in-car navigation scene. It is the first system we have seen that combines the functionality of an in-dash GPS navigation device and media player with that of a standalone portable navigation device. It does this by using a TomTom Duo portable GPS device in combination with a unique docking mechanism, enabling drivers to insert and remove the touch screen navigation module at will. In its in-dash mode, the system can be used to play a variety of digital audio formats, including MP3 and WMA discs, and input from portable digital audio players via a front-mounted USB port. It can also be used right out of the box as a very useful Bluetooth hands-free calling interface with some advanced options, including instant phonebook transfer and text message playback.

Apart from the hard button used to switch between map and audio view, all of the navigation functions on the Eclipse AVN2210p are controlled using the TomTom Duo's touch screen. Due to its dual functionality, the navigation screen on the Eclipse AVN2210p is far smaller than those on other double-DIN-size in-dash units. However, this size restriction does not impede functionality as much as it might, and maps and menus remain legible thanks to the TomTom's bright and colorful graphics. For digital audio playback, the Eclipse AVN2210p makes use of the same rotary volume knob/four-way push-button selector as that in the Eclipse CD3100. Curiously, disc-based audio cannot be controlled via the LCD touch screen, but media played via the USB port can.

Whether the TomTom Duo device is docked or undocked in the AVN2210p cradle, all navigation functions are performed using its touch screen. Programming in a destination is straightforward, thanks to the colorful icons that populate each menu level. Destinations can be entered by address, ZIP code, city center, or cross street. Punching in an address on the system's touch screen keypad is easy and very quick, thanks to the impressive refresh rate of the menu level screens, and route calculation is equally swift. After selecting a route that meets their specifications (fastest, shortest, avoiding freeways, designated arrival time, etc.), drivers are given a whole host of features to preview their journeys before setting out. Specific route-preview options include: browse as text (gives a list of turn-by-turn directions); browse as images (shows each turn on the map); browse route on map; show route demo (runs through a virtual tour of the route, complete with turn-by-turn voice directions); and a route summary. When satisfied with the proposed route, the system gives turn-by-turn directions to a destination, either via the car's speakers (with the nav system docked) or via the TomTom Duo's built-in speaker. During route guidance, the screen displays roads in bright colors, with suggested turns illustrated with big, green arrows.

The AVN2210p gives drivers a host of options for previewing their routes.
The TomTom Duo does not include text-to-speech functionality to enable the system to call out individual road names, but a useful bar on the bottom of the screen displays the name of the upcoming street, which is the next best thing. With the TomTom device docked, the GPS signal is stronger, as it is connected to an external antenna that can be mounted on the car's dashboard. In standalone mode, the signal is weaker, and we found that the system lost its bearings a couple of times when driving between tall buildings in downtown San Francisco, taking up to a minute to regain a GPS fix at times. Generally, the GPS system was quick to reroute when we purposely defied it by missing turns or going the wrong way.

One observation that is worth making, however, is that the system makes no distinction between driving directions (for when the TomTom unit is docked) and pedestrian directions (for when the TomTom unit is detached), meaning that all suggested routes are given with respect to road restrictions, such as one-way streets. We would like to have seen a pedestrian mode in the vein of other standalone portable GPS devices. Another niggle we have with the standalone GPS device is that its spoken directions are barely audible on a busy street, even with the volume turned up to maximum. And to round out our criticism of the standalone TomTom Duo, its battery life registered at less than two hours--far beneath the five-hour mark that most standalone GPS devices manage.

We like the turn-by-turn route guidance, but with the TomTom Duo in standalone mode, spoken directions are difficult to hear on busy streets.

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Where to Buy

Eclipse AVN2210p

Part Number: AVN2210P Released: May 8, 2007
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date May 8, 2007
  • Form Factor in-dash
  • Additional Features built-in speaker
    iPod compatible
  • Type LCD monitor
  • Functions CD player
    GPS navigation system
    LCD display
    digital player
    radio tuner