While we can see past the novelty of tweeting your destination to the actually useful function of automatically letting your loved ones know where you are, we also see a huge security and privacy issue with potentially tweeting your home address, making your comings and goings available to tech-savvy bad guys. So, if you're going to tweet, be sure to tweet responsibly.
The NS-CNV43 comes with two months of data service out of the box, after which you can purchase service a la carte with no contract required. As few as three days of service can be purchased for $4.99 or as much as 12 months of service for $99, with various increments in between. For comparison, a year of TomTom's LIVE service is $120 ($9.99 per month) and Garmin's nuLink is free for the first two years, after which it is a flat $60 per year.
Other useful features and functions include text-to-speech turn-by-turn directions, a crude icon-based lane guidance system, multiple language support, and Bluetooth hands-free calling.
Pairing the NS-CNV43 to a Bluetooth phone is a simple four-digit PIN affair. Once paired, a telephone icon appears in the main menu, on the map screen, and next to POI phone numbers on destination confirmation pages. Clicking this button for a POI will automatically call the POI using the paired phone. Clicking the phone button on any other page will call up an onscreen 10-button keypad. The unit does not import contacts and we were unable to get it to work with our phone's voice-dialing function.
While the NS-CNV43 checks off a fairly impressive number of features; however, performance is the connected GPS device's Achilles' Heel. Specifically the NS-CNV43 is a pretty slow device by most measures.
Starting with the boot-up time, the NS-CNV43 takes about a full minute to boot to the menu screen. In comparison, the Garmin Nuvi 1690--which has a similar feature set--has a 10-second to 12-second boot time. Once in the menu, establishing a satellite lock from a cold boot took anywhere from 2 minutes to 5 minutes, with subsequent lock times averaging about a minute.
Then there's POI search. Finding a destination is fast enough with Google search (averaging about 30 seconds to 45 seconds to return results), but finding a particular locally stored POI (for example, if you don't have a data signal) can be maddeningly slow because it lacks a POI search function. If you're in an unfamiliar city and the bank you're looking for isn't close to your current location, then you can all but forget about finding it without Google's help.
With a destination found, its route calculation is also slower than average, yet it is still tolerable. Once on the road, the NS-CNV43 is a perfectly competent navigator, getting us reliably from point A to point B without much incident.
The slowness can probably be attributed, in part, to the Windows CE-based operating system that the Insignia uses, which has also been the cause of a bit of instability. It only happened once during testing, but the NS-CNV43 is one of the few GPS devices that's thrown an error code and crashed, requiring a press of the reset button.
Although slow, we have to give the NS-CNV43 credit for accuracy. It did a remarkably good job of holding our position once locked, even in urban canyons such as downtown San Francisco. It's also one of the few GPS devices we've tested that was able to establish a satellite lock indoors when positioned close to a large window.
The Insignia NS-CNV43 is an odd little device. For nearly every point that it gains for a neat feature (such as Google Search, live traffic, and Twitter integration), it loses a point for its slow performance compared with similar models.
However, there is one way that the Insignia manages to stand out: price. The NS-CNV43 has a feature set that is pretty close in (in scope, if not in performance) to the Garmin Nuvi 1690 and the TomTom GO 740 Live. However, where the Garmin carries an MSRP of $499 and the TomTom is $349, the Insignia comes in at only $199. While the NS-CNV43 is cheaper at checkout, its strengths all lie within the data connection. When you factor in the data costs, it's only about $70 to $100 cheaper than the superior Garmin and TomTom GPS units.
If you're pinching pennies and absolutely must have a connected GPS device, then perhaps the Insignia NS-CNV43 is the device for you. However, if you want the best device for the money, spend the extra cash for a Garmin or a TomTom.