Bluetooth handsfree is easy to use, offering onscreen dialing, a list of recent calls, a redial button, and a voice that activates your phone's voice-activated dialing, if so equipped. Caller ID information for incoming calls is displayed in a pop-up window, with options to answer or ignore the call. The internal speaker is expectedly harsh sounding, but it is loud and easy to hear.
While guiding you to your destination, the Motonav TN30 features text-to-speech driving directions, which helps to keep eyes on the road, and lane guidance, which puts you in the correct lane at complex highway junctions. Instead of the typical split-screen affair we've seen from similar devices, the icons for lane guidance are smallish and overlaid near the top of the map, which some users may find a bit easy to miss.
We had an opportunity to test the Motonav TN30 over a cross-country road trip from Atlanta to San Francisco. While the Motonav TN30 looked great and possessed a fine set of features, it falls flat when it comes to extended usage.
At first, all was well: the device found our location from a cold start in just a few minutes and within 30 seconds on subsequent boots. The Motonav TN30 did a fine job of routing us around the streets of downtown Atlanta. Locating points of interest, such as a gas station or restaurant, was quick and painless. When we missed a few turns on purpose, the Motonav TN30 was a bit sluggish to notice that we'd left the route, but once it did recalculation was quick.
However, by our second day of testing, the Motonav TN30 had become less responsive to our commands. Next, the Bluetooth handsfree stopped pairing and eventually, the menus stopped rendering properly, overlaying the new screen in a jumble over the old screen instead of refreshing. By the end of day two, the device was all but unusable, requiring a hard reboot with the bottom-mounted pinhole reset button. Freshly reset, the Motonav TN30 was again usable, but by the end of the third day, it had slowed to a lock again.
Because we were traveling cross country with the device, we found a few more odd bugs. For example, the Motonav TN30 doesn't automatically reset your time when you pass through time zones, which we'd think a location-aware device would do. When crossing state lines, there was an odd pause as the next state was loaded and the route recalculated.
In the already crowded market of 4.3-inch PNDs, the Motonav TN30 falls short of the well-established players, such as the or the TomTom GO 730, in all areas but price.
The Motonav TN30 made a fantastic first impression with its focused feature set, attractive interface, and intuitively designed menu structure. However, over the long term, we were disappointed by the devices' buggy and unstable software. Perhaps when Motorola releases a new software update the device will be more usable, but checking Motorola's Web site for a potential firmware update, we found no software support.