A little while ago, I joked (OK, I was half serious) that someone had finally found a good use for the Nokia 700 Internet Tablet by turning it into a portable navigation system. I have since come to realize there are more positives to the device after reviewing the revamped Nokia N800 Internet Tablet, but the GPS option is still an attractive one to me. After all, the devices have beautiful sharp screens for viewing maps and compact designs perfect for in-car travel. One such solution for turning the portable Web browser into a navigator is the Navigation Kit for the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet. Priced at $239, the kit includes a Bluetooth GPS receiver, maps of North America, and most of the accessories you need for in-car use. However, we're disappointed by the Navicore navigation software as it suffers from an unintuitive interface and half-baked feature set. Though we'd have to carry an extra gadget, we'd rather spend the money on a dedicated GPS device, such as the TomTom One, to get smoother performance.
The Navigation Kit for the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet consists of the Nokia LD-3W Bluetooth GPS receiver, a 2GB miniSD card and adapter preloaded with maps, a car charger, a vehicle mount (windshield), and a software DVD. The windshield mount requires a bit of assembly as you have to attach the cradle to the arm with a screw, and the whole apparatus is a bit bulky. After some fidgeting, we were able to slide the N800 into the cradle and it securely held the unit in place. There's also a locking mechanism on the mount arm to reinforce the seal between the suction cup and your windshield. Unfortunately, the package does not include an adhesive disk for installing the mount on your dashboard, though you get a sticker for the Bluetooth receiver. Now, while this probably won't be a huge deal for most drivers, in California and Minnesota, the use of suction cup windshield mounts is prohibited so the inclusion of a dash solution would have been nice. Also missing is a charger for the Bluetooth receiver, but it does work with the Nokia N800's AC adapter.
The Navicore Navigation Kit features TeleAtlas maps of the United States and Canada, and a comprehensive points-of-interest (POI) database, all of which come preloaded on the aforementioned miniSD card. After you insert the card, you'll have to endure a couple minutes of set up and activation where you have to input the product license code, select your map region, and so forth. Once that process is complete, you can pair the Nokia N800 with the Bluetooth GPS receiver and be on your way.
The Navicore interface isn't very intuitive and overall, it lacks the fluidity and robustness of other navigation programs. For example, it's not readily apparent that you must tap the arrow icon along the right side of the screen to start planning your trip. This then brings you to a page of six options: Find route, Clear route, Find detour, Find location, Plan route, and Settings. We were also confused as to whether we should use Find route or Plan Route for creating directions, but it's the former that allows you enter your destination by street address, point of interest, latitude and longitude coordinates, recently search locations, or one of your Favorite locales. The latter lets you add more waypoints or edit portions of the route once the system has created directions. You can choose to get directions by fastest or shortest route, and in car, bicycle, or pedestrian mode. There's also support for automatic route recalculation.
The POI catalog is vast and includes entries for everything from gas (petrol) stations and restaurants to camping grounds and amusement parks. Also, with the Nokia N800 being such a Wi-Fi-reliant device, there's also a listing for Wi-Fi hot spots. You can choose which POI to have displayed on your map under the Settings > POI, but you may want to limit what is shown, as having too many POI can really clutter the map screen.