Pharos Drive GPS 250 review: Pharos Drive GPS 250

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
  • Overall: 6.7
  • Design: 7.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 6.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The Pharos Drive GPS 250 is simple to use and offers text-to-speech functionality. The portable navigation system also features a 4.3-inch screen.

The Bad The Drive GPS 250 can be sluggish with route calculations and general performance. Text-to-speech directions sound a bit robotic, and there's no included accessory to mount the system to your dashboard.

The Bottom Line Despite ease of use and text-to-speech functionality, the Pharos Drive GPS 250 falters somewhat in the performance department. Test.

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Test. Sometimes less is more, and that seems to be the approach Pharos is taking with its Pharos Drive GPS 250. The entry-level in-car GPS offers simplicity and ease of use with a minimalist design and interface, and all the basic navigation features are there, with the bonus of text-to-speech functionality. That said, it falters a bit in the performance department when compared with competing portable navigation systems. General response was a bit sluggish, and the GPS receiver had trouble acquiring and locking onto our position. For that reason, we'd recommend the Mio C230, which offers a similar feature set and better performance for less. The Pharos Drive GPS 250 is available now for $299.95.

Design
The Pharos Drive GPS 250 is simple in design. At 4.8 inches wide by 3.3 inches tall by 0.9 inch deep and 7.2 ounces, it's nice and compact to transport between vehicles or to take along with you on a trip for use with rental cars. There's a slight bump in the back for the integrated GPS antenna, but it's not too obtrusive.

On front, there's a 4.3-inch touch screen that displays 16.7 million colors at a 480x272 pixel resolution. In general, maps looked clear and bright with enough contrast, but we did notice a bit of pixelation and didn't find it as sharp as some other systems. The touch screen is responsive, and the user interface is pretty intuitive, though not quite as aesthetically pleasing or streamlined as a Garmin or TomTom. The main menu icons are large and clearly marked, but the onscreen keyboard is a bit cramped. Fortunately, there's an included stylus on top of the unit to help with more precise text entry.

The left side holds an SD card expansion slot, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a mini USB port, while there's a power button and a reset hole on the right side. The Pharos Drive GPS 250 comes packaged with a car charger, an AC adapter, a protective carrying case, a USB cable, an SD card, reference material, and a vehicle mount. The latter is windshield-only, though; we wish Pharos would have thrown in an adhesive disk for the dashboard, especially since the use of windshield mounts is prohibited in California and Minnesota.

Features
The Pharos Drive GPS 250 is all about navigation and that's it. No extras, such as multimedia or Bluetooth. The system is powered by a 20-channel SiRFstarIII receiver and comes preloaded with Navteq maps of the United States and Canada and more than 1 million points of interest (POI). There are several methods to plan a trip. You can enter a specific address; select a point of interest; choose a destination from a list of recently visited locations or favorites; or use your address book. You can also pick any point on the map and navigate to it from your current location.

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Where to Buy

Pharos Drive GPS 250

Part Number: PDR250 Released: Nov 5, 2007

MSRP: $299.95

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Nov 5, 2007
  • Weight 7.2 oz
  • Maps Included USA
  • Product type GPS receiver
  • Receiver 20 channel
  • Voice Audible signal(s)
  • Run Time (Up To) 7 sec
  • Recommended Use automotive