We were disappointed to discover that the included Ostia mapping software lacks the ability to create routes on your PC. The only component of the application that sits on the desktop is the MapFinder utility, used for loading detailed maps to the PDA (our New York tristate map required 27MB of memory). Everything else, including route creation, voice-assisted driving directions, and point-to-point calculations, is done on the PDA. The menu selections are easy to use, but there are times when mapping your trip in advance is beneficial. Also, the points-of-interest (POI) database is limited and doesn't include restaurant, gas station, and bank listings. Instead, Pharos offers a subscription to Smart Navigator, a Web-based service that integrates with the Ostia application and lets you download current traffic conditions and business listings directly to your Web-enabled PDA or desktop PC. For $7 per month, you get both Smart Traffic and Smart Finder.
After 1 minute, 5 seconds, we acquired a 3D fix, and satellite reception was strong and stable on our test device. The Pharos Pocket GPS performed well on our urban walking tour of New York City, losing a 3D fix only once while we prowled the skyscraper canyons of lower Manhattan. On the road, the receiver worked like a charm, as did the voice-prompted driving directions. Battery life fell a bit short, though. We managed only 6 hours of the rated 6.5 hours from the included lithium-polymer battery before it lost juice--the shortest time in the roundup.
Return to CNET's Bluetooth GPS receivers roundup.