Simplicity is a virtue with TrafficGauge. Lacking any controls besides a backlight button, the device's sole purpose is to display current traffic conditions. Its screen is large enough and its information design simple enough that drivers won't have to take their eyes off the road for long while using it. TrafficGauge gets local traffic information from a radio signal and updates it every few minutes. Most important, the information is accurate. That said, the device has its drawbacks. If you don't live in one of the few regional markets (San Francisco, Los Angeles/Orange County, and Seattle) covered, you're out of luck. The static freeway graphic on its screen is also a little faint for limited light conditions, such as dusk. The unit as a whole doesn't have the most graceful form factor either. TrafficGauge costs $79.95 with one month of free traffic service; to continue service afterward, you'll have to pay $6.99 per month.
LCD traffic display
TrafficGauge is about the size of a PDA--and looks like one too. The face of the device is dominated by the screen, with a static graphic of whichever region the device is designed for. Traffic information is displayed as static or blinking black LCD bars over the freeway graphics. Traffic moving between 20mph and 40mph is indicated by a static bar, and traffic moving at less than 20mph is displayed as a blinking bar. In handing the device to people around the office, we noticed a tendency to try to control the display by tapping; however, it's not a touch screen.
A button on the lower front bezel turns on TrafficGauge's backlight so that it can be used at night. The back of TrafficGauge has a removable panel for its power pack, which includes two AA batteries. The device is thick compared with other handheld devices and is somewhat bulky to carry around.