This is a category of phone we've been waiting to see for years. We've seen plenty of phones with GPS receivers built-in, in fact you'd struggle to pick up a modern smartphone without GPS these days, but we've seen very few handsets sold with all of the elements that make up a usable GPS unit; good maps, good screen size and accessories for mounting your phone to the dashboard of your car. The Garmin-Asus Nuvifone A10 ticks all of these boxes in a handset, which undoubtedly puts the GPS first.
I get around
Turning on the Nuvifone A10 is a somewhat refreshing experience. You'll be greeted with what looks almost nothing like a typical mobile phone home screen, with two of the three large central icons dedicated to mapping services, as you might expect from a stand-alone GPS unit. Touching "Where to?" or "View Map" takes you to the excellent Garmin mapping software where you can enter an address to be routed to, search for points of interest or just browse the map. The maps, incidentally, are stored on the phone itself, so you needn't worry about not being to download maps in the middle of the outback.
In terms of GPS functionality, the Nuvifone A10 comes with text-to-speech, lane guidance, junction view, and speed and red light camera warnings. Thanks to its internet connectivity, the A10 is linked into MotorMouth's slightly limited live fuel price databased, as well as being wired into Suna's traffic messaging service which, as we've mentioned in previous reviews, is nice to have but deeply flawed. The Garmin maps also incorporate some of Google's mapping fun, displaying Panoramio geotagged photos and Street View for exploring your surrounds.
In terms of guidance, the A10 calculates routes no better than any portable nav device. That is, it will get you from A to B, sometimes the route will be reasonably efficient, most of the time it won't be. Unlike the iPhone 3G/3GS, the A10's GPS tracking was faultless in the suburbs and only suffered the odd drop out in in the CBD; the same standard that most standalone GPS units achieve.