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Garmin-Asus Nuvifone A50 early review: Android with a sense of direction

Plenty of phones have sat-nav features, but the Garmin-Asus Nuvifone A50 is a sat-nav with phone features -- including the Android operating system

Flora Graham

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It looks like sat-navs are on their last legs, thanks to free sat-nav on your mobile from Google and Nokia. So sat-nav maker Garmin is getting in on the action with its own Android-powered phone.

As well as having all the goodness we've come to expect from an Android phone, such as the ability to install apps from the Android Market, the A50 also has a heap of specialised sat-nav features. These include public transport in some cities and points of interest such as nearby banks.

Since maps are stored on the phone, you won't have to worry about huge data costs when you need a map while you're abroad. It also comes with a car cradle included in the box to keep the phone handy and charged in the car.

But can a sat-nav maker and a PC company pull off a great phone? Watch our video to see for yourself, then click 'Continue' for more photos.

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The sat-nav feature of the A50 is its high point, with everything you'd expect from a stand-alone sat-nav. If you've already got a Garmin, you should find the user interface almost identical.
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Street view uses the phone's compass, so you can see an image of what's around you on the screen -- which means you can enjoy a view of Barcelona's Montjuic Palace instead of the inside of a tradeshow booth.
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Garmin-Asus has heavily skinned Android, and we're not huge fans of the user interface -- sat-navs aren't known for their slick UI, and you're getting sat-nav style here.
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The A50 has a 3-megapixel camera, and geotagging means you can record where you took each snap.

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