The Good The Dash Express portable navigation system offers Internet connectivity via Wi-Fi or cellular network and allows for live searches, real-time traffic updates, and more. There's also a Send2Car feature for easy trip planning and text-to-speech functionality.
The Bad The Dash's tracking capabilities were off the mark. At this time, there's no capability to connect a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone or use the Express as a hands-free speaker system. The unit is also fairly bulky.
The Bottom Line The two-way connectivity of the Dash Express portable navigation system offers powerful search and traffic capabilities to drivers and increases the value of GPS to the next level, but the system needs some refinements before we're willing to invest in it.
It's been almost two years since Dash Navigation first announced its Dash Express portable navigation system, and we're happy to say that you can now finally get your hands on this device. The Dash Express is unlike any other portable navigation system on the market today because it offers two-way connectivity (cellular and Wi-Fi), giving drivers access to a whole new world of information via the Internet and the network of other Dash-connected users. You can conduct live (and more relevant) Web searches via Yahoo Local search; get real-time traffic data; wireless send addresses to the system; and much more. It really adds value to portable navigation devices, and it's the type of innovation that we think will take GPS to the next level--so much so that we even gave it a Best of CES 2007 award.
So did it deliver? Was it worth the wait? Well, there's good news and bad news. The good news is that we absolutely love what the connectivity brings to the device. We found great use and value in being able to conduct live searches, look for gas stations by lowest fuel prices, view traffic flow, and more. The Send2Car feature also worked flawlessly. The bad news is the unit was a subpar navigator. It was consistently off the mark when tracking our location, which ultimately affected route guidance. Now, Dash says the Express is for commuters and drivers who typically know where they're going and want the new features. OK, that's all well and good, but we're sure there will be times they have to venture to new places. And come on--the Express is still a GPS device, and it should be able to perform the core navigation functions well, especially if we're paying $399.99 for the thing. If Dash irons out those kinks, the Express will be a force to be reckoned with. The Dash Express is available starting today from Dash and Amazon.com, and includes three months of complimentary Dash Service. Afterward, you will have to purchase one of their plans, which range from $9.99 a month with a two-year plan to $12.99 per month for month-to-month.
The reaction has pretty much been the same from every passerby who has laid eyes on the Dash Express: "Whoa, that's a big device." At 4.8 inches wide by 4.1 inches high by 2.8 inches deep and weighing 13.3 ounces, the Dash certainly is a beast and harkens back to the days of older devices such as the bulbous Garmin StreetPilot c550. Dash says the extra bulk is because of the integrated wireless radios, which we understand, but we still think the company could have streamlined the design better, particularly the protruding backside, which is an eyesore.
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