The Archos GPS in-car holder ($129) transforms your existing portable video player into a full-fledged GPS navigation system. For Archos 605 WiFi owners whose GPS needs are strictly in-car, the Archos GPS in-car holder is a great value compared with a similar priced standalone system.Design
Constructed mostly of black plastic, the Archos GPS in-car holder isn't much to look at. The holder uses an adjustable arm and high-grade suction cup to attach to the inside of your car's windshield, while jawlike clamps keep your Archos 605 WiFi secured. Powering the Archos GPS in-car holder requires an included adapter cable that runs from the side of the cradle to your car's cigarette lighter, which can be a messy proposition depending on your car's design. A second, shorter cable connects from the Archos 605 WiFi's dock plug to the bottom of the GPS holder.
At first glance, the Archos GPS in-car holder may seem like a glorified suction cup, but its built-in GPS antenna offers the only way to add in-car navigation to your Archos 605 WiFi. Unfortunately, requiring a bulky dock attachment to turn the Archos 605 WiFi into a GPS receiver makes it a poor choice for those whose navigation needs extend beyond the car.
If you can accept its in-car limitations, the Archos 605 WiFi's large 4.25-inch antiglare touch screen is a natural fit for a navigation system, and GPS-enabled features such as 3D maps (courtesy of TeleAtlas), searchable points of interest, spoken turn-by-turn directions, and saved locations, are every bit as good as many of the modest systems offered by Garmin or Magellan. You won't see advanced features such as Bluetooth call handling or voice recognition on the GPS-enabled Archos 605 WiFi system, but at this price, we were more than happy with the options offered.
The best argument for using an Archos 605 WiFi as an in-car GPS system is its secondary use as entertainment for bored passengers. With or without the Archos GPS holder, having a 605 WiFi handy is great for watching movies, listening to music, playing games, and browsing the Internet--features that standalone GPS devices include in a more limited scope.
Setting up the Archos GPS holder in our car took minor effort, however, it's not the sort of thing you want to habitually move around or take between cars. Two adjustment knobs on the GPS holder allow you to position the Archos 605 WiFi however you like, and a sliding suction cup lock creates a tight seal with your windshield.
After placing an Archos 605 WiFi in the GPS holder and powering it up, it takes about 45 seconds and a few taps of the screen before you can really use the GPS navigation feature. We weren't thrilled with twiddling our thumbs for nearly a minute, but even dedicated GPS systems need time to get their bearings.
The Archos GPS in-car holder shined in its most important role: dispensing directions. Inputting street addresses using the 605 WiFi's large and forgiving onscreen keyboard is a snap, and the turn-by-turn directions dispensed through the holder's built-in speaker are clear and easy to understand. Using the Points of Interest feature, we quickly found dozens of local restaurants, banks, gas stations, and hotels, although our favorite subway terminal was absent from the local public transit listings.
To truly test the mettle of the Archos GPS in-car holder, we veered off our designated course several times to see how the system would react. Without fail, the Archos GPS system would gently chime in about 5 seconds after a missed turn, offering a sensible new route.