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Dell GPS Navigation System review: Dell GPS Navigation System

With the Dell GPS Navigation System behind the wheel, Axim users can turn their Bluetooth-enabled PDA into an in-car route finder. Check out our review as we take this device for a test drive.

Bonnie Cha

Bonnie Cha

Former Editor

Bonnie Cha was a former chief correspondent for CNET Crave, covering every kind of tech toy imaginable (with a special obsession for robots and Star Wars-related stuff). When she's not scoping out stories, you can find her checking out live music or surfing in the chilly waters of Northern California.

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Encased in an attractive silver finish, the Dell GPS Navigation System's receiver measures 3.3 by 1.8 by 1.1 inches and weighs 2.6 ounces. It's a bit on the bulky side, so it's better suited as an in-vehicle aid than for use on foot. Three LEDs lining the bottom blink blue for Bluetooth, green for satellite reception, and orange for battery charge. The power switch is on the left, while a DC power jack sits slightly below it. A rubber base on the back of the receiver prevents it from slipping on the dash, but it's not strong enough to prevent a tumble on rugged or curvy roads. The good news is that a windshield mount holds your Axim for better display, and the car charger can power up your handheld and receiver at the same time.


Dell GPS Navigation System

The Good

Solid reception; nice user interface; included windshield mount and car charger.

The Bad

Bulky; lacks advanced map features of other Bluetooth GPS systems.

The Bottom Line

The Dell GPS Navigation System's accuracy and ease of use take the stress out of road travel for Axim owners.
Dell GPS Navigation System
Everybody wants a piece of the GPS action these days, and Dell is no exception. Like HP, which released a Bluetooth GPS receiver for its iPaq Pocket PCs, Dell has developed the GPS Navigation System for its Bluetooth-enabled Axim X5 and X30-series Pocket PCs. The $250 kit includes a Bluetooth GPS receiver, software with maps of North America, a windshield mount for your Axim, and a car charger. If you have an Axim and are constantly on the go or chronically lost, the Dell GPS Navigation System is a sound investment.

The software includes maps of the United States and Canada. Using NavTeq data, it provides information on one-way streets, turn restrictions, speed limits, and more. As with the HP system, you load maps by region or city in 25-, 50-, 75-, and 100-mile segments. Just be aware that the bigger the map region, the more memory it takes. For example, a 75-mile-radius map of San Francisco took 19MB of memory. We advise storing maps on memory cards and saving your PDA's internal memory for other applications. After installing the software on your handheld (with a quick hotsync), you have a plethora of options for navigating to your destination: address, intersection, favorites, recent routes, contacts, and city center, and more than 1 million points of interest (POI). You also can customize display options with day and night modes, 2D or 3D perspective, and more. The user interface is nice and simple, but it lacks the comprehensive POI database of the TeleType and DeLorme Earthmate receivers.

To test the Dell GPS Navigation System, we paired it with the high-end Axim X30 using the PDA's Bluetooth Manager and were up and running instantly. We acquired GPS reception in a quick 40 seconds. It held strong as we drove around San Francisco, although we did lose the satellite fix a couple of times as we ducked into a tunnel (a common occurrence with commercial GPS receivers). Voice-guided and visual turn-by-turn directions were accurate and clear. Even if you veer off course, the system will recalculate your route and get you back on track. We also liked the real-time information that showed us estimated time of arrival, remaining distance, and more. We managed to get about six hours from the receiver's rechargeable lithium-ion battery, compared to the company's claims of eight hours.