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.
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.