LG is hoping to muscle its way into the burgeoning market for portable GPS devices with the AU$549 LN500 and AU$649 LN800 models.
With its brushed metal-look front and slim design -- at just 18mm thick, LG claims it's the slimmest portable GPS device in Australia -- the LN500 looks pretty good. Complimenting this, it has a series of three buttons along the left-hand edge of its 3.5-inch, 320x200 touch-screen LCD for menu/power and volume control. Its rechargeable battery is rated at four hours.
While we'd prefer something a little more grunty than its 276MHz Atlas II processor, it does have 64MB of onboard memory and comes pre-loaded with the nigh-on-ubiquitous Sensis maps of Australia. The biggest on-paper highlight of the LN500, and the pricier LN800, is its text-to-speech technology, which enables it to read out street names. Replacing anonymous instructions, like "turn left in 300 metres", with "turn left in 300 metres onto George Street" should help us keep our eyes on the road.
The LN500 is based on Windows CE and, as such, it offers built-in MP3 playing and photo viewing functionality. We're not entirely convinced that punters really care much about these features in portable GPS units, though.
Yet another big name is trying to muscle its way into Australia's portable GPS market. Whether LG has done enough to entice punters away from established names like Mio, Garmin and TomTom is something we can only determine in a year's time. Although, kicking off with a good looking unit like the LN500, is a good way to start.