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Pharos Pocket GPS Navigator with Bluetooth review: Pharos Pocket GPS Navigator with Bluetooth

Pharos Pocket GPS Navigator with Bluetooth

John R. Delaney
2 min read
Like the DeLorme GPS receiver, the Pharos Pocket GPS Navigator uses a Bluetooth power-pack cradle to obtain a wireless connection. But the similarities end there. The $350 Pharos GPS receiver is housed in a transparent plastic case, and the power pack is in a clear, translucent case. When combined and activated, both units emit a cool blue light that gives the unit a high-tech look. With a combined weight of less than 3 ounces and total dimensions of 3.4 by 2.4 by 1.0 inches, it's easily carried in a pocket when not in use. The kit includes an AC vent-mount holder for your PDA and a pouch for the receiver, which can be worn on your belt. It all comes in a handy tote bag with room for your PDA. Curiously, Pharos doesn't include an AC charger in this kit but sells it for an additional $9.95. It does, however, include DC charging adapters for both the receiver and a PDA.
We were disappointed to discover that the included Ostia mapping software lacks the ability to create routes on your PC. The only component of the application that sits on the desktop is the MapFinder utility, used for loading detailed maps to the PDA (our New York tristate map required 27MB of memory). Everything else, including route creation, voice-assisted driving directions, and point-to-point calculations, is done on the PDA. The menu selections are easy to use, but there are times when mapping your trip in advance is beneficial. Also, the points-of-interest (POI) database is limited and doesn't include restaurant, gas station, and bank listings. Instead, Pharos offers a subscription to Smart Navigator, a Web-based service that integrates with the Ostia application and lets you download current traffic conditions and business listings directly to your Web-enabled PDA or desktop PC. For $7 per month, you get both Smart Traffic and Smart Finder.
After 1 minute, 5 seconds, we acquired a 3D fix, and satellite reception was strong and stable on our Asus MyPal A716 test device. The Pharos Pocket GPS performed well on our urban walking tour of New York City, losing a 3D fix only once while we prowled the skyscraper canyons of lower Manhattan. On the road, the receiver worked like a charm, as did the voice-prompted driving directions. Battery life fell a bit short, though. We managed only 6 hours of the rated 6.5 hours from the included lithium-polymer battery before it lost juice--the shortest time in the roundup.

Return to CNET's Bluetooth GPS receivers roundup.


Pharos Pocket GPS Navigator with Bluetooth


The Good

Strong receiver; sharp looks; includes vehicle-mounting hardware for PDA and GPS receiver.

The Bad

No AC power adapter; small POI database; so-so battery life; can't create routes on PC.

The Bottom Line

With its cool looks and strong reception, the Pharos Pocket GPS Navigator keeps you heading in the right direction.