Space Machine PocketMap PMG-270 review: Space Machine PocketMap PMG-270

Pricing Unavailable
  • Weight 0.1 lbs

Roadshow Editors' Rating

7.6 Overall

The Good Strong, accurate GPS receiver; on-the-fly route planning; clean map graphics.

The Bad Cannot access existing contact addresses; voice directions slightly fuzzy.

The Bottom Line Ease of use and solid performance make this a worthy addition to any Pocket PC with a CompactFlash slot.

Space Machine's PocketMap PMP-270 weighs just 1.7 ounces, measures 3.6 by 2.0 by 0.8 inches, and requires no additional batteries since it draws power from your Pocket PC. The kit includes the PMG-270, a 12-channel CompactFlash GPS receiver, an external antenna, PocketMap Navigator software, a 12-volt car adapter/charger, and a vehicle-mounting bracket.

We installed the Navigator software on our desktop and downloaded the application to a Dell Axim X5 Pocket PC. The software produces customizable street-level maps of all 50 states, plus a huge database containing business listings and points of interests. Unfortunately, in our tests, the program couldn't select addresses from the native Pocket PC contact list.

After downloading maps for the entire New York City metro area, which chewed up a little more than 16MB of memory, the receiver took less than a minute to initialize and acquire four satellites for a strong 3D fix. The maps are colorful, accurate, and readable, and they took mere seconds to load. While we were walking, the PMG-270 kept track of every turn, losing satellite strength only occasionally.

Unlike Rand McNally's StreetFinder software, which requires that you create routes on the desktop, Navigator lets you create routes on the handheld using the Route tool. In the car, routes were calculated quickly, but the voice-assisted directions were on the fuzzy side.

If you miss a turn, Navigator will recalculate your route. Also, a dotted trail displays where you've been, automatic map zooming shows when you approach a turn or a destination, and you can store up to 300 personal waypoints.

Although the PocketMap PMG-270 will work with any NMEA (National Marine Electronics Association) 0183 protocol mapping software, we think this pairing of GPS hardware and software is a winning combination. Despite a few flaws and a somewhat steep retail price of $299, the PocketMap Advanced CompactFlash GPS bundle is a good bet if you're looking to get more mileage out of your Pocket PC.