Imagine Apple Ipod with GPS!
Similar in size & weight to Apple Ipod.
Maps must be loaded each time.
The Bottom Line:
Fun little gadget with features of more expensive GPS systems. But not just a GPS system.... it's also a portable MP3 system!
This is the 6th GPS I have purchased since 1998. Others were Garmin StreetPilot Color; Garmin Legend; Magellan SporTrak; Magellan Pro; and Magellan Meredian.
Pharos EZ Road Pocket GPS Navigator is by far the most advanced of the previous GPS I have owned. It features:
* 3.5" color Touch-screen interface LCD
* Turn-by-turn voice & sound directions
* Automatic or one-touch re-routing
* Route by shortest distance, fastest route, or without highways
* Built-in Points of Interest
* Contacts List and Calendar
* Rechargeable Lithium battery
* 128 MB SD card
* Built-in MP3 Player
* Two different mounts: Windshield and AC vent mounts
The first thing you have to do is load the maps you intend to use. This is quite easy. You must first install a Companion CD, which you'll need for your computer to communicate with the Pharos EZ Road. Plug in the supplied USB cable, then pick one of three map CDs supplied (West; Northeast; Southeast). The cumbersome part is, some larger cities (such as LA) are zoned in to several smaller maps. Which means you must upload 3-4 zones to get coverage of one large metropolitan, such as LA County. Most of the zones are around 23MB, which means you can only upload around 6 zones tops. But you can buy additional SD cards if you travel a lot.
The maps are quite detailed and all the addresses I have tried to locate are there. Even all the unpaved roads I use are shown. But it does lack one useful feature: listing of businesses such as gas stations, restaurants and ATMs. But it does include Points-of-interests, such as amusement parks, hospitals, museums, etc.
You can get business listings but it'll cost you extra. You must subscribe at pharosgps.com at $5/month or $44/year. You can also add traffic condition subscription for $7/month or $66/year.
Another feature I like is auto-routing. Once you fail to follow its directions, whether by choice or you miss a turn because some idiot won't let you in, it warns you that you are off course. It'll warn you couple of more times, then realize that you're either rebellious or too far to turn back, it'll automatically calculate another route for you. But it does seem to take a few minutes to do so.
One annoyance I have found is that you must load maps you intend to use. For example, if you are in zone 1 and enter zone 2, the screen will be blank until you load the zone 2 map. You can have up to 10 maps opened at one time.
The touch screen works quite well overall. But sometimes I need to use my fingertips for it to register. I have large hands but I can enter addresses using the on-screen keyboard with ease.
The satellite reception seems to be weaker than the other GPS I have owned. I don't know if its the tinting in my car but it has lost satellite reception more often than others. But it has been cloudy and rainy so that may have contributed to the problem.
I love the compactness of the Pharos EZ Road. It's about the size and weight of an Apple Ipod, which is great since I intend to take it jogging. The built-in MP3 player is quite useful while jogging also. I haven't tried uploading any songs yet so unsure how good it is or whether jogging will cause it to skip. I will find out and add to this review. Oh, btw, no headphones are included.
The power comes from a rechargeable "built-in" Lithium battery cell. You can recharge it with the supplied charging cord while driving or via another ingenious way, which I had no idea was possible: with your computer. Just plug the charging cable to your desktop or laptop's USB port and it recharges! It took about an hour to recharge fully from empty.
Overall I like the Pharos EZ Road. Think it's really neat little gadget. Retails for $550 but I only paid $450 at Dell.com after a 5% discount and an additional $75 coupon (since expired). You can check dealcoupon.com for current Dell coupons.