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    SLCentralHardwareReviewsPDA Jul 17th, 2019 - 3:48 PM EST
    Nexian HandyGPS Visor Module
    Author: Tom Solinap
    Date Posted: June 14th, 2001
    Rating: 7.5/10 SystemLogistics


    Once everything is set up, you can use the various software features. You have access to the general GPS info, like your coordinates, altitude, speed, atomic time, etc. The mapping software is not included in the module itself. You have to download and install it separately along with the various maps you want. UbiGo has fairly decent maps of the US on their site. You must create an account in order to have access to these maps. You get one year free access, after which it's $9.99 a year for new maps. I found that it was rather tedious having to load each map, which is usually a small area. If you are traveling far, you'll have to load the maps for your entire route. If only they have a larger map that could be loaded. It's still a far cry from having directions given to you directly, but it'll help if you do get lost.

    Once you've got UbiGo loaded and the maps you want, you can begin playing around with it. Switching from GPS mode to map mode is easy but can be a bit annoying because every time you do, a confirmation dialog always pops up. With the mapping software, you can zoom in on your current position, mark certain areas and even add memos to the marked points. If the map data has it, you can search for points of interest or specific street names. UbiGo allows you to change the way the lines on the map are displayed depending on whether the road is an interstate or just a regular highway etc. The software has some neat functions but it will take getting used to setting everything up. The learning curve is definitely higher than your normal Springboard module.

    Being restricted to open sky kind of takes away from some of the applications of this module. At first I thought I'd be able to use it during car rides, however, that wasn't the case. A warning comes up when you first start the HandyGPS about the dangers of using the device while driving, so it wasn't intended for that. However, using it before or stopping in the middle of a trip is the more practical thing to do, instead of holding it out the window the whole time. I didn't get a chance to test the device in any sort of dense foliage, so I'm not sure how well it'll work in a forest type setting. In regular conditions, it works fairly well, but be sure to use the power saving mode or else you'll eat up batteries quickly.

    The HandyGPS software itself also has some useful functions. It has a navigation feature that lets you record your travels. You can record, save, and playback your route. This is useful if you want to just how did you get to where you are now. It makes it easy to backtrack if you're hiking in the woods or something. You can also create way points and select various routes using the way points. It's a great way to navigate your way through anywhere. Unfortunately, you can't use your waypoints from the HandyGPS application in the UbiGo mapping software. One other little problem I came across is that in order to access the menus, you have to tap on the Visor Platinum's menu button instead of tapping on the title bar. Tapping on the title bar brings up a dialog asking if you want to cold start. It gets annoying after you do it a few times and especially if you cold start by accident. I hope Nexian does something to fix this in it's software upgrades.


    So now that everything works, what kinds of applications can the HandyGPS be used for? Well, if you're even thinking about getting a GPS module, then you probably already have a use in mind. However, let's just discuss some uses that you might not have thought of. Although I'm not much of a wilderness person, I do occasionally go out on excursions whenever I go back to my country, the Philippines. This module would be very useful when hiking in the forests over there. The built in compass and navigation recorder can help backtrack your steps so you don't get lost or run around in circles. The same goes for boating or snorkeling. I'm a big fan of the water, and usually we take a small boat and go out to the open sea for some free diving. Having this module along would be reassuring to the group that we'll be able to track our movement and even record places where we find good coral. It's really hard to get back to the same spot if we find a nice patch of coral. With the HandyGPS, recording our coordinates would be a snap and getting back to that same spot would be trivial. Ok, so we know it's good in the wild, but you're not going to be out in the bush forever. You can still use the HandyGPS for planning road trips to make sure you're going the right way, or to find nearby points of interests. That is provided you have the correct map loaded. You can also plot a route to work, or routes to different places depending on the way points you set. The built in compass function keeps things in perspective so you don't get disoriented in your travels. As for other uses, you can always impress your friends by having them blind fold you, and dropping you off in some strange neighborhood and managing to find your way back home. :) There are numerous possibilities.

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    Product Info
    Name: HandyGPS
    Company: Nexian
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