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Halfway To Paradise With Mobile Crossing's WayPoint 200 PDA/GPS

Time For The Pretty Ladies And Fancy, Expensive Cars

Most of the rest of our trip was uneventful, as we took in all the pretty ladies and the unbelievable array of fancy and expensive cars that populate this fantastic road to paradise. But, things quickly changed as we approached the restaurant. Speaking with great authority, or so it seemed, the GPS began counting off the number of feet until we reached the right turn that would take us into the restaurant's parking lot.

When the GPS's count reached zero, my friend and I couldn't help ourselves and broke into howling laughter. The GPS was urging us to turn smack into the large plate glass window of what looked like an expensive boat dealership. We passed the boat shop still laughing and almost missed the restaurant parking lot about 50 feet further down PCH. As we turned into the lot, the GPS was urging us to make a U turn so we could get back on course. If I hadn't turned it off, my guess is that the WayPoint would have chatted to us all through lunch trying to get its stupid human charges back on course. The good news: We arrived at the restaurant exactly on time and as predicted by the GPS.

Conclusions

I used the Mobile Crossing WayPoint 200 PDA's GPS functionality on several occasions. Overall, it proved to be a useful tool for getting from here to there, as long as I allowed for the occasional glitch. During all my tests, the GPS receiver never had trouble locating at least three global positioning satellites, even in my back-of-the-building condo with the receiver placed on a window sill.

When driving, I learned that what is really important most of the time about a GPS is its voice, not its display. The display is great for setting a route, but it isn't very useful, and in fact for safety reasons should not be used when you are driving. As I mentioned earlier, with the car's windows closed, the WayPoint 200's voice came in loud and clear in all circumstances. With the windows open, audibility varied with road and wind noise.

Since I tested the WayPoint 200, Mobile Crossing has updated its firmware. The improvements are significant and include better handling of GPS data when the CPU is busy, better graphics, and downloading sets of maps over the Internet as needed.

Would I like to have a WayPoint 200 in my car all the time? Sure. But it still requires too much effort to download and integrate real-time traffic information into the GPS's routing decisions. You have to use a Bluetooth phone to get the data from the Internet, and then you have to tell the GPS to use it. Real-time traffic information functionality needs to be more readily available on the WayPoint 200, and other GPSes available in the USA. Until then, these devices will be only half of what I need when driving the busy streets and freeways of Los Angeles -including LA's Roads to Paradise, such as Pacific Coast Highway.