Let's face it, on the small sunny island of Singapore, getting lost would be pretty hard to achieve. But for those of you who are a tad geographically challenged, there are a slew of dedicated GPS devices out there for the picking, one of which is the Packard Bell Compasseo 770 personal navigation device. We took the Compasseo 770 out for a test drive (literally) and here's what we thought.
Out of the box, the Compasseo 770 comes with all the necessary accessories you'll need for your navigation purposes. Bundled with a 1GB SD card that's preloaded with both the Singapore and West Malaysia maps, the Compasseo 770 also comes equipped with a non-flexible car-holder and a USB-cigarette lighter adapter for constant charging of the device within the vehicle.
Perhaps one of the biggest advantages the Compasseo 770 has over numerous other GPS devices is the easy on the eyes 4.3" LCD TFT screen. We did have some trouble with ts flushed buttons, which were near inaccessible without the use of fingernails. At the right volume, i.e. without blasting the device's volume bar to maximum, the voice prompt came out clear and audible even in noisier road conditions such as heavy rain and engine vibrations mixed in.
The Compasseo 770 comes with a Sirf Atlas III GPS module and runs on a Sirf Atlas 400MHz processor, with up to 64MB of SDRAM. Taking it out for a quick spin, we did the necessary search and routing. Incidentally, if you're wondering how detailed the search function is, it's safe to say that the Compasseo 770 was quite impressive. Firstly, the use of an on-screen QWERTY keyboard, unlike certain other devices that presents a less than intuitive keyboard, gives the Compasseo 770 the edge. Secondly, searching for your destination with its postal code is supported on the Compasseo 770, though this is currently limited to the Singapore map.
However, satellite lock time tells a different story from the rosy picture that we painted earlier on. On a clear day, it took the Compasseo 770 almost up to 30 seconds, to acquire the satellite data for GPS navigation. The time taken would also increase significantly with lackluster weather conditions.
This weakness was somewhat placated by the device's quick auto-rerouting. Though we acquired a lock much later and thus made one wrong turn, the auto-reroute was quick to react and immediately provided the correct directions within 2 seconds. Furthermore, once the route was planned out, the Compasseo 770 will advise you to insert a cash card when there are ERPs detected on the planned route. This is enhanced even further by its integrated warnings of ERPs as you approach one, and speed cameras warnings are also thrown in for good measure.
While the Compasse 770 is first and foremost a navigation device, it also comes with a SD/MMC card slot and supports a myriad of multimedia formats such as MP3, WMA, JPEG, AVI, MP4, and WMV. However, chances of utilizing these multimedia features are minimal at best as you'll probably be utilizing its GPS function more than anything else.
By far, dedicated GPS devices are still more of an in-vehicle navigation device, and as mentioned, the bells and whistles such as its multimedia support are just icing on the cake. When it comes to satellite lock times, the Compasseo 770 probably won't win the speediest award, but its rerouting capability and its high search efficiency allows you to set off from your current position to your destination almost immediately. Price to pay for a well-thought GPS device? S$599.