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Reviewed - Harman Kardon 310
Posté le 15 juillet 2008 à 10:47:03 par gpspassion.

Article written by Paul, moderator of our forums and experienced user of GPS Assisted Navigation, first on PocketPCs, then on AIOs and smartphones. If you have questions or comments you can use this topic in the forums.
iGo 2006 Software - TeleAtlas Maps - Centrality GPS Chipset

INTRODUCTION - For someone my age (63) Harman Kardon is a name to conjure with. When I was growing up they were pioneering the world of "High Fidelity" and "Stereo". I still remember talking my father into buying the first stereo receiver made by Harman Kardon and later I was the proud owner of a Citation Fourteen - the first receiver with a mulitplex decoder - so I was very interested in getting my hands on one of their GPS units.

The Guide 310 is their bottom end unit. It has text to speech but extra features, such as traffic, are found in their higher end 510 and Bluetooth in the 810. The unit uses TeleAtlas maps and a Centrality Dual Core Atlas II processor with GPS. It has a 4 inch screen (480 x 272) and software is Navngo iGo 2006.

A STREAMLINED IGO 2006 - Let's start with a general comment about the Navngo implementation. When I was at CES in January, the CEO of Navngo told me that Navngo is the "engine" behind the scenes and the actual GUI, what the user sees, is done by the company that licenses the software. So even though several companies are using the Navngo software, what the user sees can be very different. You can have the extremely complicated GUI of the pre-Navman Mio units (which I could never really figure out) or the simpler, but cluttered display of the HP iPaq 310.
Harman Kardon has, in my opinion, taken the Navngo software to the most user friendly point I have seen. The menu structure is clear and easy to navigate, the screen is not too cluttered and overall the unit is just a pleasure to use. Kudos to Harman Kardon to giving some real thought to making an excellent user experience. This is the best Navngo implemention I have seen. It is not Version 8, however, but, to be honest, I don't think most people will notice the difference if they don't do much city driving (Version 8 shows buildings in the cities).

WHAT'S IN THE BOX - The 310 comes with complete maps of the US and Canada and is packaged with a car charger, USB cab le, carrying case, mounting bracket, sticky cup for dashboard mounting and a quick start guide. It also plays MP3 music and supports SD and SDHC cards.

The unit is fairly slim and the top has the SD card slot and an on/off switch. The right side has the USB port, earphone port and (hooray!) an actual wheel to change the volume. The left side just has a lock slider which disables the on/off switch

As you can see the mount is very compact. This is good and bad. It certainly won't protrude on cars with flat windshields, but on those that have a heavily tilted windshield, like my Jetta, you might find the unit is placed a bit far away to touch the screen easily. In any event, I've standardized on dashboard mounts, so this doesn't bother me.

Notice how finger-friendly the settings screen is. All of the screens are designed this way.

The GPS receiver seems to be as sensitive as any of my SiRF III units, but I haven't had a chance to torture test in in New York City. Acquisition time (cold, warm and hot) is about the same as my other units as well.

A FINGER FRIENDLY UI - The user-friendly GUI is plain to see in the navigation screen:

It's nice to see "City Center", which some units omit. "Place" is the POI section. The specs don't say how many POIs are included on the machine, only that there are "millions". I have found that the unit will not find stores and restaurants that my Ipaq 310 will find, so I guess the count must be on the low side. One thing I will say is that the unit is FAST. This thing finds POIs quickly, and plots routes faster than any of my other units. Recalculation is sometimes too fast to notice. I don't know what they have done, but this is a little speed demon.

Here I'm plotting a route to my home. Again notice the finger friendly screen:

And here is the routing screen. It is uncluttered and easy to read:

Of course the unit has all the usual display modes, but one of the nice things is the Navngo "airplane view" of your route:

Another area that is often ignored, and to me is especially important, is the avoid part of the route function. It is not enough just to avoid a mile or so ahead, it is absolutely essential to be able to avoid particular roads. This is often the only way to get out of a traffic jam when you don't know how far it reaches, but it is also needed to customize a route if you want to go a particular way. This is easy to do on the 310. Here are the screens that take you through it:

The 310 can also play MP3s, but as I have an iPod and iPhone I have no use for this function. Here's the screen, though. The speaker really isn't designed for music playing, so you will probably want to feed it through your car stereo.

A COUPLE OF NEGATIVES - the software does not tell you what side of the street your destination is on, and the screen washes out a bit in direct sunlight. Some of my other units are definitely brighter in direct sun.

FINAL WORDS - All told, a very nice implementation of the Navngo software in a unit that is a pleasure to use. As you can tell from the above I like the unit a lot. Amazon is selling the 310 for $208 and I think it's worth the price. I just hope that Harman Kardon will keep up support for the unit and will provide map updates. There is no mention of updates on the Harman Kardon site.

If you have questions or comments, you can use this topic of the forums.

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