Affordable Big Screen Sat-Nav

Written by Mendelson Tiu     30/01/2008 | 05:40 | Category name i.e.AUTOMOTIVE

This sat-nav system may not have a recognisable brand name on its packaging, but it does provide a wonderfully large, readable screen at a price that won't break the bank. We take the Accura 7010 for a test drive...

Satellite navigation systems are undeniably useful tools to have in the car, they direct you to your destination with ease. And while portable sat-navs are very convenient, they often have small screens, which can make maps hard to read whilst driving. The Accura device is not portable, you can only use it in the car, but its 7-inch screen is definitely large enough to read.


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In fact, the screen is probably the first thing a user will notice upon removing the 7010 from its packaging. The unit only has four buttons up front (power button, menu key, volume up, and volume down) and has a remote sensor for the optional remote control accessory. The unit has an SD/MMC card slot, AV-in jack, and a headphone jack on its left side, while a reset button, USB host slot, mini-USB slot, TMC receiver port, and power jack can be found on its right. One can locate the GPS antenna, stylus, speakers, mount holder, and external GPS connection terminal at the back of the unit.

Out of the box, the 7010 comes with a car mount, SD Memory card (with the pre-loaded maps), USB cable, Cigarette lighter adaptor, and AV-in cable for hooking up various portable video sources. Users must connect a power source to the unit (either by using the cigarette lighter or AC adaptor) as the 7010 does not have any built-in rechargeable battery. Unfortunately, the 7010 does not come with any AC adaptor, forcing users to either purchase a separate AC adaptor or hook up the unit to their car.


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Performance:

The main menu consists of eight icons (Navigation, Multimedia Player, Image Viewer, AV In, Memo, Game, Clock, and Configuration) that launch various tasks when pressed. The main menu screen also displays the time, a mute icon, and an icon that turns the FM transmitter on or off.

The Multimedia function allows a user to play audio (MP1, MP2, MP3, MPA, MKV, MKA, OGG, and OGM) and video files (AVI, DivX, MP4, M4A, MPEG, MPG, MPV, DTA) accessed from the memory card slot or USB slot. The unit can also display images (TIFF, PNG, JPEG) using the Image Viewer software. The two programs were fairly easy to use, with all the icons labelled properly. Users can connect their portable DVD players (or any device with an AV composite port) to the 7-incher by using the provided cable. The 7010 was able to display the videos from the source without any problems but returns to the main menu once the screen is touched or the main menu hotkey is pressed.

One can write down a reminder on the Accura 7010 using its Memo program. Using the stylus, you can write a note directly on the screen, save it, and access it at another time. The current date and time are displayed on the entire screen by clicking on the Clock icon but is limited as it does not have any other functions. While the FreeCell game feels out of place, it's still a welcome addition to the 7010 navigator. Finally, users can adjust the brightness, calibrate the screen, adjust the FM settings, display the system information, and change the language by accessing the Configuration menu.


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In order for users to gain access to the Navigation function of the unit, Accura's SD card (made especially for the 7010) must be inside the card slot. Upon launching the software, users can either find a destination (using the address, coordinate) or go to pre-determined destinations (history, POI, home, and work) or view the map immediately using the cockpit or map option. The two map screens display the map in a similar way but perform differently in terms of functions. The map function is mainly used without the need for a GPS signal to browse the map, create new points of interests (POIs), or just plan your route. On the other hand, the cockpit mode is used for driving purposes as it displays the current street that you are on, the speed limit of the street, your current speed, and other route in 3D mode.

The navigation device took some time before obtaining a signal but its large 7-inch screen was able to make it easier for us to see the road ahead. The 7010 was able to display the next turn, the distance left, the time left, and the estimated time of arrival (ETA). The map was also able to show nearby POIs and pinned locations, while warning us when we were going over the speed limit. Although we did not have a hard time going to different places with the Accura 7010, we have found several instances wherein the unit told us to enter the roundabout even if there was clearly no roundabout in sight.

The navigation system also lacked a Text-to-Speech function, leaving us with instructions like 'in 100 metres, turn left' instead of telling us the exact road that we would be turning on. Also, since the SD card acts like a 'key', it must not be misplaced by users. Otherwise, the Mapping software will not launch and uses will be stuck with a navigation device without navigating features. Finally, users will not be able to use the 7010 outdoors as it does not come with any built-in batteries.

Conclusion:

A widescreen navigator packed with a lot of features - that is what the Accura 7010 is all about. Although we have found some of its features to be good (like the Multimedia, Image, and AV-in) when travelling, the absence of an internal battery made it impossible for us to use this product outside the car. This navigator could also have been better if it included an AC adaptor with the bundle and its mapping software installed in its memory rather than it being stored in an SD card. The process of swapping the SD cards (between media files stored in a card and the mapping software) may result to accidental misplacement of the card, therefore losing the main navigation function of the 7010.

Product Specifications:

GPS Module: SiRFStarIII
CPU: Samsung S3C2440 (400MHz)
ROM:  64MB NAND Flash
RAM: 64MB SDRAM
OS: MS Windows CE.NET 5.0 (Core version)
Power Input: 12V, 2A
LCD: 7-inch Landscape TFT Touch screen
TSP: 4 wired
Brightness: 450 cd/m
Storage: SD/MMC slot
Multimedia Format:
- Video: VideoFile (AVI, DivX), MPEG4 File (MP4, M4A), MPEG Movie File (MPEG, MPG, MPV, DTA)
- Audio: MPEG Audio File (MP1, MP2, MP3, MPA), Matroska File (MKV, MKA), Ogg Vorbis File (OGG, OGM)
- Image: JPG, TIF, PNG
Audio:
- Earphone: Stereo output port
- Speaker: 1W
Unit Interface: USB 1.1 Client, USB 1.1 Host, AV-in
Antenna Type: Built-in antenna
Dimension: 188 x 120 x 25mm
Weight: 372g

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Accura GPS Navigation 7010 | $499 |  | www.crkennedy.com.au

For: Big screen; AV-in port; Video/Audio/Photo playback; FM Transmitter; Good navigation software; TMC receiver; USB host and client
Against: No AC adaptor included in the package; No built-in battery; SD card with mapping software needed to run navigation software; No Text-to-Speech (TTS) function; Maps have 'ghost' roundabouts; Some problems with route recalculations
Verdict: Needs improvement on its hardware to be a navigation system well-worth recommending.

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Pros & Cons

Pros:

Big screen; AV-in port; Video/Audio/Photo playback; FM Transmitter; Good navigation software; TMC receiver; USB host and client; Price ($499)

Cons:

No AC adaptor included in the package; No built-in battery; SD card with mapping software needed to run navigation software; No Text-to-Speech (TTS) function; Maps have 'ghost' roundabouts; Some lag with route recalculations