It seemed as if everyone who we spoke to about Mazda's Mazda5 said the same thing: "It's a mini-minivan." As cheesy as that sounds, there isn't really a better way to describe what Mazda has created with the Mazda5. As fuel prices soar and its full-size MPV minivan continues to grow, Mazda hopes to do for the van market what crossovers have done for the SUV market. Based on the compact Mazda3, the Mazda5 inherits performance that comes very close to Mazda's promise of "zoom-zoom." The Mazda5 isn't really a vehicle … Read more
Most navigation systems with traffic-monitoring capabilities make you pay an extra $60 or so per year for the service. Not so the Navigon 5100: Its real-time traffic features are included subscription-free. Right now, Buy.com has the Navigon 5100 (refurbished) for just $129.99 shipped.
That's a decidedly entry-level price for a GPS, but this model goes way beyond entry-level features. In addition to the traffic service, which will advise you of trouble spots and suggest alternate routes, the Navigon offers text-to-speech capabilities (it announces actual street names) and a lane-assistant function that recommends the best lane to be … Read more
After recently revamping its NAV-U line of portable GPS devices, Sony dropped by to give us a first look at their top of the line NAV-U94T model that should be hitting store shelves soon. We've already covered many of the new features offered by this device, but hands-on time with the device gives us a little more insight. In order of importance, here are the features we liked most:
The first feature demonstrated was the Position Plus technology which uses a gyroscope, an accelerometer, and (interestingly) a barometer to keep track of vehicle position to continue navigation when satellite reception is lost. We chose San Francisco's Stockton Street Tunnel as our destination, which is approximately three blocks long, and set off. Partway through the tunnel, we lost satellite reception, indicated by the display's position triangle turning orange, but the U94T seemed to keep track of our position.
Applying the brakes, we began to slow, then briskly sped back up. The speed readout on the display kept track of these changes as well. Emerging from the other end of the tunnel, the device quickly locked on to satellite reception and we moved on to the next part of testing.… Read more
This may be the best thing since the invention of the electric wheelchair.
A group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has invented a wheelchair with all the self-navigating abilities of a GPS device.
Only instead of being inhibited by the need for a satellite signal like a GPS device, MIT said Friday, the location-aware wheelchair uses Wi-Fi and can work indoors.
Just like with a GPS navigator, the wheelchair has programmed favorites. Better yet, it works by voice recognition so you don't have to type in a request.
All you have to say is "to the boardroom&… Read more
Q: 1. Is there any in-car GPS that allows me to review the route from start to finish without driving, once I input destination address in the device? If yes, which portable navigation device (PND) lets me review the route before actually driving? - Wize Chap via e-mail
A: Dear Wize Chap, turns out you have a lot of choices. Most in-car GPS offers route simulation or fly-over simulation (the name varies by manufacturer) that provides a running demo of your route from a bird's-eye view. It's useful in that it gives you an overall idea of what … Read more
Hang on, hang on, hold the phone! I thought yesterday's TomTom GO 510 GPS was a sweet deal at $124.99 (plus shipping and after rebate), but Buy.com just blew that outta the water: You can get a refurbished Magellan 4040 widescreen GPS for just $99.99 shipped, no rebates required.
If memory serves, this is the first widescreen GPS I've seen below the $100 mark. Specifically, it's a 4.3-inch touchscreen, which is way easier on the eyes than the typical 3.5-incher. The Magellan 4040 also features text-to-speech (it announces actual street names), a … Read more
Microsoft plans this week to demo for the first time a Windows-based portable navigation system running a new custom version of Windows.
At a trade show in Hungary, the software maker is showing a system from Mio Technology that is running the Windows Embedded NavReady 2009 operating system that Microsoft announced back in June.
At the time, the software maker said it would have systems out in time for this year's holiday shopping season. However, Mio's press release said it is not planning to have its systems out until sometime next year. I'm checking to confirm that … Read more
This GPS sold for a whopping $700 when it debuted just a couple years ago, but now you can scoop up a refurbished TomTom GO 510 for just $124.99 (plus shipping) after a $36 mail-in rebate. Unlike most models selling in this price range, the GO 510 serves up loads of advanced features.
For example, it sports a 4-inch widescreen display--way better than the 3.5-inch square screens you find on typical discount models. It also doubles as a speakerphone by pairing with your Bluetooth-equipped cell phone. That means you can make and take calls hands-free. Plus, it has … Read more
When my colleague Josh Lowensohn wrote his original and well-received 10 Absurd iPhone Apps blog, I agreed with most of his picks. Yet there was one application with which I rather sheepishly had to take issue. I love maps of all kinds so I was dismayed when I found "public transit maps" in the No. 8 slot. Yes, Josh makes good arguments that transit maps are free online, and that you can plan your route before you leave the house, but I thought it sounded like a cool idea. So, during a trip to New York City last week, I packed CNET's iPhone armed with the CityTransit NYC Subway Guide by Magnetism Studios. I put it to heavy use during my stay and definitely thought it was worth the $2.99 price. Here's why.
Don't look like a tourist I know New York somewhat well, but if I need to get from 39th Avenue in Long Island City to 14th Street in Manhattan, I'll need to look at a subway map to do so. While I can plan out the route before hand, my short-term memory seems to vanish while on vacation. With the complete subway maps on my iPhone, however, I can check my route while on the train (remember that you can't get the Internet while underground), but I can do so on the sly. I can avoid being the gawking tourist, craning my neck around seated riders to read the map on the side of the car. For all they know, I'm just reading my e-mail.
You also can look at a list of all stops on each line--very useful if you get on an express train accidentally. My only suggestion is that you can't zoom in on the maps very far. And even when you can zoom in, the maps can be blurry. … Read more