Compared to other GPS receivers we've tested, the iPaq Navigation System is a bit bulky, measuring 3.3 by 1.8 by 1.0 inches and weighing 3.4 ounces. A nice touch, however, is the rubber grip on the back of the device that prevents it from slipping on your dashboard. Or better yet, use the included vent mount for a more secure alternative. On the bottom are three LEDs that blink blue for Bluetooth, green for GPS signals, and orange for battery charge. The power switch resides on the left side of the unit, and there's a DC power jack on the right (a car charger comes with the kit).
The software uses Navtech data and includes street-level maps of the United States and Canada, which you can load onto your PDA by region or city in 25-, 50-, 75-, and 100-mile radius segments. Once the maps are installed, you can choose to navigate to your destination in any of six ways: by specific address, by intersection, by your favorite destinations, or via your contact list. There are also options to plot courses based on shortest distance, or you can stay on the back roads and avoid highways altogether. It's not as comprehensive as the software included with the DeLorme Earthmate or TeleType receiver, but the voice-guided, turn-by-turn directions and real-time information (remaining distance, estimated time of arrival, and more) get the job done. In addition, there's a Points Of Interest database with more than 1 million entries in numerous categories, such as restaurants, hotels, ATMs, and gas stations.
We tested the iPaq Navigation System with the iPaq H4150, and it kept us on track as we trekked around the San Francisco area. We locked on to the required three signals in about 40 seconds, and they held steadfast even as we drove in between tall buildings. Voice and visual directions were accurate, and if you miss a turn, the system will automatically reroute your course. The receiver's 900mAh (milliamp hours) lithium-ion battery is rated for 8 hours; unfortunately, it came up an hour short in our tests.