"Waste of Money"on by ltbg421
Pros Good GPS features.
Cons Poor address information in my area.
Summary I had the 2003 version so I purchased the Microsoft Streets and Trips 2006 to possibly get updated maps of my area. Too bad, so sad for me. If you live in McMinn County Tennessee don't bother buying this version. There are very few house numbers on the streets especially in unincorporated areas. It doesn't show streams and lakes like the 2003 version that I had did. I'm a paramedic and I have been using the 2003 version to locate addresses on emergency calls, I can't do that with the 2006 version.
Pros Simple to use
Cons No support - maps out of date
Summary This is my 3rd version and it hasn't changed much. It likes to corrupt the data files after awhile so saved locations will show other addresses - an old bug that they don't seem to ever fix. They ignore emails with corrections (typical Microsoft...) but it is cheap - I usually pay <> $18 so it's good for the money.
Pros Nice maps with good details. interface is well designed and user friendly.
Cons many of the Exit numbers are incorrect. Often the map shows you driving off road, even though you are on the raod. points of interest are limited and many are out of date (wrong number).
Summary I bought the software with the GPS antenna and went on a 2 week trip around the country crossing about 11 states.
I guess this trip really put the software to a comprehensive test.
At was easy to plan a route for the trip, the user interface was good and mostly user friendly.
It definitely saved our butts many times from being lost.
on the other hand, i am a programmer by profession and tend to have a critical eye for software, the following is my critique:
- Once a route is drawn and the GPS pane is active, the map does not allow you to select a location on the map to view points of interest around it; first you must disable the GPS pane then go back to do this.
- On many occasions, the high way exit number the driving directions were instructing us to take was the wrong number, this was really frustrating because you know how it is when you miss your exit or take the wrong one.
- on some occasions the map would show us driving off road while we are on the high way, it was funny at first but it became a problem when you are trying to watch where you are on the road to figure out the next turn, besides, it caused us to loose trust in the software directions during those times.
- on many occasions, the software caused the laptop to freeze or generate a microsoft error that needed to be reported, of course on the road i rarely had a wi-fi spot and even if you click "Report" it behaved as if it did report it when you know the report did not go any where.
over all, i think it is OK but i say this with out knowing how it compares to other products, so be diligent and do your shopping...
Pros cheapness does count and at 10 to 20% of a Garmin GPS I think you get your moneys worth with MS Streets 2006.
Cons not always good at mapping out the best route, requires a laptop to be truely portable that needs an external power supply. Laptop is kind of large for putting on the dash.
Summary Just got this gem two days ago. On the way home from Des Moines, Iowa going down the newly (still being constructed) Highway 163 to Ottumwa it said "off route" when it didn't have the updated highway location. We've been driving on this new route/by-pass for almost two years now.
Yesterday I mapped out a route to pickup a person at a bus drop in Omaha, Nebraska. The drop off location was Chubby's c-store. I typed in chubby's and it found it right off (boy was I happy!). Then I got to looking at the route from Ottumwa to Omaha and noticed that a reality check was needed. Streets had me go off of I-29 (south) onto I-680 west, off on the first exit ramp turning left crossing the interstate and getting back on to I-680 east, returning to I-29 south, and then proceeding on down to Omaha. Not too swift. Better check out the route before taking off in your car!
On my Omaha trip I was low on laptop power and my car's cig lighter needs repair. I therefore switched off the laptop to save it for navigating in Omaha. When I switched it back on I was told "off route" & "proceed to route" with no chance to re-calc the route. Also the GPS Pane was totally dead, I couldn't get it to tell me even where I was on the map (perhaps here I need to read the directions some more as it is still new). It would have been helpful for the program to recompute the route automatically.
Con: The crap about "proceed to route" is really stupid...how about telling me how to get back on route??? Didn't it know where I was and where I should be headed???
Neutral: At first I thought it would be distracting to have the laptop set in the passenger seat instead of being small enough to place on the dash. However I really didn't mind having to look sideways at the screen. And the screen is really big & readable.
Con: you have to take your bulky laptop with you just to use your GPS. Ever thought about laptop theft? Mine cost almost 3000 bucks w/o the GPS.
Pro: you can take your laptop inside and plan or adjust your trip without being stuck in the car.
Pro: having your laptop with you allows you to access the internet at rest areas. In Iowa each rest area has free wireless access.
Pro: For city navigation it is really nice to have a full sized computer screen showing the up-coming streets.
BIG PRO: CHEAP---$105.97
I've used a Pioneer Avic-n2 in my dad's truck so therefore I do have some comparison to a more dedicated GPS system. You can look at my review of it here on CNET also. The Pioneer cost over 1200.00 bucks & is installed in the radio hole.
Pros Plots the routes, easy to change if needed
Cons Takes a while to load due to the graphics
Summary I've used this product for several versions now and find it invaluable when I'm out making service calls and can not be on-line to access the Mapquest/Google sites. Very easy to pan in or out. Quite accurate. Cheap. I don't use it with GPS, but at some point might consider that too.