"Not bad; but not as good as it should be for a GPS system"3.0 starson by 2downunder2
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.