This is the second part of my review of the HP ipAQ rx5720 Travel Companion. The iPAQ 5720 is a combined PDA and TomTom satellite navigation system.
Last week I reviewed the PDA side of things. This week I am reviewing the UK version of the TomTom6 satellite navigation system that comes built into the PDA.
Setup of the satellite navigation system was straightforward. You simply select the TomTom application from the main menu and then wait for the iPAQ to establish a GPS signal. Establishing a GPS signal will take a few minutes the first time it is used, and you need to make sure you are standing outside and clear of any tall buildings, etc. Once a GPS signal has been established, you will find that subsequent times you switch on the iPAQ and select TomTom, that the GPS signal is established much quicker.
The TomTom comes with full maps covering the UK and Ireland. I found the TomTom application menus easy to navigate. The maps are surprisingly good for a device with a small screen. The maps are clear and easy to read. It supports full postcode entry to plan your route. You can also plan your route by entering a city and street name, or if you just want to navigate to the centre of a town or city you can do that too.
I also like the way it displays how many miles of your journey are remaining and an estimated time to reach your destination.
I planned several routes around my local town and it calculated accurate routes, choosing exactly the same routes I would have chosen myself. Voice directions are clear and easy to understand. The voice volume adjusts depending on what speed you are travelling, so the noise from your vehicle won’t prevent you from hearing the directions.
You have the usual features you expect on a satellite navigation system, such as being able to plan the journey using the fastest or shortest routes. You can also instruct the TomTom to avoid certain roads if required.
I like the way it give directions not just for the current step in your journey but also the next step ahead. Let’s say you’re approaching a roundabout, before you get to the roundabout it will tell you what exit to take and then also tell you what to do after you exit the roundabout. For example, take the 3rd exit on the roundabout and then after 100 yards turn left. I like the way it provides forward planning like this.
I also deliberately took a few wrong turns. At first it warns you to turn around, but if you carry on driving then it will automatically recalculate a new route for you. This worked perfectly every time I tried it.
TomTom Other Features
You also have the option to forward plan your routes. You could for example, plan a journey for the following day. Once the route is calculated you can then preview the route, either as text instructions or by browsing a map showing the route. You can also browse the planned route as a video which simulates the journey as if you were driving in your car. You can speed up and slow down this video if there is a particular section of the journey you want to see in more detail.
The TomTom also supports itinerary planning. If you need to visit several places, then you can setup each destination in an itinerary. Once you’ve reached the first destination, you can then mark it complete, and then it will plan the route for the next destination in the itinerary. This can be quite useful, especially if you want to break up a long journey into smaller pieces.
It also supports navigation to any of your contacts in your address book. Simply select the contact in your address book and it will plan the journey. In addition you can also make use of the Buddy Finder feature. This allows you to invite friends as TomTom buddies. You can then see your buddies on the map and navigate to each other.
I found browsing the maps very easy to use. You can zoom into individual street level if required. The maps also show points of interest (POI) such as petrol stations and hotels. If you click on a POI then it will display the phone number for the petrol station, hotel, etc.
The TomTom also supports journeys you want to do by foot or by cycling.
Overall I think this is a great satellite navigation system. Full postcode entry makes this system simple to use, it provides easy to read maps and gives clear directions that are easy to understand. It also provides features like points of interest, itinerary planning and TomTom buddies for more advanced users.
Overall Summary of HP iPAQ rx5720
Overall I think the TomTom satellite navigation is the best aspect of this device. It was very impressive and performed very well on each journey I planned.
The PDA side of things are pretty good, especially the calendar features. I also like the easy integration with Microsoft Outlook enabling you to synchronize your emails and calendar appointments. I found using applications like Microsoft Word and Excel too fiddly on such a small screen, and the lack of wireless may put off some people too. Apart from that limitation it is a nice device. If you really want wireless capabilities then you can purchase a wireless SDIO card separately for around £20.
If you’re looking for a great satellite navigation system, and want a built-in calendar and contacts list, then keep it on your shortlist.
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