Gaming laptops are traditionally full of compromises.
- GPS navigation, reasonably priced
- Plastic finish, lack of Bluetooth and WiFi support, limited memory for applications
You only have to look at the absence of Bluetooth and WiFi support to see that the n35 is a navigation device first and a handheld second.
Price$ 999.00 (AUD)
The Acer n35 Handheld PC includes a fold-away 12-channel GPS receiver and is a great device for navigation, but its lack of Bluetooth and WiFi support would disappoint those looking for advanced handheld PC features.
In terms of size and looks, the n35 rates well. The device measures 120 x 72 x 20mm and weighs just 165g. The silver casing feels sturdy and looks professional, although the black plastic surrounding the screen and stretching to the back of the unit is easily marked.
Included with the package is CoPilot Live version 5, a satellite navigation system for your car. Simply slot the SD card into the top of the n35, flip open the GPS receiver on the back of the unit and open the program from within the device. We encountered some problems with the start-up of the GPS in various instances, where the program was not detecting the GPS signal and was idle for up to 10 minutes. However for most part, the GPS worked very well.
Using the GPS is simply a matter of entering your destination and letting the program calculate a route to follow. Should you take a wrong turn, CoPilot will simply calculate a new route. Of particular use was the 'Point of Interest' feature, where you can have the program alert you of surrounding or upcoming destinations, including restaurants and parks.
At the bottom of the n35's screen is a five-way navigational joystick surrounded by four buttons (two on either side) for Home, Calendar, Contacts and Inbox. There is also a handy scroll wheel, which we found ourselves using more than the navigational joystick, on the left side of the unit below the power button.
The 3.5", 240 x 320 pixel screen lacks the size and colour depth seen on some other models. An on-screen keyboard is used for entering text. The n35 comes with 64MB of RAM and just 32MB of ROM. The top of the unit houses a slot for SD, MMC and SDIO cards, which enable you to expand the device's memory. This slot is required by the CoPilot Live software, which means you can't access additional cards and use the navigation feature at the same time.
The unit ships with a car holder that cupped the unit well but became unusable after about three hours when the adhesive backing used to secure the unit to our dash no longer stuck. To ensure battery life won't be a problem on the road, a car charger is also included in the package. Battery life on the unit was fair, lasting about 4.5 hours before needing a recharge, but it is not replaceable. Overall the n35's specifications are not overly impressive, but if you're looking for a smart GPS satellite navigation system in a device that offers email and Internet capability you will be more than satisfied.
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