Medion MDPPC250 PocketPC GPS Bundle

Best value PDA-based GPS rig yet?

Route march

For longer trips, or those involving multiple stops, Medion Navigator includes a Route Planning option allows you to map out a route in advance. It's slightly unusual in that all locations are considered destinations - you enter your start location as a destination and simply put it at the start of the list.

Unlike other navigation tools I've tried, this one provides a journey simulation which talks you through the route first. This helps you familiarise yourself with the journey before you set off and - crucially - lets you to veto roads that you know to be problematic. Blocking off a road forces Navigator to find an alternative route.

The software doesn't provide a written list of directions. Presumably Medion feels the simulation is sufficient advance guidance - it's certainly easier to absorb the information this way than by reading a list of 'turn right onto the A10' type of phrases. When it calculates the route, the software will choose either the quickest or the shortest path between destinations, and can be told to avoid motorways, ferries and toll roads, if possible. The latter includes London's Congestion Charge zone.

The Route Planning system will apparently look up destinations based on contact list entries' addresses, but it didn't seem to find the sole entry I typed into the PDA. I understand this is a quirk of the system's German heritage. Different countries write addresses in different ways, but Navigator expects you to follow the German style. If you're Outlook contacts are formatted the UK way, Navigator can't extract the postcode and thus locate the contact's address on the map.

Medion MDPPC250 Pocket PC accessories

Another flaw is its entry system, which while neatly providing a list of likely locations based on what you've typed so far, starts rather than ends with a post code. This is fine if you have this information beforehand, but what's the post code of, say, Victoria railway station? I don't know. You can enter 'victoria' in the Town/Postcode field and then choose 'Railway Station' from the Special Destination Category field, but the software won't locate the station.

This is less of an issue if you're visiting a small town, but it does make finding places of interest in a large city more difficult.

I couldn't initially find a way to drive to the Tower of London. Entering 'tower' does no good, and typing 'london' gives you a list of airports and the SW1A area. I tried the latter and hit paydirt. However, a more direct way of searching - even if took longer - would be more useful than Navigator's narrow it down, field by field approach.

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