It felt rather odd at first to work without a touch screen but in fact the ALK’s menu system is pretty intelligently put together with few layers of sub-menus and plenty of thought put into the fact that you only really want to scroll vertically through options and make minimal taps.
There are plenty of options settings. You can make a predictable range of preferences choices such as miles vs kilometres, map heading vs north at the top, automatic switch between day and night colours or manual setting. Points of Interest alerts can be set so that you are warned when you get to within a user definable distance from them. You can save handset battery power by getting the software to turn the backlight on only when you are near a turn. I have to say I prefer the always on option.
I often complain that spoken instructions come too early or too late for me to really take proper notice of them. The CoPilot software developers may have been listening as you can set the software to give its turn warnings at any or all of two miles ahead, one mile ahead, 3/10 of a mile ahead or just ahead setting the latter to within 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10 seconds ahead.
You can create driving profiles designating preferences for different road types (strongly avoid, avoid, neutral, favour, strongly favour) and the speed you drive along them. These might be handy if you drive at times of the day when you know traffic conditions vary – rush hour or non rush hour for example, if you drive more than one vehicle with radically different handling (there is a setting for RV which apparently refers to caravans or other heavy vehicles which can handle differently to cars), or simply if you drive differently and prefer different road types when on business or when travelling for leisure.
CoPilot 6 supports both TMC and GPRS traffic information but I was not in a position to try either. Live vehicle tracking for a single user comes as standard with CoPilot Live! You need to sign up to a Web site, and then can provide others with a password to get access to your position on the road. I’m not sure, for individual users, whether this is any better than stopping off from time to time to phone in to whoever is waiting for your arrival, but it is a feature that, as far as I know, others don’t offer.