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Acer P660 Portable Navigator
As one of those companies that likes to have a finger in a lot of pies, it’s no surprise to see Acer offering GPS devices, even though it’s not one of the brand leaders. TomTom dominates in the retail market and due to the general excellence of its offerings it’s not hard to see why. However, Acer has a large presence in corporates, so IT managers may well care to consider Acer GPS products for its roaming workers.
Having seen two previous GPS products from Acer, neither of which were particularly convincing, it’s pretty much a case of third lucky. While the Acer d150 and Acer N35 were functional, the devices themselves had poor build quality and feel and the software on both was far from easy to use.
Design wise the P600 series navigator is a massive improvement over the frankly awful d150. It’s undeniably a really nice looking device, thanks to a pleasing 4in widescreen display and due to the fact that it’s thin, compared to something like a TomTom 510. Its dimensions are 116 x 81 x 23 mm (L x W x H) and it’s only 195g. This makes it eminantely pocketable, at least in a jacket pocket, which is just what you want. With GPS devices pretty much being the number one most stolen item from cars, once you leave your vehicle, your pocket is where you want it to be.
It’s not just the size and weight that works in its favour. The angular corners and the buttons all enhance the design. Beneath the screen are large, easy to press plus and minus volume buttons with a smaller button labelled ‘Navi’ between these. This enables you to switch between the navigation software and the main controls. The buttons are backlit and light up when the buttons are pressed or permanently when plugged in.
There’s an SD card slot on the right hand side, with a 256MB card supplied containing the CoPilot Live maps for UK and Ireland. Maps for Europe are also provided on CD and you can transfer them over onto the SD card by hooking up via USB cable. However, if you want more than the UK on the card at the same time you'll need to purchase a larger SD card, though that's no hardship seeing how cheap they are these days.
The P660 includes the Premium edition of CoPilot which offers full 7-digit postcode support for the UK, which in my view is essential. Another benefit of the top-of-the-range P660 is the bundled TMC receiver, more of which on later.
On the underside edge of the device is a mini USB device which is used for charging, and hidden by a plastic cover is a connector for an optional car mount kit. On either side of these are two slider switches for either hard or soft resetting of the device. These are quite deep inside and though I was told a stylus is included, one wasn’t supplied with my package. Either way, you should make sure that you have something that can access these switches as if your device does freeze up mid-journey, you’ll be stuck. This happened all the time with my very early sample, but once it was updated to the latest firmware it only occurred on one single occasion during my time with the device.