Although GPS systems are a practical invitation that says "smash my window" to society's petty criminal fraternity, they are nonetheless very popular items. I've said it before, and I'm happy to repeat ad infinitum like a slightly confused middle class parent, but they're everywhere, and as sat nav units have become cheaper their popularity has only increased.
One can only presume the margins are good too because plenty of companies seem to dabbling in the sat nav market, even ones you wouldn't normally associate with GPS products. As a result there's a great deal of choice out there, though the quality of GPS units â€“ more specifically the software â€“ varies wildly making purchasing a good one difficult.
We don't normally review sat navs in Head 2 Heads, but in this instance it made perfect sense, since when we opened up the boxes we discovered they were both almost identical. This isn't a great surprise considering that so many casings are built in East Asia and then licensed to companies elsewhere, as is obviously the case here.
Fortunately, both share what is a very smart chassis though there are some minor cosmetic differences. It's a matter of taste, which you prefer; I rather like the shiny black exterior of the GoPal PNA465 but others I've spoken to prefer the silver and black of Route 66's Chicago 6000 â€“ the first in-car GPS unit from the company known for its navigation software for mobile devices.
Whichever version you prefer, the basic casing is mutually beneficial. Both feature a very nice 4.3in widescreen display with 65,000 colours at a resolution of 480 x 272 pixels. Internally they're powered by Samsung 400MHz CPUs, with 64MB of RAM and ROM respectively. The best thing, however, is that despite the large screens both units remain slim and light measuring 132 x 91 x 22 mm and weighing only 210 grams. It's a very nice form factor, and surprisingly the units are very well put together too, feeling solid despite the lightness.
Situated on the bottom edge is a recessed Reset button, along with a headphone socket and a mini-USB port used for charging the device and connecting it to a PC. On the right edge you'll find two buttons, power and a menu button with the stylus situated at the bottom. Up top is the SD/MMC card slot, while on the back is the built in SiRF Star III GPS receiver. This layout is identical on both units, with no exceptions.
Battery performance is reportedly up to 4.5 hours, a figure more or less confirmed by our experience, though it rather depends on the brightness settings of the screen. GPS performance was excellent too, never taking long to get a good fix and start calculating routes.