The whole thing is generally easy to use too. Just six options to choose from on the main screen make it easy to find all the important functions, and while it is fiddly entering place names via a numeric keypad, there are plenty of owners of PDA smartphones and handsets with keyboards to whom that restriction won’t apply. That said, access to some of the more advanced features is hidden away somewhat – and after two weeks of using the system I had to have them pointed out to me before I was able to locate them.
And you don’t have to rely on your handset’s cumbersome data entry system if you don’t want to either. The system also provides an alternative for getting around potential problems with fiddly text entry. Registered users can log onto a special area on the Wayfinder website and use it to search for and add to favourites, which can then be synchronised with the phone. The website also has the facility to synchronise with your desktop Outlook contacts.
Of course it is not without its problems. First it’s inconvenient. You have to worry about keeping two things (phone and receiver) charged or connected to your lighter socket. And running your phone as a sat-nav also means it’s more likely to have run out of juice when you need it most. I tested Wayfinder out on a Nokia E60 running Symbian and after about three hours driving it needed a fresh charge.
The second – and most problematic – are those pesky Internet charges. Over the course of a week-and-a-half of use I managed to rack up 7.23MB of downloads using the service. You’ll need a fairly generous data allowance for that not to notice and it also means that if you plan on using it abroad you’re going to be hit in the pocket by hefty data roaming charges. If you have enough memory available – or a memory expansion slot of some sort – you can get around this by pre-loading maps onto your phone using the website, but this is a faff as you have to do it by city or region; you can’t simply download whole countries.
You’re also going to have a problem when you reach an area with no service for your network. Now although this is a rare occurrence these days, there is the odd spot – in deepest, darkest Wales for instance – where some networks still can’t boast 100 per cent coverage, and when you hit one of these spots your sat-nav essentially becomes useless.