Acer P660 Portable Navigator Review - Acer P660 Portable Navigator Review

On the top edge of the device you’ll find the power button sensibly placed bang in the middle, with a headphone connector in one corner and a connector for an external GPS aerial in the other corner should you require it. These are both covered by hard flaps so you wouldn’t even know that they’re there. Round the back is the speaker, which is actually reasonably loud and clear.

Internally, the device is powered by a 400MHz Samsung S3C2440A processor, and has 64MB of RAM for system memory and another 64MB for the OS. Hmm, it’s almost as if it’s a Windows Mobile powered PDA. The GPS chip is the ubiquitous SiRFStar III. Software wise, the mapping data is provided by Navteq, which is considered to be a premium option.

The only downside of the thin dimensions is that as a result the battery can’t be huge. It’s a 1,200 mAh Lithium Ion battery, but I got a battery low message after three hours. In any case, if you wish to use the TMC receiver supplied with the P660, you’ll need to keep the device plugged in with the car lighter socket charger.

From the Main screen you can launch the CoPilot navigation software, a built-in Photo viewer, an MP3 player and a Contacts database. It also contains a Settings button, and from here you can choose languages, adjust backlight settings and set the date and time. Oddly, you can also adjust the volume from here though why would anyone delve deep into this menu just to adjust the volume is beyond me, but the menu does provide you with the option to turn off the screen tap sound.

The extra abilities of the device aside from navigation is a clear indicator that it’s based on Windows Mobile 5. I do wonder if anyone would really want to carry round pictures on their GPS device. I can think of some uses – say an engineer off to a building site who wants to show designs without having to take a laptop. The photo interface isn’t that intuitive as you have to manually select each thumbnail to get it to display all of them in a slideshow. It does have some funky transitions though. The MP3 player is also quite basic, but with the device being so thin and it sporting a headphone socket, it is just about feasible to imagine that you could use it as an MP3 player.

One thing that impressed me straight away about the device was the screen quality, with colours quite vibrant. The first time you fire up the CoPilot navigation software it runs through a brief tutorial to get you started. All-in-all it’s a fairly easy to use device, though it does betray its Pocket PC origins at times.

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