Excellent GPS system on a dated Operating System.
GPS controllers have pretty much become a standard on Smartphones, however, the GPS applications bundled with most phones are far from great, especially in this part of the world. Thus I was looking forward to the Garmin ASUS Smartphone that arrived in our offices some time back. If you’re not aware, Garmin’s primary business is maps so that is at least one thing this phone should excel at.
Packaged in a square box, the nuvifone M10 comes with a wall charger as well as a car kit that is made up of a car charger and mounting kit that allows you to easily install the phone in your car. A pair of headphones and an extra stylus is also included along with the quickstart manual and a CD that had additional documentation and software.
The nuvifone M10 itself is generally of good construction quality, however, the plastic back was a bit loose on our unit and creaked whenever I picked it up. The top of the Smartphone has a 3.5mm jack and USB port while the left side as volume buttons and a MicroSD slot. The bottom houses the stylus while the right has a USB connector which is used for charging the phone. Next to the USB connector is another connection that basically attaches to the car kit.
Based on the Windows Mobile 6.5 OS, the Nuvifone is pretty well equipped from a hardware point of view. It has a 600Mhz CPU with 512MB ROM and 512MB RAM along with 4GB flash as well as a MicroSD slot for expansion. Connectivity wise, you have Bluetooth 2.0, WiFi as well as 7.2MBps HSDPA. A 5MP camera is present on the back but without a flash so you will have to rely on good light to take good pictures.
The front of the Nuvifone has a very minimalistic look to it with three touch buttons at the bottom that aren’t backlit so pressing them in a dark environment becomes a “hit the right spot” game. Above these buttons is the 3.5” inch resistive touch screen which is extremely hard to read in bright sunshine. Being resistive in nature, you’ll have to pull the stylus out frequently to use the phone, even though the interface tries its best to be as finger friendly as possible with thing like large sized buttons and a landscape keyboard that is almost useable without the stylus. But things like scrolling end up as clicks and the keyboard in portrait mode is not very usable. The following video guides you through the interface (Apologize for the blurriness.)
As you can see, the user interface on the M10 has been modified allowing for a more iPhone like feel with screens shifting left and right along with a fixed set of icons at the bottom.
Being a Windows Mobile device, expect the usual bunch of applications such as Microsoft Office Mobile and Internet Explorer bundled on the device. Marketplace is also present on the device to download additional applications.
The last and obviously the most important aspect of the nuvifone is its garmin GPS which works very well. I used it for finding and travelling to a few destinations without any issues. You have the option of searching points of interests around you or inputting addresses along with setting up favorites or just browsing the map. The GPS locks on pretty quickly and even manages to work indoors at a few locations. The voice navigation included in our unit was of an Arabic female.
Finally, battery life is also impressive on the nuvifone- I was surprised to see some charge left after a full day of usage with calls, HSDPA, Wi-Fi and GPS. The price of AED 1995 for the phone is reasonable but I’m not sure how widely it will be available in the region.
Overall the nuvifone M10 is a pretty good device based on a not so finger-friendly Windows Mobile OS. If you’re used to using a stylus then I would recommend the M10 but for the majority of us used to capacitive displays, the nuvifone M10 proves to be a bit counter-intuitive to use.