UPDATE: Read my full Insignia NS-CNV10 review.
I've been spending the past few days getting to know the Best Buy Insignia NS-CNV10 GPS. This 3.5" model, like its bigger brother, sports text-to-speech, a cellular connection, Google Local search and no connection fees for the first year. The 4.3" model is pictured above, but except for the phone button (Bluetooth is found only on the NS-CNV20) it gives you a good idea of what it looks like.
The Insignia appears to utilize deCarta's Connected Navigation (CNAV) service. So far, the device has been fairly intuitive and has done a good job of navigation, recalculating quickly whenever necessary. And I love having Google Local search at my fingertips. I also like being offered multiple route options, though it sometimes takes a couple of steps to get to them.
Physically, the device is slightly larger than a Garmin nuvi, but much smaller than the bulky Dash Express, the only other GPS on the U.S. market offering built-in cellular connectivity. But the huge antenna array in the Dash seems to make a performance difference. Cellular reception with the Insignia has been spotty so far, though there seems to be some improvement following a firmware upgrade from 1.01 to 1.3.
And while the Insignia is one of the first units to hit the market with this level of connected services, in some ways it is far from state of the art. Consider the following:
- When you tap the top menu bar, it brings up the list of turn-by-turn directions. But regardless of how many turns you have already made, it shows them all, starting with your point of origin. Not very helpful if you're trying to look a few turns ahead.
- Multiple route options are slow to update too, often showing the original routes.
- Hardware-wise, the battery is rated at two hours, and there is a volume lever on the side. While it's nice to have such easy access to the volume controls, it feels a little cheap.
- You cannot view your current speed anywhere on the device.
- Satellite lock was very slow on a rainy day; I got a couple of miles down the road before it locked.
- Local search result lists give the distance to the destination, but not the direction.
- When I upgraded the firmware, all of my data (home, favorites, etc.) was lost.
- The unit doesn't automatically power on or off.
- Though the unit claims to "Auto Sort Multiple Destinations," I've seen no evidence of this. Perhaps this means something other than auto-sorted multi-destination routing.
The screenshot above is a sample from deCarta. I haven't seen traffic info yet as I'm not in an area with coverage (NAVTEQ Traffic only covers 50 metro areas), but the multiple route options look exactly like they do on the Insignia.
That's it for now; I'll have a full review posted in a few weeks.
More info: GPS Navigation at BestBuy.com