Hertz Neverlost

May 12, 2006

I’ve been driving with Hertz Neverlost for about half a week. It’s great to have some comparison against my own current system.

What’s thumbs up

It works. It’s positioned quite smartly in the car, attached to the middle console’s right side so that it’s closed to the passenger’s knees but facing the driver. And can be turned and tilted freely.

Display is good and readable. Even though smaller than the builtin one.

Usage of the whole thing was pretty easy to figure out, menus and button labels make sense.

The “lady” talks loud and clear and instructions make sense.

What’s thumbs down

It’s SLOOOOOOWWWW!!!!! Sometimes, especially at turns, takes like 3 to 5 seconds to update. So you need to be pretty confident which way you are going, before entering the turn, junction or crossroads, otherwise this thing may mislead you. Sometimes it updates only after you’re long out of the crossroads. I wonder why is that, since the GPS signal is the same for everyone? Function of slow CPU on the device? But when going straight, then again, it updates fast…

Database is limited to just hotels and restaurants and city centres – no parking or other attractions. I guess that’s because for this thingie everything needs to be in its onboard Flash memory or something, while the Ford inbuilt one has a whole DVD to load stuff from. (Umm.. the functions page shows there are tons of categories. Don’t know, I don’t need most of them anyway, hotels and street addresses are fine with me.)

Entering text is a pain since you have to individually navigate to individual letters and hit enter and it says out the choices as you navigate them. Does it honestly expect to be used while driving??? It’s too dangerous. (But when operating while driving, it has an extra prompt for safety… but the lady doesn’t read the text out loud and clear, instead you have to focus away from driving to read the flyspeck type which kinda defeats the whole purpose of the warning.)

I can’t change between compass and “north” orientation. The vehicle arrow always points “north” and the whole map turns around accordingly to accommodate that. I’d prefer to have a fixed map view to have the vehicle arrow point in the actual direction I’m going, to help me understand the general direction I’m going. Currently it’s expressed only as letters (going N, S, E or W) which is harder to follow.

+ and - signs focus opposite to what you’d expect. Usually + is “zoom in” and - is “zoom out”. Well, it’s the opposite here. I guess the model is like “increase scale” and “decrease scale” but it freaks me out still.

So that’s that. All in all, definitely friendlier than having to navigate with paper maps only – although those certainly help with understanding the “big picture”, since the “zoomed out” view on Neverlost is too small to show anything useful.

What am I doing with a rental car in the US in the first place? Came down to San Jose for some work stuff. Kinda overwhelmed to post details about that yet, but there’s a Flickr stream capturing my after-hours moves. Everything is so colorful here, we were really lucky with weather for first part of the week.