The Garminfone is coming to T-Mobile very soon, so in order to help us figure out whether it is just a useless and superfluous toy or a candidate for your next phone/gadget, Engadget grabbed a review unit and put it to the test.
You can read the full review or if you want just the most important highlights, you can read the bullet points I handcrafted below, followed by a video and some photos:
- Garminfone is coming to T-Mobile in June for $199
- It has a 600MHz processor, a 3.5" capacitive screen, a 3MP camera, a 2GB microSD card, and runs Android 1.6, unlikely to be upgraded to 2.0+ any time soon, if ever, due to heavy customizations in the UI
- if it's not obvious from the pictures, there is no physical keyboard
- according to Engadget, Garminfone is the best mix of PND (portable navigation device) and smartphone to date
- the phone is quite similar in build quality, size, and shape to Garmin G60, aka Nuvifone, which was running a custom Garmin OS and never ended up being too successful
- there is no headphone jack… WHAT??
- the phone comes with a removable rubberized protective back cover, which is actually a really nice touch
- a windshield mount and a car charger are included in the package (those in California, don't forget - windshield mounts are not legal here)
- Garminfone software is heavily customized and has a very "Garminy" look
- Google Maps is present (no multitouch in the app) but you will probably want to use Garmin's own navigation software
- Garmin's navigation software works offline, unlike Google Nav, which is a huge plus (though, there are other navigation programs out there that also have offline support). It includes unlimited free traffic data and seems like a pretty solid program overall
Up next we have the video Tim from Engadget shot, which will give you a very good idea of what the phone is like:
Some pictures to finish off:
I must say, Garminfone physically looks very appealing to me for some reason. The curves and the shape - they all come together very nicely.
However, I am simply not convinced that Garminfone provides the best value with the mediocre hardware that comes with an ancient Android 1.6 OS without an upgrade to 2.0+ plan in sight, and a $199 price tag, which is the same as the far superior HTC EVO 4G.
The custom Nav software is a nice touch, but getting a phone with beefier specs and installing an alternative Nav program might actually work out better.
Nevertheless, those of you looking for a no-brainer GPS/phone hybrid out of the box will be very satisfied. After all, Garmin can't cater to every single person out there, can they?