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Road worthy!

The ultimate in gadget convergence ‚ even for those who hate convergence – comes yet another step closer, with the first PDA to include integrated GPS technology ‚ opening the route to street-level mapping and voice navigation. JOEL DORFAN, our new Gadgetman, takes the Garmin iQue 3600 for a test ride.

No. You will need to charge the built-in Lithium Ion battery for an hour first. This will get the unit working, but without the detailed mapping. You will then have to install the Palm desktop software on your PC, followed by downloading the mapping software to the iQue. To prevent map piracy, Garmin have introduced a method whereby you need to connect to the Internet to obtain a 15-digit unlock code to get the maps working on the iQue.

Yes. If you have used a PDA and a GPS before, you should find your way around without needing the manual. If you haven’t had GPS or PDA experience, then the manual is well written and easy to follow. Once you understand what the various buttons do, the rest is pretty intuitive.

Yes. Being a GPS nut who also owns an older Palm device, I think I can speak from experience. There are no compromises here. The iQue 3600 is a very good PDA and a very good GPS in a very acceptable form factor. The mapping can only be as accurate as the latest CD from Garmin. So far, the mapping has not let me down. Just enter a street number and name and the unit displays a number of matches. Select the one you want and the unit plots a route from your current position, using either the shortest route or fastest time as selected by you. Turn by turn, the voice will guide you to the selected address. Go off course by missing a turn and it automatically recalculates and attempts to bring you back on course. Running low on fuel or need something to eat? The unit will identify the nearest point of interest and guide you there. Data entry can be done via an onscreen keyboard or the Palm graffiti character recognition facility. Now and again, depending on the number of satellites in view at the time, the unit may be slightly off and tell you that the address you need is on the left hand side instead of the right hand side of the road or tell you to turn in 100m time but, as you take the turn, the unit says there is still 20m to go. In the greater scheme of things these inaccuracies are really small and can easily be lived with.

Until now you could either buy a GPS or a PDA. There are a lot more PDA than GPS users out there. The iQue 3600 now allows the PDA user to upgrade to a PDA which also has a GPS built in. It is more likely that you will have your PDA with you than a standalone GPS. You therefore get the benefit of both without having to remember to carry both devices. It can even route you to addresses stored in your PDA address book, and that is innovative in any PDA user’s book.

Yes. At R6 000 retail it may sound like a lot of money. But when you price a high end colour Palm PDA as well as a high end colour street level mapping GPS, the price of the two together is a great deal more than the price of the iQue 3600.

If you would like to find out where you can buy the iQue 3600, contact Candida at Avnic Trading, the South African distributors for Garmin products, on 011 704-6147. Visit the Garmin web site at

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