Garmin cfQue Review
The cfQue 1620 is a new
product from Garmin. It consists
of a compact flash GPS receiver, the Garmin Que software package, and
a vehicle mount. The software is very similar to the previously
released iQue product for the Palm. I have a full review of that product. Unlike the
Palm version which included both a GPS and a PDA this is an add-on for
your existing PDA. I tested it on an iPAQ 3970 using a memplug sleeve
to provide the CompactFlash slot.
I will do a complete review of this product at some point but
meanwhile I want to provide some information for users considering
purchasing the cfQue. Users can read the Palm review to see the same
technology as applied to the Palm device. The two units are very
simiar except as described below. The screen shown to the left is a
snapshot of the cfQue screen. It illustrates that the screen display
can be customized. The default screen looks very much like the screen
on the Palm except that the resolution of the screen is lower since
the Pocket PC screen is 240 x 320 pixels vs. 320 x 480 on the iQue
3600. In practice the screen display is still quite readable.
The customizations include swaping the 'Time to next turn' data with
elevation data and adding the arrow to the right of the second line of
the display. The data available is fully customizable with lots of
display choices and even text size choices. This version of the Que
software seems to be a version ahead of that which is currently
available on the Palm unit. Hopefully Garmin will release a new
version for the Palm to match this new Pocket PC verison. The rest of
this review is just some random thoughts I want to capture. I hope
they will be helpful.
- The GPS works well. I like the adjustable antenna. There is no
provision for an external antenna. (You can use a redaditating antenna
to overcome this limitation.)
- The GPS uses Garmin protocol so it will work only with applications
that specifically support this protocol. For example OziExplorerCE will
work with this unit as reported by several users..
- There is 64 Meg of memory on the CF GPS card but it can only be
used for maps. It cannot be seen from the Pocket PC.
- There is a universal PDA mount included with the unit. It will
likely work well for some pocket pc devices but it was a bit marginal
for my unit. The iPAQ plus sleeve was almost to thick and tended to
slip out of the mount over time. This was particularly true if there
was any pressure from the dash onto the back of the power cable.
- There is no power cable supplied. You will need to buy one separately.
- The software is full featured and big. The executable is 2.5 Meg and
the entire installation is almost 5 Meg plus the size of the maps.
- The mapping software will not work with other Garmin units
attached to the serial port of the Pocket PC. I think this is a
serious oversight. It should be more like MapSource in this respect.
- Tapping the text area at the top of the screen brings up a customization
menu choice (a menu with only one choice). Tapping the choice will bring
up a form with colors, mapping, and routing tabs.
- Color has three choices, black, white, and current map backgroud color.
- Mapping selects the custom view of data when not navigating
- Routing selects the custom view of data when navigation.
- You can select 1 to 3 rows of data with large, medium, or small text.
- You can tap and hold on an item to change what it displays.
- You have 20 choices on the mapping tab and even more on the routing tab.
- The number of columns is choice, the of the columns is determined
by the data but is not very accurate. It chops part of the altitude
characters above 1000 feet for example. If large characters are used it
is even worse.
- You can save waypoints and you can save a contact in your waypoint list.
- The POI icons are easier to see as compared to the iQue due to the
- The GPS can be set to lock to road or show actual position. If you
leave it on show actual position it will try and follow an autoroute
but may have false recalucating route errors where the route is
recalculated even though you are on it. (The iQue has this problem too.)
- The interface does not conform to Pocket PC standards. OK generally
does nothing but leave the page (it should be an X). To do something
on the page you will need to complete a command first.
- Commands are sometimes on the command bar and sometimes on the menu.
Usually the command bar has what you need, but on the saved routes screen
you will need to use the stylus and go the menu to activate a route. The
software is not consistent even within itself.
- Much of the time you can use your fingers to tap the screen but certain
important operations still require the stylus.
- The cursor pad zooms in and out by pressing up and down. Pressing
left or right swaps to various screens in a rotation. It is nice to be
able to rotate left and right. I do not believe the choice is screens
is custmizable, unlike the Palm version.
- The buttons are programmable. You need to program one of them to
do cancel. Do not program the contact one or you won't be able to
readily get to the contact screen for routing. Note that using
contacts for routing is not obvious since the choice is in the contact
application instead of MapSource.
- Selection of a contact as a destination is a menu item on the contact
screen. You will need to select between home, work, or other but you must
already know how you saved them since the address are not displayed. Further
you can't cancel from the address to locate screen. You cannot select
the Que option from the contact display screen as it is not on the tools
menu. You must tap and hold to get the menu from the inital list screen.
- Avoids, vias, Detours, and Saved routes are supported by the router. The
iQue does not support avoids.
- The route menu includes New (described below), Route to Home, Route Preferences, Avoidance, Saved Routes, Speak, Stop Naviation, and Recalculate.
- Detour and turns are added choices only available if you have a fix.
- Routes do not have to start at your present location. The "New"
command can use
- current position
- Map locations
- recently used locations
- Desinations include all the above choices plus
- POI's - The kinds of POI's available depend on the maps that are
- Route to home is always available (A waypoint called HOME).
- Presaved autoroutes.
- You cannot reverse a route.
- I was never able to set up the home location via the program as
documented but saving a waypoint named HOME worked just as well.
- Kicking off the router will sometimes attempt to connect to the
GPS and wait for a fix if it is turned on even though the GPS isn't
even connected. The left hand doesn't seem to know what the right hand
is doing. It seems to depend on how the route calculation is kicked off
as to its behavior.
- The routing arrow is a choice for the routing tab and is shown
above. When close to a turn it displays the next direction. When
further away it displays the general diretion of the next turn as the
- You can add vias to the route but cfQue is not as smart as the
iQue. If a spot is selected in the iQue it can be chosen as a choice
when you bring up add vias but on the cfQue you will have to find it
again from the map which is zoomed out too far always.
- There is an off road choice to generate a route manually but it only
seems to permit a single destination choice with no intermediate turns.
- Route preferences include:
- Faster Time
- Shorter Distance
- Off Road
- Ask me each time.
- Custom route preference offers considerable control over the router. You
have a sliding scale for your preferences for Major Road, Medium Road, and
minor roads. It even keeps track of your habits so you can just choose
'use habits' to let it pick your preferences based on your past driving.
- You can generate a route for Car/Motorcycle, Truck, Bus, Emergency
Vehicle, Taxi, Delivery, Bicycle, Pedestrian. The last two are similar
to Shorter distance in that they don't use map speed data. Pedestrian
does not use map one way street data.
- You can have maps on the GPS card and in other locations on the
pocket pc. One set of maps per device or card.
- There are several routeable basemaps depending on what you want. They
are all included with the product. These include America maps, European
maps, and a world map (31 Megs).
- You do not have to have any basemap loaded if you don't want to.
- Detailed maps (City Select) are included with the product. The product
will have eather North America (USA and Canada) maps, or Europe Detailed
maps depending on where it is sold.
Lots more data to come.
Contact Dale DePriest