Reviewing palmOne GPS Solution Zire 72 Edition (part 2)

by Volker Weber

[continued from part 1]

Once I got over the initial issues I had with connecting the Zire and the GPS receiver I started driving around. Things have improved somewhat now. ;-) This is a fairly long piece with loads of screenshots, so I put it into the extended entry and you will have to hit the "more" prompt to see it all.

When you get into the car and switch both the receiver and the Zire on, you get the connection dialog, you select the device and hit OK. Then it starts the serial connection over Bluetooth and you get to the normal screen:

vmgps01.png vmgps02.png vmgps03.png

Here is the procedure you have to go through to select a waypoint. Notice how you pick everything from lists. You go from Europe to Germany to Hessen to Darmstadt. When you search for street, it gives you a list again and if you then enter the number you get to pick from a list again. That is a whole lot of screens to go through:

vmesp01.png vmesp02.png vmesp03.png vmesp04.png vmesp05.png vmesp06.png vmesp07.png vmesp08.png vmesp09.png vmesp10.png vmesp11.png

Do you notice how small the font is? It looks nice on your computer screen, but the 320x320 screen on the Zire is only 55 millimeters across. That makes it 150 dpi which is much higher than the screen you are looking at. It is best to compare this to the screens at the top that show the regular Palm font.

What bothers me is that the software does not seem to keep any of the information I enter. It does not remember addresses I enter into it, so I have to go through all the screens again and again. It does not remember which Bluetooth device I selected so I have to enter this even if I briefly switched off the Zire to save on battery power. This is very inconvenient.

A big plus over TomTom is that you can select addresses from your Palm address book as waypoints. You select Bearbeiten/Adressen from the main menu and it dumps you into the names application. What confuses me though is the list of addresses. It is sorted by last name, but it shows company names in front of them where they exist. Type ahead did not work so I had to scroll to select the appropriate business card. There are two new buttons on the card; one of them loads the card as an address into the navigation software as search terms. You still have to go through the last screens that you see above but the values are pre-populated.

I tried to change the display of the address list to "last name, first name" from "company, last name" -- which is actually the default in the address book if I select it directly outside of the navigation software but when I hit OK, the device locked up:

Line 7999
DmWrite: DmWriteCheck failed

Time for a soft reset. Then I tried the same thing again to confirm the bug. Bingo. Locked up again. Sigh.

[continued in part 3]


> [to be continued]

I'm awed by your persistance. I'd have dumped it a looong time ago. (read: sent it back)

Stefan Rubner, 2004-10-08

What did you use to grab the Palm screenshots?

Darren, 2004-10-10

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