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By Mike Joubert 4 November 2009

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Confronted with the choice between a dedicated GPS device and a converged GPS- cellphone, we lean towards the former. But then you get devices like Nokia’s 6710 Navigator that makes the choice a little more difficult, since it comes with a dedicated car kit, and a lifetime subscription to Nokia’s mapping and routing service called Maps. This is in stark contrast to a number of cellphones with onboard mapping that only offers the service for a year or two, with you then having to buy a quite expensive license afterwards if you want to continue receiving updates. The Navigator is also an excellent travelling companion for journeys overseas, since navigation isn’t limited only to South Africa, but also includes overseas maps. Yet another service you would have to pay for on most other standalone devices. 

The phone
Perhaps a few quick words on the phone are necessary since it includes a number of good features, such as a radio, MP3 player, RealPlayer for videos, the ability to set-up email, and a five megapixel camera. It is also HSDPA enabled, and runs on the Symbian S60 platform, so not bad at all.
This slider phone comes with a slight curve at the bottom, definitely not the most beautiful phone we’ve seen from Nokia, but practical. Up until a point that is, as the 6710 could have done with an extra inch added to its 2.6" screen to make it easier to navigate. When mounted in the car it takes a bit of extra strain to follow what’s going on in the smallish screen. The mount itself doesn’t help either since there is no extension toward you, instead mounting the phone very close to the windshield. Although sound quality is good enough for commands to be heard with little difficulty, by default maps are displayed in portrait, and by turning on your accelerometer under Settings> General> Sensor settings, it displays in portrait too. Also remember that the device uses data during operation for its mapping.

Maps 3.0
Nokia’s Maps 3.0 software is quite extensive and now includes satellite imagery, 3D landmarks as well as weather updates for certain cities, plus pedestrian navigation which comes in handy for exploring cities on foot. The 6710 includes a dedicated Maps button, a compass as well as a zoom -in and -out slider which works well on not only the mapping, but also when browsing webpages.

Search
The mapping and navigation functionality is impressive, but like all GPSs takes some time to get use to. We did find that searching for a road can become a hassle, since the software is very particular about the area you want to go to. Searching for Arcadia Street under Pretoria will bring no results, while looking underneath the specific suburb, Hatfield, will. It makes searching for a road without knowing the suburb or region it falls under a big headache.

Conclusion
The lifelong subscription to the Maps Drive navigation service you receive with the Nokia 6710 is excellent, and so too is the availability of maps for overseas destinations. The functionality of Nokia’s Maps 3.0 is extensive, but it doesn’t make up for the hassles of searching for a street without the area it’s in. We would have loved to have seen an extra inch or two added to the screen size because the Navigator feels that bit too small to use comfortably for in-car navigation. It comes with an RRP of R5499 – R5999.

PROS
Lifelong subscription, overseas maps, carkit
CONS
Screen too small, very particular about the area when searching
USER COMMENTS

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