For a while now I have been using TomTom navigation software on my Pocket PC but have always wanted to reduce the number of devices I carry and wanted to get some GPS software on my phone. So when I saw the McGuider navigation software advertised on an eXpansys emailer this week along with a £10 discount I couldn’t resist.
When it arrived came the first shock. You get an mini-SD card containing the software and NOTHING else. No nice box, no manual, no quick start or installation guide, nothing. I guess this is how you keep the costs down. To be fair the installation was simple and having used a sat nav before it was fairly intuitive. However, if you are new to this then I suggest you pay the extra and get one with a manual.
Setting up my first route I chose to do so from a full postcode but I quickly discovered that McGuider only seems to recognise the first 5 characters of the postcode before giving up and saying the postcode cannot be found. This means you have to remember that and then scroll down which is tedious.
The route is planned quickly enough and the instructions in use were clear both on screen and through the voice commands. What was particularly impressive was the refresh rate of the screen which kept pace with the movement of the car. Less impressive was the nature of some of the implementation – such as dumping you back to the maps screen from the settings when it would make more sense to return to the menu. Also the setting of Favourites was not intuitive and took me ages to work out, this is where a manual would have helped. These, however, are a minor gripes compared to the main problem which is the buggy software. There are a number of places where the implementation seems to have been rushed out, such as the postcode problem and this is a shame as I really want to like McGuider. Updates are promised and it will be interesting to see how quickly this happens, how easy they are to apply and whether there is any cost.
So I will be trying McGuider on a longer trip soon to see how well it stacks up against my TomTom in the meantime here are the pros and cons as I see them:
- cheap – about £60 less than the TomTom equivalent
- works with most mobiles with an external or internal GPS – I tested with a Nokia N73 and a TomTom GPS
- Clear and concise mapping even on a small screen.
- Software is buggy – has the feel of beta software in places
- Slow to update when you miss an instruction and go wrong
- No instructions in the packaging or online.
More pictures below: