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Hi everyone! This is a place where I share my experiences with the devices I come across and use. Hopefully, you'll find the info here helpful in your search for geeky stuff...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

GPS comparison: Nokia N82 vs Garmin Nuvi 610



Ever since I said that Nokia's new AGPS built into their latest phones are almost as effective as a true SIRF III GPS device, a lot of people have been skeptical about my statement. Well, I use GPS almost on a daily basis, and everyday, I'm amazed at the effectiveness of Nokia's AGPS.

The AGPS in the N82 and N95-8GB works so well that my Garmin Nuvi 610 is becoming a permanent fixture in my glovebox.

So, today was a perfect day to test out GPS devices here in Singapore. It has been raining the whole day and the sun is no where to be seen. Great for testing how quick a GPS device acquires satellite fixes. I'm supposed to meet my parents for dinner at a location that I have never been to in my life and have no idea how to get there.

The weather just before I hopped into my car:


View from inside the car:


Here's a video that will tell the whole story. By the way, the noise is rain falling on my car, not audio distortion:
video


I think it's clear enough to see that the N82's AGPS pretty much equals the SIRF III Garmin Nuvi 610 in terms of navigation effectiveness.

Obviously, there are setbacks with the N82 in terms of screen size. With the Garmin, with just a glance you know exactly where you're going and where you're going to turn next. With a phone's small screen, you won't be able to make out details so quickly.


Switching Nokia Maps to 3D view helps this a lot, especially during navigation. You can see a lot further ahead with 3D view when compared to 2D view.

2D:


3D:


Both Nokia and Garmin maps are rendered beautifully. Nokia Maps contain more detail than Garmin's but not overwhelmingly so. Garmin's map rendering is nice and clean and uncluttered but lacks detail (which I personally prefer).

Also, the touch screen input interface of the Garmin beats the alpha numeric keypad of a phone hands down. In my local context, before the Asian-named addresses are stored in the N82 dictionary, keying in addresses are just plain frustrating. But it's not an issue after you've used it extensively.

About the voice guiding the navigation, Garmin's lady sounds much more pleasant, speaks more slowly and clearly than the Nokia lady.

Taking into account that my Garmin Nuvi costs MORE than an N82, and that the N82 gets me to places just as effctively as my Garmin Nuvi, and that the N82 is, well, a Swiss Army knife of sorts, I can't justify the expense of buying a standalone GPS device anymore.

How quickly times have changed. Just a year ago, with the N95 GPS, there was no way I would use it instead of my Garmin. Today, the navigation abilities are on par.

GPS companies better have something up their sleeves...


.

64 comments:

Freddie said...

I use garmin in my nokia N95 and would like to se you test with garmin against garmin... Garmin have a software thats work with the internal GPS in nokia devices...

Hope you can get this test. Kind regards, Freddie

N_gAm3r said...

very nice, but i am curious what the sat fix times are if ags is turned off... Can you say something about that? Thx

chickenbackside said...

n_gam3r: You can't turn off AGPS. Even when your phone is offline, or there is no SIM card in your phone, the GPS functions the same with no difference in speed or accuracy.

N_gAm3r said...

hmm... i mean there must be a difference in sat fixing, because thats what A-GPS is for. A-GPS sends some network information to a server to provide faster sat fixes. But if i turn A-GPS off, it must be slower to get a sat fix. And thats whats interesting me... how long does it take to get a sat fix without enabled A-GPS?
Thx ;)

chickenbackside said...

I don't know about the technical difference.

I just navigated home with the N82 with no SIM card in it. Satellite fix is just as quick.

With the old N95 without AGPS, satellite fix from a cold start typically take about 10-15 mins. Now it's 30sec - 1min, with or without SIM card inserted.

N_gAm3r said...

ok thats nice to hear, thank you!
i think this is going to be my next phone =)

zisis said...

chickenbackside
Thank you for the great test. I would be grateful if you could do the same test between N82 and N95 8GB to see if there are any differences in GPS signal reception between them.
Thank you

D-Off said...

what the sat fix times are if ags is turned off...

Why would you need to turn it off or evaluate the preformance without it? Apart from the difference it makes...

You can't turn off AGPS. Even when your phone is offline, or there is no SIM card in your phone, the GPS functions the same with no difference in speed or accuracy.

That's bullshit, if you'd excuse me. 1. You CAN disable assistance 2. Difference is quite noticeable both in speed and accuracy

chickenbackside said...

d-off:
Can you tell me which menu to go to switch it off? I cannot find it. Does going offline mean that the AGPS is switched off?
From my experience, no difference. Maybe I was just lucky in the routes that I use.

Ben said...

Will the N82's GPS function work in the US? For free?

chickenbackside said...

Yes it will.

Andy said...

Very nice reviews of the n82! It's some of the best by now.. Really helpful.. Thanks!

Could you try to note your data usage before and after the use of the gps?

chickenbackside said...

Andy:
I switch off all data communications when I use GPS. I've never needed to use it.

D-Off said...

Sorry a bit too late, but if you're still wondering...

it must be under
Tools - Settings - General - Positioning - Positioning methods

"Assisted GPS" is what you wanted to disable

Try it indoors, difference is usually more visible

Anonymous said...

d-off, positioning is not meant to be used indoors without A-GPS especially. Its like you cannot ask your device to help you navigate within a building just like you cannot ask your GPS module in your car to help you navigate a multistorey or basement carpark of a skyscraper building. why would you want to test and compare the on-off of AGPS indoors? can you explain if you don't mind?

Rahul Chand said...

A GPS shootout between N82 and N95 8GB would be great!

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Anonymous said...

How about a GPS comparison between N82 and N95 8GB?

Rana Ardhita said...

yah, its true...How about a GPS comparison between N82 and N95 8GB?
Take your time tho.. ill check your blogs everyday:)

sbackl said...

I found the N95 a little unreliable with the sat nav, it is a great phone but for me I prefer a Halfords Tom Tom Sat Nav system dedicated to that function, phones functions are great but they are adding too many on, the batteries flatten quicker and the systems are not really necessary, but having sat nav on the phone is better than not having it at all.

Rajiv said...

Excellent review, thank you very much. Can you please throw some light on the A-GPS feature of the newly released iPhone 3G, and how effective it is in comparision to Nokia's A-GPS enabled phones?

Ajey said...

I have been aiming to buy this N82 and wondering if it have this bluetooth supported features with Nuvi 610:
1. Hands Free Calling
2. Hp contact directory sync display on the Nuvi 610
2. Display Caller ID
3. SMS / Text Messaging

Appreciate if someone can help me.

Many thanks.

-Ajey

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