A bulky device that edges on the heavy side. The 3.5-inch screen displays the maps in crisp detail.
Windows Mobile remains a tricky and fiddly menu system to master.
Navteq maps, A-GPS and thousands of Points of Interest make this a sat nav joy, but there’s also Wi-Fi, HSDPA and a five-megapixel camera.
Apart from the excellent sat nav capabilities, the Garmin Nuvifone M10 fails to excel despite its array of high-end features.
A standout feature of the Garmin Nuvifone M10, with a talktime of 480 minutes and 600 hours standby. Perfect for those long drives.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:58:42 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
The Garmin Nuvifone?s sat nav abilities are second to none when compared to other mobile phones.
The fiddly Windows Mobile menus make even the simplest of tasks a chore.
Top end smartphones have included onboard sat nav capabilities for so long now, that they’re pretty much expected as a give ‘un. With dedicated navigational services preloaded or at least available to download and larger displays with accurate A-GPS, many have given the dedicated in-car sat nav’s a real run for their money. However, they’ve still not replaced the original devices, often included as an additional afterthought rather than the main crux of the handset. The Garmin Asus Nuvifone M10 flips that on its head, as first and foremost it’s a dedicated sat nav device with phone capabilities.
The Nuvifone resembles something of a brick. It has a rubber back but the glass trim gives it considerable weight. The touch-display is a respectable 3.5-inch, a minimum we’d say for a phone to be considered a genuine sat nav option. Sadly, the display is not the most responsive we’ve encountered, with accidental swipes and necessary double key presses all too frequent. This is largely down to the fact that the M10 is a Windows Mobile phone. Though it operates on WinMo 6.5 (a slight improvement on the drab 6.1), unlike the likes of the HTC HD2 (which HTC cleverly put its own skin over), Garmin has left the Windows user interface intact. The result; those fiddly icons and menu systems that require the most accurate of key presses. There is a stylus that slots into the bottom of the phone that will help negotiate these icons, but ideally we’d like to be able to do it with our finger.Though the M10 is fitted with both Wi-Fi and HSDPA, we were left reeling from our internet experience. Again, this was largely down to the fiddly user experience, but it also grated us that each time the phone went into sleep mode while we were surfing the web, once woken, it would have to relocate the internet connection. We’d also have to type in our password details each time we re-entered a Wi-Fi zone. There’s the pre-requisite Facebook app preloaded on the device, but even that managed to irk us. While it’s neatly laid out with access to your inbox, wall, and news feed, our friends list would only go down to the letter ‘G’. Being the popular souls that we are, this meant a large portion of our Facebook contacts were inaccessible.
Thankfully, the Garmin Nuvifone M10’s saving grace comes in the shape of its sat nav capabilities. Setting off on our four hour journey from Leeds to London, we achieved an instant, not to mention accurate (seriously, it was spot-on) fix from start to finish, with plenty of battery to spare. Even when we lost network reception, our GPS fix remained intact, with our location displayed on the brilliantly detailed 2D or 3D Navteq maps. Garmin has boxed in a mount stand that remained firm and could be altered until we were happy with the screens positioning. As well as searching for destinations via an address or postcode, there’s also a host of points of interest that you can either travel direct to, or include en route on your main journey. This not only ensured we knew when and where to fill up with petrol, but also enabled us to stop off at a picturesque picnic spot. There’s also the option of switching on live traffic updates, though this relies on an internet connection, so could prove tricky when in poor reception areas.Despite its five-megapixel billing, the M10’s camera is pretty pitiful, producing pics that looked drained of colour even when taken in daylight. However, the inventive Panoramio app does enable you to navigate directly to any photos you have geo-tagged, which proved a useful means of locating that hidden beauty spot you stumbled across.
The Garmin Nuvifone M10 is an excellent piece of sat nav kit. Sadly, it’s not a great phone or multimedia device. It therefore beggars the question whether you should buy the Garmin Nuvifone M10 or just stick with your dedicated sat nav device. We know what we’d do.