T-Mobile is bringing GPS to the masses by bundling a Nokia N70 and ALK’s CoPilot Live 6.
Was it really just last week that my review of ALK’s CoPilot Live 6 for Windows Mobile Smartphone was published? As I mentioned then, ALK has been supporting Windows Mobile for some time, but it wasn’t until February this year that the company announced the availability of CoPilot for Symbian Series 60.
T-Mobile has built a successful relationship with ALK, bundling its navigation kit with various Windows Mobile devices and now it has snapped up CoPilot Live 6 for Symbian to sell in a bundle with Nokia’s N70. That handset is available either in its standard guise, or, if you are particularly masochistic, in a World Cup themed version.
T-Mobile sent me the bundle and, because the N70 itself has not been reviewed at TrustedReviews before and ALK’s CoPilot is similar in terms of look and function on both Windows Mobile Smartphone and Symbian Series 60, I’m going to do a two in one review here, looking at both the handset and the CoPilot software.
I will, just to spare the feelings of any depressed footy fans, skirt around the World Cup issue and get that out of the way first. Suffice it to say that the World Cup N70 comes with the official FIFA 2006 World Cup football game from EA Sports and exclusive football themed icons, ringtones and wallpaper, that its sliver and black colour scheme is slightly different from the original N70’s and that if you must have that handset without the navigation software, it’ll set you back from free to £149.99, depending on contract.
While we are on pricing, the CoPilot software on its own with UK and Ireland maps costs £199.99, and it costs £100 more to add in European maps. The maximum you will pay for the N70 and CoPilot bundle is £299.99 depending on the tariff you choose.
The Nokia N70 is not a new handset but it has proved particularly popular. Lacking the chunkiness of the hard drive toting N91 or the multi-twisting capability of the N90, the N70 is a plain and simple candy bar phone.
Its 109mm tall, 53mm wide and 22mm deep dimensions make it one of the more demanding candybar handsets when it comes to pocket space, but I’ve been using the non World Cup themed version of this handset for quite a while and find it no problem to slip into a pocket.
There is a front facing camera for 3G video calls and a back facing 2 megapixel camera for stills and video shooting. This has a flash but no self portrait mirror. In stills mode you can zoom up to 20x (digital), but images get very grainy very quickly.
There is a side mounted camera shutter button but you don’t use this to start the camera software rolling. Instead you pull a large sliding slab on the back of the casing downwards toward you. This both reveals the camera lens and starts the software rolling.
I’m don’t really like the system. Sure, that slab of plastic protects the lens, but because it doesn’t have a mechanical locking mechanism it can slide unintentionally when you are carrying the N70 around. It is rather large, too, adding significantly to the overall size and weight. It feels somewhat like the proverbial sledgehammer being used to crack a nut.
My review N70 had 19MB of free internal memory, and an RS-MMC card slot on its right edge, protected by a solid flip up cover. The handset comes with a 64MB card, but my copy of CoPilot came on a 256MB card with 112MB free. What this means is that you can successfully use the N70 as a music playing handset copying tunes to the card manually, or fill that 112Mb with anything else you desire.
The headset Nokia provides is capable of pretty good quality sound output, and it is reassuringly white in colour. But it is, as usual, a Pop-Port device – you won’t be able to use your own cans, so make sure you are OK with the in-ear buds before taking the plunge.
Unlike newer N series handsets there’s no Wi-Fi in the N70, but there is Bluetooth, an FM radio, support for Visual Radio, calendar and To-Do management. You get the PC Suite software and a data cable for synchronising Outlook data.
General usability is OK though not outstanding. The main screen pushes 176 x 208 pixels into an area that measures 2.2 inches on the diagonal, and the keyboard feels a little squeezed given the amount of front fascia available. You might find it difficult to text quickly one-handed as the bottom row of keys is very close to the bottom edge of the casing.
Nokia rates the N70 with battery life of 3.5 hours talk and 11 days standby. As I said earlier I’ve been using the non World-Cup version of this handset for a while and I find it’ll sit on standby for more than a week without causing me any trouble.
On the navigation side of things ALK provides its GPS antenna, a plastic vehicle mount for the N70 (which is flexible in terms of which handsets it will hold), and a vehicle charger for the GPS antenna. You don’t get a charge splitter that allows you to power antenna and handset at the same time, which is something of an oversight, in my view, as you do get it with the Windows Mobile Smartphone version of CoPilot Live 6.
That aside, T-Mobile and ALK have done a good job of working together on this project and the whole thing does feel like a consolidated bundle rather than separate products thrown together. The key evidence for this is the getting started manual which walks you through the first few stages of using the software and includes N70 images so that you feel right at home.
The great thing about full postcode navigation is that I never found myself wanting to use anything else. Slap in a postcode and a building number if you have it, and routes are calculated quickly. You don’t need much else, though you can use town, street name or road intersection if you’d prefer these.
The three planning modes – Guidance for navigation during a trip, Planning for preparation and Walking for getting a straight line between two points, are the same as with the Windows Mobile Smartphone version of this software and again the walking mode is not entirely satisfactory.
The N70’s communication facilities can be used to deliver Live Traffic information which can be set to update itself automatically. Live Web tracking is also included – you can give people login information to a Web page which tracks your progress along a route. People can send you messages using this service including new destinations which you can either accept or reject. Do the former and they are added to your itinerary.
The various options and settings in the Symbian version of CoPilot Live 6 are for the most part the same as those for the Windows Mobile Smartphone version, so check my review of that for the details. The only difference I came across was the absence of the advanced set of routing options which exist in the Windows Mobile Smartphone version and which enable you to set preferred driving speeds for different types of road and to set up different profiles for different types of driving.
As with the Orange SPV C600 I found that ALK has made good use of the relatively small screen of the Nokia N70. 2D and 3D map views, ‘next turn’ and itinerary views work nicely, though the itinerary view, listing every turn, can’t squeeze a great deal into the screen at once. Route calculation was fast and spoken instructions were clear.
The Nokia N70 handset it a decent, if unspectacular 3G workhorse, that does the job, even if it lacks flair.
Having tried CoPilot Live 6 on two different handset operating systems in short order, I can conclude that ALK has done well porting its navigation software to the Symbian operating system. It’s not as slick as the Windows Mobile version and I’d like to see the advanced routing options included next time round, but overall this combination of N70 and Co-Pilot Live 6 makes for a very serviceable navigation solution indeed.
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