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Home > Hardware Reviews > Mobiles

Saturday, October 07, 2006
Alk Technolgies CoPilot 6 Q Edition

2. Set-up and installation

CoPilot Live was completely effortless to install since it can now be purchased with the entire program and all the maps of North America on a Mini SD card. Why don?t all GPS software programs do this? CoPilot does ship with the CD if, for some reason, this method of install is preferred. I just put the Mini SD card in my ?Q? and installed the necessary files.

I plugged in the included GPS receiver and turned it on. Then, I started the application on the Q. The Q looked for the receiver, found it automatically and locked in on our position - all in under one minute!

Navigating with CoPilot Q:

I was skeptical of the non-touch screen Q being easy to use for navigational purposes. That skepticism was quickly put to rest. The two ?soft? keys take the user to the menu screens and then are used to select the option. The center button on the D-pad also works for item selection. Navigating with CoPilot Live begins with the menu screen:

Using the menu screen, the user selects ?address? or other options and CoPilot prompts the user to enter a zip code, city or state. After that, street name and numbers are input and you are on your way. One of the options is that once a destination is set, it can be saved as a ?Favorite? for easy retrieval in the future.

One of the great features is the address book look-up. Other GPS programs say that this feature is included - but is more often than not quite cumbersome. On the CoPilot Q edition - it worked very well. I did need to navigate through my address book - typing in the name did not immediately bring it up - but it worked fine, nonetheless.

CoPilot Q offers the option of a very nice female voice (not computer sounding) or male voice to assist you by notifying you of upcoming turns, traffic circles and when it is time to take a U-turn. As you get closer to your turn, the software prompts you more frequently so you don?t miss your turn.

CoPilot offers some nice features for navigation - the most customizable is the way the navigation is displayed on the screen. The user can opt for a ?safety? view or a 3D view. One of the more interesting features, that is really a matter of personal taste, is the ?Safety? feature. With most GPS software, you can continually follow your position on the map and see the names of all the streets you pass. CoPilot takes a different tact.

If you are on a particular road for longer than a mile, the screen only displays a large message like ?Turn right on X street in 3 miles.? The philosophy seems to be to make the GPS less intrusive and less likely to take the driver?s eye off the road. Important features like the time you will arrive at your destination still appear on the screen. When you get closer to your destination or your next turn - the screen shifts back into map view (2D.)

I kind of like to always see where I am going - but I do understand this safety feature. I usually opted for the 3-D view and would sometimes zoom in or out as desired.

Options:

CoPilot Q is full of many user defined options to make the program even more useful. Options for routing, guidance, POI alerts and language and speech can all be changed according to the user?s taste.

If you would prefer to maximize highways - that is easy to do. If you want the most direct route - CoPilot can handle than as well.

You can set waypoints, find locations by intersections or use the robust POI directory to find someplace to visit or eat.

I tried the trusted ?look for a Chinese restaurant close by? test and the CoPilot Q edition passed with flying colors.

You can view a larger map, change your routing options, set POI alerts and use the CoPilot Live features all through the options menu.

Live Features:

The Alk website explains the CoPilot Live features:

LIVE FEATURES INCLUDE:

Powerful navigation features give you the freedom to explore. Real-time Communication gives you the peace of mind that comes with always being connected. Live features are optional and are only usable when you have a wireless internet connection on your Motorola Q*

  • Text Messages sent from home or office to the vehicle include large, customizable, one-touch responses to ensure driver safety.
  • Real-Time Tracking of your travels by friends, family and loved ones over a secure Internet connection.
  • Itinerary Updates including new stops and revised destinations, allow you to coordinate changes to your plans without having to pull over and enter new information.
  • Communication now includes Live vehicle tracking via the Internet (live.alk.com)

* To use Live Features you will need a data service plan through your wireless carrier.




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