This week has been a hectic one, with visitors in from out of state I have been running all over town. I wanted to be a good host so we have visited many attractions I rarely visit, and we have been driving all over the place. I am a firm believer in using a good GPS navigation system and I am quite pleased how well the Palm Pre has stepped in to fill that need. The Sprint Navigation system that comes with every Palm Pre has been not only incredibly useful, it has become my new BFF.
The Sprint Navigation is powered by the Telenav system, one I have happily used for years. When I first started using the included version on the Pre, dubbed Sprint Navigation, I figured it was a stripped-down version of the Telenav system since Sprint includes it for free. I am delighted to say it is the full version, no shortcuts were taken (pun intended). The Telenav service normally costs $9.95 monthly, so this is a real bargain on the Pre.
These are fairly self-explanatory, and getting going on a route is just a few taps on the screen away. It is a simple process to enter a destination address, or you can search for a business. Places that you visit often can be added as Favorites, making them just a tap away. If you don’t feel like typing in an address on the tiny Pre keyboard, you can choose to call it in. I haven’t used this method myself but it sounds pretty handy when you’re in the car and have your hands occupied.
I find that a little planning makes entering addresses even easier. Sprint Navigation is tied into the Sprint Navigation account that Pre owners have, and addresses can be entered (or pasted) at a computer on the web. These addresses are then pushed down to the Pre, and they can be selected as destinations. I have used this method a lot, and it makes Sprint Navigation extremely useful.
Once the destination is entered using one of these methods, Sprint Navigation determines the best driving route based on user preferences. The 3D map appears and off you go, with spoken directions keeping you on track. The map can be toggled into a 2D version for those who don’t like the 3D map.
We have done a lot of driving in town this week, and city traffic has been a nightmare. Sprint Navigation has been very good at keeping us informed of adverse traffic conditions on the route ahead, and giving us the opportunity to avoid the bad stuff.
Sprint Navigation is a wonderful utility for Palm Pre owners, and providing it free is a good benefit. The service works as well as dedicated GPS navigation systems, and the convenience of having it right in the Pre is nice. The only thing it won’t do that I wish it could is an option to rotate the map into landscape. The Pre can do this no problem but Sprint Navigation will only display in portrait. This is minor and doesn’t detract from a useful utility. I am going to get one of those extended batteries for the Pre, though, as heavy use of the utility does hit the battery hard. Sprint Navigation is a stellar feature for the Palm Pre, and it’s been so useful this week it is my new BFF.