New and improved, the new Destinator 2 distances
itself in many ways from the previous version we reviewed (v1.72). The
menu system is re-designed, bigger buttons allowing for finger pressing and a
new 3D drive view is added as just a few of the new features.
on install gives you a map of the country
with sectional maps and several ways on how to install the software to
your Pocket PC. Destinator die hard fans will notice for the UK,
the sectional maps have now changed slightly. Maps
E2a and E2b for the UK have been merged into a single map and the
total size now for all 7 maps come in at 186mb.
Like with Destinator 1.72, if you have
two Storage Cards on your Pocket PC, you will only be able to install
the maps to the first storage card. If you prefer to store the
maps on Storage Card2, you will need to re-jig your storage cards
temporarily by ejecting both storage cards, inserting SC2 first to be
recognised as SC and you can then install the maps to what essentially
is Storage Card2. Once you've finished, you can swap them
back to how it usually is, you won't have a problem on the Pocket PC,
but it's a minor frustration on install!
Destinator 2 Install Screen
PowerLOC have chosen to stay with their
current offering which is a LeadTek 9531 GPS Mouse in SiRF mode.
The LeadTek 9531 really is one of the more faster in-car GPS
receivers, and it's good to see PowerLOC staying with what essentially
is the best!
As in previous tests we have run, this
GPS Receiver really is in a class of it's own when it comes to Pocket
PC GPS Receivers and has very fast TTFF's.
This GPS Receiver has become quite
popular and is now being bundled with several other software packages,
and PowerLOC really did choose well here.
Check out our
TTFF Comparisons for details on how
fast this GPS Receiver is compared to others we have tested.
One nice little touch, PowerLOC have included in the
package a canvas carry bag with draw strings. This allows you to take the
GPS Receiver with you when you leave the car. Just unplug it and
place it into this bag. One thing we did feel that was left out of the
standard package which really is essential was an in-car holder for the
Pocket PC. On PowerLOC's website you can purchase separately a
Proclip cradle, or the Destinator Vent mount bracket (pictured right).
The vent mount only costs $9.95, and really would be a welcome edition
to the standard Destinator package. Perhaps this could be
something that's included as standard in the future, and wouldn't increase
the overall cost of the package by much.
Destinator GPS Status Screens
PowerLOC in Destinator 1.72 last year had the best
Status screens going, and although many other GPS applications have
had some very graphical GPS status screens, I still haven't found
anyone that's managed to display a nice looking 3D view of the earth
and the position of satellites it can see.
PowerLOC have aimed to keep the GPS
Status screens the same in Destinator 2.
A few cosmetic changes have been made,
mainly larger buttons.
Destinator 2 has quite a few nice new features. One of which is a much
better menu system.
Destinator 1.72's menu screens were fine if you were navigating with a stylus,
and you could just about get away with using your fingers but it was difficult.
PowerLOC have made the menu buttons much larger allowing for ease of navigation
in and out of the menus and this is greatly appreciated.
Destinator 2 - New 3D View
Destinator's largest and newest feature is the 3D map. We've included some
comparison screenshots between the standard 2D view and 3D view so you can see
To start with, you might think the 3D view is a gimmick or a toy. We did at first,
but once you start driving in 3D view, you will realise the full potential as it
makes life a whole lot easier when driving and you will never want to return to
2D land again!
Why is it we have to use a 2D map anyway ? We live in a 3 dimensional
world, we drive 3 dimensionally, so why can't we have a map in 3D ?
There's absolutely no reason whatsoever, and it's
good to see PowerLOC taking the initiative here and taking mapping to the next
level! This really is a feature I would like to see in all new GPS
When driving with Destinator 2 in 3D mode, it makes adjoining
roads actually mean something. Due to the perspective of the map, you get
much more road layouts on screen and I found I could actually see where the next
road I was approaching would take me. This helped on a number of
occasions because I was able to sneak out of traffic congestion down a couple of
side roads, and then come out a little further up the road. Magic!
PowerLOC have taken the decision to leave street
names off the 3D map where as they are displayed on the 2D map. Initially
I thought this was a shame, but then after thinking long and hard about this, I
think street names would clutter up the 3D map, so I think the right decision
has been made here. Although you can toggle between 2D and 3D mode, perhaps a toggle
on/off for street names might be a nice feature for future versions allowing you
to make the choice yourself.
As you can see from these 2D and 3D comparisons,
you find yourself in some cases getting between 2 and 3 times more information
on screen as you would compared to a 2D map.
When driving in 3D map view, much to our surprise,
it really isn't jerky and you don't see a slow down at all. The
perspective on the 3D view really is awesome! I found myself not wanting
to switch back to 2D mode!
The only downside with the 3D mode is that you
lose the extra buttons like Zoom, Information, etc. However this does give
you much more space on screen which works well for the 3D mode.
Destinator 3D View
Destinator 3D View
Destinator 3D View
Destinator 3D View
Contacts and Address Book
One thing that is solely missed in most
GPS navigation programs for the Pocket PC is an interface into the
Pocket Outlook contacts database. CoPilot was the only package
that accomplished this until now. Destinator 2 now offers full
integration, so you can pick up any of your contacts with ease and
navigate to their locations.
If you still prefer the manual way of
searching for a street/town you can still do so by using City->Street,
Street->City, Zip->Street, Street->Zip. This makes plotting
destinations a breeze and really helps overcome the hurdles that other
GPS Navigation products face.
Destinator Option Screens
PowerLOC have really gone home
re-designing the menu structure. You are now greeted by some
nice large colour buttons for every function you need to configure.
Simplicity is the key here!
Routing will give you the option of
choosing Alerts and Quick/Shortest. Alerts now
gives you a great new feature which is to notify you verbally if you
are over the speed limit. This is a feature that many GPS users have
requested on various GPS Navigation programs for the Pocket PC, and
PowerLOC have implemented it straight into Destinator 2.
tests, we did notice that some roads were wrongly classified as part
of the geodata, which did mean that even though you would be driving
at 60mph on a road designated as National Speed Limit, Destinator 2
would constantly notify you at 50mph of being over the speed limit.
We found Destinator 2 doing this mainly on dual carriageways where
speed limits were most commonly 60mph. We have reported this to PowerLOC
and they have confirmed this as a NavTech data issue.
This new feature did come in handy
though on lower speed roads with accident black spots where Police
will consistently choose a location and use this as a speed trap site.
When having this enabled, Destinator 2
will re-calculate a route whenever you veer off the designated route.
Although this feature is a welcome one in all GPS Navigation programs,
there are times when sometimes you don't want auto route recalculation
on, and it's good that PowerLOC included a toggle for this feature.
A common feature in most GPS Navigation
programs, and one that is essential. Sometimes you need to change
whether you are going to get to the destination in the quickest time
possible, which in many cases will require navigation via motorways,
or the shortest route, which tends to require a lot of cross country
trunk road driving.
One feature that was available in
Destinator 1.72 and one that is still available in Destinator 2 is the
ability to switch between Pedestrian and Car modes. In Pedestrian mode
you can plan your journey, and then switch to standard /car navigation
mode to enable routing.
In other options you can find
buttons for changing from Kilometres to Miles, changing the screen colours from
Day to Night, changing the Orientation of the map, eg North Up and
Auto-Zoom of the maps when in navigation mode.
Destinator Instruction Screens
Destinator's driving instructions screen
shows you a turn by turn instruction list. Each piece of information it gives you
is quite large on screen which means you can only see the next four
turns, however in most cases you really need large text. There's nothing worse than having to
squint at the screen whilst driving to try and make out a road name
and it is good to see the instructions being clear and concise and
easy to read.
You'll also notice that Destinator will
give you a rough guidance on which side of the street house numbers
are, which makes it much more easier to locate a house when at the
The maps in Destinator 2 are supplied by
NavTech which are the same maps that both Navman and TravRoute uses,
and appear to be very up to date.
Destinator 2 still only has sectional maps, and there are no way of
loading a single country-wide map, which means if you
want to route from one location map to another it does cause a little
problem. We posed this question to PowerLOC and they are looking at ways to allow you to create
your own maps and hopefully this technology will be implemented in
future versions of Destinator.
Currently, if your journey takes you between
several sectional maps, and you know minor roads in your local
departure area, but don't know local roads near the destination, you
can always load the destination map and navigate directly to this, and
this will work well. However, if you don't know local roads in
your departure area either, and need help navigating, then you will find yourself having to create
two journeys in Destinator. One from departure to the edge of the map,
and another one from the start of the next map to the destination.
To change maps, Destinator requires a complete unload and
re-load of the application and re-agreeing to the license agreement.
Another thing we like about Destinator
is European maps are included, not just single country maps.
Destinator 2 comes on 2 CD's. This makes driving across Europe a
lot easier as you have all the maps you need in one single product.
No extra expense, and it will make that trip to Euro Disney a lot
The routing in Destinator 2 follows on
closely from the previous version. Routing is pretty good, and
in most of the tests we threw at it, Destinator followed what we would
call is the ideal quickest route.
Strangely enough we did find one issue
where we were asked to navigate off of a dual carriage way onto a
roundabout and then back up onto the dual carriageway again.
You do find these sort of issues in most
routing software, and this problem seems to be in the geodata from
Navtech as several other applications using Navtech data have
experienced the same problems.
Destinator's voice navigation is great.
The female voice is soft, and very clear. However, Destinator's
voice navigation files could do with being louder. When driving
at motorway speeds we did find that audio files like "you are over the
speed limit" were fairly quiet. The volume level on these
audio files could be increased by around 30 to 50% to make the voice
navigation easier to use at high speeds.
Plotting your destination
Destinator was the first navigation
program on the Pocket PC we tested to include a single point journey.
You don't have to set your departure, it knows where you are from your
All you need to do is set the destination and it will navigate
wherever you are to the destination. Many navigation programs
have since included this feature as standard, and it's one that makes plotting your
journey much easier.
Destinator 2 follows on from the
previous version with quite a few new features and re-designs.
Destinator 1.72 was nice to work with, the maps consistent with very
few errors, it's good to see PowerLOC have improved upon
the product in general, and the User Interface, making navigating through the screens a breeze
when driving. Voice Navigation is a little quiet at motorway
speeds and could do with having the volume increased on the audio
files. The best features of all though is the 3D map view, and
outlook contact integration and to allow support for NMEA GPS
has certainly made Destinator 2 a superb product! To be able to
drive the route in 3D mode, makes life easier, and less likely to miss
a road turning. This is a feature that really should be included
into all navigation programs!
The one thing that really does let Destinator
down is no country-wide single map. This is a feature that really is
required, and with storage card sizes increasing and prices dropping,
a 256mb CF card is now only around £65, so cost really isn't an issue
here for the average user and with a single country-wide map would probably make Destinator the best
navigation product around for the Pocket PC!
Now the news gets even better for all
you current registered Destinator users, as PowerLOC is offering an
upgrade price to Destinator 2 for only $50 US Dollars which makes this
offer a real bargain!