Review by Mike Barrett
One of the criticisms of some of the new iPAQ PDAs is the volume and quality of the sound output. This started with the 5450 and got slightly better with the 2210, but try listening to voice commands from your GPS application at motorway speeds and you are in trouble. In step Seidio with the G2500 range of powered, amplified PDA holders to solve the problem.
The Seidio G2500 is a PDA holder for your car that allows you to install your GPS system requiring you to only slot your PDA in and connect the audio cable. On some models (such as the iPAQ 54xx) you don't even need to plug in an audio lead as this is situated on the bottom of the PDA.
To prevent any misunderstandings I use the term holder to refer to the equipment used to hold the PDA, and mount to describe the device used to fix the holder to the car. The distinction for this will be come apparent as you read on.
Thanks to Handnav Technology for providing us with the review equipment.
What is in the box?
The Seidio G2500 I reviewed comes as a complete amplified PDA holder system. It is dedicated to a single PDA type only, the one I reviewed was for the iPAQ 2210, but they are also available for the iPAQ 54xx, XDA2.
The one I reviewed also came with a couple of converters to allow your serial GPS to be connected directly into the holder. These converted the popular PS2 style connector into the RJ45 socket on the holder. If you have on of the Serial GPS devices with an RJ45 style of connector (such as the TomTom GPS) then this will connect directly into the holder.
To connect the PDA to the amplifier a small link cable is provided.
The final item in the package was a cigar lighter power converter this provides the juice to the holder and also (via the synch connector) to the PDA.
The Seidio G2500 as reviewed was provided purely as a PDA holder you will need to buy a mounting system.
Other configurations in the shops are available with the following accessories:
- 1 Seidio G2500 GPS Ready Powered cradle with detachable DC power cord.
- 1 8" Super Strong Suction Windshield Pedestal
- 1 Slide and Lock Air Vent Pedestal
- 1 360 Degree Swivel Adaptor
- 1 Audio Cable (used to enable the speaker)
- 1 GPS wired receiver adaptor cable
Why is no mount supplied?
This is a very good question. Other mounts like the TomTom car kit come with a variety of mount options so why was my Seidio G2500 supplied without a mount? Well the explanation I was given is that there are such a large number of mounting options that it makes the Seidio G2500 package restrictive if they are provided.
The Seidio G2500, like the Seidio MultiMedia mount, is supplied with a slotted mount anchor which can be connected to either the Seidio Tilt and Swivel mount or to an adapter plate that allows it to be connected to the (almost) industry standard HR mounting system. This allows the G2500 to be connected to a large number of mounting solutions from the gooseneck through vent mounts to the new desk mounts.
At the end of the day this could actually be regarded as a plus. You are able to create a mount system that is tailored specifically to your requirements.
Having said that you may find different retailers offering different packages forming a complete solution. If this does not suit your requirements ask them to change the supplied components to suit your implementation.
The Seidio G2500 in detail.
The Seidio G2500 that I reviewed was supplied in silver, I understand that they also provide it in grey (or gray if you are American), My first impression was that it looked rather cheap and cheerful. However when I had it installed with the 2210 in it I rapidly changed my opinion. The silver complimented the casing of the iPAQ 2210 perfectly and they looked like they were made for each other.
With the PDA in the holder there is not a lot to see from the front. In fact all there is is a single green power indicator LED. This is situated at the centre towards the bottom of the PDA holder.
On the left hand side of the holder is the volume control. A small dial that can be easily adjusted with your thumb. On the right hand side of the G2500 is the power connector. The top of the holder is where the connectors for the audio input and GPS signal are.
As can be seen above the back of the Seidio G2500 is occupied by the slotted mount adapter and the speaker grille. As you can see the mount adapter is situated towards the top of the holder. This results in the whole assembly riding quite low when located in the car. In my case this was not a problem, but you need to take this into consideration when installing the mount.
The front of the holder has a large molded slot into which your PDA is positioned. The base of the slot has a sync connector which allows the PDA to be powered and also provides the GPS data when used with a serial mouse type GPS receiver. Some models of the G2500 also have connectors for audio as well. This is the case for the iPAQ 5450 PDA holder, and possibly some others as well.
One benefit of this design is that the bottom of the holder does not have any cables or other protrusions which get in the way of resting the holder on the dashboard. Why, I hear you ask, would you want to rest the holder on the dash? Well if you are installing with a gooseneck mount placing the holder on the dash adds stability and reduces vibrations inherent with this type of mount.
The Seidio G2500 in use
Well that's the descriptive bit out of the way. But how does it perform?
As with most things when you are installing equipment in the car and testing it I started testing it without the car's engine on. This, of course, was going to show up any issues with the system. Sure enough my holder was humming a little. At first I thought this would be a problem, or that there was a fault with the amplifier, but in practice with the engine running I have never noticed it.
I connected 3 different serial mouse style GPS receivers to the holder all with no problem. The ones I tried were the TomTom serial GPS, the GlobalSat BC305, and the TFAC. The GlobalSat and the TFAC I needed to use the supplied conversion cable with. The only issue I noticed was that the fixed indicator on my BC305 stopped working. This was not a problem as the GPS data was provided correctly.
Here is the bit you have all been waiting for: the audio volume and quality. Although as I mentioned above there is some interference resulting in a slight humming this is not audible when the engine is running. What is audible at all speeds is loud and I mean LOUD and clear instructions from Co-pilot, Destinator, Navman SmartST or TomTom Navigator. Blasting down a motorway at 70mph with my windows open the voice commands were still audible.
The use of the Seidio G2500 does not end there. There are, of course, many other applications that have audio output, not least of which is the Windows Media Player. The amplification allows you to listen to media you have transferred onto your PDA with greatly improved quality and volume. Gone are the scratchy, tinny sounds from the tiny speaker, and these are replaced by some pretty decent audio. Don't get me wrong the quality could never be described as HiFi, but it sure is a whole lot better than any of my PDAs. You also need to bear in mind the usage model and the operating environment, the only better quality I have heard in my car is when I connect my PDA directly to the car stereo, but then I cannot listen to the radio at the same time.
The Seidio G2500 overcomes some of the shortfalls HP introduced in the production of PDAs with poor quality and volume sound. It does not produce HiFi sound, but is more than adequate for the street routing navigation systems on the market. If you have a serial mouse type GPS receiver then this offers a "plug and play" navigation system.
The only drawback (if you could call it that) is that it is dedicated to a single make of PDA. I currently have 4 different PDA but I can only use the G2500 with my iPAQ 2210.
Review equipment supplied by