Product Review (May 2003) - TravRoute
CoPilot 2003 GPS Navigation System

GPS technology has come along way since the technology was first available to consumers. My first GPS had a slow 8-channel serial receiver that I bought almost 10 years ago. The features were limited, but at the time it was amazing to me that a portable device could pinpoint my exact location anywhere on earth. Today's GPS products are more powerful than ever and employ more sensitive and faster receivers. This along with the ability to use intelligent mapping software makes the GPS a powerful tool for the traveler. While portability is nice for certain applications (hiking, boating, etc.), we opted to try out a product from TravRoute that relies on a laptop, not only for powering the GPS unit, but also for the huge mapping database. The CoPilot 2003 is a powerful package that includes the GPS pod with a USB cable, two CDs (Install and Data discs) and instructions. The installation was a snap and the data disc was loaded onto the hard drive for quick access and maximum performance. When initiating the program, the software lets you know if the GPS pod is not connected properly. This is a great idea since there were times that our connection was poor. A mini-DIN connector is used to mate to the GPS pod to the cable and there were times when this connection worked its way out due to handling and vibration. A status indicator on the lower right side of the program lets you know if the unit is receiving a good signal.

On the Road
We were lucky enough to have received this unit for evaluation just before we left for the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2003) in Las Vegas. Our road trip began from Los Angeles at 4:00am, so traffic was light and speeds worked to our advantage for an early arrival for the show. The software performed well and the driving instructions gave us ample time to make lane changes before any major off-ramp came our way. Voice commands told us exactly where to go and the programmable time between the voice commands and the actual change in direction worked great.

Modes
There are two basic modes (Driver and Passenger) the software can operate in during a trip. The Driver mode gives large simple instructions with arrows to help the driver navigate without any fine detail that would make it difficult to see when driving. The Passenger mode gives the operator a detailed map and other important information and functionality. There's also a Status window that provides satellite information including signal-to-noise ratio and azimuth and elevation positioning of each satellite being received. Actual speed is also available and appeared to be quite accurate once we downloaded the updated software patch.

A full set of driving instructions are created from the start to the end location. Unlike point-to-point GPS systems used in marine applications, the CoPilot displays the actual miles to the destination using the street map with impressive accuracy. The software can respond to 15 user questions and commands, making it a truly hands-free system, although we never used this user voice command feature on our road trip.

Conclusion
The CoPilot 2003 is a complete GPS solution for the serious traveler with a laptop. We found the system to be exactly what we needed for GPS navigation. The software was powerful and worked great on our Sony Vaio laptop. The mapping software had excellent resolution, far better than what's available in most GPS systems we've seen.
Free software patches can be downloaded from the TravRoute website. They are so confident that you will like their GPS, they offer a full refund (minus shipping) within 30 days for any TravRoute product you purchase directly from them. Once you experience the CoPilot 2003 GPS system, traveling to new locations will be never be painful. We highly recommend it based on our experience with the system.
- Kevin Nakano

 

Review - At a Glance


TravRoute CoPilot 2003 - GPS Navigation System


FEATURES

  • RV-Friendly Routing provides safe and convenient routes for RVs.
  • Incorporates height and weight restrictions, discourages sharp turns and avoids U-turns.
  • Contact Integration allows you to quickly enter an Outlook contact as your destination.
  • Save Current Location remembers your position and gets you back there with a simple click.
  • Points-of-Interest Import lets you add your favorite people and places to CoPilot's database.
  • Side-of-Street Address Detail tells you which side of the road your destination is on.
  • Lane Change Warnings let you know in advance which lane you need to be in.

    Source: Manufacture loan
    MSRP: $399
    Warranty: 1 year parts and labor

    CoPilot 2003 Manual
    Online Demo

    Company Information
    TravRoute
    1000 Herrontown Road
    Princeton, NJ 08540
    Web Orders: 800-656-5426
    URL: www.travroute.com

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