GPS (global position system) technology has been around for quite a while, but until now most of the devices have been designed to work in vehicles. With its e310, Acer has taken up the challenge of life on foot.

It features an integrated patch antenna and revised proportions and weight – this GPS device requires no more effort to carry than an average 3G mobile phone. Even within these small dimensions, however, Acer has managed to squeeze in a sensibly sized 2.8in LCD. This dominates the front of the e310 and should be large enough to prevent a premature trip to the optician.

Interacting with the e310 is an experience similar to using a PDA. Quick taps on the screen are all that are needed to find your way around. And with the Microsoft Windows CE .NET 5.0 OS (operating system), some additional PDA functionality has found its way across: a contacts book, MP3 player and photo viewer are built in.

Although the Acer has been designed primarily for pedestrians, it is equipped for use behind the wheel – an included cradle and suction limb allow it to be mounted to a dashboard or windscreen. The bundle also includes a 256MB SD (Secure Digital) card, which comes pre-installed with UK and Ireland maps, and a couple of CDs of additional material in case you want to extend the range into Europe. With some of the maps taking up more than 200MB, it's likely that you'll need to invest in a larger SD card if venturing far.

Out on the road, the Acer was a pleasant surprise. The easy-to-use interface means that important options are never more than a screen tap or two away, and directions are generally accurate and clearly displayed, whether operating in vehicle or pedestrian modes. The option to re-orient the unit on its side is highly useful while driving.

Acer e310 Travel Companion: Specs

  • 300MHz processor
  • Microsoft Windows CE .NET 5.0
  • 64MB RAM
  • MMC/SD storage
  • 2.8in QVGA screen
  • 2D and 3D maps
  • night mode
  • points _of interest
  • vehicle/pedestrian options
  • search by city/street/junction/postcode
  • MP3 player
  • photo viewer
  • contacts
  • rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • 58x18x103mm
  • 130g
  • 300MHz processor
  • Microsoft Windows CE .NET 5.0
  • 64MB RAM
  • MMC/SD storage
  • 2.8in QVGA screen
  • 2D and 3D maps
  • night mode
  • points _of interest
  • vehicle/pedestrian options
  • search by city/street/junction/postcode
  • MP3 player
  • photo viewer
  • contacts
  • rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • 58x18x103mm
  • 130g

OUR VERDICT

Overall, we liked the Acer e310 Travel Companion, and its ability to work equally well on foot and on four wheels makes it one of the more versatile GPS devices around. It's true that the verbal instructions are annoying, and it does seem slow to react at times. But for the money it's hard to complain.

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