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GPS & satnav Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Garmin Asus A10 review

£349 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Garmin

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

The Garmin Asus A10 takes the Nuvifone M10 hybrid GPS satnav and smartphone and upgrades it, moving from Windows Mobile to the Google Android platform in the process.

The Garmin Asus A10 takes the Garmin Asus Nuvifone M10 hybrid GPS satnav and smartphone and upgrades it, moving from Windows Mobile to the Google Android platform in the process.

The Garmin Asus A10 has a 3.2-inch capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 320x480 and colour output of 256K. As we mentioned earlier, it runs Android 2.1 OS with a heavily skinned UI available as an alternative. The A10 has less than 1GB of internal memory but the good news is that it supports up to 16GB of microSD cards. Like other smartphones in its price-range, the A10 does well by not leaving out any connectivity features and supports Wi-Fi, 3G and Bluetooth. It uses a microUSB port to connect to the PC and to charge.

Imaging on the Garmin Asus A10 is handled by a 5Mp autofocus camera with no flash. The Android OS means that it supports Google Mobile Services that includes apps for Gmail and YouTube. If you are looking for more apps, you will find them in the Android Market; all you need is a free Google ID.

The Garmin Asus A10 was tested in the PCWorld.in Lab.

Garmin Asus A10: Design & Usability, GPS

The Garmin Asus A10 offers you a choice between two homescreens (which are in essence two entirely different UIs) - Breeze and Classic. The former is a slightly skinned version of the basic Android and includes multiple homescreens, a notification bar et al. Choosing the latter removes all homescreen save one with widgets on the right (that can be rearranged) and three large buttons on the left that let you make calls, use the GPS or view the pre-installed maps.

Okay, so while the Classic view put the strengths and functionality of the A10 right up front and centre, I preferred the Breeze view, since it offered more ability to customise. Also, the interface itself is very similar to the basic Android UI and is therefore very simple to use. Unfortunately, the UI is also sluggish and the animations and transitions within menus aren't smooth. The touch input is laggy and quite unresponsive. The keyboard works fine although double handed typing on the virtual QWERTY keyboard in portrait mode led to its fair share of mistakes.

The Garmin Asus A10's 3.2-inch display could have been so much more but unfortunately Garmin Asus took a wrong when they decided to make it out of glossy plastic. As a result the screen shines too much but at the same time its contents also look dull. Unfortunately, the A10's overall look doesn't atone for the embarrassing screen. The A10 has pretty ordinary looks and unlike the Nuvifone M10, there is nothing in the way it looks that would set it apart from other touchscreen phones.

Garmin Asus A10: GPS

Like on the M10, the Garmin Asus A10's GPS feature is par excellence and its GPS receiver was strong enough to even get a satellite lock indoors. The A10 uses Navteq maps.

The navigation is very, very good with accurate directions whether you are walking or driving. You can search for destination either in the normal manner by typing in the name of the place into a search bar or by browsing through nearby points of interest, saved locations, favorite locations etc. The Points of Interest especially are quite helpful since they cover plenty of options such as hospitals, hotels, restaurants, fuel stations etc.

The A10 lets you set destinations by searching nearby Points of Interest.

I can honestly say that the Garmin Asus A10 sits right beside the Nuvifone M10 as the devices that provide the best and most exhaustive navigation experience on a phone.

Garmin Asus A10: Browsing, Multimedia, Bottomline

The Garmin Asus uses the default Android web browser which is great in terms of functionality and features. However, the browsing experience on the A10 is far from great mainly due to the device's sluggish nature and sub-par touch UI. For instance, pinch-zooming requires multiple tries and the process isn't very accurate either. The scrolling also isn't very smooth.

Although, the Garmin Asus A10 boasts of a 5MP autofocus camera, it's quite clear from the absence of a flash and well-fleshed out customization features that Garmin Asus weren't aiming very high with this shooter. As a result, I wasn't very surprised when at the end of my imaging tests the A10's camera proved to be a very poor one. The images had high levels of noise and inexplicable colour tints. Since there is no flash, I was forced to shoot images in night mode which resulted in terribly dark photos.

The Garmin Asus A10 only supports MP4, H.263 and H.264 video formats for playback. Playback frame-rates were slightly below what I would term as crisp but the screen is okay to watch videos and clips on but probably not an entire movie.

For listening to music on the Garmin Asus A10, you will have to be content with the default Android music player (well, at least until you download a better alternative from the Android market), which means you won't get equaliser presets or sound customisations or any other extra features. The good part is that the interface is easy to use and music quality is loud and clear. Then again, the bundled earphones are terrible and the external speaker is just average.

The Garmin Asus A10 also has a poor battery although it's purported to be rated at 1500mAh. The battery runs out very quickly when running apps or when browsing over Wi-Fi or even when the GPS is turned on.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

See also: Group test: what's the best smartphone?

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Garmin Asus A10 Expert Verdict »

HSDPA DL:7.2Mbps, UMTS 2100/900, EDGE/GPRS/GSM 850/900/1800/1900
Google Android 1.6
Qualcomm 7227 600MHz
512MB SDRAM+512MB SLC +4GB eMMC Flash
Bluetooth 2.1, WLAN, 802.11b+g, USB v2.0
Qualcomm GPSOne G7 (Assisted GPS, Aided GPS and standalone GPS supported)
5 Mega Pixel, Auto-focus
3.2in HVGA TFT with capacitive touch
1500mAh Lithium
micro-SD (supports SDHC)
HTTP/WAP 2.0, WebKit browser
Exchange Push Email
MPEG4 & H.263 with audio via AMR-NB
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

If you want a smartphone with mainly GPS in mind and you are willing to overlook an average UI, usability and multimedia performance, then the A10 is a good buy, since there aren’t too many products in the market that take care of navigation this well. However, if you are looking for other smartphones in the same price-range that would give you a better overall experience, then you can also consider the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini Pro and the Samsung Wave. The Garmin Asus A10 is an Android 2.1 powered smartphone that pays special attention to GPS navigation. To conclude, while the A10 is a clear upgrade over the Nuvifone M10, it doesn’t do enough to reach the top of the smartphones list.

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