Monday, January 10, 2011

Garmin-Asus A50 Review

I had a really busy busy week, did a TV commercial, went overseas for 3 full days and now back home to finish up my blog review on a navigation handphone called the Garmin-Asus A50.

I was asked to do a review on Garmin -Asus A50 and A10, I would say that A10 is quite similar with A50 where all the functions is pretty much the same, just that A50 is the later version that was launch. So I decided to focus more on A50.

For a new driver like me, (okay I passed my licence for a year and a half now, but I drive on a weekly basis only, so I consider myself a new driver la), I am not always familiar with the route. Plus, I have to concentrate on the road since I seldom drive. So I prefer to have a good GPS navigation system in my car with a nice female voice. Currently, my dad is my GPS la. haha, but not all the time he is familar with the directions either.

So when given this new smartphone for a review, I excitedly put it to a test.

Introducing its features:
The Garmin-Asus A50, built on the *Android™  platform, is a full-featured smartphone combined with Garmin's proven navigation. Whether you're making a call, sending a message or simply surfing the web, the Garmin-Asus A50 puts everything you need right at your fingertips. And with access to Android Market on your Garmin-Asus A50, you'll have thousands of apps to choose from. Android Market™ is where you'll find apps to truly customize your phone.

Just in case, you are like me, not so IT savy, "so what is Android huh?"

*Android is a mobile operating system. Bought by Google in 2005. So most of the functions, you can guess, its closely linked with Google. 
Android Logo

Android Market

The part I love most when buying a product is to see what else its given: Its like little presents in a big present!

So what do you recieve when you buy the product other than the phone itself?

1. Ear piece with extra cotton
2.Speaker phone set
3. USB cable
4. Detachable plug
5. Detachable wire to connect with the plug

I felt that the plug and wire is quite bulky though.

I shall go over some of the key features for review:
(1)   3.5-inch HVGA touch screen

The screen is at a comfortable scale, and the size of the phone and its screen is similar to I-phone.
I quite liked the touch sensitive controls (Back, Menu, Call, and Home) that can be found at the bottom of the phone. Quite easy to maneuver.

(2)   4GB internal storage plus a microSD slot

(3)  3 Megapixel camera
You can see the quality of the picture.

Yes, I admit my room is messy. Please just concentrate on the quality of the photo. Even though its only 3 megapixel, its quite sharp. Please also don't compare with my S95, its 10 megapixel and its a semi-pro. For a phone camera, I reckon that 3 megapixel is good enough.

(4)     A multitouch capable WebKit browser.

And just by dragging the arrow at the bottom you would be brought to the main menu. As you can see many of the functions has been input in the phone.

 (5) Applications aka APPS

For most I-phone users, we have been introduced to the world of "Applications", where we can download games, functions and many more. You are able to download any applications from the Andriod market (see the icon as mentioned above) too. Easy to download as well.

All you need is a gmail account, which you can create or just sign up if you do not have.

Interesting facts
Android market reached the 200,000 app on 31 Dec 2010.

A report done in July 2010, by a company named Distimo:
Android Market         : features the highest percentage of free apps. (over 57% being free to download).
Apples' App Store     : only 28% are free, thats twice lesser than Android Market.
Nokia's Ovi Store      : 26% free
Blackberry's App World: 26% free
Windows Marketplace :22% free

(info: wiki)

(6)  The usual :

Alarm Clock
Business E-mail
Download data over Wi-Fi or high-speed EDGE networks
Email Client
Full-color screen

Mp3 Player
Packet Data (Technology: HSDPA 3.6)
Quad-band world phone
Touch Screen
Video Recording and Playback
Browser to internet access

(7)  Navigation 
One of the key highlights about Garmin is its navigation, since the creator's key aim in the business is
"To create navigation and communication devices that can enrich our customers’ lives."
So I would say its niche is in its navigation and it certainly stands out the most compared to the other phones.

The A50 comes with two intuitive user interfaces — Breeze and Classic — for both driving and pedestrian modes.

I decided to try out the driving mode today, since I had to drive my parents for dinner today.

Searching for the place on the phone.

So how is it done?

Step 1: Slide left from the main Menu page. And you will see this page.

Step 2:  Enter the location "Tampines Mall"

Step 3: Click on the item of your choice, in this case its clear cut that there is only 1 choice. (you might have a few choices if your location is not specific)

Step 4: Click on "Go!" at the bottom of the screen.

After clicking "Go!" it would show your starting point and it moves as your car moves. And yes, there will be a voice that would guide you. (you can even choose the type of voice you like, with British accent, Malay, chinese, hmmm I wonder if they have singlish, since Taxi uncle might not get the ang moh accent, they should start a Singaporean English)

You can also choose a 3D image mode. It would like playing a digital game.

While navigating, the A50 calls out street names and keeps you in line with local speed limits . Junction view shows you exactly which lane to turn into so that you’ll never have to hesitate at crossroads again.
  • The latest Garmin 1460* system updates for accurate real world navigation
  • The average time to first fix is merely 30 seconds*.
  • Smart Lane Guidance* ensures that you are on the right lane at all times
  • Junction View* shows you exactly which turns to make
  • Speed Limit* and Speeding Warning* keep you within local speed limits
  • Text-To Speech* enable street names to be read out loud
  • Advance street view intelligence*allows you to preview the location prior to arrival
  • Seamless integration of navigation features for complete in-car experience
  • Feature-rich Where To page brimming with destination recommendations
  • Unique, safe and hassle-free car mount:
    • Automatically switches to the speakerphone when calls come in
    • Navigate and have a phone conversation simultaneously – neither has to stop
    • Saves your parking spots for ease of locating later
    • When the A50 is mounted, it will automatically recharge the A50.

Pedestrian Navigation

It also integrates seamlessly with the public transportation mode, so you can factor buses and trains into your route.
  • Street View* allows you to plan your route in advance
  • Vibrating alerts in public transportation mode let you know when your stop or a specific junction is coming up
  • Detailed information on buses and trains allow you to plan your journey seamlessly

(8) Comprehensive POI database

The extensive point of interest database is constantly updated with rich local search information, no matter where you are. Instantly call up information that’s relevant to your location, including dining restaurants, entertainment options, shopping centers, businesses, special events, means of transportation and much more.

(9) Garmin Connected Services*

You need all kinds of information when on the go, and the A50 is your ticket for better planning. It delivers accurate weather forecasts, gas prices, parking availability and showtimes for movies and other events.

(10) Travel Ready

Set the navigation route in advance from a comprehensive list of point of interests including galleries, scenic spots, historic spots, hotels, restaurants. A50 brings you the most convenient travel experience.

Maybe you are out on a date, and you are are out of ideas where to bring your girl to, you can just search out place that is nearby or the type of food, and also see the price range of the food, opening hours and other details. No way is the girl gonna say you are boring!

Well, basically, the navigation mode is pretty clear cut and easy to use, especially for a not so IT savy girl like me. The other usual functions such as the calling, messaging, emailing and etc are easy to use. Its all about getting used to it.

However, the setback is you must ensure you have very good satellite signal. I guess most people face the same problem of the system getting hang when you are trying to figure how to go to the destination. I would say this system worked much better than the google map. By the way, it does have google map, but I reckon with the Garmin map, it would be easier to use.

One other function I do not like is that you must remember to off the navigation voice or it would suddenly speak, " unable to receive signal" or something, I cant really hear, but it scared the crap out of me. After I put the phone away for a while and was blogging away at 3am, it spoke! 

Other than that, I would give the phone a 4/5 score!

(some info are gotten from Garmin Asus )

If you like my review, please vote for me and you stand a chance to win a Garmin Asus A50. All voters also get to redeem a $50 Garmin-Asus voucher from Starhub too! Simply click Vote for me! and submit. Its that easy!


  1. Wonderful. I Was thinking maybe you can show some photos of how the phone did the navigation as you drove.
    I just bought the A50 today and am wondering if I can upgrade the OS from Android 1.6 to the latest version?

  2. Hi Kwok Wah,

    hmmm. The phone was on loan to me to do the review only, thus I don't have it with me already. The current A50 is with Andriod version 2.1 and the latest if I am not wrong is 2.2, I dont think you can do an upgrade. You might want to check with the support. :)

  3. Dude, you look as cool as ASUS A50! thanks for the pics and specs!

    mobile phones

  4. Hi Chandra,
    i aint no dude. :) but thanks for commenting. :)