Telenav - My review

Subject:

The wife and I recently returned from yet another Ohio (and Kentucky) road trip, ensconced along with our dogs in the fresh "Leatherette" of Betsy's new ride.

The path to Betsy's mom's house is well worn, and almost entirely on interstates. The path to her grandmother's in Lebanon (that's pronounced LEB-nun for those not familiar) is decidedly less so, especially from the shores of the Little Hocking river, to which we detoured on Christmas afternoon to visit Betsy's dad and stepmom.

Rather than trust my constant companion Google, or try to decipher Glenn's instructions (which sometimes don't include route numbers), I put the fate of my bride and our carsick, incontinent pomeranians in the hands of my oft-loathed Blackberry and TeleNav's navigation service.

For $10 a month, you get what I found to be a pretty decent navigation system on your Crackberry. You can either type in a destination, select one from your address book, or call in to a toll-free number and speak. Very. Slowly. To. A. M a c h i n e. Annoying to use as any other [w:IVR] system, but handy when you're hurting down back roads, trying to avoid stray dogs and oncoming pickup trucks.

Once your destination is input, the software will download the entire route to the handheld, and as long as your phone has a reasonable view of the sky (we found that it continued to work tucked into a slot behind the shifter), it'll keep you on route, with visual and audible turn directions.

Even meandering through rural southern Ohio and northern Kentucky late at night in driving rain, we were kept on course. Of course, it's nowhere near as fancy or featureful as factory nav systems like the one in my erstwhile M5, with it's perspective view, and rerouting options, or even standalone units like those from Garmin. But for $10 a month, it's hard to beat.

Caveats:

1) Though it seems to work pretty well at redirecting you if you go off course, this only happens if you're in a wireless coverage area. Sadly, for Nextel, this does not include Lebanon, KY.

2) The voice navigation is annoying as hell. And god help you if you go slightly off course, to say, stop to eat. The disembodied voice will yammer away until you start going in the right direction.