Garmin Asus Nuvifone M10 review

Will fusing smartphones with sat navs make a compelling handset?

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Our Verdict

A decent sat nav that doesn't offer much as a phone - Windows Mobile 6.5 just isn't good enough to make this a worthy all round package

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 4 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 5 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 8 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 480 x 800

View full specification

For

  • Good integrated satnav
  • Wide screen photo shooting
  • Lots of free built in memory
  • High quality car kit
  • Data warnings

Against

  • Screen is dull
  • Poorly located microSD card slot
  • No FM radio
  • Confusing user interface
  • No camera flash

While previous attempts to fuse mobile phones and sat-nav devices haven't set the world alight, Garmin-Asus is hoping that its latest Windows Mobile-powered attempt will change all that.

Garmin has had a bite at the smartphone/sat nav market before, integrating the technology with the Palm OS and Windows Mobile in its iQue range way back when those two operating systems were fighting it out for the smartphone top spot.

Those were the days when GPS antennae had to be flipped out through a separate section on the back of the handset. Yep, we are talking waaaay back. About 2004, 2005, 2006. Times when Google Mail was an underground notion.

Garmin asus nuvifone m10 review

Garmin left that market only to bounce back with a partnership with Asus for the Nüvifone range. Asus provides the hardware, Garmin sticks to the sat nav side of things.

There are two handsets in the new Nüvifone range. The M10, which is the first to hit the streets, runs Windows Mobile 6.5.3. Coming later, the A10 is set to appear, running Android.

Yes, we know, Windows Mobile 6.5.3. It isn't exactly the ideal operating system for a smartphone these days, not least because the much-improved Windows Phone 7 is about to make its first appearance soon.

But Garmin appears to be working on the basis that the business community will remain committed to this version of Windows Mobile for a while, and the upcoming Android based Garmin Asus Nüvifone A10 will have more mass appeal, so here we are with the Garmin Asus Nüvifone M10.

With HDSPA, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS and a 5MP camera the smartphone basics are covered. The presence of a 600MHz processor sounds fair, though not great, on paper.

You've got 512MB of ROM plus 4GB of flash storage and room for a microSD card too. That 4GB of flash is partly used to store mapping data for the navigation aspect of the Garmin Asus Nüvifone M10. You get maps for much of Europe, and there was 1192MB free on our review sample.

Garmin asus nuvifone m10 review

The microSD card is in a fiddly location under the battery – there'll be no hot-swapping here.

Garmin asus nuvifone m10 review

Design-wise the Garmin Asus Nüvifone M10 is a tidy little device. We weighed it at it 150g and while it's a little on the thick side at 14.3mm it shouldn't trouble most pockets measuring 116mm tall and 58mm wide.

The black and silver chassis design isn't much of a surprise. Nicely curved edges with silver trim are a doff of the cap to the iPhone, the matte black backplate makes for comfy handling while the more reflective front screen surround, and the screen itself, are the usual fingerprint magnets.

Beneath the screen there are three touch buttons – Call, End and the Windows Mobile Start menu key, and beneath these something which looks like it ought to be a navigation button but is, in fact, just a big chunk of branding: a silver rectangle with 'Nüvifone' emblazoned on it. Really, Garmin, this seems a little OTT to us.

Garmin asus nuvifone m10 review

There's something on every edge of this handset. On the bottom is just the microphone, while the top houses the main power key and the on/off switch.

Garmin asus nuvifone m10 review

On the left edge is the micro-USB connector for mains power and PC connection and the power connector for the in-car navigation cradle, on the right is a volume rocker and a small indent for helping to attach the Garmin Asus Nüvifone M10 to its cradle.

Garmin asus nuvifone m10 review

In the box

The box contains a lot of bits and pieces. You get the usual things you'd associate with a smartphone, such as headphones, mains power adaptor, PC cable, quickstart manual and a getting started CD.

There are also the bits you'll need for the sat nav side of things which include the cradle gubbins and a car power adaptor.

Garmin asus nuvifone m10 review

The cradle is remarkably small, and fits together really easily. The Garmin Asus Nüvifone M10 sits in a ball and socket joint so you can easily swivel it around to whatever viewing angle suits you best, and the fit is tight. A little too tight if we're being picky.

The Garmin Asus Nüvifone M10 slots in and out of its cradle very easily indeed. We've seen some ropey build quality on car cradles in our time, but we've no complaints here.

Tags

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory4 GB
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA
GPS ReceiverYes
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 2100
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourWhite
Operating SystemWindows Mobile
Brand NameGarmin
Battery Talk Time8 Hour
Product ModelM10
Screen Size8.9 cm (3.5")
Screen Resolution480 x 800
Weight (Approximate)138 g
Maximum Video Resolution640 x 480
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.0
Operating System VersionWindows Mobile 6.5 Professional
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Height58 mm
Width14 mm
Depth11 mm
Battery Standby Time600 Hour
ManufacturerGarmin, Ltd
Product Namenüvifone M10 Smartphone
Processor Speed600 MHz
Screen TypeLCD
Manufacturer Part Number010-00886-52
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.garmin.com
Marketing Information

The nüvifone M10 is a full-featured smartphone that works as hard as you do. Combining the enterprise-friendly Windows Mobile platform with Garmin's proven navigation, the nüvifone M10 was designed to take you places. And with access to Windows Marketplace, you'll have hundreds of apps right at your fingertips.

Standard Memory512 MB