215 of 228 people found the following review helpful
Updated April 17th, 2008. Unfortunately Amazon will not allow me to change the star rating but as of today, I am officially downgrading the product rating to 3 stars. From very good/great to just good. Please see Cons sections (7) for details.
Let me start this off by saying that I have used all major brands of GPS.
Magellan (1st Gen + 2nd Gen [Maestro]), Garmin (1st Gen + 2nd Gen [Nuvi]), and Mio 230. Sadly, of all the above, my favorite was the 1st gen Magellan.
A summary of what I think of the other devices:
1) Magellan Maestro: Good GPS hampered by a mule of a cpu and horrible software stability. The sucker is slow and crashes like no other. It could've been good but instead became a liability.
2) Garmin Nuvi: Better than Magellan, very stable but has no predictive type-ahead addressing. Garmin need to pull their head out of their thighs and add this feature. Very little faults but also nothing to shout about and not to mention the most expensive. Way over-priced.
3) Mio: Best screen contrast/resolution out of the 3. Very smooth resolution and gps update. It's way too chatty. I do not need to be alerted of every bend in the highway. Suffers from usability problems and just plain to hard to use. No left or right street announcement for destination.
Now the initial review for Dash Express
1) Excellent screen resolution and brightness. More on the brightness later.
2) Traffic flow is magical. Has to be seen to appreciate. Extremely accurate traffic data. Based on recent events I believe there is a 5-10 minute lag between real-world traffic and sigalert/push to dash.
3) Usability is top notch. Simply the easiest GPS I have used to date.
4) Minimalism. Have you seen GPS where there are so many stuff on screen that you can't even see the map? Dash is smart for presenting a beautiful and minimalistic layout where the emphasis is given to the map, as a GPS should. Finally!
5) Automatic Re-routing is both fast and accurate.
6) Routing so far has been excellent.
7) Very responsive. Touch operations are responsive and consistent.
8) Wifi supports WPA/WPA2.
9) Left/Right side of street is spoken for destination. Mio does not do this.
10) The only device to give me the route I actually take from my home to my parents' house. Not sure if it's luck or based on traffic info.
1) Screen is too bright for night operation, even when tuned to lowest brightness. Hopefully they fix this. It appears they are using a very dark gray of blue for the night background when they should use pure-black for better contrast.
2) Cannot accurately judge car direction when coming from stand still to very slow motion. Think turning on the car in a parking lot.
3) Text to Speech quality on street names is bad. The spoken content is concise and excellent but the street names voice renders are just bad. Has a lot of trouble with Spanish street names. Half the streets in Los Angeles are Spanish based. For example, Cordova St is pronounced as Cord-"ee"-va Ave. Even worse, Virginia Road is spoken as Virgi-"ne" Road. Other systems don't have this problem. Dash needs to license a higher quality speech engine.
4) When you select a destination, it will give you 1-3 routing options to choose from. This process is a bit slower than I would like.
5) GPS re-acquisition after park/shutdown is slow.
6) No auto-zoom in when initial setting is zoomed way out or auto-zoom out when on highway to see more distance.
7) Noticed 2 cases which broke Dash. A) Driving past a destination in a straight line for several blocks made Dash to perform never-ending "recalculating" when a "u-turn" redirect should be used. B) When going to the LAX airport via route of I10W -> I101S -> I105W, on the ramp from I10 to I101, it first said to get on ramp on left to 101 which is correct but then it starts changing the name of 101 ramp to 105 ramp before correcting itself after I got on to 101.
*April 17* Was on highway CA-22 south/east bound and I missed the "beach st/blvd" exit. The unit did not start to recalculate until nearly 2 miles after the intended exit. Worst to come. Recalculation goes into an infinite loop/stalls and by now I was about 4 miles off the Beach exit and on a local street heading north on Brookhurst. The unit crashed and rebooted itself shortly after. During this whole time, the map shows me still on CA-22. It is unforgivable for the unit to have this problem. Having a GPS is supposed to save you from the huge problem of missing or taking the wrong exits when traveling on freeways. Due to this problem, I have downgraded my product rating from 4 to 3 stars.
8) In 3D mode, did not test this in 2D mode, vehicle position on map is approximately 2-3 seconds behind real-life for local traffic speed. For example, once you past lets say Garvey Ave in real-life, your virtual car on map will pass the virtual intersection about 2.5 seconds later. This is very annoying and they need to calibrate the firmware to compensate for this "lag". Further test show there is a ~100ft lag between car on screen and actual location, at least in the Los Angeles area. This is beginning to annoy me quite a bit. Other gps systems do not exhibit this problem.
Good new GPS with exciting future but the company must make fixes as soon as possible. If they do not fix the critical problems I have mentioned here, re-routing issue, night-time visibility, and speech quality, within the next 4-8 weeks, this product will become obsolete by more rounded competition such as Nuvi despite the ground-breaking traffic-view feature.
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2008
I wanted to love the Dash. I really did. I thought the concept was brilliant. I am changing jobs in a few months and will be using roads that aren't on the main traffic maps but have a LOT of traffic. I thought Dash would be perfect for my new commute.
I bragged it up to my coworkers before I even got it, which was a mistake. The unit is really still in development and in my opinion was not ready to be released to the public.
The biggest issue to me is the lack of gps functionality that I have grown accustomed to with my Garmin 2730 such as:
The close-up window that pops up when you are approaching your turn.
The ability to have spoken directions or not. (With Dash you mute all or nothing)
The ability to avoid toll roads and dirt roads.
The lack of a comprehensive POI database ON THE UNIT. If you can't connect to the network and you need to find something, you're probably screwed. There is not a whole lot on the unit.
On the Garmin, if you don't know the actual street address but you know where it is on the map you can still go there because you can go to a point on the map. On the Dash, I couldn't do that. It was a problem since the road my job is on doesn't have a name according to dash. I had to set up a google map link then send it to car. Way too much work when I should be able to tap a spot on the map and say "go here".
I recently took both my Dash and my Garmin side by side on the dashboard on 100 mile trip. The Dash took me on a strange and circuitous route that added about 15 minutes to the time enroute. It also tried to send me down a road that didn't exist. The Garmin tried to route me around traffic that didn't exist, but at least it used a real road to do it.
Some of the alternate routes the Dash would suggest were mind boggling. There are several routes I can take from home to work. Dash would come up with one, the same one I get from the Garmin, then suggest two other routes that basically had me drive 5 miles past my exit and then double back. Huh? Once it even gave me the option to make a complete circle around the beltway to come back. This stuff is fun to giggle at when you know where you're going but I couldn't trust it to go anywhere I didn't know. The Garmin doesn't always come up with the best routing but it's never been off by that much.
I sent back the Dash with great sadness. The traffic is great. But the GPS is poor. It's too much money to just use it as a traffic receiver. Maybe in a year or so I'll try it again.
37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2008
I've owned a few different units over the years and it seems everyone does certain things very well and in other areas could use some improvement. This unit is no exception but a few of the things that it does VERY well are features that I love. I travel a lot of long distance traveling, 5-12 hours typically 2-3 times a month. I don't use my GPS as a media device nor for bluetooth so these functions are not important to me.
My history with GPS units include the Garmin 2610, Garmin Nuvi 680 and the Magellen Maestro 3250. I'll run through a few pros and cons of each unit.
-best routing preferences I've seen, you can rank major hwys, secondary roads and local roads on a scale between 1-10 for routing preferences.
-has ability to find POI's along your current route
-big and bulky
-$150 annual map upgrades (I believe this price has come down).
-long time to boot up
-lose reception and directions are gone
Garmin Nuvi 680
-small in size, packs a lot of features, easy to use
-quick to map and has ability to find POI's on your current route
-Limited routing preferences (no-uturn, avoid tolls, avoid highways and avoid unpaved roads) You can pick shortest or fastest or off road
-MSN connectivity not ready for prime time, I commute 30 miles to work and work right at the Lincoln tunnel. MSN does not pick up a signal until I am 2-3 miles outside of NYC, WAY too late to help me with traffic. The traffic is pretty useless as a result even within 10 miles of the largest city in the US.(returned it as a result after 9 months)
-even when MSN works you can only see regular fuel prices (I drive a diesel truck so it doesn't help me locate diesel fuel stations)
-can't use zip codes
Magellan Maestro 3250
-if you don't like the route you can click on a specific turn in the navigation to eliminate that portion of the route and the unit will recalculate the route with the exclusion (very cool feature)
-has 3 options Nuvi has for routing, plus use most highway
-when highway traveling you can search upcoming exits for food, fuel and lodging (very cool feature)
-NAVIGATION IS HORRIBLE!!!! I can't stress this enough, this unit CONSTANTLY tries to reroute you around ghost traffic. Traveling from the NC boarder to Morristown NJ, the unit read 16 hours with traffic for an 8 hour trip. At one point the unit tried to reroute us 45 miles south on I-95 while we were traveling north. When we arrived at the trafficed area there wasn't anything there and it was 11:30pm when it would be VERY unlikely a traffic issue would exisit. Traffic is very important to me and if for no other reason this is the worst unit I've ever owned(I bought it for traffic)
The Dash unit does a few things very well.
-Traffic is amazing, even with the unit just being launched last week. I travel home during some serious traffic times and the unit does a fantastic job of keeping me up to the minute on traffic.
-Connectivity works very well, a world of difference from the Garmin
-Send to Car makes life very easy to send addresses and searches right to the unit
-Yahoo Search is also a fantastic feature, many many POI's on the other units I've owned are not still in busines Dash does a great job in this area and is second to none.
-Yahoo tells me the prices on each grade of fuel and diesel also!
-gives up to 3 routing choices
-when coming to a turn there isn't a split screen or any beep or any type of indication of when to turn.
-location of the car isn't 100 percent accurate like the other units
-no "along current route" searches you can search in your area or in a city but not along your current route
-does not offer routing preferences
Overall I think the yahoo and traffic capabilities are great features and make up for any minor shortcomings of the product as others have mentioned. The fact that dash has promised at least two upgrades a year at no additional cost, makes this unit with the 10 dollar a month service charge pay for itself. With that in mind, there are some improvements I'd like to see to make this unit the best in every category. No unit I've used is the best at everything, but Dash is so good at some of the things that are important to me, the things it doesn't do well are only an afterthought for improvement.
35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2008
I received the Dash Express yesterday and have spent time confirming the pro's, finding some cons, and figuring out how it's going to change how I drive.
Traffic seems accurate so far. Considering it was released yesterday, I was happy to see some traffic data from other Dash users in Austin. The traffic data on side streets is sparse, but I expect this to improve.
The unit is AMPS mount compatible, which means you can mount it to virtually any third party mount. I'm in a convertible with a small windshield so was able to mount it near my stereo instead.
When plugged in the unit automatically turns on when you start the car and off after you stop the car. I love this. Simple, but functional.
The interface is very intuitive. This isn't a GPS with overly complicated menus. It's the closest thing to an Apple-like GPS device on the market. I can do without the features it's missing and expect a few to appear as search updates.
Love the GPRS functionality. I made lists of my favorite restaurants and sent it to my Dash. Now, when I'm out in search of a good happy hour, I hit my happy hour list and it shows me the closest locations. The possibilities are exciting.
The screen is bright and easy to read. No problem viewing from angles.
The device is smaller than I expected after reading the other reviews. I was expecting a massive brick, but it's about the same size as my old TomTom.
Attaching and removing the unit from the mount is very easy.
Street updates are delivered for free for the life of the device. If you live in a city with a lot of growth and construction, your GPS won't become extinct in a few years. Keep this in mind when considering the subscription price. When paired with GPRS, it's pretty economical.
It takes too long to find a satellite...sometimes minutes. I found my old TomTom to be significantly faster. It's bearable, but I'm surprised. It connects to the GPRS or WiFi quickly.
There are very few GeoRSS feeds available. I'm unsure why it doesn't accept Geo information in an RSS feed. Many Web site's easily parse out this information. Imagine the possibilities of being able to take a feed from Trulia when you're house hunting and map out the best route. There's some untapped potential here.
The voice quality is OK. You only have the choice of one female voice and the pronunciation is mediocre. I'm not sure how many devices accomplish this better. Fortunately, the street name is clearly displayed and easily read on the screen. I set mine on mute.
Whenever a search update is delivered to your car, it notifies you. It happens often and is completely useless and an utter distraction. The device should update without distracting the driver.
I want to see Yahoo reviews. It only shows stars and very little information about the business.
From a usability perspective, I like that I'm able to make a list of my favorite restaurants, send it to the Dash, and then search this list based on what's "nearby". The problem is that after you push the button to show you "nearby" listings, it doesn't sort by distance. The time it takes to push extra buttons is valuable and I think Dash can do better.
I expected more Internet functionality. I understand that they don't want you driving and browsing the Internet, but since the GPS detects motion there are ways to prevent this without killing what could possibly be the coolest feature of the device. I'm asking for Kindle like Internet quality...nothing special, but enough to get you out of a bind when you need some information. The dash is very limited in what it can do.
I'm not sure why they partnered with Yahoo. Google's the obvious leader with maps, data, and search. The search is OK, but I'm a bit more impressed with the map functionality on my iphone.
My.dash.net is extremely, painfully slow. Maybe because they just launched to the public recently, but they need to upgrade quickly before more users get online. That said, I think it's a brilliant idea and executed better than it needed to be. I expect only good things from the future plans rumored for the site.
Despite the minor con's, I love the dash. All of my complaints can be addressed through software updates, which are delivered free. I only wish Austin had a bit more traffic to make it more useful. It's already changing the way I drive. In my pursuit of technology that saves me more time than it costs me, I think Dash is a winner.
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2008
I have had the Dash for three days now and I happy to report that it works very well. It's not perfect, but with the ability to receive software updates at any time, it might just get close to it.
1)Traffic is very accurate and will only get better. It is better than my Nuvi 680's MSN traffic, which I found to be hit and miss (figuratively :)).
2)Satellite access times are very quick. I don't know why some people are reporting slow times. Mine is as fast as the Nuvi, or faster.
3)Gas prices are very complete. Much more complete than the Garmin. On the Garmin it would take minutes to receive the gas data. On the Dash, it's there almost immediately.
4)Same with movie times. Much more complete than my Nuvi 680 via MSN. The Nuvi has maybe 20% of my local Los Angeles theaters. The Dash is nearly 100%. And again, you get the data right away, not in minutes.
5)For that matter, same with traffic. You get it immediately, not in minutes on the morning start up on my Nuvi.
6)The Send to Car feature, where you can type an address on your computer and send it to the Dash is amazing. It receives the send within one second! It's so fast that you almost can't believe it. What a great feature.
7)Connected internet searching and routing changes everything. This may be the best feature. You get the impression that there everything out there is available. You get this feeling of limitless searching, which is exactly what a GPS should give you.
8)The text to speech, while not as natural as the Garmin, is just fine. And louder than my Nuvi.
9)The screen is very bright and the non reflective coating makes it easy to see in the day.
10)The ability to be given up to three routes, while I wasn't that impressed at first, turns out to be a good choice. The Nuvi sometimes just doesn't give me the route I want to take. The Dash gives me a choice, which I like.
11)The mounting bracket is very heavy duty. I don't think this will fall off the windshield like my Nuvi does all of the time. Of course, the unit is huge, too, so you need a large mount.
Now for the minuses:
1)It has bugs which need to be fixed. When you do a search you only get around 16 or so results. So if you ask for the restaurants in Los Angeles, which should bring in thousands of hits, you get around 16 or so (I haven't counted). I called Dash and they noted this as a reported bug they are working on.
2)The UI is just not as nice as the TomTom or the Garmin. It looks more first generation. They tuned down the colors on the map so the traffic stands out, but it ends up looking too bland. They need to find a way to make it look nicer and not diffuse the traffic information.
3)The menu system needs a redesign. Some choices sound the same, and take you to similar areas. It needs a rethink to make it easier to use.
4)The 3D view shows an arrow where you need to turn. The 2D view doesn't. This needs to be corrected. You can't always tell where to turn in 2D view.
5)For that matter, it isn't always easy to tell exactly which road is the route. Due to their muted colors, the route is white, but roads without traffic information are grey. These colors are too close to each other. The route itself should stand out more.
6)Missing features: waypoints, avoidances, detours, etc. Dash says these will be added. Not sure why they weren't in version 1.0, but glad to hear they're coming.
7)The size is big. But this is NOT a minue to me, because when you have it mounted you can't tell the size from the driver's perspective. You just see the screen, and the depth does not show to the driver.
But all in all, I gave it a 4 rating for effort. This is a revolutionary unit. I don't have any doubt that their competition is sweating it out to make a similar product. In many ways, it's like the iPhone in the way it will change the GPS market. It has that potential.
And imagine if they really do offer the features people have imagined they could: restaurant reservations, ticket purchases, email, web browsing, etc. At that point, the promise of the mobile internet in your car becomes very real. The Dash may just be able to pull it off.
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
This is coming a little late but it is "Game Over" for Dash. They have announced that they are getting out of the navigational hardware business and hope to sell some of their connected technology to auto manufacturers. Most of the employees were laid off. Thus, if you are contemplating purchase of a Dash, be aware that it will inevitably be an obsolete brick, with no significant updates or support forthcoming. Mine now goes to the museum, I just replaced it with a Magellan 4370. The Dash was a great idea but it just never panned out.
The bad news is that it broke. The touch screen threw itself out of alignment (apparently a number of Dash owners have experienced this). This meant that you can not get past the legal disclaimer page. Fixing it necesitated a return.
The good news is that Dash support was superb. The phone was answered quickly. I was given the option of returning it for repair or else having them send me a new unit and a return label for the broken one. The new one was shipped out right away via 2 day UPS.
Routing remains an issue. Dash is now saying that an updated routing algorithm will not be available until end of year. Hopefully, for Dash's sake, they have this ready prior to the holiday buting surge.
The June update was indeed released. It introduced a few new features and improved the interface in a few areas. Unfortunately, we have still not seen a revised routing algorithm and the DE continues to send users in 50 mile circles as it strives to stay on major highways no matter what. Dash states they are working on improvements but no dates have been provided. Just this month I bought a GPS as a gift for a colleague. I considered the DE but instead opted for a Garmin solely because of the routing issues.
Having lived with the DE for over a month now, I would give it a C+ for current state with an A for potential. The routing algorithms seem to have some significant issues. That is not good considering the primary function of a PND. This is a device I really want to love but the flaws are tough to overlook. A major new software update is pending this month so hopes are high that it will address many of the issues, especially with routing.
On a recent trip from Philadelphia to Ocean City, MD I experienced. 1) Less than optimal routing (only one choice given vs. 3 from TomTom), a lock up that required hard reboot, at one point it told me to make a hard left turn onto rte 13. This was in the middle of the highway and made no sense from any perspective at all. Unfortunately, when traveling in unfamiliar territory, I still grab the Magellan or the TomTom. (I am one who thinks the Garmin's have been dumbed down in their interface).
Early adopters saw a price drop of $100 (25%) within two months of release. Dash did not go as far as Apple in offering an equivalent service credit to early adopters but did recently give us 3 months of additional service. B- for customer focus.
A new release of software is promised soon. Hopefully, this will address some of the shortcomings and raise the grade to a B+ or an A. If this is your ONLY gps, you might want to wait a couple of months. You may also benefit from further price drops.
First off, let me state that I am NOT a beta participant. I bought my DASH with my own $$$. I have also owned many different GPS units starting with a Garmin GPS III when they simply showed you where you are. I love gadgets. I own or have used current Garmins, Magellans, TomToms, and manufacturer equipped vehicles. I have also returned a few that I did not like thanks to Amazon's excellent customer service. I had been watching development of the Dash for some time and even though they rejected me for the beta, I decided to buy one. I had some reservations as I discredited the "best thing since canned beer" fanboys who got one for free as beta participants. On the other hand, there seemed to be a lot of negative comments from non-owners as well.
After a few days of ownership, I do think the Dash is a game changer for GPS units. It raises the bar by offering something really new and unique. It has its shortcomings, most of which will likely be addressed in new software releases, others will need new hardware.
After reading the comments about how huge the Dash is I was worried about what I would see in the box. My first thought on unpacking was, "eh, it ain't that bad". This is definitely not something to slip in your shirt pocket but is no more bulky than the Roadmate 700 series, the StreetPilots, or even the softball shaped TomTom 900 series. Once it is mounted to the windshield, you only see the screen and the size becomes a non-issue. If I were flying from city to city it would not be my first choice to carry. Yes, it could be sleeker but the average person who will keep it in his car, it is a non-issue. The windshield mount is extremely sturdy, probably the best design I have seen If you want to see a junk mount, try a TomTom 900 series.
Upon powering her up she took about 3-4 minutes to get locked in and ready to go. On subsequent restarts the signal aquisition was within 30 seconds. What really surprised me was that I almost immediately saw both dashed and solid lines indicating other users on nearby highways. I thought I would be the only kid on the block for at least a few weeks. The menus seem very well laid out and logical. The display does not provide as many geographic landmarks as some but it is very clear and easy to read. Instead of an arrow you have an image of a car. A clever touch although I did see someone griping about not being able to have an arrow, get over it!
At this point I have only about 200 miles on her so I will update this review as time progresses. Here are my initial observations. Some people have observed drifting of actual versus displayed position. I have not seen this as of yet. Even in areas where a bunch of roads run parallel, the tracking was spot on. I have also yet to experience problems with screen refreshes.
The "send to" feature is nice and works well. The Yahoo search for POI's is excellent. Sure, Google is better but what Dash offers is leap years ahead of even the most comprehensive set of built in POI's.
The routing algorithms definitely need some work. As others have noted, it sometimes proposes some outright bizzare choices. I suspect this will be addressed in upcoming software releases but is currently the Dash's greatest weakness. Most of the time the routes are OK but enough are not to raise concern. There is also a definite tendency to force you to a main road even when a secondary makes much more sense. Some people may blame this on use of teleAtlas versus NavTeq maps. I have other units with current versions of both. The differences between the two have really become negligible.
The ability to choose among "avoid highways", "most use of highways", "avoid toll roads", etc. is a related item that will hopefully be addressed soon. Likewise, the ability to easily exclude a road is important.
Auto-zoom on approach of turns is needed.
The text to speech is functional but needs some tweaking.
It was an unfortunate decision not to bluetooth enable the Dash. Having your GPS serve as a wireless speakerphone is really helpful. Unfortunately, I do not see this being supported until the next generation of Dash hardware.
The button placement may cause you to inadvertently tap one for about your first minute of ownership. Personally, I like the idea of having buttons to quickly adjust volume, go to the main menu, etc. No qualms here.
Dash seems very committed to addressing shortcomings, updating the software, and adding value over time. If they do this quickly and consistently they are to be commended. I always appreciated how Magellan made major new features available to the older Roadmates without requiring you to buy new hardware (unlike some other GPS manufacturers who only provide minor software updates). Let's hope that Dash delivers on its promises.
Yes, you can get sexier hardware. Yes, the Dash routing engine needs some fixing and there are some features that are still lacking. But I do think that networking of GPS raises the bar to a whole new level and I am thus willing to make an early investment. The strenghts seem to outeigh the weaknesses and I do believe that within 6 months most of those weaknesses can and will be addressed.
Two years from now these features may be common place. Dash does need to act fast and stop making stupid excuses about the poor routing like, "well, the primary market is commuters". Dash will either become an industry leader or else a page in the history books. I suspect that they will become a big player.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on May 22, 2008
I had great hopes for this GPS. It has turned out to be more of a disappointment, especially if you have used Garmin products.
It is slow to latch onto a satellite signal, even when you don't move. Out of curiosity, I have timed it on several occasions. It has taken up to 17 minutes under clear skies to find a signal. With the car moving, it has taken as long as 30 minutes. Sometimes it needs only a couple of minutes.
If you look at the FAQ sections of the web site, you will find one that refers to rebooting the GPS. I never had to reboot a Garmin product. I have to reboot the Dash at least once a day. Generally, if you don't get a satellite signal within about 5 minutes, resetting it will get it to capture the signal faster. The rebooting process itself takes about 3-4 minutes, an eternity if you need the thing to help you find your way in moving traffic. Sometimes it freezes spontaneously, but I have not been able to discern a pattern as to why.
After you reset the machine, and you are moving, the car icon sometimes shows up on the left side of the rode instead of in its center, and the car image wobbles. After a mile or so, the car centers itself on the road you are following. This is more annoying than interesting.
The automatic routing is boneheaded. I have compared it side to side with a Garmin Nuvi 750 and a C330, and the Dash consistently finds routes that are at least 4-5 miles longer than they need to be. On a longer road trip it calculated a route that was 12 miles longer! I live near a state line, and, to route me home, routinely takes me into the next state and then swing back. It also has mapping errors. There is a major highway that has had a left turn for at least 15 years, and the Dash told me to make a right turn onto it and then make a U turn as soon as feasible. It also lacks a useful Garmin feature, routing by shortest time or by shortest distance.
Another missing feature is a screen that shows you your current average speed, elapsed time, etc.
Form some reason, the 2D maps are missing a lot of streets, but the 3D views don't, even at higher magnification. This is too bad, since sometimes you need a traditional map view to better orient yourself.
On the plus side, the notification feature does work well, as does the send to car from the website item. It did keep from from a traffic jam, once, hence the 2 stars instead of one. However, the device is so unreliable I don't think it is worth paying the subscription price for what is essentially a cell phone with a large screen that can't transmit your voice. By the by, the pronounciation of some streets by the Dash is hilarious, and wrong.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2008
I just received my Dash Express today and I must say it is a must in the LA area. I previously had the Garmin c580 (with MSNDirect Traffic). I am very impressed with the Dash and I look forward to future improvements. That being said this device is much better than my Garmin. Here is why....
1) The traffic on this device is amazing. Obviously, it will be much more accurate when more people buy the device. However, the historical data is much better than anything that MSN Direct offered as "live" data. I drove on some side streets and noted that about 5 minutes later my traffic progress was noted on the display in solid colors. With living in LA traffic, there is no other GPS on the market to consider.
2) Navigation (3D Mode) - I found that the routes do not take long at all. Maybe slightly longer than the Garmin, but the Dash has more detailed traffic information and more calculations to process.
I found upcoming turns to be much better with the dash. With the Garmin, I found myself in LA making a turn on a highway and not knowing which lane to be in for the next turn. This was a problem if the turns were close together. Not a problem with the Dash because the voice alerts you to your turn and the next turn and displays at the top of the screen which way your next turn is with the street name and distance. Yes, you could get this info on the Garmin if you pushed a button to see upcoming turns, but who wants to eat, text message, AND push your GPS while driving (just a joke). The upcoming turn is highlighted with a big blue arrow so you will not miss when you should make a turn. I was worried with the no auto zoom that knowing were to turn would be an issue, but it is not at all. In fact, I find it easier than my Garmin because of the turn message at the top of the display. The only issue I had was that the unit took a second to process the next turn on a few turns.
You can see the road you are currently traveling on if you click on the car icon. This will show your current postition and road. The road you are on is also displayed on the map after certain intervals. I did find that you can find your current speed and stats for a trip once you complete a trip.
When travelling on the map without a route, it would be nice to have the names of upcoming streets pop up like the Garmin offers. This could be an easy software update.
The 3 routes are great and the time of arrival was spot on within 1-2 minute for my trips.
3) Search Feature - The only searches I have tried so far was (a) gas, (b) iphone, (c) fajitas.
(a) Showed me the price of a regular gallon of gas. If you click on details, it also shows you the mid-grade and premium. I then routed to the gas station and the prices were dead on. The Garmin through MSN Direct were 1-3 days old and often incorrect.
(b) I had to try....and it pointed me to every AT&T store in the area. Note: there were no Apple stores near were I was travelling at the time.
(c) Fajitas pulled up great southwest and mexican restaurants around the area. I agree that the rating system is cool but would love to read user reviews!
4) Send to Car Feature - This feature is great. Let me tell you about an alternate way to get your adresses that I found out after receiveing the unit. You can download a easy plugin (provided by Dash) so that when you are on a webpage....say a business website....and you would like to navigate to that business, you can simply highlight the address on the webpage (any webpage) and right click and select "Send to Car". This will save a lot of time for people and will be great for sales people. The other plugin is one for Outlook. You can also of course go to your personal Dash webpage and send an address that way as well.
I apologize for the long review, but I think that some of these features are worth noting for future purchasers. I know I would have liked to known some of them before I hit the "add to cart" button. In summary, I would highly recommend this product to people in major metropolitan areas. I only rated it four stars because I think there are a few items that can be (not fixed) but enhanced in future updates. However, if you want a device to help you navigate through traffic better than any other device, wait no longer....purchase a Dash Express.
35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2008
First of all, I am neither a beta tester nor do I have any connection with the Dash Corporation. I ordered my unit based on the fact that: my Garmin was getting a little old; and I was intrigued with the connectivity, not just for traffic, but also for web searches for information. I paid for it the old-fashioned way - myself!
Admittedly, I have had my unit only for about 30 hours (it arrived on the 31st), but I am pleased with almost every aspect of it so far.
To comment on some of the complaints:
Size: it is not as small as a nuvi, but appears to be about the same size as my Garmin c330, although more elegantly designed. I personally don't find the size to be a problem since I don't plan to walk around with a GPS - I use my iPhone Maps to determine my location outside of the car if I get lost. Someone commented that the power connection was on the cradle and not directly into the unit. I don't see that as a problem, I see that as a feature and have the same feature with my old Garmin. There is a power connection on the unit when you want to power up inside, but popping the unit from the cradle is a snap and the power connection stays connected on the cradle.
Graphics: Someone complained they looked "elementary." I find them to be clean and crisp. The white line that outlines the route took a bit of getting used to since I was used to the highlighted pink of the Garmin, but now that I have gotten used to it (in this short period of time), I like it. I do agree that zooming in on the three D mode when approaching an intersection would be helpful. The screen is bright and easy to read.
Routing: I've been pleased with the speed of routing and the "recalculating" function. There is no verbal indication that the recalculating is occurring, but it does happen quickly (and the word "recalculating" appears on the top of the screen. I like having the several choices of routes (from 1 - 3) and have found them to be the exact routes that my Garmin has recommended (again only a day of use). I appreciate the ability to upload address from my computer to be accessible on my Dash when I get into my car. I had never thought I'd appreciate the traffic function, but so far have found it to be great. Living in Atlanta, there are obviously a number of other units in the area and I'm finding that not only the interstates, but also the main surface streets in the areas I traveled thus far have up-to-date traffic information.
And I've already saved 20 cents a gallon on gas. That's going to continue to be a great pay off..
Although I've only used a Garmin up through yesterday, I have observed Tom-Toms and Magellans and dealer-installed units in friends cars and I realize that each one has a different look and feel to the way things are handled and processed. I must admit, however, that so far I'm pleased with the look and feel of the Dash and would find it difficult to go back.
The Dash truly is the iPhone of GPS units (if not in design elegance, at least in functionality) and is an amazing first generation product. The learning curve is not great. The unit and the way it operates is elegant. And I look forward to any upgrades that might make it even better.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2008
I live and drive to work in Irvine. I have been using a Dash since
August as a part of Dash's beta program. I liked what I saw and
decided to become a customer and purchased a Dash Express in January 2008 as part of their early release program for friends of Dash.
Dash is not your typical GPS; it is more of an everyday tool. I use it
in weekdays and on weekends to find traffic conditions always. I used
to use a Magellan. It updated traffic only if you entered an end
point. I like that the Dash shows traffic conditions the moment it connects.
I like Dash's ease of use. I like finding Points of Interests. I look
for Starbucks as I drive and love it when it pulls it up for me.
During the weekend, it is very handy to search for stores. The web site has an easy to use tool for creating your data bases/POI's.
It is so easy to use that you do not spend much time playing with it
as you are driving which makes us safer drivers. It is easy to find anything because of the Yahoo! Search.
What I like best is that it provides more real world traffic better
than any GPS. I like how it shows the traffic in colors so you can judge quickly as you drive.
It stays updated with automatic updates, which is cool. On the last
update, Dash included data on Route 55 which I use a lot. New features are continuously being added. Unlike most GPS's there may be only one update a year- and if so, you download from the web, install to a SD card, then insert/install to the device. I am sure at some point down the road dash will have less and less updates- but the installs are doing wirelessly!
Overall Dash works like a charm. I am glad I bought a Dash Express; I
ended up ebay-ing my Magellan.