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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Product Packaging: Standard PackagingVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Motorola Motonav TN555 is a very, very nice GPS with few negatives. First, all the standards are here: voice prompting with street names and landmarks, a rich points-of-interest database, easy entry of new navigation points, Bluetooth integration with your cell phone, and a widescreen display. What sets it apart, though, are the extras. For one thing, the Motonav takes advantage of the Bluetooth connection to the your phone, not only to download contacts and act as a microphone, but to download data to the GPS. It doesn't use the phones data plan, however, but a voice call, like an old analog modem.

There are pros and cons to this approach. On the plus side, you don't need an expensive data plan for the GPS nor do you have to have a phone that has one either (although I do have an iPhone with one). On the negative side, it interrupts whatever else your phone may be doing to make the call. Obviously, if you're already on a call, it won't work. And if you're using your iPhone to listen to music or podcasts, for example, as I do when I'm driving, then those will be suspended while the GPS does its thing. As the only time I'm likely to be manipulating the GPS to download information is when I'm stopped and parked, that's not a bad tradeoff for me.

So what can it download? How about addresses from Google Maps. If you look up an address at, you can click on the "Send" button and enter the model and serial number of the GPS. Then when you're in your car, go to the menu, select "Google" in your favorites, have it download through your Bluetooth-connected phone, and, voilà!, there it is. The days of hurriedly writing down the address on a scrap of paper and remembering to bring it with you to the car to punch in at your dash are over.

The phone connection also offers another neat feature. You can set someone as a trusted contact and they can receive updates on your position via text message, either one time or any time they text "motonav" to your phone. It will respond either with your current location or, if you're en route, your location, destination, and ETA. This could be great for your spouse so they don't have to call you while you're driving, but it could be awkward if your boss wants to be a trusted contact too.

There are a number of "Motoextras", which are subscription-based services, including updatable weather, flight tracking, gas prices, and speed cameras. The speed camera shows an icon in the corner of the display while you're driving, showing your current speed. It would be great if it knew the speed limit for your current road too. Real-time traffic is only available on the next higher model in the product line, the TN700.

One of my favorite features is the instant on. Our old Garmin Nüvi takes forever to start up, find the satellites, show the legal disclaimer, and get to where I can actually enter an address. I also like the physical volume and mute keys. On the Garmin, I had to navigate through several menus to adjust the volume on the touch screen, which I have to take my eyes off the road to do.

But how well does it navigate? Very well. It has a few of the same quirks that the Garmin did. Maybe they buy their maps from the same place, but they both show a "phantom" connecting road in my neighborhood that would be very convenient if it existed, but would require a US Army-issue Humvee to traverse today. On the other had, it lacks some of the Garmin's quirks like the Nüvi's insistence that I cannot turn left on my usual route at our closest major intersection. Even when I'm sitting at the light it wants me to go straight, turn right through some neighborhoods and come back on the intersecting road well out of my way. The Motonav just brings me along the logical route.

There's also a setting that allows you to bias the route selection for or against highway driving (i.e. faster versus scenic). In theory this is a nice option, but the highway bias option often wants to turn me onto an interstate for a half-mile to saver mere seconds, while the scenic option sometimes chooses some very convoluted routes. A middleground would be nice.

But the bottom line is that Motorola's GPS give industry-leader Garmin a run for its money. And at $219, that's not a lot of money.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Product Packaging: Standard PackagingVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
If I had rated this product after I had just received it, I'd have given it a grand total of 0 stars.

After using it off-and-on for a few months, I'm actually beginning to tolerate this plucky little device - or "PND" (portable navigation device) as Motorola likes to call it.

So, what doesn't work?

This device tries to do too much. We're no longer speaking about a GPS, remember? This is a PND! It likes to think of itself as a little computer.

As a result, the screen is the busiest I've ever seen in a GPS - there are tons of little clickable areas all over the screen, that in turn lead to other clickable areas, ad infinitum. The problem is that we're still dealing with a device that users will try to use with one hand, while driving on highways, encased in 2-tons of steel. What works on a computer simply doesn't work as well when stuck into 4.3 inches.

Even worse, street names, interstate numbers, etc. use a font that is exceedingly thin/fine. This makes it rather hard for me to read the maps while I'm driving. This is exacerbated by having street names blink (esp. when it automatically zooms in/out when coming up to a navigational event), and by having the street names overlay roads, making it look like they have been struck-through. I'd very strongly recommend that you check this out for yourself before buying this device.

Attempting to use voice activated commands was also a dismal failure - it consistently failed to recognize my voice commands no matter how clearly I spoke, or how closely I held the PND.
My children had similar results. However, it did give us an hour of quality bonding time, as they burst into gales of laughter each time it misunderstood what was said.

The address entry idiom works much like Google Maps. You type in a street address and the device looks up options. I much prefer my Magellan, which is more traditional and actually assists me with appropriate auto suggestions to reduce keystrokes. This is another instance where an interface that works well on a computer screen, doesn't translate well to a GPS unit ... oops, sorry, to a PND.

A minor nit is that the buttons on the back are very sensitive, and if you are using it in pedestrian mode, pressing any touch screen button invariably triggers one of these. This is not quite as much of a problem when the device is mounted on your dash.

Nit+2: Speed limits are displayed only for freeways - unlike my Nuvi which also displays them for local streets.

Nit+3: It displays distance in yards - which I have to constantly convert to feet in my mind.

What works?

So what do I like about it?

This device has a gorgeous display - with amazing colors and details - easily the best map display that I've seen. I've also begun to get used to the font size and it doesn't seem to bother me as much as it did when I first began to use it. In addition, the vocal navigation instructions are clear enough, reducing my reliance on details in the display.

The amount of information displayed on the maps is simply breathtaking. Nearby points of interest (incl. gas stations, hotels, restaurants, malls, etc.) are displayed with meaningful icons and the display is updated dynamically. As you drive down a street, you'll get a running display of nearby POIs, including their distance and direction! This makes it a snap to get a feel for your current neighborhood

It is also without doubt a dream device for those who like tons of functionality packed into a compact unit. This device shows you so much information and gives you so much control over your trip that it is simply mind boggling.
For example, while my other GPS unit will let me reroute my trip by avoiding the next 1, 2, or 5 miles, this PND lets me reroute my trip for a single navigational event - such as a specific interstate exit. In addition, its' a snap to view your progress to your destination using an "aerial" view of your journey.

MotoExtras is another cool addition - for an extra annual fee you get updated weather, gas prices, flight information, and Google Live search - all delivered using a voice call to retrieve the information. While I think this is a good idea, I don't expect to be interested in paying the subscription fee just yet. Traffic information seems to be available only for devices with a "t" after the model number - so this one doesn't display live traffic updates.


This device tries so very hard, that like the little engine that could (okay, almost could), you kind of feel a sort of affection for it. While my affection doesn't quite rise to the level of adoration, it is still enough for me to go cautiously up to 2 stars.

While I wouldn't recommend it to family or friends, I have actually begun to consult it more often than I used to.

Happy Navigating!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Product Packaging: Standard PackagingVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Motorola Motonav TN555 4.3-inch Widescreen Bluetooth Portable GPS Navigator

Couple things:

- First, the device is well designed, full of potential, but I feel it comes up short in a few ways I wish it didn't.
- It's great for the primary function it serves (GPS)


- I really like the way it mounts to either your windshield or dash. I personally mounted mine to the windshield, and it works great. A suction cup attached to a lever is used to firmly fix the device securely to the windshield. Then, the Motonav slides in and fixes on the battery mount. A swivel joint allows for customizable positioning in whatever angle of view you'd prefer.
- The map views are visually pleasing, and the screen goes into detail regarding even side roads (without names) in some cases.
- I liked being able to access almost all the functions of the entire device with only a few selections. Well-organized, neat layout.
- I was able to synchronize the contacts and recent calls on my phone to the memory bank in the Motonav. This was pretty cool......because it allows the driver to choose numbers to dial normally seen in your phone's contact list.
- Sync's well with your phone using Bluetooth, and it offers a number of different services (using your phone) which come in handy when you're trying to bypass traffic or know when to slow down (due to speed enforcement).


- It seems as though they could have put a little more effort to make it perform better. I don't know. It sells for roughly $200 retail, so I suppose it should perform a little better than it does. For instance, the phone allows you to speak (via Bluetooth) through the built in microphone on the device. My wife told me I sounded muffled and distorted even. Her voice sounded the same on my end, so I suppose this option is available---- but not very useful. If they'd installed something a bit clearer, this particular feature would have greatly impressed me.
- For some reason, I could sync the contacts and recent calls from my iPhone, but I couldn't use the text messaging capability. Apparently, you should be able to see a text message come to the Motonav when you receive one on your phone, but this just didn't happen in my case. Maybe this particular feature isn't compatible with the iPhone? That would seem pretty weird, considering the enormous popularity of the iPhone, but maybe Motorola did that on purpose? I don't know. Anyway, thought that was a bit of a letdown.
- It's difficult to move the device around or handle the device without touching the buttons on each side.
- Only comes with one female voice option, as opposed to the option on other GPS devices of comparable price who offer multiple voices (male and female).

I suppose, in my opinion, it deserves a 3 star (average) rating since it didn't "blow me away" or "greatly disappoint." Like I said in the beginning, it's great for it's primary function. (GPS Navigator)
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Product Packaging: Standard PackagingVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
***UPDATE - July 27, 2011*** After several weeks of Bluetooth errors and endless looping error messages, the TN555 is now no longer operational. It begins to power up and dies in mid-boot up. Not going to replace it with the same model.

============== Original Review ================

***UPDATED - April 6, 2010*** The Motorola Motonav TN555 is a great GPS with a lot of advanced features. The standard GPS functions all work exactly as you would expect for a GPS in this price range, but I was extremely impressed with how well the advance features worked, and more importantly, how easy they were to use. Here are my observations:

Pros -
+ Easy to Use Interface; the touch screen menu is intuitively designed
+ Split Screen Display; map and rout always shows, even when menu, phone, or advance features are being used
+ Good Display; while a little muted (see video), the display can be seen even in bright sunlight
+ High Quality; all of the components are well designed and built (see "Customer Images")
+ Easy To Understand Voice and On Screen Directions; clear Text-to-Speech
+ Accurate Points of Interests (POI); at least for my area
+ Speed Limit Displayed on Major Roads; unit can be set to alarm when posted speed limit is exceeded
+ Advanced Features (that I have tested);
+ Integration with Bluetooth Enabled Phones; allows for use as a speakerphone and access to "Contacts"
+ Voice Recognition; allows for hands free calling and access to search functions using BING (see "Cons", below)
+ Integration with Google Maps; Use your PC to find a location on Google Maps (see Video)
+ Access Local Information; pull current weather, sports, etc
+ Traffic Notification; very useful during rush hour in large cities (I tested in Baltimore, MD)
+ Red Light Camera Warning; accurate and given with plenty of notice, at least for Baltimore

Considerations -
- Advanced features require use of your Bluetooth enabled phone and will use "air time" for updates
- Advanced features might not work if you don't have cell service
- Voice Recognition is very good in a fairly quiet car, but accuracy degrades when there is a lot of "road noise"
- Side Control Buttons assignments can be changed, but I always accidentally press the bottom right one ("MUTE") when connecting the unit to the window mount so there is no sound if I'm not paying attention (easy enough to correct)
- Only one free map update and it must be installed within 60 days of using the GPS

Overall, I am very happy with this unit and can say that Motorola got this one right! After a few weeks of very heavy use, the "Pros" greatly outweigh the "Cons".

Highly Recommended!

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 30, 2010
Arrived with no Screen film protection. GPS was not in a plastic bag - just laying in box.
Cord was in a plastic bag but no tie keeping it together.
The section the GPS lays in (GPS box)had torn causing GPS to lay on cord and mount that was positioned under GPS.
Have never bought a new item nor a Refurb. that looks this way. Was advertised as new but this is not new.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 2010
From only *reading* the specs and features of this piece, I was impressed. But in actually using those features, I was very disappointed. Here are my top major disappointments:

(1) Extremely sluggish tap response: In a device like this, about a second of delay between a tap and it's action is really way too slow. It is super annoying and unnecessary added distraction.
(2) Bluetooth phone: Do not expect to use this reasonably at all on the highway, and expect more than normal effort to use it elsewhere. There is so much road noise interference when driving at high speeds and even it mid-speeds that the speaker and the mic on this thing become completely useless. I've tried different settings, but no matter what my voice isn't heard on the other side clearly at all, nor can I hear the other side clearly.
(3) User interface: Out of all the colors of the rainbow, they only decide to use 2-3 colors in all of their user interface design (I'm not talking about the actual map display, but rather everthing else besides that).
(4) Useless speed limit display: The highway is the least important place where you'd need to know the speed limit, simply because you generally have a solid idea of what the limit there is. However, the highway is the only place this PNS shows the speed limit. It will never show up on the streets.
(5) Nearby POIs: You cannot demand-search for nearby points of interests for a specific address or for your destination. When you read the destination it will show them. But that's terrible for trip planning. I want to be able to search for something around a given address, which this cannot do.

This is one example of where the product ratings are very misleading. It has good reviews, but I'm guessing many people have not used another brand (i.e. Garmin) that excels in all those deficiencies I listed above. Should have just bought a Garmin....
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 14, 2010
Product Packaging: Standard PackagingVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I wanted to give this unit a good LONG test drive before commenting on it.

I've been driving around locally and long distance with this unit for over 3 months now and have been more pleased than not.

~Re-routes directions very quickly once I veer of course.
~Suggests the correct address before I completely enter it.
~Speaker not totally annoying.
~"Knows" when you're in a tunnel or something of that kind and adjusts the screen light.

On the Fence:
~Touch screen NOT user friendly if you're driving, but that's likely a safety matter.
~The trial period for the "3 months free MotoExtras service package" didn't do much for me as I couldn't get the thing to sync with my phone. But oddly, I'd see random ads post like "Red Lobster Lobster Fest going on now"...then I'd look around for a Red Lobster and not see one.

~Takes FOREVER to find the address I'm putting in, at times. And a few times, didn't pull up the address AT ALL. An address, mind you, that could pull up on my husband's GPS phone.
~Occasionally doesn't realize the freeway entrance is on the 'right' hand side of the road from the direction I'm approaching.
~Requires you to enter the address in TWO separate boxes: Street and City/Zip. In the day and age of Google maps (and the fact this unit can sync with google) it should be able to take the address in one box. My husband pointed out that Motorola makes products that are capable of this, so there really isn't any reason their GPS units shouldn't be able to do it.
~When I tried to sync my phone so the unit could call and update an address with Google, the unit froze for over an hour of 'processing'...I don't have that many contacts to sync with!

Overall, while I do like this unit, the small handful of glitches I ran into were rather annoying AND made me think about how freaked I'd be to be somewhere unknown and have the unit not pull up the address I needed. I've tossed my Thomas Brother's guides and have stopped printing out directions for local stuff, but I may not be so confident in this unit for more long distant destinations.

Finally, with the rise of Smart Phones, I'm not sure how much longer a stand alone GPS will be warranted. Well, at least until the Smart Phone OS's allow for multitasking so you can follow directions AND make a call at the same time :)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon May 28, 2010
Product Packaging: Standard PackagingVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Necessary caveat: I do not have Bluetooth and cannot speak to the GPS unit's handling of connected features.

I have had experience with two GPS units, prior to this one: a Magellan Roadmate (Magellan RoadMate 1400 4.3-Inch Portable GPS Navigator, maybe? Can't remember) and a Garmin nüvi 255W 4.3-Inch Widescreen Portable GPS Navigator. These were probably both help and hindrance in learning to use this device. I am *not*, unfortunately, a very tech savvy person and I'm a hands-on learner to boot, so I've been using this for a couple of weeks to be sure that my review is fair. Unless it's very user friendly, my initial reaction to new tech is sometimes not good.

Accordingly, I wish this had better instructions. Even its online tutorial was not helpful to me, I'm afraid, and I did not personally find it that intuitive. There's a complicated maze of windows to navigate. So, yes, for me there was a bit of a frustrating learning curve. Once I got the hang of it, though, I found it a pretty decent GPS.

First, it is extremely versatile in its mounting. The Nuvi is in particular a squat little thing. I use a dashboard weighted pad (Bracketron UFM-100BL Nav-Mat GPS Friction Dash Pad) to hold my GPS and have ever since the Magellan forcefully detached itself from my windshield one day. The Nuvi can barely poke its head above the pad. The Motorola by contrast is a veritable swan, with a graceful, long neck and a head that can swivel in every direction. (Which is good, as unfortunately its matte finish can be hard to read from some angles.)

It's also amazingly quick at powering up and getting ready to go. I'm accustomed to having to wait for both the Nuvi and the RoadMate to wake up and figure out where we are. This thing routinely springs to life the minute I start the engine. And when I turn the engine off, it gives me an option of continuing or powering down. A nice touch.

It has nice, clear vocal instructions - though I miss the voice customization available on Garmin. It has a good degree of specificity, though it may not always *precisely* pinpoint your destination (it consistently tells me I've arrived at my home three houses early; if you don't know the area, this could be a bit disconcerting, though I've noted it's always spot on with side of street and at least general vicinity). The maps seem pretty up-to-date and there is at least one free update available, though only within the first few months of ownership. And it generally seems to find good routes for where it's going. In addition to taking a few trips to unfamiliar locations, I used it *quite* a lot locally in familiar areas, and while its routes were not always the ones I'd choose, they were always acceptable. Better, when I force it to go my way, it reacts with equanimity. The Magellan was forever telling me to "Make a legal u-turn" (even if the difference between routes was only a few minutes). Most of the time, the Motorola seemed to catch on pretty quickly and reroute in my new direction rather than trying to force me to backtrack . This can be pretty helpful if there's good reason for not taking the first recommended route - such as an offramp accident or traffic congestion. Which is not to say that the Motorola will *never* try to get you back where it wanted you to be. If the original route is quite superior to the new one, it will (with a highly dramatic "turn back").

While I found it overall a little less user-friendly than either the Garmin or the Magellan in terms of simply searching for addresses or adding them to favorites (the Magellan remains easiest for adding addresses of the units I know), it rules the field in looking up businesses. I just type in the name, and it gives me a list of options from which to choose. It also offers one nice extra that I haven't found elsewhere: a speed limit display. I hate when driving in unfamiliar areas trying to guess what speed I'm meant to be going. It doesn't seem to function on all roads, but it works enough in the areas where I tested it to suggest it could be quite handy. (Some of the premium content, less so. I don't need to know where red light cameras are, as I don't challenge yellow lights.)

One thing I do *not* like about this particular unit: while it's easy to pull up a text turn-by-turn list of the route, I have not been able to pull up an overview map of the recommended route, and at this point I'm inclined to think it's not possible. This is something I often did with the Magellan, which I used more than the Nuvi. I miss the feature, which can make it easier for you to customize your route.

NUTSHELL: I like this GPS just fine, but while it has some features that edge it above the competition for me, I can't say that it is clearly superior, and there are some features which the others do better. If you are, like me, a fan of basic spoken-direction GPS, this one could well serve. I've been quite happy with this unit. But, then, I was also pretty happy with the Magellan and the Garmin. (Note to people who want to pull this out of their cars and take it on walks: the Garmin serves in that capacity; this one looks like it would serve even better.)

If I were suddenly to find myself in the market for a new unit, I'd do some price shopping between this and the comparable available models of Magellan and Garmin (I'm unfamiliar with other GPS models). Then I'd check to see what map updates are currently costing and how frequently they come out. Currently Garmin has the edge for me there, but that could change. Lacking a really clear front runner, I'd go with the unit that looks like it would be cheapest to update and maintain. If recommending to others, I'd suggest closely comparing the specific features, as there's a good chance that a feature that means nothing to me will be essential to you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I bought this product one week ago and since am using it for all my trips. I went to two out of town trips in this weekend and I am even using it for going to office just to test the device. I have to say that I am very impressed with it. While I was making the decision to buy it, I was a bit skeptical about Motorola's ability to build a high quality GPS navigator specially because I did not even know they build products in this line. I was considering Garmin and Magellan but found that this product has a lot of features but with a lot less price. It calculates and recalculates the routes very quickly. The split view feature is the first of its kind I have seen in any such device and is much useful in many situations. It continuously shows POI, you don't have to explicitly search for them. It has lane guidance, which works perfectly, camera enforced red light alert, speed limit alert and intersections requiring caution alert. The Bluetooth connectivity and voice commands work fine. I have not tried the Bing Voicesearch and Google search because I do not have data plan. Overall, I am highly satisfied with the product and would say that this is surely a comparable product to the market leader ones made by Garmin and Magellan.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Product Packaging: Standard PackagingVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'll admit, I'm a child of the technology wave. I can read a map, but my goodness is it complicated, especially if you're driving alone. GPS's are a MUST for anyone young and old, so if you're wondering whether or not to get your first, let me assure you they are worth every penny. Is this Motorola Motonav the one for you? Let me explain why it should be.

This is my first GPS to try for myself, but I've been envious of my friends and family's GPS's for several months now, so I have some knowledge when comparing it to others from Tom Tom and Garmin. Though I didn't first handedly play with these other brands, I could tell and my friends tended to agree this Motorola is more complicated than most, but I think that's because it also does more.

Just last week, though, I drove a 700+ mile road trip to the Grand Canyon with stops in Phoenix and Albuquerque and several other large cities where I did a lot of town driving and not just interstate. The Motorola got me everywhere, and while I found it a little complicated to play with at first, I was instantly figuring out what all it can do.

With a touch of a button or two I found myself constantly using these features:

-Find businesses of note (food, fuel, lodging, etc)
-View turn-by-turn procedures in advance of the speaker telling you
-Aerial Views
-Exit Signs (shows which lanes go to which exits on popular city interstates)
-Speed Limit (shows what the speed limit is - I found this only popped up on interstates though)
-Text completion*
*this was awesome! My Tom Tom user friend was so jealous that with his model he had to type in the complete address before it would set to go. With my Motorola I could type something like "555 Ced" and it would suggest "555 Cedar Lane" or whatever it happened to be. This was really helpful if I wanted a Wal-Mart or something, just type "Wal" and it would suggest it really fast.

What I didn't use, but looks awesome

- Blue Tooth Functions

My cell phone doesn't have Blue Tooth (I know, I'm a stone ager!) but I ran across a lot of functions that that looked really awesome if I had set that up!

There was also some kind of subscription I could sign up for that offered a bunch of crazy extras like the ability to warn you if the stop light has one of those sensors that send you a ticket if you run it. I didn't really see a need for that, but they also had traffic functions and weather functions that looked like they might be worth subscribing for.

Overall opinion - if you are looking for your first GPS, you might want to seek out something cheaper and more basic, but the truth is after a trip or two you're going to wish you had some fancier features. This Motorola isn't complicated, it just offers a lot, and there is a getting-used-to stage where you are going to need to sort through which functions are beneficial to you and which ones are fluff. The first 100-200 miles of my trip I didn't think I'd ever look at the aerial map or elevation level, but as I started traveling up winding mountains I found it extremely beneficial to see how severe upcoming curves were and seeing the difference in elevation. There are probably several other functions I'll start using next that I'm not familiar with right now, getting a Blue Tooth cell phone is definitely on my list because voice activated commands sounds like something that would be amazing, especially when driving alone when you don't have time to be pressing buttons to get the information you need.

Other things I liked were the size of the screen (very readable), the voices (very clear and easy to understand), and keyboard (large buttons, very rare to accidentally press wrong letter). Overall I really really liked this product, and I'm sure you would, too!
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