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Garmin-Asus nuvifone G60
Mobile Phones | First Looks
Mon 03 Aug 2009

Doing Double Duty

By Sutlej Soin

Ever since we got to play with the Garmin-Asus nuvifone G60 prototype almost a year ago, we have been waiting for the retail set. Yet, it has been delayed time and time again.

The reason can be attributed to the fact that ASUS decided to partner with Garmin, the leader in Global Positioning System (GPS) devices, to create a more user-friendly phone interface. Thankfully for us tech geeks, we won't have to wait much longer as the G60 will be available from the 2nd quarter of this year, though pricing details have yet to be revealed.

All Touch Access

The G60 is a full-touchscreen device, with a large 3.55-inch anti-glare touchscreen display that is useful when you are trying to view maps under direct sunlight. It's a little on the hefty side but we're guessing that this phone would appeal to male users more, who might not mind the extra girth as much.

This extra girth did give the G60 a solid feel in our hands and it seems sturdy enough to withstand drops or rough handling. The user interface is also simple and intuitive to navigate. There are only three primary icons on the screen - Call, Search and View Map - making it a straightforward affair suitable for even the most tech-phobic user.

Are You a Smartphone?

What made us tremble in glee was how reliable the G60's GPS function was. For starters, the first time we powered up the phone, it took about 30 seconds to get a fix on our location. A useful feature is the "Where Am I?" function that beams out information about your current location as well as the amenities near you, such as the nearest police station, supermarket or food center.

Make no mistake, the G60 is a GPS-centric device first and mobile phone second. But like any other smartphone, it does come with your usual plate of connectivity features like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The phone also comes well-muscled in the multimedia department. It boasts a 2.5mm earphone jack and a microSD slot for additional storage if the internal memory of 4GB is not enough to meet your needs.

The integrated 3-megapixel camera with auto-focus is handy when you want to snap images on the fly. The camera quality however was not impressive, and it was definitely lackluster when compared to other mobile phone cameras. The colors were also poorly reproduced and the subjects looked dull and flat.

The micro-USB slot not only lets you charge the device by plugging it into a power socket, it can also sync with Microsoft Outlook to update your contact lists and calendar events.

Battery capacity stands at 1100mAh and during our tests, we only managed to squeeze out 3 hours of talk time with sporadic use of GPS navigation and location based services tracking. Safe to say, you will be better off toting your phone charger, just in case your battery runs dry in the middle of the day.

The Last Turn

The G60 is both a GPS device and a mobile phone. It works particularly well for car trips (a car kit is bundled) when you need the GPS navigation and mobile connectivity. The estimated retail price of the G60 is rumored to be under S$800 without a plan but this is not confirmed and might undoubtedly change by the time it is finally released.

Do we think that the G60 will cause a new craze among people akin to the iPhone? The obvious answer is no. But Garmin-Asus believes that there is demand for the high-quality mapping systems that the current breed of GPS phones does not offer. They're right in that sense and the G60's strength in GPS applications may garner it a niche group of users.

Product Specifications

  • Network: Quad-band/HSDPA
  • OS: Linux
  • Dimensions: 112 x 58.1 x 14.6mm
  • Weight: 136 grams
  • Display: 3.55-inch (272 x 480 pixels)
  • Camera: 3-Megapixel with auto-focus and geo-tagging
  • Memory: 4GB Internal + 128MB RAM, microSD expandable
  • Battery: 1100mAh
  • Talk Time/ Standby Time: 4 hours/250 hours