Gophers Technologies Sdn Bhd, the supplier and distributor of Gophers GPS in Malaysia, who incidentally also design, develop and manufacture the GPS, can really be proud of themselves as they have not only grown in such a short period of time but also have come on par, if not better, with other more well known international GPS brands.
The people behind the design and technology of Gophers must have really listened to their customers as major improvements have been made to their current units. I previously tested the 3.5’ Tri-O and encountered numerous flaws such as a slow processor speed, inaccurate vocal instructions as with the directions shown onscreen and difficulty in searching for past GPS coordinates and sometimes locations as well.
The test unit given to me this time is a 5’ Visi-O lite model released in April this year. Fresh out from the box, the unit felt solid yet light and its smooth black rubberised casing is a joy to hold in the hand. The windscreen cradle and mount are very easy to fix on although prolonged exposure of the GPS navigator in the scorching heat, especially during long drives, proves to be slightly worrying as we are unsure if exposure to such extreme conditions will affect the unit both internally and externally in time to come, especially with the rubberised casing. Well, let’s hope the good people at Gophers Technologies will allow me to have the unit long enough to test that out.
The “On / Off / Sleep” button has been re-located to the top of the unit as compared to the previous Tri-O where the “switch” is on the side and takes quite a challenge to switch on. However you must press the button for a few second before the unit actually switches off. Otherwise, the system will slip into “Sleep” mode and continue to consume battery. The stylus pen, located at the bottom right is nicely flushed to the unit and quite easy to pull it out. It is even extendable for those with bigger hands. The AV-in /TMC-in, Earphone socket, mini-USB port and SD/MMC slot are all located at the right hand side of the unit, designs that makes it easy for the driver to use.
The visibility of the screen is still good even under glaring sun. The touch screen is not very sensitive and you will need to press a bit hard on the screen icon to get to your selection. The applications provided are pretty impressive. From photo viewer, music / video player to EBook, Note, Calculator, Calendar, Dictionary , Wall paper, Screen saver, Games and FM radio. The icons are similar to that on the iPhone. The vocal language selection in the navigation application is impressive too, ranging from English, Mandarin and Malay to common dialects like Cantonese, Indonesian, Hokkien and Hakka. Now you can say for sure that Gophers caters to everyone.
All Gophers GPS navigators come preloaded with Mapking 3D landmark software with maps of Malaysia/Singapore as well as Malsing Maps of Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore. Switching between Mapking and Malsing Maps is a breeze and the junction view is a big help especially in K.L or P.J where signboards are of little or no help and prove to be rather misleading most of the time especially when you are approaching a few junctions and have no idea which is the correct one that will lead you to your destination. Starting up is fast with the SiRF Atlas IV CPU running at 500 MHz and a flash memory of 128MB. There is 2D or 3D map display option as well as multiple route selection where you can select your preferred route to avoid highways, recommended or shortest.
The keyword search for location is a breeze to use. Unlike the previous version where one has to practically type out the exact name of road or place, right now user just have to type a keyword and various locations having the same keyword will appear. All you have to do is select the one you want.
In my opinion, there are some minor issues that perhaps Gophers can improve upon. Firstly there should be a shortcut icon to cancel off current navigation instead of having to go through Home-Route-Tool and Stop Nav. There should also be a shortcut for saving location to “Favourite”. While using the GPS unit to go to a certain location, the screen do not show the name of the destination set. This can be quite frustrating when we want to check if the location set by us is actually the correct one.
To sum it up:
– OS MS Windows CE 6.0
– SiRF Atlas IV 500mHz GPS receiver
– Memory: Flash 128MB, SDRAM 64MB
– Ready for external TMC receiver
– USB 2.0
– Built-in high sensitivity antenna & jack for external antenna
– Built-in rechargeable Li-Polymer battery
– Built-in high volume speaker
– Size 139mm x 90mm x 16mm
– Weight approx 240g without mountings
– 3D Landmark, Junction views lane guidance
– Voice : English, Malay, Mandarin, Cantonese — Interface : English, Malay, Mandarin
– Automatic day and night display
– Automatic zoom display
– Search by road names, locations, POIs, favourites
– Trip computer
– 2D and 3D map display
– Multiple route options
– Gophers VISI-O Lite
– 2G SD Card with preloaded software
– Windscreen mount, cradle, stylus pen
– In-car charger
– AC charger
– USB cable
– User’s Manual
Optional Accessories available for this model
– Extra set of mounting accessories
– External GPS antenna (recommended for cars with heavy windscreen tinting)
Written by: Justin Hong