First Thoughts – Garmin M3 GPS PocketPC

by Reads (7,402)

Based on the design of the Garmin M5, the M3 is a cheaper variation on the older device. With a suggested retail price of $533, and a street price near $450, the M3 is one of the cheaper devices to feature integrated GPS.

The device itself is built of plastic and what feels like a magnesium front bezel. It includes an oddly-designed flip cover–rather than attaching at the top, as is conventional, it connects at the bottom. The casing has a very squarish feel, a design obviously impacted by the large LCD.

As yet, I haven’t been terribly impressed by its performance as a GPS. It failed to get a position lock from the top floor of my house, through the roof, even after hours of trying, although my standalone Bluetooth GPS achieved a lock with relative ease. I would have expected the large antenna area of the M3 to provide a much better and more reliable signal, but so far it hasn’t done as well as I would have hoped.

Garmin iQue M3 with antenna extended

Aside from its GPS functions, the M3 is a rather vanilla PDA. I has no built-in wireless, no VGA screen, nor any other particularly remarkable functions. It’s primarily–almost exclusively–a GPS device, designed around a single task, with handheld computing as a secondary benefit.

We’ll have a full review of the M3 coming within the next weeks, complete with detailed breakdowns, specifications, and exhaustive testing. Stay tuned.



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