Generally, though, we found using the Co-Pilot software intuitive and easy. Much effort seems to have been put into providing very large on-screen tappable buttons for option selection and trip planning, and into trying to keep menu layers to a minimum.
It is a little confusing to have separate pop-up menus on screens offering a range of tappable options while you're working through nested menus on-screen, but in general the software is easy to get to grips with. The pop-up menus are available in the map view screens too, where the ability to quickly start a new trip, add a stop, switch into system settings and so on can be welcome.
There are some useful features like a list of recent trips that lets you easily navigate to places you've recently visited, and a 'return trip' option that takes you back to your starting point without you having to enter an address.
The main navigation display is very good. The screen is superbly bright and clear, and there's plenty of space for showing the street plan. There are a couple of rows of information at the bottom of the screen and you can cycle through different classes of information on display simply by tapping the screen (items such as current time, estimated time of arrival, current speed and the name of the road you are on), as well as being able to make preference settings for what's displayed here. There are plenty of other preference settings too.
But we do have some issues. When planning trips you have to switch between alphabetical and numeric keypads -- addresses, and especially postcodes, mix these characters and switching is an irritation. The software narrows down available options as you enter characters, so if you're lucky the first three or four letters will cause a street name to pop up ready for you to tap and confirm it's correct. This is helpful, but the greying out of letters no longer available in the ever-narrowing subset of destinations is annoying.
One road we used several times was misspelt in the software. This is not a major issue, but once errors of this type creep into navigation software it's often difficult for the makers to rectify them in future updates.
The spoken instructions were generally loud and clear. Some navigation systems speak the road number you're going into at each junction. This boosts confidence that you're doing the right thing, particularly at roundabouts where counting exits is not always easy in traffic. Unfortunately, the Acer p610 Portable Navigator simply told us which exit to take, but not which road number we were aiming for.
If Acer is aiming at the corporate market, then the company would have done well to abandon its music and photo playback in favour of incorporating the Premium version of CoPilot in every model in the series, and included some utilities that business travellers might find handy such as a calculator or currency converter. At the very least, contact synchronisation should work in batch mode.
As it stands, the Acer p610 Portable Navigator is a competent enough device, but there are a few areas where it could provide a better user experience.
Edited by Charles McLellan
Additional editing by Nick Hide