Harman Kardon GPS-500 Review

Devices that are designed to do more than one thing generally don’t come out that well. Products that offer a combination of navigation functions, communications and multimedia are just now starting to become worthy of being bought. One of these products is the GPS-500 from Harman Kardon, which combines a great GPS experience with video and audio playback.

While it doesn’t come with features like text to speech, wireless traffic reports or Bluetooth, the GPS-500 does come with the most important basic features, so it gives you a good experience, while providing exactly what you need from it.

harman kardon gps 500Whatever GPS device you might pick, you will expect one thing from it, above any other, and that’s to be directed reliably from one point to another. The GPS-500 device doesn’t disappoint in this department, offering you a number of options when it comes to finding a destination. To start using it, you can select a POI (point of interest) already available in its software, like a restaurant or a gas station. You can also select a saved destination, a street address, an intersection or a postal code. The device comes with a feature of auto-completion, which shows you only letters that will spell something that exists in the database. It will reduce the number of letters you can choose from considerably and that’s a great feature when you try to type a destination into the device.

After the device understands where you want to go, it will ask you if you want to take the shortest distance, high speed roads or freeways, in order to reach your destination. It also has a trip planner, which allows you to create multiple destinations and save them, with the ability to input avoidances, which keep your trip clear of any borders, unpaved roads, ferries or toll roads. When you take the wrong road, the device will re-calculate everything and tell you what you need to do to get back on the route.

The Harman Kardon GPS-500 worked great in the tests done on the road. There were very few interface hiccups and lags, and that was probably because it was a device still in pre-production. Otherwise, the GPS had a great user interface and the responsiveness made it a pleasure to use. It also processed the GPS signal fast and got an accurate position. Usually, the GPS device will take you on the most efficient route, which is a sign of a very accurate map data.

Harman Kardon tried to obtain something more than just a simple GPS device with this model. It comes with support for playback of WMA and MP3 files, a user interface that is intuitive and a nice sound quality. You can browse through the music on the SD card while using criteria like genre, album, playlist, song or artist. You can use the multimedia features at the same time as the GPS, so the music will play while you use the navigation mode.

Playing video files is just as easy, and the device can recognize MPEG-4 AVI and WMV files. Simply press on any of the titles and the video will start playing. The one thing about it is that it doesn’t play movies that are DIVX, but you can use a freeware program to convert it to an MPEG-4 avi file.


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