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(Pocket-lint) - We like the Michelin system of awarding stars to restaurants that perform. After all how else would we allow Gordon Ramsay to get away with all that foul language if it wasn't for the fact that he is a f***ing good chef.

So chances are, when Michelin announced that they were partnering up with HP to offer a GPS solution for PDA owners surely only good could come of it.

Sadly, it isn't a match made in heaven.

Coming in two parts, disappointed buyers will get the rather good but basic HP iPAQ rx1950 Navigator and GPS car cradle with ViaMichelin navigation software.

So what don't we like? For one thing the overly large cradle that the relatively small PDA has to sit in. To say it is large is an overstatement. This isn't going to fit in your glove compartment let alone a handbag or rucksack. Add that to the fact that the GPS receiver is in the cradle and you're not going to be happy walking down the road with this device.

But that's not the only gem of disappointment for the cradle, oh no, there is the fact that it needs its own separate power supply and that we weren't able to charge the PDA at the same time.

But wait, there is more; in a stroke of design genius, the cradle covers up the power switch so you can't turn it on and off unless you take it out of the cradle.

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HP boasts that "the cradle's powerful integrated loudspeaker is also the loudest navigation device on the market, producing great sound quality that you can hear even with your windows open and music playing", this is true and perhaps explains the size.

Get past the cradle and the software isn't much better either. We longed to access all that data Michelin has on restaurants, roadside inns and of course tyre shops, but could find none of it in the software.

As for finding an address, the system worked but not ecstatically enough to get excited about. The unit comes with maps of Western Europe pre-loaded on a SD Card in the box and the ability to view in landscape mode, but then so do all the other GPS/PDA systems out there.


While the rx1950 is a basic but overall good little PDA, as a package with the GPS cradle its very poor.

Why anyone would opt for this as a solution is beyond us. The cradle is too large, the GPS software poor and a lack of features such as traffic monitoring make this one to avoid.

One to avoid.

Writing by Stuart Miles. Originally published on 5 July 2006.