Phone Scoop

printed April 16, 2014
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Review: Garmin Asus Garminfone

Form Basics Extras Video Tour Wrap-Up Comments  3  

GPS Music Camera Image Quality Browse / Customize Extras  

Browse

The Garminfone browser is similar to the stock Android browser, albeit with a bit of a facelift, but no real improvements in features. That's just fine, because the Android browser was already quite capable. Most of my favorite sites loaded with no trouble. PhoneScoop looked great, accurate to my desktop browser's rendition. CNN also came through looking good. The New York Times would only load its mobile page; it didn't offer an option to view the full desktop version.

Navigating Web pages was smooth and fast. You can pinch and zoom on Web pages, and kinetic scrolling means pages fly by when you flick your finger quickly up the screen. The browser offers a view of your recent history, favorite bookmarks and also most visited sites, which is convenient. It handles multiple windows elegantly, with a dedicated button that displays all your open windows at once. I wish there was a full screen view, however, to remove all the buttons from the browser interface. The browser window could use the extra screen real estate.

 

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

Customize

There are very few customization options on the Garminfone beyond those I've mentioned. You can rearrange some of the icons on the main screen and the application drawer. You can add some widgets to the special widget screens. You can also change the wallpaper on the lock screen, though not on the home screen. There are no themes for the device, and no options to tweak the colors of the interface. You can't add shortcuts, bookmarks or folders to the home screen or the widget screens. For an Android phone, there's surprisingly little you can change on the Garminfone.

Still, since this phone is so focused on navigation, it was very fun to be able to customize the voice that guides the trip. I recorded all manner of quirky routing instructions. The process doesn't take very long, so you can even have friends record their voices for you in a matter of minutes.

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