I have already chronicled Steffie’s navigational problems while driving to new places… and a few old ones. It’s something every new driver experiences as they realize, maybe they should have been looking out the window while they were in the car the last 18 or so years!
That being said, we knew Stefanie would want, and we wanted her to have, a GPS unit. With the holidays approaching we scanned the ads and online ‘intelligence’ every day, looking for a deal.
Finally, late in November we found our prey. In a Staples circular was an ad for an Invion GPS. Ever hear of Invion? Me neither.
I looked online, but if there were any reviews, I couldn’t find them. It seemed as if Invion was primarily a European company. It seemed to be based in the Netherlands (though I’m sure the electronics were thrown together in China). They had similar units, but this particular one wasn’t mentioned.
If you’re in retail, here’s advice for you. At times like this, your reputation makes the sale. We bought the unit, knowing that if there was a problem, Staples would stand behind it. The Staples name was much more important than Invion.
Steffie opened it for the holidays and then Daddy took over, charging it and scanning the manual. This is another one of those manuals that looks a lot easier to understand than it really is. You read it, understand all the words but little of the concept.
I needed to experiment before it left for school. I fired it up a few nights ago from the kitchen. It easily locked onto a few satellites and found our house.
These little boxes take advantage of amazing technology. OK – it’s used for the precision guidance of missiles too. No one’s perfect.
Tonight, it was Steffie’s turn to try it out. First, we fired it up in the kitchen and Steffie programmed in her school’s address. The machine guided her through the process, eliminating letters as her choices became more obvious.
We brought it to the car, stuck its base to the dashboard and headed toward her school.
For the first two or three seconds, nothing happened. Steffie asked if the little icon in the center of the screen should have repositioned itself as we moved down the driveway? But before I could answer, it did move.
“Turn right in 100 yards,” said the Stepford-like voice inside. There was no accent, no regionalism, no inflection.
“Turn right now,” the voice said, without missing a beat.
And obediently, Steffie turned right. She was smiling. I was too.
We drove a couple of miles and turned around. Steffie touched the screen a few times, finally tapping the word “Home.” The voice was eager to please. She even knew the driveway was our final destination.
I’m just amazed by all of this. The unit just seems to work. In our very brief test, it passed with a 100%.
I’ll be more amazed when we get our rebate check!