Overall design features
The Smailo HD 5.0 will certainly catch one's interest right from the moment it's been taken out of the box. I mean, the thing is quite visually attractive, featuring a sleek, piano black body, combined with a metallic edge and buttons, all of which make it look good in just about any vehicle (except perhaps for the off-road dedicated ones).
Of course, there's also a downside to this whole “piano black” body, namely gathering of dust and fingerprints. As we all know, devices featuring a piano black plastic casing tend to get covered in fingerprints easily, and, unfortunately, that's also the case with the Smailo HD 5.0. Nevertheless, it's a small price to pay, and the thing is easy enough to clean with a soft piece of cloth.
The quality of the materials used for this PND is very good, ranging from the ones making up the gadget itself and up to all of the accessories included in the sales package: windshield mounting system, charger, etc. Plus, it even comes with its own textile carrying pouch, which is certainly a plus, as far as we're concerned.
Size and portability
As we've mentioned right from the start, Smailo HD 5.0 is very portable, and the official dimensions prove that, since the thing is rated at just 128mm x 82mm x 12mm. Indeed, that's slim, which also makes it extremely easy to carry around and install within the vehicle. However, one might have some problems holding the thing in the palm of their hands, although people with larger hands will certainly find it easy to check out the navigation indications even while holding the device.
Also, as mentioned above, the PND from Smailo comes with a protective carrying pouch, which can have an important role in keeping this thing protected while not in use, especially as far as the aforementioned fingerprints and dust are concerned.
As in the case of most other PNDs on the market, the main control option of the Smailo HD 5.0 is represented by its built-in 5-inch touchscreen display, which delivers an OK level of sensitivity in all situations (although calibrating the display every once in a while is a good idea and will certainly improve its level of functionality).
Naturally, the touchscreen allows drivers to control the PND using nothing else but their own fingers, but while this option works pretty well for most common tasks, there are situations when a finer instrument can come in handy. And that's the reason why the manufacturer also threw a retractable stylus in the sales package, which is typically housed on the piece of plastic used for connecting the navigator itself to the windshield mounting arm. The stylus makes it a lot easier to access smaller buttons, and it really proves its worth especially when using the Internet DUN function.
Besides the touchscreen, the GPS navigator from Smailo sports a very limited number of external control options (or buttons, if you prefer the shorter term), namely just the power button, found on the device's top side, and the reset button, found on the rear side and, as usual, accessible only by using a needle or some other very sharp object.
While the number of buttons on the Smailo HD 5.0 is fairly limited, things are in fact different as far as the connectivity options are concerned, since there are plenty to go around, whether we're talking about the wired or wireless ones.
In terms of wireless connectivity, aside from the 22-channel MediatekGPS receiver, which manages to do a very good job of pointing out the correct position at all times, the PND has been equipped with a Bluetooth module that allows users to pair it with a Bluetooth-capable mobile phone or portable computer. This module can come in handy for turning the Smailo HD 5.0 either in a speakerphone or an Internet tablet (of sorts).
Additionally, the device packs a TMC connection port (Royaltek or GNS types are supported), which further extends its level of versatility. Furthermore, the Smailo PND comes equipped with a
built-in FM transmitter, allowing users to broadcast audio directly to the car's audio system.
Now that we're done talking about the wireless connectors, it's about time to move to the wired ones, found right on the PND's case, on the left side.
The most important connectivity option found here is the microSD memory card slot, used for loading content onto the gadget (both multimedia content – videos and music, and additional navigation-related applications). In fact, this is the only way one can make good use of the PND's multimedia-playback options, since transferring such files right into the Smailo HD's memory via the USB 2.0 interface will have absolutely no effects (they simply won't show up in the gallery).
Next comes a line-out connector (which is useful either for attaching a pair of headphones or for connecting the device to an audio system when listening to music), as well as the miniUSB port, used both for transferring data to the gizmo and for charging it. In fact, we really applaud this choice (eliminating the proprietary charging connector and replacing it with a miniUSB one), since it helps the device stay fitter while making it more versatile. Naturally, a microUSB car charger is included in the sales package, so you shouldn't have to worry about not being able to properly charge your PND.
Last, but certainly not least, we'll also have to mention the grooves found on the top and bottom sides of the Smailo HD, used for attaching the plastic mounting support. This support system is virtually identical to the one employed by the previous PND we tested, the Prestigio GeoVision 4120, with the difference that the “arm” or “leg” attaching the device to the windshield seems to be more solid and easier to adjust in the case of the Smailo gimmick.
Display, microphone and speakers
As we've mentioned above, the display of the Smailo HD 5.0 GPS navigator represents one of its most important selling points, whether we're talking about its level of sensitivity or its display capabilities. The fact that it has a 5-inch diagonal size makes it suitable for all sorts of activities, besides displaying navigation maps, such as watching movies or photos, plus browsing the Internet.
The display manages to take care of all of these tasks without any significant problems, delivering a 480 x 272 pixel resolution and being quite easily readable even in direct sunlight. Of course, one will most likely have to adjust the PND's brightness level to maximum to enjoy a very good image quality even in powerful, direct sunlight, but that's a rather small and unimportant trade-off.
The Smailo HD 5.0 PND comes equipped with a built-in microphone (which proves to come quite handy when using the device as a Bluetooth speakerphone), but also with a speaker, located on the rear side. While the speaker ain't exactly audiophile grade, it does manage to do a pretty good job at providing voice directions, while delivering decent audio playback (during both music and video playback).