I’m starting my review series of various GPS applications for my new Mio C320 with the Pocket FMS application. I heard promising things about this software from other blogs, so I decided this would be a good place to start and I had high hopes.
Overall this program has a TON of features. From multiple moving maps to in-depth flight planning and even weather, the PocketFMS people did indeed include many great features. The included databases and maps are up-to-date and very detailed. You can click on basically ANY data point, airport, airspace, NDB, VOR, etc., and this program will give you applicable data. Obviously you aren’t supposed to use this as your primary navigation/data source, but if you DID happen to forget everything in your plane except for Pocket FMS, you’d have the information you need to get around. See their features page for all the great things the program can do. I’ll also give them props for including detailed step-by-step instructions and the ability to install on “unlocked” personal navigation devices (PNDs) like my Mio C320. This program installed very easily as advertised and I was hopeful this would be an awesome trial. For €150 per year (they are based in Europe) this program would totally seem worth it too IF I decided to buy…
HOWEVER, the only problem (and unfortunately this is the killer) is that this whole application runs ridiculously slow on the Mio C320. I can’t address the speed of this program on other handheld systems, but even on my home office PC, the desktop version of the software ran slowly. There’s clearly a LOT of information being processed and put on the screen and that takes computing power/time. I tweaked the settings as much as possible (checked their forums) to help boost performance without much incremental benefit. Obviously, when you are flying at 110 knots or so, waiting 10-15 seconds for your map to refresh after a zoom in/out (not exagerating), this program becomes useless. Even the extra text data when you click an airport, let’s say, takes a good 5 seconds to load. Getting back to the map takes 10-15 seconds again. This wastes precious time and more importantly takes your eyes off the sky and your focus off flying the plane.
Bottom line is that I’m glad I tried this software and they DO provide 30 days to test it out for free on your own device, that’s nice. So, I recommend checking it yourself and hopefully it’s faster for you. But, for me, this program doesn’t cut it and I’m not going to be spending my money on Pocket FMS for my Mio C320.
Test Specs: Pocket FMS version 1.2.1 tested on February 25, 2009 on Mio C320.
Pros: Tons of features, tons of data, good maps, great information.
Cons: Too slow to use. Period.