Navman Sets New Standard With Platinum GPS

Written by Mendelson Tiu     04/11/2008 | 22:29 | Category name i.e.AUTOMOTIVE

The Navman S300t brings a lot of clever features to the table and sets a new benchmark in portable navigation. It has a large and bright touch screen, sports a small and compact design, and simplifies the way we go from one place to another.


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Shelling out $699 for a navigation device seems steep, especially now as we are heading towards tough economic times. But be rest assured that Navman has included a lot of features that make it well-worth purchasing.

Besides its built-in TMC receiver, FM transmitter, 3D lane guidance, 3D landmarks, and hand-free connectivity via Bluetooth, the S300t also comes with functions like Local Live Search and tons of safety and speed alerts to keep you safe.

The S300t has a dimension of 130 x 78 x 13.5 mm and sports a brushed aluminium finish, which adds a nice touch to the exterior. The unit is bundled with a DVD (NavDesk and Manuel), a suction cup, a mounting bracket, a USB port, and a cigarette adaptor that second functions as an external antenna.


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Unlike the S90i we reviewed last year, the S300t makes do without all the unnecessary jacks (antenna, microphone, and headphone) and only has a single power button on top of the unit. A microSD card slot used for storing files and the charging/USB port is located at the bottom of the unit. Finally, the unit's speaker is located at the rear part of the unit, which can go loud when set to the maximum volume.

The unit will ask you to select a default language (12 available) on start-up, helping users who do not speak/read English. A short tutorial pops up right after the language selection, but users can opt to skip this process altogether and dive straight in.

Users must press the blue strip located at the bottom right of the screen in order to access the main menu. The main menu consists of 12 icons (Go, Find, Explore, Connect, Driving Map, My Places, Settings, Traffic, Petrol, Parking, Phone, and Media) that makes navigating straightforward.

The unit is easy to place in the cradle: it is all a matter of just aligning the cradle slots of the S300t to the mount. This particular model comes with TMC built-in, so users can receive live information with the help of the in-car charger that acts as an external antenna.

There are a couple of ways to input your destination: you can find an area, find a place by keyword, find a street address, find a postcode, and find nearby. To go to QVB, for example, we had to type Queen Victoria Building on the 'Find by keyword' option. Two results were shown (parking garage and Shopping Centre) and all we had to do was to choose which one we wanted to go to. The screen was also responsive and it was easy for us to browse and scroll through the menus and glide around the maps.

The Map screen's layout is simple and free from clutter, making it easy for us to know exactly where we are and where we need to turn. Various features like 3D Landmarks, 3D Lane guidance, and text-to-speech found on the S300t enhanced the device, making navigation simpler.

The built-in TMC receiver allowed us to connect to Suna's traffic messaging network. The unit displays 'traffic events' on your route, with users having the option to avoid an event by creating a detour. While the traffic system worked well most of the time, we have encountered several occasions when the traffic in our route (along M5) was not picked up.


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Navman has also included a DVD that contains the user's manual and the NavDesk Software. The NavDesk program lets a user to purchase new maps, purchase accessories for the S300t, register the product, tweak the unit settings (My Navman), check and search photos for the NavPix feature, customise POIs (points-of interest), and even edit and transfer audio files using My Media. It may take a while to get used to the interface, but once a user familiarises him/herself with the functions, it is smooth sailing from there.

The Navman S300t lasted for an hour in our 'Pedestrian Mode' test. Charging the unit requires a user to hook up the unit to the computer (via USB) or inside the car (in-vehicle charger), as there is no AC adaptor included in the package.

With a great mapping software, clear spoken street names, 3D Landmarks, built-in TMC receiver, and Bluetooth connectivity, the Navman S300t is well-worth its price. If you want the best portable navigation device money can buy, then take the plunge and purchase this device.

See page over for product specifications and pricing:

Navman S300t Platinum Specifications:

Hardware:
Memory: 2GB
RAM: 128MB
Processor: 400 Mhz
Card Slot: microSD

Key Features:
- 4.3-inch Flat Wdiescreen
- Red Light / Speed Cameras
- Premium Safety Alert: School Zones, Railway Crossings, Black Spots
- Bluetooth Hands-Free
- Voice Instruction via FM
- 3D Landmarks
- 3D Junction View
- Extended Lanes Information
- Mileage Reporter
- SUNA Traffic
- Intelligent Destination Keyword Search
- Instant Location Capture Button
- Live Local Search (via Bluetooth)
- Fuel Efficiency Mode
- Pedestrian Mode
- Points of Interest: 580k
- Road Toll Alerts

Map Data Supplier: Navteq 2008 Q2
Product Dimensions: 130x78x13.5mm
Net Weight: 150g

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Navman S300t | $699 |  | www.navman.com.au

For: Large screen; Form Factor; Simple Interface; Built-in TMC; 3D Landmarks and Lane Guidance; Good TTS
Against: Occasional problems with TMC service; Unit has a hard time picking up a signal in the city; Only lasts one hour on pedestrian mode
Conclusion: Navman's best navigation device to date.

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Pros & Cons

Pros:

Large screen; Form Factor; Simple Interface; Built-in TMC; 3D Landmarks and Lane Guidance; Good TTS

Cons:

Occasional problems with TMC service; Unit has a hard time picking up a signal in the city; Only lasts one hour on pedestrian mode