The Navman looks and feels like a quality PDA.
The grey-on-black colour scheme is attractive, and held in the hand it feels sturdy and the GPS antennae is almost flush with the back. The proprietary SmartST navigation software also makes a decent impression, with simple, elegant menus. It’s a good all-round package, but not perfect.
For example, the 266MHz processor struggles to open SmartST quickly. Once loaded, everything runs more smoothly. Dragging the map to browse an area caused no problems: we found it redrew clear and high contrast maps of the new areas quickly.
Trip planning is less intuitive than with other systems; you’re taken to a blank screen with only a few buttons to help. Once we learned what these buttons were for, route planning was still a touch too laboured. Navigating to PC Authority’s offices in Victoria Street, for example, was frustrating. Entering ‘Victoria’ and tapping the tick box eventually turned up the correct Victoria St, but only after a pause, unlike with the Mio, which tries to auto-complete your destination rather than waiting for you to tap a button.
Once you’ve selected your destination, the interface doesn’t show a screen to let you see an overview of your journey - it simply produces a dialog saying the stop has been added and then sits there waiting for you to do something. It doesn’t even clear the input fields for another waypoint. This process is repeated whatever you’re planning to visit, be it a point of interest, contact address or intersection. Once you’ve planned your journey, things get easier. Directions are clear, and we were fans of the crisp display, smooth icons, arrows and clear road names. We also liked topographical details (like forests) too.
The included mounting kit has rubber pads to grip the PDA tightly, while the adjustable stand lets you position it as you want. There’s not only a powerful suction cup, but an adhesive plate too. If the 220mm stand proves a problem, you can stick the plate somewhere closer and stick the stand on that instead.
Once you get to grips with all of the quirks, and shortcuts the PiN 570 beomes very hard to ignore. Many will doubtless prefer the finer-detailed maps over the more blocky counterparts of MioMap while others will find them too small to read at a glance. A planned price drop to $899 (RRP) could swing things in future months, but for now the $80 premium sees it finish runner up this month.
This Review appeared in the January, 2006 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine
Source: Copyright © PC Pro, Dennis Publishing
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