Navman’s play at the budget end of the GPS spectrum is the F20. While it lacks the snazzy (and highly useful) Navpix functionality of the larger N40i and N60i models currently in Navman’s range, it’s an otherwise identical unit that works very well at a basic GPS level.
While the higher-end models get decked out in all sorts of optional finery, the F20 is just a plain jane GPS, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The 3.5″ display is bright and clear, and uses a mixture of touchscreen controlsÂ – mainly for choosing navigation pointsÂ – and buttons which run down the right-hand side of the F20’s case. These include dedicated buttons to find the nearest petrol and parking spaces, as well as a button to take you directly to the GPS map or the main menu screen.
The F20 uses the familiar SiRFStar III chipset backed up with 256MB of internal memory used to store maps, which are provided by Sensis. The F20 does have an external SD/MMC card slot, but this can only be used for uploading map data; there’s no inbuilt music/entertainment/photo facilities. In the box you’ll also find a car charger and suction cup mount, along with a USB cable for PC-based charging, but no direct AC charging unit.
We’ve had mixed experiences with Navman GPS units in the past, but the F20 gave us basically flawless performance in terms of GPS synchronisation, quickly determining our position and tracking well where we were in most locations. It was a touch slow in keeping up with us if we had to make several turns in a row, which did make it a little less useful for busy city driving. The software that Navman uses isn’t arguably as friendly as TomTom’s GPS offering, but it’s still easy to learn and set up simple favourites for repeated navigation. One thing we did like about the F20 was in its 3D representation of surrounding landscape; where many GPS systems just use big blocks of colour, the F20 has a certain level of geographic data, including little green V shapes for trees. It’s not incredibly consequential dataÂ – it’s just a nice touch.
At $699, the F20 is worthy of consideration, although we’d still suggest that either the TomTom ONE or Mio P350may serve your needs better at a similar or lower price point.