In a very crowded market that includes GPS units fitted as standard in many new vehicles, smartphone GPS apps and a flood of no-name online specials the Navman Drive Duo SUV stands out as a combo GPS and Dash-cam unit with the works.
The Navman Drive Duo SUV has been around since 2017, and I guess it is a case of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ although firmware updates address some early ‘bugs’. I mention this because early reviews mention lockup and slowness issues. I did not notice any this time around – it was a pleasure to use.
Let’s segue before the review and talk about so-called Lifetime maps.
The ACCC singled out the worst offender Tom Tom for misleading statements about Lifetime maps when it arbitrarily withdrew support for GPS models, often less than three years old. I know – at that time my daughter was inundated by Tom Tom emails saying her 2015, 6-inch Tom Tom Go 6100 was no longer supported.
Navman and Garmin were the ‘good guys’ here – both stating that the length of time varies depending on the memory capacity of individual models to accommodate new larger maps, as well as whether their mapping provider continues to supply those maps. As it should be.
So, Tom Tom bad. Navman and Garmin good!
Dedicated GPS or alternative
One of the biggest competitors to dedicated GPS, the smartphone is really no competitor. Having used all types, the dedicated GPS stands out due to
- Part of your car’s electrical system – on and off. Smartphones keep running and go flat. Then they take a long time to charge enough to run the GPS – not convenient
- Vastly easier route setting including POIs, near intersections, and autofill (smartphones often need a full address)
- No need for an internet connection so it works in tunnels etc. (smartphones can work off-line but are invariably slower, have issues with turn-by-turn and are and less accurate)
- Faster response times especially in critical turn-by-turn situations and to get a GPS signal
- Bigger unimpeded screens and very much cleaner user interfaces
- And you can’t touch a smartphone in a car without getting a fine!
Review. Navman Drive Duo SUV GPS and Dash-cam combo. $479 Model AA0072003
- 6-inch, LCD Touch screen with the familiar Navman tile user interface
- 8GB internal memory expandable to 32GB via microSD for maps
- Separate microSD for video and stills expandable to 64GB (16GB supplied)
- Wide-angle, glass lens, 2MP sensor for 1296p or 1080p recording
- Large vehicle assist (for Motorhomes etc)
- ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) including speed display, over speed warnings, school zones, forward collision and lane departure warnings, landmark guidance, 3D junction view
- Free monthly maps and SUNA Live Traffic updates (with supplied RF cable)
- Bluetooth handsfree
- 2-year warranty
- Any many more – it has more features than a typical GPS
In the box
- Drive Duo SUV
- 240V to 5V/2A mini-USB charger
- 12V Utility charger 5V/3.4A with fixed micro-USB cable and SUMA traffic receiver (has additional USB-A output 5V/1.4A)
- Glass suction mount that sits on top of the unit
It is not a small unit at 17.3cm x 10.1cm x 1.8cm. As it has a camera facing the windscreen it needs to mount high enough to ‘see’ over the bonnet. The camera has a 45° (approx.) adjustment angle, but it still mounts best in the middle of the windscreen.
I tested in the latest Lexus NX-300 SUV with an expansive windscreen that curves further back towards the driver than most. The bottom line is that with a large sweeping vista it needs to mount higher than in a car/SUV/Motorhome with a more traditional angled windscreen. Best advice – before you buy, ask the retailer if you can test fit it to your car.
These days the 12V utility socket tends to be in centre console boxes or glove box. In an expensive car, you are going to notice the cable hanging down over the carbon-fibre and leather trim. But as you must use the special cable to get SUNA traffic updates you may want to consider getting an extension cable so you can hide it a little more conveniently.
Without intentionally glossing over the huge range of GPS navigation features these are the most important.
- Spoken street names and landmarks
- 3D photo guidance of main intersections
spokendriver alerts like lane merge, steep hills, etc
- Distance and time information on the sidebar
- Uses Here Maps – my personal favourite
I enable My Drive to lean my route settings and preferences and for multiple destination trips (waypoints).
Search is very flexible
It offers keyword, postcode, intersection, POI, City/Suburb or even GPS coordinates.
Address works backwards from city/suburb and auto-fills as you type. It then offers a choice of Fastest, Economical, Easiest, or shortest routes (in different colours) and then GO. Keywords search from your location, so it lists Sydney Airport (90km away) the Bankstown, then Newcastle etc.
We found it far easier to use over an in-car GPS that uses a touchpad or rotary dial.