The unit also supports broadcast traffic alerts. I received none during the review period. I’m uncertain if the system is even implemented in Canberra, but if it is the accidents and massive traffic snarls typically warned of are not a common feature here.
There are bunch of useful features, such as lists of petrol stations, food outlets, hotels and motels, ATMs and parking in your area, ordered by closeness.
Route selection was fairly fast. For some reason I’d inadvertently set my “Home” as somewhere in Adelaide (I actually live in Canberra). Choosing “Home” had a proposed route available in less than ten seconds.
The find facility was useful. I typed in “Riverside Plaza”, a small mall in the nearby NSW town of Queanbeyan, and the unit found it in about ten seconds, clearly searching through an expanding circle centred on my location. In the time it has taken me to type this paragraph so far the circle has expanded to over 300km (radius or diameter is unclear). When I selected it, the Navman presented the four travel options within five seconds: Fastest (18 minutes) through Economical and Easiest to Shortest (13.5km). For some reason, the Shortest was also shown to have a briefer travelling time (16 minutes). Perhaps travelling conditions changed in the couple of seconds between the two results being calculated.
Anyway, the proposed routes were typically sensible, and didn’t lead to me becoming submerged in Lake Burley Griffin, so that was fine. The audible instructions were clear.
A short trip home from where I’m sitting under a pine tree typing gave the same results for Fastest, Economical and Shortest (2.2 kilometres, six minutes) and a longer result for Easiest (3.1 kilometres, seven minutes). Why? The first three take you along a road with three particularly irritating speed bumps. The Easiest route avoids them. Sounds good to me.
(When I drove the way of the bumps, the unit offered no warning about them. That suggests that they aren’t individually recorded in the data, but that the road that they’re on has a higher “difficulty” score which is used in route calculations.)
As mentioned, you can pair the unit to your Bluetooth-capable smart phone and use the Navman itself for calling and then for handsfree talking. The pairing with an iPhone was smooth enough (you will need to enter the PIN which is 1234) and on first pairing the unit asks if you want to load in the contacts from the phone. It took only a minute or so to suck in the five hundred or more on mine.
Then you can make calls using the Navman. That worked fairly well in terms of acoustic clarity, but since there’s no voice recognition, I can’t see that many people are likely to use it. It’s the touch screen, you see.
We’ve all been spoiled these last few years with the touch screens on phones and tablet, which work with the lightest of touches and respond to multi-touch and sliding fingers. This one doesn’t. To scroll you have to poke an arrow. Selecting anything requires a reasonably firm touch, but there was a bit too much give one the right hand side of the screen to allow this without putting a finger behind the screen for support. All that made for very inefficient contact selection.
There are no settings for the Dashcam. It runs the whole time at full HD (1920 by 1080 pixels). The only option is to not have it running. If it is off, the mighty G-force induced by a collision will start it running. There isn’t a way of marking a specific recording for retention, so if there’s an incident you should save the recording fairly soon to another device.
Documentation on looking at the video taken by the device is extremely sparse. Nothing seemed to happen when I plugged the whole unit into my computer, so I popped out the microSD card and plugged that into a card reader. The files are standard .AVI ones, with full HD resolution (and sound) so you can play them back in lots of different players. The date and time, speed and GPS location are imposed on the bottom right of the video.
Each video is one minute long and used about 110MB of space. I used a 32GB card and it filled up until around 500MB was left before deleting old recordings. There were 279 recordings, so a 32GB card (the maximum recommended) is good for a bit more than 4.5 hours of recording.