Navman C40 GPS unit

Navman's cheapest GPS unit represents decent value, but its school zone warnings are frustrating

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Navman C40
  • Navman C40
  • Navman C40
  • Navman C40

Pros

  • Price, touch screen is generally responsive, sound navigational performance

Cons

  • Overzealous school zone warnings, hard to see in sunlight glare, below average battery life

Bottom Line

At just $199, the Navman C40 is certainly cheap and for the most part it does a reasonable job. It is essentially an older GPS unit with updated software, though; Mio's Moov range is a valid alternative at a similar price.

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Navman's C40 GPS unit is an entry-level model targeted at users on a strict budget. It's based on the S35 but has updated maps and a different coloured case. The Navman C40 represents decent value but overzealous school zones alerts and poor battery life detract from its appeal.

The C40 is all black with a chequered-style bezel. Extremely light and sounding hollow when tapped, the C40 is every bit a budget device — the plastic body doesn’t feel as sturdy as more expensive units.

The Navman C40 is controlled via a 3.5in touch screen. The screen is responsive, though it sometimes requires a fairly firm press to register a touch. The touch screen display has reasonable viewing angles but can be a little hard to see in direct sunlight. The only physical control on the Navman C40 is a sliding power switch, and we found it too easy to accidentally reset the unit — the off and reset notches in the slider are close together, so you can inadvertently slide the switch to reset.

The C40's interface is straightforward and simple but it lacks the attractive colour schemes of newer Navman GPS units. Menu boxes are clearly labelled and easily distinguishable, though, and the unit is generally easy to use. Unlike the MY series GPS units, the Navman C40 uses the older multi-screen method to search for addresses. This is slower and results in more screen taps than a single-screen method. The C40 says letters aloud as you press them, but there is noticeable input lag when typing. When searching for a specific address the C40 filters suburbs by state, reducing the list of results to a manageable number.

The Navman C40 uses SmartST 2009 navigation software with the latest Navteq maps. The map screen is clear and readable but again lacks the polish and bright colours of newer versions. Tapping on the information box in the top-right corner displays useful route information, while an icon in the bottom right corner can display battery life, GPS reception and a mute button. Rerouting times are quite fast; it takes less than 30 seconds to gain a GPS fix in most instances.

Navteq's maps, particularly those on Navman units, are known for overzealous school zone alerts and the C40 again suffers from this issue. The school zone warning often appears on roads that aren't even school zones, the maps directed us to turn right at many 'no right turns', and also failed to warn of a known red light camera on one of our routes. Rerouting times are quite quick though and the general navigation performance is sound for a budget unit.

Naturally, the Navman C40 lacks Bluetooth hands-free connectivity or live traffic updates (though the latter is available as an optional extra for $149) but advanced lane guidance is a handy inclusion. Though this only works on freeways, motorways and highways, it’s very useful and directs you into the correct lane when turning off a major exit. The usual routing options (avoid or warn of tolls, unsurfaced roads and ferry routes) are supported, and users can also set a preference for using motorways. Navman includes a user-configured preset speed warning alert and there is also a tripmeter which acts as a digital log book.

Battery life is rated at up to three hours, which is about average. We found the C40 lasted just over 2.5 hours before requiring a recharge. There is no AC adapter included in the package, so you'll have to charge the C40 in the car.

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