Navman S300T GPS unit

Navman's S-Series goes Platinum

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Navman S300T
  • Navman S300T
  • Navman S300T
  • Navman S300T

Pros

  • Design, large display, “gliding” touch-screen interface, keyword search method, text-to-speech pronunciation, clear map screen, Bluetooth, built-in traffic channel access

Cons

  • Touch-sensitive menu key isn’t always responsive, glide interface can be annoying while driving

Bottom Line

The S300T is Navman’s best GPS yet. While the glide interface isn’t perfect, its ease of use is certainly appreciated. An excellent design, a clean map screen and clear voice instructions combined with a heap of extra features make this an excellent choice.

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Featuring an all-new design, the S300T sits at the top of Navman’s latest S-Series Platinum range of GPS devices. Boasting a 4.3in widescreen, a built-in traffic antenna, an FM transmitter and Bluetooth hands-free, little has been left out of this stylish GPS unit.

Aesthetically, the S-Series Platinum features perhaps the most attractive in-car GPS units currently on the market. The brushed metal casing is a highlight, while a chrome strip across the rear and a gloss black bezel are all part of the supporting cast.

Most operations centre on the touch screen, though there is a power button at the top, and two touch-sensitive buttons to the right of the screen — a main menu button and an instant location-capture button. Unfortunately, we found ourselves sometimes having to press the buttons more than once to activate them.

Navman has completely redesigned the user interface, and the result is a scrollable “glide” touch screen. Instead of the menus having multiple pages, you simply press the touch screen with your thumb then drag upwards to reveal the rest of the menu. The result is a similar experience to using the iPhone 3G, though the iPhone is slightly more responsive than the S300T.

This new menu system applies both in the main menu and map menus. Although it’s reasonably effective, it can be a little frustrating having to drag your finger up and down the screen while operating the unit in the car; in this regard, the traditional method of tapping an icon on the display may be a better option. Still, Navman deserves some credit for thinking outside the box, and the S300T is a very user-friendly unit.

The search function and address entry method have been overhauled. The S300T has three key search methods: 'go', 'find' and 'explore'. The 'go' menu allows you to enter an address, 'find' allows you to search for specific places or businesses while 'explore' searches an area for points of interest (POIs). Instead of address entry being a three-stage process (city, street then house number), you simply type the full address in one screen and the S300T will present a list of options. This is much faster and more convenient than having to wade through multiple screens.

The map screen is clear and concise. Simply tap the left edge of the screen to bring up a scrollable options menu. While you’re on a route, this can display a list of all the turns on your route, a complete overview of the route and information about the route including distance to go, ETA and average speed. We liked the list of turns, which has a different icon for each type of turn. You can also customise what’s displayed on the top right corner of the map display, choosing from distance remaining, remaining time to go, km/h, ETA and the current time.

Navman has also introduced 3-D landmarks, 3-D junction views and lane guidance in the S300T. The 3-D landmarks don’t contribute much to the overall navigational experience, but junction views and lane guidance are impressive features, providing a much clearer image when exiting major intersections, freeways and multiple lane roads. Also new are the NAVTEQ maps. We didn’t have too many issues during testing, though we did encounter one fault when we were asked to turn right at Bondi Junction when there was no right turn. Apart from this mistake it was pretty smooth sailing, and the text-to-speech pronunciations are excellent.

A nice touch is the fact that the traffic antenna is built-in, so the S300T doesn’t need a clumsy external antenna. A lifetime subscription to the SUNA Traffic Channel is included with purchase.

Rounding out the package is a full safety database of speed and red light cameras, school zones, railway crossings and accident black spots. A built-in FM transmitter allows you to listen to the unit using your car speakers. Bluetooth connectivity, a mileage reporter and a digital log book are also included, and it is possible to search TrueLocal via Bluetooth. NavPix is also a feature, though Navman has dropped the built-in camera. Finally, a microSD card slot allows you to view pictures, listen to music and watch video files.

Conveniently, any Navman S-Series Platinum range sold between now and before the end of December will receive a free 2009 map upgrade late next year.

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