Gaming laptops are traditionally full of compromises.
Navman iCN 330
- Price, updated and improved maps, Progress bar for next turn, Clear voice instructions
- Small screen, No advanced functionality, AC adapter not included
If you are on a tight budget and don't require many advanced navigational options then the iCN 330 is for you.
Price$ 499.00 (AUD)
The Navman iCN 330 is a GPS unit for those who just want basic turn-by-turn navigation, without bells and whistles like MP3 players, Bluetooth hands-free or picture viewers. A minor upgrade to the iCN 320, the iCN 330 may be extremely well priced, but you get what you pay for with this unit as advanced functionality is sparse.
Looking to buy a GPS device? Visit our updated Global Positioning Systems (GPS) Buying Guide before you buy!
The iCN 330 is almost identical to the previous iCN 320; it's a compact, curved unit finished in matte black plastic with a flip-out antenna on its rear. The iCN 330 is definitely smaller than most of the other dedicated in-car navigation units on the market measuring 125mm x 79mm x 40mm and weighing just 212g.
This rather small chassis does however have room for the multitude of controls. For starters, there is a five-way navigational pad, front mounted volume control keys, two selection buttons and a dedicated main menu key. A small power button is located on the front right side, while the left houses an SD card (for maps), a reset switch and an adapter for charging. Although the sunken nature of the buttons makes them comfortable to press, we still feel that they are a little difficult to use while on the road.
Navman has once again fitted the iCN 330 with only a small 2.8in TFT screen and although we would have preferred a larger display, the clear user interface and good voice instructions go some way to making up for this. Furthermore, the iCN 330 performed well in direct sunlight, showing no signs of the glare seen on some more expensive models. Our only complaint with the screen is the fact that it isn't touch screen, but that's to be expected on an entry level unit.
The iCN 330 receives upgraded Sensis WhereIS 2006 Australian mapping (R13) with SmartST navigation software and these are included on an SD card in the sales package. The map now scrolls as you drive like most other units and a 3D view is available. The maps can be viewed in 3D, next instruction (2D), instruction list or route summary. Under the map, the display can be toggled to show information such as speed, time or estimated time of arrival (ETA). Alternatively, you can do away with the map altogether and simply view an instruction list of turns.
Perhaps the most innovative addition to the display is the inclusion of a large progress bar bordering the map. This bar is empty when you first turn onto a street and fills as you drive along the street on the current instruction. When the bar is full, it means you are close to the next turn and the bar empties when you enter the next street. This feature is especially useful if you want to have a quick glance at the map to see when the next turn is approaching, without taking your eyes off the road for too long.
The voice instructions are loud and clear. We had no problems hearing the iCN 330, even in noisy environments such as peak hour traffic in Sydney. Instructions are provided before each turn with a further warning issued as the turn approaches. Only two voices are offered: male or female.
The iCN 330 includes a SiRFstarII XTrac GPS receiver and although it's not as quick as some higher priced models, we had no complaints with signal strength or re-routing times. It took the unit about 30 seconds to find and maintain a GPS signal, while a couple of seconds was enough to get us back on track when we took a wrong turn.
The iCN 330 is very easy to operate, as most of its functions can be accessed via the main menu. From here users can choose to navigate to an address, point of interest (POI), a favorite location, the saved home location or any recent destination. Entering a street name or suburb involves using the five-way navigational pad to manually select letters and this is a tiresome process, especially for those used to touch screen operation. Once a street name or suburb is selected, you can enter a street number or navigate to the centre of the street or suburb if you are unsure of the exact location.
Navman include most of the basic routing options such as avoiding tolls and unsurfaced roads, as well as warning if these are included in the proposed route. A route demonstration mode is also available, which allows you to preview a route before you drive it. What you won't find on the iCN 330 is some more advanced options inclouding red light and speed camera warnings, the ability to avoid certain areas on the map, night time mode maps and editing and adding POIs.
The iCN 330 doesn't include an AC adapter so you'll have to use the in-car charger for power. Battery life is average according to Navman, with the unit lasting up to three and a half hours. We averaged about three hours of use before needing to recharge, which we would like to see improved.
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