Gaming laptops are traditionally full of compromises.
Navman iCN 720
- NavPix technology and digital camera, GPS signal strength, 4-inch widescreen, User interface, Next Turn map option, Red light and Speed camera warnings, Included remote control
- Quite large and bulky, Can't navigate to house number with postcode search
The iCN 720 is a solid GPS unit that works well and includes a digital camera, navigation using photos, 4-inch touch screen, remote control and easy to navigate interface.
Price$ 1,099.00 (AUD)
The Navman iCN 720 is a welcome addition to the GPS market, offering a much improved user interface, bright and clear four inch touch screen and the ability to search via postcodes. The iCN 720 also differentiates itself from the rest of the GPS pack with a new technology called NavPix: navigation using photos taken by the unit's integrated 1.3 megapixel camera.
The iCN 720 is the first GPS unit to come equipped with an integrated digital camera and NavPix technology. When a photograph is taken with the camera, the image is captured and stored with its GPS co-ordinates. The photos can then be browsed and, when selected, the iCN 720 will navigate you back to them.
It is important to note that the unit uses your current GPS co-ordinates when you take the picture, so you have to physically be very close to the landmark you wish to store in order to get an accurate reading. Snapping a picture of the Harbour as you go across a bridge won't suffice. NavPix can be assigned to the favourites list and uploaded to your PC or the Navman Web site (http://www.navman.com/navpix) with navigation points intact. You can add descriptions to NavPix, copy them to an SD card and then delete them from the unit's 64MB of internal memory. A number of NavPix photos are present on the Australian edition including the Sydney Opera House, Federal Parliament, the 12 Apostles, Flinders Street Station and Kings Park.
However as cool as it may sound there are a few issues with this new feature. The unit's bulky size and weight means it isn't ideal for carrying with you to take photos. Furthermore, NavPix isn't perfectly integrated, since you can't choose to save pictures directly to the SD card, nor can you navigate to a NavPix location directly from the main screen - like you do with points of interest and regular address searches. To do this you have to go into the separate NaxPix menu.
The iCN 720 is quite a large and bulky unit, so it's ideal for in-car use. Measuring 136mm x 77mm x 31mm and weighing a hefty 300 grams, this is one of the largest GPS units currently on the market and the flip out GPS antenna only adds to its size. Although it is quite large, the unit feels solid and extremely well built. Part of the reason Navman opted for this design is the iCN 720's display - the four-inch widescreen is one of the largest and most effective GPS screens we've seen. The TFT panel is a touch screen and combined with a large and easy to read interface, it ensures the iCN 720 is effortless to operate. We found the screen had an excellent horizontal and vertical viewing angle and was very crisp and clear, but it suffered a little in direct sunlight - even with brightness at the highest setting.
The unit is easy to operate thanks to the row of buttons on the left hand side. You can quickly change the map view using the Cycle Maps key; the iCN 720 offers standard 2D and 3D views, as well as turn lists and next turn maps. The latter is a new feature and shows information relative to the next turn including the direction of the turn and the distance to the turn. There are also buttons for the Go To and Main Menu screens as well as convenient parking and fuel buttons. Pressing these keys (marked with a P symbol and a picture of a fuel pump) brings up a list of the nearest parking and petrol stations which you can navigate to with two simple button presses. There's also a three-way volume scroll wheel on the right hand side and a headphone jack, SD card slot (for NavPix and extra maps) and a mini-USB port on the left.
The iCN 720 is equipped with a SiRFstarIII Generation 2 GPS receiver and its performance is efficient and speedy. In our driving tests, we found the unit took anywhere between 30 seconds and a minute to pick up a signal after being turned on and overall, it was very quick and responsive. Even with an obscured view of the sky it still managed to maintain a constant signal.
The unit is very simple to use and most of its operations can be accessed via the Home or Go To screens. From here you simply tap the displayed icons to navigate to your home, a specific address or point of interest (POI), a saved favourite destination or a recent destination. The Go To menu also allows you to program multi-stop trips (a maximum of 14 stops) and access the NavPix menu.
When searching for a specific address, the iCN 720 filters suburbs by state, so you aren't presented with a list of every suburb in Australia. You can search for a specific city, area, postcode, street or point of interest. You can then pinpoint your exact destination by choosing to navigate to a specific house number, intersection or even to the centre of the street. The address entry screen uses a large on-screen keyboard and number pad but you'll still need to use your fingertips to ensure you aren't accidently pressing the wrong buttons. The search function is efficient and easy to use, but does have one flaw. When you perform an ordinary search, you can narrow your search down to the street number, but this isn't possible when searching by postcode. The software only allows a postcode search that is accurate to the street name, leaving you to find the specific house or building yourself.
The iCN 720 uses SmartST 2006 mapping software and the navigational experience was pleasing thanks to the detailed maps and clear voice instructions. The maps can be zoomed in and out and are able to show current time, current speed, estimated time of arrival (ETA), distance to your destination and time to reach your destination. If you don't hear the voice instruction, you can tap the next turn diagram to repeat it.
The usual routing options, such as avoiding tolls or warning when routes include tolls are supported on the unit. Users can also set a preference for using motorways or normal urban roads and this is taken into consideration when the unit calculates a route. Navman has also included a route demonstrator to preview the route. Other features of the iCN 720 include the ability to adjust the screen brightness, basic routing options and up-to-date speed camera and red light camera warnings. There's also a user-configured preset speed warning alert that will inform you if you're going too fast.
Navman has included a convenient remote control with the iCN 720 and this can be attached to your steering wheel with a rubber strap. The remote control uses RF technology, so there is no need to point it directly at the unit. The remote can adjust brightness and volume, navigate to your home and change the map view, but you'll still need to use the unit to search for an address or use the NavPix feature. Also in the sales package is a car windscreen mount, cigarette lighter adaptor, carry case, USB cable and main power adapter.
According to Navman the iCN 720's internal battery is rated between two to four hours, depending on usage. We averaged about three hours of use before we had to charge the unit again.
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