“ Manufacturer: Binatone / GPS Type: Outdoor / Form Factor: Handheld, Fixed / Map capabilities: Internal / Input Method: Touch Screen, Voice Command / Display Size: 3.5 in. / Display Type: LCD TFT Display / Resolutions: 320 X 240 / Special Features: JPEG Image Viewer / Audible Features: Voice Navigation Instructions / Trip calculator: Route Recalculation / Included Software/Maps: North America Maps, Europe Maps / PC Interface: USB 1.1, Bluetooth Wireless Technology / Built in memory: 64 MB / Expansion Slot Type: SD (Secure Digital) Card Slot / Battery Type and Quantity: Rechargeable Lithium-Polymer Battery / Battery Life: 3 Hours / Height: 8.5 cm / Width: 11 cm / Depth: 1.7 cm / Weight: 0.14 kg / „
We do not use the Sat-Nav much as we tend to stay local when driving about and therefore we wanted a very cheap sat-nav. At only £50, this sat-nav seemed perfect for us.
Lets start with the build of the device.
As soon as you take the sat-nav out of the box it feels pretty cheap. It is made of 100% flimsy plastic and pressings is most place will cause it to creak and bend quite a lot. This doesn't really bother me as it is not really a device where this matters as you will merely have it on your dashboard and nobody will be handling it during operation (hopefully!) - but it does give a negative first impression.
Next, the interface.
The interface with this device is almost 100% through the resistive touch screen (as opposed to capacitive). Resistive touchscreens are far cheaper to make than capacitive and hence that it why it is on this value range sat-nav however the responsiveness severely suffers and swiping across is next to impossible usually. Resistive touchscreens can be controlled using anything however, not just your finger, and Binatone therefore included a stylus which slots into the back of the sat-nav to control it. This is pretty handy and does overcome some of the rouble the resistive touchscreen has with fingers.
The only buttons on the device are a main on/off switch and a large sleep button on top.
Now, the software.
This is possibly one of the biggest let downs of this device. The software is very slow and cumbersome. The menus are arranged in not the worst possible way but certainly not the best either. I spend most of my day working with computers and electronics and even I struggle to navigate through the system when I haven't used it for a while.
This sat-nav is slow. I could probably end this section here but I will elaborate. if you have switched off the sat-nav instead of putting it to sleep, before using the device you must wait about 5 minutes for it to initially turn on, after selecting your destination, you must then wait a further 10-15 minutes for it to acquire a GPS signal. This means that you can be delayed by up to about 20 minutes plus however long it takes you to navigate their awful menus waiting to know where you are meant to be going.
A couple of years ago I bought this for my husband for Christmas, and although there are obviously newer versions on the market this is still available on some sites as new for a very reasonable 34.99 upwards. Since there is a good chance hubby will read this I'd prefer not to divulge what I paid just lets say it was a fair bit more. That said I do feel after having truly tried and tested the unit I have definitely had my money's worth and I think hubby would agree.
The basic rectangular unit has a 4.3 touchscreen from where you can navigate the menu system. Volume brightness can be adjusted to suit your preferences. The colours a bright and vivid and through the settings menu you can alter them ever so slightly to suit your needs. To one side of the unit in the charging connection and a cable is supplied for this, actually two are supplied, on for connection via USB to the PC and an in car charger for when travelling.
An added connection for earphones is available, and this can be connected to a suitable car stereo to aid in hearing the voice instructions. A smaller version of the power socket can be used for traffic news, but you are required to purchase this lead separately and we have not done so since we have really found no need. The last slot in the unit is for and SD card and this is used for two purposes. The first being to store extra maps, and the second to store text and pictures, which can be displayed on the screen.
On the top of the unit is the main power on/off switch, which when powered up is also used as a sleep button and a quick press will put the unit into sleep mode. Another quick press will return the unit to fully functioning.
Use and navigation
Once switched on there will be two options on the main screen, a large globe indicates selecting navigation and a small globe will indicate using the viewer for media such as pictures and text documents. We've or at least I have only used this a few times since hubby has that many gadgets for this that we tend to use them since their quality is better. In any case selecting a menu brings up another menu until you arrive where you want to be.
This is also the same for navigation except here it is more pictorial and easier to understand. The small graphics make it very easy to select address, favourites, points of interest, post codes, and the touchscreen is sensitive enough to know your selection yet not too sensitive to guess your choice.
Once you have set your destination, the unit seeks a signal and once a signal has been received it calculates the route. From the touchscreen and NOT WHILST DRIVING you can select to view the route or get instructions, choosing nothing will simply take you to navigation. Here all you have to do s follow the onscreen instruction and if you want you can have voice help in following the route. This is where we get to my first gripe about the unit; in fact it's probably my only gripe. On approaching a roundabout the frequency of instruction is too much. There are times when I have heard her say, " at the roundabout take the second exit" at least four times and we are still only a few hundred yards from the roundabout. Sometimes she really does my head in.
On route the instructions are clear and easy to follow, and the screen interpretation of the roads seems very realistic. It is very user friendly and does a super job. Another slight problem, which really has nothing to do with the unit is hubby as normal has a tendency to not follow instructions, and sometimes the poor sat nav woman has to re-calculate several times on a journey.
Onscreen at the bottom is the distance to next turn manoeuvre, the current speed and the distance to completed journey all of which can be removed or changed form the settings menu.
All in all this is a great little sat nav, we have used it loads of times now and we have never got lost even though when we first started using it for a bit of fun we did try to get lost, no she always go us home. Incidentally she does not have to be a she, she can be a he, if she desires lol
This is a review of the Binatone A430+ with UK and Republic of Ireland (which Dooyoo claim is the same as the Carrera A350, but is not!)
After many years of getting very lost, and debating the merits and objections to a sat nav system, I finally decided that I was wasting too much precious time and petrol driving round in large circles every time that I wanted to go somewhere new. I decided to buy the cheapest sat nav available, without looking at reviews or guides at all. I had never used a sat nav before, and worked on the assumption that anything would be an improvement on the current situation.
Looking in Argos, Binatone seemed to be the cheapest brand that they stocked. I resisted the temptation to go for the much better known TomTom, as I couldn't see any real advantages when I read the catalogue description. As there was an Argos special offer on, I paid a little bit more for a bigger screen. I bought my Binatone sat nav for £68.29, which included a £10 discount and a free case, home charger and USB cable.
~~first time use~~
As a sat nav virgin, I hoped that my Binatone would be fairly intuitive - and I was not disappointed. After a few hours recommended charging to fill the rechargeable batteries, I turned my sat nav on. It comes pre loaded with UK and Republic of Ireland maps; for European maps you will need to pay for the more expensive version.
It has a touch screen, and both 2D and 3D maps.
Although it took a little longer than I expected to connect with the satellite, I found it easy to programme in my destination postcode and press 'Go'. The instructions were clear, and I could turn the volume up and down easily by using the simple slide button on the right hand side of the unit. Pressing 'Go Home' was the unproblematic solution to finding my way back.
I found out how to use other features very easily, without consulting the manual. I can find points of interest such as supermarkets and petrol stations without difficulty. It took a little longer to learn how to store a postcode and to direct my sat nav to a stored destination; but having done it once, it was easy to repeat.
This version also has a digital picture and document viewer which is accessed via an SD card slot
This sat nav warns you about turns and roundabouts 500 yards before you reach them, and then warns you again at 200, 100, and 0 yards. Although this can be sometimes annoying, it is great if you are chatting and miss the direction first time round. Altogether, I am very happy to have these warnings and find them reassuring rather than irritating.
I particularly like the roundabout approach screen, as I sometimes get confused on larger motorway roundabouts. When I approach any roundabout, the screen goes black, with a diagram of the roundabout showing which exit I should take.
The speed camera warning is another very useful feature. If I am going too fast in the proximity to a speed camera, the sat nav gives a warning beep, and flashes up the legal speed limit. This could save me an expensive fine. This service can be updated through a subscription service if necessary.
The sat nav comes with a very sturdy windscreen mount, which uses a lever action suction pad to stick the holder to the windscreen. This has been attached to my windscreen for a month now, both with and without the sat nav inside, and it has remained firmly stuck onto the windscreen even through the daily round of speed bumps and potholes that make it jiggle up and down. It is easily adjustable so that it can be seen by driver and passenger.
The sat nav itself has a 4.3 inch screen, which makes the touch screen very easy to see and use. I like to have something that I can easily see without my reading glasses ! It is lightweight at 213g, and has an overall size of 8.3cm high, 12.5cm wide, and 1.8cm deep. It is small enough to pop into a pocket or bag, as well as in the glove compartment.
~~what it doesn't have~~
The Binatone is not as luxurious as other makes, such as TomTom. The quality of the map views is not be as good, and there is no facility to update routes or to add on European maps. There is also only one choice of voice: a rather supercilious female, which can irritate after a while.
A few months down the line, I remain delighted. My sceptical husband is now a convert, and wonders how we ever did without one. Although I do not use it all the time, it is reassuring to keep it to hand so that if I ever do find myself lost in the rain and darkness, I can pull it out and find my way straight home.
I got this Binatone Carrera A350 sat nav for christmas last year, and I must say its a bit of a mixed bag- lots of good points and a few bad points. I dont think this is a particulary expensive sat nav and it does the job. It has full UK and Europe maps, different route selections and point of interest suggestions.
The maps on the sat nav are really easy to follow, very clear and the use of different colours for different types of roads, trainlines and motorways and such like make it easy to anticipate your route, as well as this the route you should be taking is in a different colour. The voice on the sat nav is interchangable- as far as im aware, the choice is between a male and a female voice, although apparently you can download different voices, including novelty ones, from the internet although I have never tried this. I feel that the sat nav instuctions are good in that they do give you plenty of warning before the next turning, road change or destination for example and repeat it a number of times, giving distances (which can be changed between imperial and metric). The voice will leave you alone most of the time while driving- I know some who will tell you if your speeding or where the next rest stop is etc.
Inputting your destination is quite simple, you can choose to enter a postcode, street name, popular destination or even a whole town or city, the user interface which is touchscreen, is quite simple to use, either using your fingers or the special pen.
The only major bad points as far as I can tell is the route sometimes seems to be the most bizzare and obscure route it could ever find, although this could be my imagination. In addition to this the estimated arrival times are sometimes quite optimistic.