“ 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 / „
* Prices may differ from that shown
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.
I'm usually good when it comes to remembering directions as I have a good memory but I think it's always handy to have a satellite navigation system available as you never know when they might come in handy. Even places I know, when an accident has happened and caused road closures or I've made a wrong turn they just come in handy and also make you aware of a lot of different shortcuts you might not know of. They're also good for estimating when you will arrive at your destination, so this Binatone model seemed liked a worthwhile investment since my last sat nav was stolen from my car.
I will start from the top as it is always difficult to know where to begin when talking about a complex device such as a sat nav. I will begin with a simple setting a route on this thing, it is very straightforward, as soon as you power this up the load screen shows and you are shown the main menu, here you can change from day to night lighting depending on what time of day you are driving. Night time shows the roads more colourful and a black background which is good as it is less strain on your eyes.
When setting a route you can set it to pick the quickest routes, to cut out toll routes and to cut out motorways if you want which is handy. So it is all touch screen as they all are and you just tap navigate to and then it comes up with a screen you tap again and then you can find by town, postcode, street and so on but I usually do post code although sometimes this does not always bring up the right street. Once this is done it will show up on your list and you can quickly view the route or just tap go and it will load up.
The screen to load the route can sometimes be very slow on this model which can really irritate me as when you want to go somewhere and you are driving and it is taking ages too load it can stress me as if it is still calculating I am literally driving dangerously as I have no clue of my route.
What I find good with this model is that you can click navigate to and it has an option recent destinations so for example if you go back and forth to work it will be saved so you don't need to keep inputting your postcode all the time and it is much easier. I think the screen is clear and easy to see on this model, it is normally blue with orange roads and you have the option to zoom in and out of the map but I usually just stay on the set view as it is the right distance for me.
Under the map you have your estimated time of arrival, the estimate of how many miles per hour you are doing, all useful information. Also, the screen makes a really loud beeping noise when you are approaching a speed camera which is good as it warns you so you will not get caught with speeding tickets.
The voice on this sat nav is a woman's voice and it is usually quite easy to follow but one of my main problems with this sat nav is that a lot of times I will be driving on a motorway and it hasn't made it clear that you should take the exit to the left so I have driven past and then it tells me to do illegal U-turns, where it is not actually possible so things like that can be dangerous. Once it told me to go straight on then abruptly told me to make a right through 2 lanes of a roundabout which last minute can really cause an accident.
You can programme routes you do all of the time such as your home into the sat nav so it always knows its starting point. You can also set it to display miles or kilometres. You can adjust the volume and the brightness as well and the language.
This is a very important thing to know when you buy a sat nav as you need to know, is it going to last a long time, the answer is if you charge it enough on a long journey, then it should be ok but if you haven't had it on for a while then it will not last long at all. However, this says battery low and the bars show but it still goes on a little bit longer. I always keep the car charge plugged into the device just in case as I wouldn't want it to run out of battery on a long route.
The sat nav comes with a home charge with a plug and an in car charger so it really is up to you but I find the in car charger is the only one I ever use as I never take it out of my bag to charge at home. The screen is easy to carry about, I never leave it in my car after my last one was stolen out of my car, it scares me. You also get the holder to attach to your sat nav which is how it stays up in your car when driving.
I found though with the suction pad on the stand it just wouldn't stick well at all, it does for a bit then falls on top of you mid drive so luckily I have a flat section where I sit the sat nav on and just look at it from there but I know most cars don't have a good part like that so it may cause issues. I also know that thieves look for the circles a suction pad leaves on windscreens to steal so you really must be careful about this and wipe your window to avoid anything like this.
To be honest, this sat nav is a good little thing, although there are a few downsides like most electronics, for the price it does a really good job and has helped me through a lot of times of being lost. The map is only for UK on this I'm not sure if it is Ireland too but it suits me fine as I don't drive out of this country at all.
The memory type on this sat nav is a memory card SD. The dimensions in mm are 85 x 110 x 17 and it weighs 159g.
If you want a sat nav for Christmas then you should have a look into one of these. They're not Tomtom ok but they are still just as good and almost half the price. If you want to buy one from Amazon you can get it from as low as £55.99 but if you go to Novatech.co.uk you can get it for £45.99 which is a really good price. I also saw one on eBay for under £40 it is just a case of having a good look around and finding the best deals.
The official Binatone website is a bit useful if you want more technical information but if you want to give it a try you can go to http://www.binatonetelecom.com/
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.