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I saw this priced at around £59.99 in a major supermarket and being then in-experienced in sat-nav I thought it would be a sufficient place to start, I did not want to splash out on state-of the-art navigation as it just was not essential for me.
It works well enough. The settings are clear and easy to read with simple menu options such as the usual "go home" and "most recent destinations" quickly bringing up a short list of the last few entries which can be really helpful if you are not good at remembering postcodes and road names. The postcode entering is easy enough however a bit slow, there is a slight delay on the post codes being uploaded to select and occasionally I have had trouble finding a legitimate postcode.
The voice control is easily switched on or off so whilst driving if you'd like a bit of peace from "in 500 yards..." you can easily do this whilst driving without feeling like you may change the programmed route by accident.
The map and navi settings are simple and easy to use, whilst not as sophisticated as other brands the map can be zoomed in/out enough to give you a general idea of your surroundings. the main view whilst driving has all the usual info i.e the estimated arrival time, the current road name, points of interest should you select this option.
A good feature is the speed alert sound that you will hear approaching a speed camera (although the first time this sounds you will wonder what is happening!). Which has saved me a couple of times from potentially being flashed in unknown areas.
The route settings can be adjusted, for example to find the "quickest route". In my experience these are a waste of time as the sat nav does not take into account rush hour and other factors and can sometimes make your journey far longer. Not worth it, just stick to the normal route it gives you initially. It just seems to get a bit confused by this.
The set comes with a small sleek wand that slights into the back and works effectively, and the unit itself is smooth and slim. The battery life admittedly is not great. I have found from the very first time of using this that after an hour it is in desperately need of charging. Copmpared to better brands of sat nav this is relatively short, I found this out by not bringing my charger along on my first trip with my new Binatone, only to have to navigate the last hour and a half back by vague memory.
Also, when entering the route in, this has a slight tendancy to take a while getting the signal depending on the area despite being described as "High Sensitivity GPS for optimum performance". I was also once unable to find a route despite the device recognising the postcode making it completely useless on that occasion.
All in all, for £60 you cant complain, it gets its driver from A to B, and for its budget you wont be spectaculary disappointed - or impressed.
I can't help but think I am using a completely different sat nav as my experience of this machine is completely different! If you actually intend to find where you are going avoid this! Whilst it is compact and easy to set up, when it comes to actually navigating you anywhere you have had it. For some strange reason this GPS has directed me down one way streets (driving the wrong way down them), down people's drive ways (it does this alot if they are long drives off the road, I presume this is because it thinks they are roads) and to get to anywhere it wants to take you cross country. This is quite dangerous at times and I recall on one occasion it too me down a small lane that was that narrow my car almost got stuck - and I only have a hatchback C2. When I see the news of lorry drivers that have got stuck as their GPS have directed them down wrong places I can't help but think they are using this sat nav!
I do use it if I know roughly where I am going, say the rough area or city and then just use it to find the actual street and it copes a little better. Ironically, on a return trip it also takes you one way but on your return journey goes a completely different way.
Buy something better, cheaper does not pay in the case of this GPS.
i bought a binatone carrera A350 and when i tried to start the safety cam 6 month free trial i was informed i would have to go to binatonecarrera.com to register the device. After searching various sites i could not find any where to register the device. Finally i gave in and decided to contact binatone through the number given in the device user manual. I was kept on hold for almost twenty minutes on a premium rate number i may add, only to be told that the device should not need to be registered and that there must be a fault within the device software, I should therefore send the device to binatone or return it to the store that it was purchased in. On returning the device the a nice lady asked if i would like to exchange the device to which i replied I wouldnt like another binatone model and i upgraded to a Garmin which works perfectly from the moment its switched on. On leaving the store i passed a gentleman also returning a binatone A350. So if any one out there is reading this who is thinking of buying a sat nav system, you know which one to avoid.
I bought this sat nav for £50, which I thought was great.
It includes UK and Ireland maps and speed (safety) camera locations, Post code and co-ordinate search; favourites, route watch, 2d and 3d modes, day and night modes, and multi languages.
At first I couldn't understand this touch screen sat nav, as things just didn't seam to be in the right place, altho now I have gotten use to it.
I think the layout is good, but when it gets in to navigating it looks a bit simple and boring.
The Sat nav can cope with simulating routes and actaully doing them, and can also provide routes and times for fast and slow cars, cycles and bicycles. But it does not do lorries and such vechicles.
The only trouble I have had with the Sat nav. it driving from the south of a city to get to the west, i ended up on the M1, and when i pulled off and turned back it sent me back to go north and quite a weired route.
It can read SD cards, but with that you can view pictures, MP3s and also save map views, but it's not something I use.
With the sat nav you get supplied, the screen holder, 12V car charger and a USB charger.
I consider myself fortunate, we won this sat nav at my partners works' christmas party last year in a free raffle for employees. If I had paid money for it I think I would have been disappointed.
At first, we were over the moon, sat nav is not something we'd consider buying, but could be a useful tool as we go away camping many times a year to new places. Personally I prefer to navigate with a map and knowing where I am, but given that we received it free we decided to give it a go.
The first time we used it, it all started brilliantly. We plugged it in in the car on the way from the party in Derby to our home in Essex. It took a good few minutes to lock onto the satellite signal and pick up on where we were, but once it did it was working fine.
Setting the route was child's play, just enter your postcode and away you go. There are other options though, you can search by name and also pick up certain points of interest nearby.
The disappointment came when we got near home...despite working brilliantly all the way there on the motorways, etc the unit declared that we were on Whitmore Way, however, the display showed us as being nowhere...no roads, nothing. Perhaps we are unlucky and the mapping for our particular estate is missing/broken, but we are not prepared to risk getting lost when towing a caravan if it happens again in other areas. Have you ever tried turning around with a caravan on the back of your car? ;)
I can't comment on the speaker quality, my partner didn't want it on, she preferred to just follow directions on the screen. But the brief period before I turned the voice off, it sounded quite loud and clear.
The package we got also came with different fascias you could interchange, including zebra stripes and bright pink! Therefore I think this particular model is aimed at the female market.
All in all, a nice little unit that showed promise, it just let us down on maps for our area.
Budget sat navs make buying the more expensive brands seem more and more pointless these days.
The basic navman and tom tom models can be purchased for around £100, but if you don't want to spend even that, then this is a good buy.
All the basic bits of information are listed at the bottom (like a tom tom style) and the mapping is adequate.
True, some features (like the maps) do suffer a tiny bit - and I found some of the movements on there a bit jerky, but it is, nevertheless, a decent value item for those people who just want a sat nav for the odd travelling occasion and don't want anything fancy attached to it.
The display and junction information are clearly displayed and the voice works well, so, in summary it's half good and decent - exactly what it says on the in and what you pay for.
This is a great budget option,with lots of nice features that make it as easy to use and accesible as some sat navs four times the price,and to be honest what more do you want from a tool?
You put the postcode in and it finds you a route,it really could not be any simpler!! you can store lots of regular routes and favourite destinations in it also can find you places of interest nearest garages etc.
there is a nice 2d or 3d option also night option which changes the colour of the screen so basically you see like it is night,with clear concise instructions readby a nice sounding lady.
Fits nicely in the car with the provided stiick on suction cup and arm and plugs into cigar lighter with provided adapter.also has lovely little stylus built in,not too big to put in a pocket and also has a nice walking function that means you can you use it as a mobile GPS.
Lots of gadget for little layout,picked mine up in ASDA for £5O!!
My wife would be the first to admit that her map reading skills leave a lot to be desired and as she cannot link up with the global positioning satellites (GPS) encircling planet Earth then I decided to trade her in for something that could.
Despite my best efforts with Amazon, and a final offer of two camels, they finally accepted Pounds Sterling, and last November I became the proud owner of the Binatone Carrera X350 for £79.99. The price has subsequently dropped to £59.99 - more of that later. This version is pre-loaded with GB and Republic Of Ireland maps - for around £89.99 you can get one that has European maps as well (the Z350 if you are interested).
Binatone has been around for a long time and produce a range of electrical products and telephones at the cheaper end of the market. I didn't want to spend a fortune and plumped for this model after reading reviews on Amazon , the majority of which were favourable.
Before I tell you about the Satnav itself, I just want to tell you about my own experience, as the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so to speak. Overall I have been very pleased with it however there may be a question mark over the reliability.
In terms of it getting you from A to B, it does the job and does it well and I have no complaints there. Now I always thought that if I put in a postcode it would get me to my destination but having tried that method it's a little bit hit and miss. I didn't realise that a postcode can cover quite a wide area so if you are doing it that way, you could be left some distance from your desired destination, so using a street name has proved much more accurate.
I had one major problem earlier this year. We were on our way back from West Wales, when all of a sudden there was a loud beep and a pile of fatal error messages cropped up on the screen. Attempts to reset the unit failed and we had to navigate the rest of the way home via conventional methods (thank goodness I didn't trade my wife in after all as she hasn't had a fatal error in over twenty years).
On contacting the Binatone helpline, they were unable to resolve it over the phone as it looked like a software issue and would need to be sent for repair, or the other option was to contact the seller. Here, I have to say Amazon were superb bearing in mind it was ten months since purchase. They provided me with labels to send the phone back Freepost and within 4 days I received a full refund. How's that for service. I ordered another replacement from them of the same model and that's how I know the price has come down.
There does not seem to be an inherent software problem looking at more recent user reviews of the product and I was more than happy to try again. The model I have now appears to have different software installed and to date I have had no problems.
What's in the box Gary?
For your money you get,
A car mounting kit, which consists of a black plastic ratchety thingy with a lever and a suction cup to affix to the windscreen and a holder that fits onto it into which is clipped the Satnav unit,
An in-car charger,
A USB cable. This is primarily used to update maps, software and safety camera alerts via your computer.
The Satnav unit itself with an integrated stylus pen.
An instruction manual.
The Satnav has a 3.5 inch anti-reflective LCD screen surrounded by a black rubberised finish front and back with a nice metallic looking finish around it. The front has Binatone Carrera stamped in white at the top, with a charge light (red for charging, green for fully charged). The top has a sleep mode button to switch the unit in and out of sleep mode.
The back houses the integrated stylus pen, a speaker grille, the on/off switch and a reset button. The right hand edge has holes/ slots for a TMC port (for a dongle and antenna which is optional), a USB port, a SD card slot and finally a headphone jack. It certainly looks expensive!!
Before using it for the first time, the battery (a 3.7v 1,300mAH lithium polymer battery) needs charging. This can be accomplished by using the in-car charger for two hours, or five hours via your computer and the USB cable. A word of warning here - some laptops may not have sufficient power through the USB port and could damage the port so my advice would be to use the car charger. Once fully charged the battery runs for 2 - 3 hours in navigation mode. I tend to keep it connected to the in-car charger when using.
Once charged you are ready to set up. In all the times I've used this, the suction cup and holder has always stuck and held firm to the windscreen. You simply place the suction cup (made of soft clear plastic) on the windscreen and push the plastic lever to secure and it is instantly stuck. To release, press the switch down and peel the cup away. Turn the knob on the ratcheted arm to whatever angle to want (up or down, right or left) and affix the holder onto three plastic prongs. The unit then clips into place. I'm glad it is so easy as it is not wise to leave a Satnav on display in the car to entice would be thieves. Be prepared to quickly wipe the windscreen with a tissue or cloth where the suction cup was though, as it can leave a tell-tale circle.
If you have a car with an athermic heat reflecting or heated windscreen then you may need to purchase an external antenna to enable the unit to get a valid satellite signal. I've no problem with my Berlingo - I'm lucky to have a basic windscreen!!
When acquiring the initial signal, it's best to do it in an open area. I've not had any issues. Switch the unit on and it'll go through to a menu screen, showing, navigation, GPS receiver and settings. Click on GPS by tapping the screen gently with the stylus that you slide out of the back, and you'll see the unit acquiring various satellite signals via strength bars. When they go from red to green and you get at least four you are ready to go!! There's a compass circle showing the satellites that are being received. Sad I know but I like that bit. The time is automatically configured when the signals are acquired.
Distance can be in miles or kilometres, it's your choice and easy to change. It also has a day/night navigation mode and the brightness can be altered to suit the conditions. The screen is clear and easy on the eye and there have been no problems with glare affecting it.
Choose your language and voice, male or female. I personally prefer the female voice - I'm used to being told what to do by a woman!! The volume control has 5 settings and is plenty loud enough to hear above the kids in the back.
It has a choice of 2D (flat) or 3D (raised) navigation, I prefer the latter and your route is reflected by a blue line on the very clear map, changing to red (raised above the image) to show which direction to take at a roundabout or turn.
During navigation, it is so easy to read. The visual map fills the majority of the screen, down the left, from the top down it gives information such as a countdown in metres to the next action needed. For example, an arrow pointing to the left with 250 yd means you turn left in 250 yards. It counts down from the previous event so if you are on a long road it may start at X number of miles and reduces down as you go along.
Below that you have your current speed as calculated by the GPS, then the estimated time of arrival at your destination that automatically adjusts dependent on your speed and progress. The final information is the remaining distance, in miles, to your destination, that obviously reduces as you get closer. The voice prompts are accurate and clear giving advance warning of any manoeuvres you need to make.
The screen also displays what road you are on, for example A470 or name, and at the top the battery level. For navigation, it can carry out a full UK 7 digit postcode search but bear in mind my earlier comment. You can also activate a free 6 month speed camera alert in the settings function. To continue after the trial you need to subscribe - details on the Binatone web-site.
The unit is very easy to operate and a lot of the functions are self explanatory. I won't bore you with each and every one as it is all explained in the very easy to follow user guide. You use the stylus to navigate around the screen. For those suffering with arthritis or rheumatism it could be quite difficult to hold as it is very thin and around 3 inches in length but you could use either a finger (just as effective) or perhaps a pen.
Before purchasing the Satnav I was concerned that it may be distracting and would take my eyes away from the road but my fears were unfounded. It is easy to position for best effect and you could use it quite ably by the voice prompts alone. You don't need to tap the screen once it has been programmed so don't worry about having to drive and play around with it at the same time. Not recommended anyway!!
Briefly, on the destination screen, you have a 'find address' screen where you input the address on an alpha/numerical screen. It has a function to prevent mis-spelling by greying out letters that cannot be used. You can add intermediate stops and, using the mode of transportation function, to effectively reduce say motorways from your route, if you wish to keep them to a minimum. You can also, if needed take into account motorbike and/or van restrictions dependent on your vehicle.
There is also a POI (point of interest) search facility where you can look for a specific itinerary such as sights, leisure, shopping, cinema, petrol stations, hotels, cinemas, to name but a few. All selected will appear in distance order from your location.
The 'map' facility allows you to browse or track. The latter screen displays your actual position, speed, time, sea level and co-ordinates and the number of satellites currently acquired.
Another useful feature is if you take the wrong route it will immediately re-calculate a fresh route. I've tried this feature out on purpose and confirm it works well. It has 'favourites' whereby it stores previous routes which you can bookmark without having to go to the trouble of re-programming. Some concerns I read about before purchase was that it was a lot slower than other makes when it came down to calculating the route but I do not find the delay particularly onerous (30 seconds at most in my experience thus far).
The unit can also be used as a picture viewer supporting bmp and jpg file formats (500 kb for optimum usage) and a document viewer, txt file format only. They can be read from an SD card (slot on the side).
As you can see, you get a lot for your money, and for the vast majority of people, this unit should be more than sufficient for their needs.
Any problems with the unit or queries say regarding software updates, you can contact the Binatone Carrera helpline on 0845 345 9677. The manual also has a trouble shooting guide and a FAQ site.
The following are some of the technical specifications taken from the manual for those of you that are interested,
Dimension of the unit 99.9mm x 84.5mm x 20mm.
Operating system : Microsoft WinCE.NET 5.0 Core Version.
Central Processing Unit : Atlas II 324 Mhz.
Memory : 64 MB SDRAM Built in.
Antenna : 16 channels, built in with extra active port. 32bit risc CPU SIGE CHIPSETS.
Weight : Only 0.160kg.
Speaker : One watt (more than ample for the purpose).
If it wasn't for the software failure on my first purchase, I would give it a maximum rating, but even with that fault, I was prepared to give it a second chance. Superb value for money in my humble opinion.
Want to improve your driving experience with a quality 3.5 inch screen LCD Satellite Navigation System you can afford? Look no further! Binatone Carrera X350 UK/ROI helps you to find your way to street level in an easy manner through a user-friendly menu system. If you are looking for a destination in the UK simply enter the postcode (up to 7 digits), followed by the street name and youre done. You can choose 2D (flat view) or 3D (angled view) navigation modes. In any case, voice guidance (male or female) will guide you through in advance so that you can keep your eyes on the road whilst being alerted to the presence of speed cameras as this comes pre-installed. You will be automatically re-routed if you miss one step.