* Prices may differ from that shown
I do a fair amount of travelling around, and decided that a sat-nav would be a justified expense that I would get the good of, but at the same time I wanted the cheapest one I could possibly find. At £99 this was, to say the least, cheap!
It does however, look cheap. It has a relatively small screen and is quite heavy and bulky, which means it can take a while to find a good spot for it. The small screen makes it very difficult to navigate the menus unless you have small fingers, and with little documentation you'll have to work out how to use it yourself.
Having said that, once you do figure out how to use it, and get used to the menus (if you manage to find the stylus which is nicely hidden, I didnt find it till I had had the unit for months.) the unit is reasonably good value for money. In the box you'll get the unit, a cigarette lighter lead, 4 AA batteries, disks with software and a suction fitting. You can search for addresses either using postcodes or street names however it lacks the ability to "free roam". in other words, you cant just use it to find out where you are unless you put in a destination.
If you do stray from the route however, it will quickly find you a new route without having to turn around. I was particularly impressed with its ability to do this with speed in the centre of glasgow.
The main thing that really gets to me is the speed camera warning feature. The feature itself is really good, but getting it to accept taht you wawnt it on can take some patience. Occasionally I find myself going in circles while it asks me to confirm that I really do want it switched on. Slip lanes are also hard to follow and you need to pay attention to the distance to the slip it wants you to take, since it will sometimes say "take the slip road" but not necessarily intend you to take the NEXT slip road.
It has the ability to store your own locations, which can be handy if it is a place you are likely to visit often, such as a relatives house. Other features include a photo viewer and mp3 player (?why?) and a quick access petrol station finder, into which you can specify your favourite petrol providers.
When navigating, the unit will also tell you the time, ETA, distance to arrival, and time till arrival as well as a displayed compass.
In my opinion, although this unit is very cheap, and in all fairness its good for its price, there are just too many annoying little things that make it hard to use and put me off reccomending it to others.
When I left my job this Summer (I used to be head of German in a prestigious independent school), my colleagues decided to send me packing with an amount of money in recognition of my services.
I was wondering what to do it the aforementioned sum, and then I realised that in my new job (in teacher training and procurement) I would be doing a fair amount of driving around the West Midlands and that, coupled with the fact that I am taking the present Mrs nolly and her three lovely children for a caravan holiday in Sussex this year, some sort of aid (navigation, not marital) would come in handy.
Now it would appear to me that in the world of 'sat-nav' the name of Tom-Tom is fast becoming a generic term, in the same as as hoover is for vacuum cleaners. I haven't got the spare money for a Tom-Tom, and so I perused the internet to find out what kind of prices I could find.
I got as far as the PC World website and found that they had a Sat-Nav for £79.99! This was the Medion Go-Pal PNA 210. This was a wonderful price, I thought, and so I shuffled to my local store to see about buying one.
When I got there I found the item was marked as £99! I enquired to a youth who was apparently a salesman and he checked the website to see if what I had seen was a 'web exclusive' price. It transpired that it was not, and so he said i could have it for £79.99.
Handy hint #1 - Do your research!
I got the gizmo home and took it out of the box...
What you get
The system comes with a set of 4 AA batteriesas back-up, an adaptor to plug into your cigar lighter socket in the car, a cradle on a sucker thingy to attach it to the windscreen (this includes a stylus), a mini-USB lead to attach it to a computer (for updates i should think), a manual and some CDs. Well done to Medion for including everything I needed.
When you fire the system up for the first time, it has to initialise, and this takes 3 minutes I should think for the first go. It was quicker after that when I started it up.
Well, I was itching (that has nothing to do with this review so i will go no further) to use it and decided to use it for a trip to my old workplace in Worcester. Once I got outside of the confines of Nolly Towers, and started the car, it picked up the signal and calculated the route in about 15 seconds. The display is 2.8 inches on the diagonal, and shows a map of the current location as the main display. At the top it gives a clear road location. In the top left is any manoeuvre you need to make along with a compass, so you know which way north is.
The bottom of the display includes how far you have until you reach your destination (in kilometres), a total time left and an estimated time of arrival. I am not sure if it needs to show anything else. I was seriously impressed.
Are the directions useful?
Well, a GPS system should not be a substitute for observation and common sense. It navigated me well and quickly to Worcester, but on the way back (I used the identical route) it neglected to see a roundabout it had seen an hour earlier. Nonetheless the display and audible instructions (in a pleasant English female voice) are clear. The big test was the big trip to Sussex. which I got back fropm in the early hours this morning. The machine performed perfectly and the 750 miles I covered were easier because of this little gizmo.
I have also indulged in a little game of late. This game is called 'beat the sat-nav'. I take different routes and see if it can catch up. I am pleased to say it does. After a little bit of getting me back on the original route, it recalculates a different route automatically without the words 'turn round you berk, you are lost' coming out of the machine.
Inputting destinations can either be done by place name (then you can put in road name and number) or by postcode (it recognises 8 digit postcodes for anyone with 8 digit post or 8 digits).
Points of interest are always a matter of taste and this one does include petrol stations (good idea) and car dealerships (I am bemused by that one).
if you are new to the world of sat-nav or are budget conscious then this may well be the machine for you. I do not need the biggest and most expensive thing to be happy, It does the job and that is what it is there for. If you want a system with a built-in back scratcher then you pays your money and that is the way the cookie crumbles. It covers the Uk and Ireland and that is all I need.
it is possible to upgrade the system. You can download traffic updates with an extra aerial (not supplied) and an annual subscription of £10. I do not and I do not feel I will need to. Some people will and it a handy add-on for them.
Basically, I think for £80 it cannot be beaten.
Pre-installed Maps Of UK and Ireland. 2.8" TFT Touchscreen Display. Voice Guided Directions. SD/MMC Memory Card Expansion Slot. Arrow or Birds-eye 2D Navigation.