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Having just been on an overnight break in the Lake District, I decided to take the opportunity to do a review of our satnav. To be honest, I've been putting it off as I don't have a good relationship with this bit of kit. It usually results in my partner and I turning up at our destination late, in bad moods, and barely speaking as the satnav has tested my fiance's patience to the limit and has resulted in him swearing and punching the steering wheel. It's not the best start to a weekend away, and it's definitely on the list for a future birthday/Christmas present. However, I will try to be unbiased for the sake of this review.
***So, does it have any redeeming features?***
Perhaps I should start with the positives. The Navman comes with everything you could possibly need to get started on the road. It contains the satnav itself which is sturdy but reasonably lightweight, the charger which goes in your cigarette compartment, and a windscreen mount. I have to say the windscreen mount is excellent, and unlike others I've seen, it actually stays attached to the windscreen due to the clip at the back of the suction pad.
The gadget itself is a decent size, with a 4.3" touchscreen. This makes it easy to see once it's mounted on the windscreen, without being so big it obstructs too much of your view. I can't really comment on the battery life, because I keep it plugged in throughout the journey to avoid the need to fumble around looking for the charger whilst trying to drive.
The satnav itself is easy to programme, without having to spend hours reading the instruction manual. Anyone can just turn it on, go to the navigation screen and figure out how to enter their destination. There are a few ways of doing this, you can either programme it by postcode, street, city, or place of attraction. It will tell you if there are any toll roads on your journey, so you won't be unprepared, and it can also work out an alternative route if you so desire. Once you've been on a few journeys, you can search by recent destinations, home, or favourites. It gives you alternative views, 2D or 3D, and has an icon which moves with you so you can see easily where your turn-offs are and where you are heading so there are no sudden surprises. It also shows the mileage of your journey, and the estimated time of arrival, and as you're driving it gives indications of speed cameras.
I would say this satnav is best suited to motorway driving, as it seems more familiar with these roads I guess due to fewer major changes being made compared to about-town driving. It's very good at giving you warning about which turn-off to take, and also when to stay to the left or right when the motorway branches off sometimes, so you don't end up drifting into the wrong lane and being forced to take the wrong route.
***And the not so good features?***
Unfortunately, in my opinion, the negatives of this satnav basically just wipe out everything I've just said. The negatives far outweigh the positives, and are (for me personally), irredeemable. Where to start....
Well, firstly, I'd like to bring your attention to the most major flaw of this satnav, which is that it costs around £40 to update the maps. This basically means that you have to factor into the cost of the satnav, the fact that you'll spend as much in the first year or so on updates. I would say that within the first six months of using this satnav, a lot of roads we used had changed, and the satnav either didn't recognise postcodes, tried to take us into ditches, tried to get us to enter one-way streets from the wrong direction, completely ignored roundabouts which had appeared and generally proved to be about as useful as a chocolate teapot. To me, this negates the point of buying a lower priced satnav in the first place, as you may as well spend a bit more and get one which updates your maps for free.
Whilst we're on the subject of warnings, I would also like to recommend that anyone considering getting any kind of Navman does their research beforehand, because for some of the models THEY DON'T EVEN DO MAP UPDATES, which will basically render your purchase pointless. As the roads change over the years, you will be forced to buy a new satnav to keep up with the changes. Personally I think this is scandalous, but is something not many people are aware of.
Moving on to my next rant, which is the sensitivity of the touchscreen. I actually thought this most recent journey with the satnav was going to signal its demise to satnav heaven, as my partner almost smashed the screen when he got annoyed that the woman reading out the postcode he was trying to enter kept picking random letters and numbers which were nowhere near the ones he was trying to press. At one point, I was trying to conceal a smile as the comical pronunciation of the irritating woman was clearly pushing him to the limit, and lets just say the language in the car was a little "blue" at this stage. Bearing in mind this was before we'd even set off, I knew it was going to be a long, painful journey.
Annoyingly, the ON/OFF/RESET buttons for this gadget are positioned next to one another, so if you get a bit heavy handed trying to move the knob, you'll accidentally end up resetting the satnav and losing your favourite/recent/home destinations, which I can tell you from experience, doesn't do much to improve your relationship with it (or your partner).
The only time I have lost signal whilst using this satnav is going through the tunnel (between Wirral and Liverpool in my case). Luckily, I tend to know roughly where I'm going when I get out of the tunnel because the satnav doesn't recalculate quickly enough to tell you which lane to be in, so if you didn't know the area you'd have to go by instinct. I personally find the satnav very slow at calculating journeys in general. Usually I end up going back to the home screen to try again because I think it hasn't picked up the postcode, but in actual fact it's just taking its time calculating. This also applies to when it tries to take you down one-way streets, if you keep driving it does eventually recalculate but it will take its time so in the meantime it's down to guesswork. I find this particularly frustrating for city driving, which is the main reason I wanted a satnav because I find city driving quite stressful, and was hoping my satnav would put an end to this by helping me get in the right lanes. WRONG!
The satnav has a choice of male or female voice, and we use the female one basically because I don't really see much difference between them quality-wise, and her pronunciation does give some much needed (if not short-lived) humour on long journeys. It can be quite difficult to hear her when it's raining heavily or the road is very noisy, even with the radio off you end up trying to move your head towards the windscreen to hear her. Usually you wish you hadn't bothered as she's trying to kill you by getting you to drive against the flow of traffic.
My final rant is the odd occasion when this satnav does actually pick up the route for your destination, it tends to pick the most convoluted and indirect way of getting there. I remember a trip to the Peak District a couple of years ago, in the snow, and this satnav insisted on taking us off main roads, up hilly dirt tracks which were on a cliff edge, only to bring us back to the main road we were on originally. I presume that this is because it shaves a quarter of a mile off the journey, but when you're in need of new tyres and just want the safest route, I'd probably recommend following road signs rather than using this thing. There have been a number of times we've looked at each other and said "Really?" as the satnav has suggested going a way we think is illogical, and usually we would have been safer and quicker going our own way.
On paper, this satnav is a steal at around £70 from online retailers. But my advice to you is, start your holiday off in a much better mood, and spend a bit more on a better brand. This one will cost you in the long run, especially as you have to pay for map updates (if they don't get discontinued too, like many other Navman models).
Thanks for listening to my rant....sorry, I mean reading my review.
After resisting the sat nav faze I finally relented and purchased this Navman F45 and am I glad that I did. It's a really smart, sleek little sat nav with a touch screen for navigation. The various settings are easy to play around with, so in no time at all I was out on the road not having to glance at a map. It's a typical sat nav with voice commands, you can choose male or female, that tell you when to turn or merge etc. The maps are really clear and the arrow tracks along with you as you drive. You can pick different settings for the maps, so you can have time to distance, distance travelled or distance to travel as just some of the options.
The unit comes with the standard in car charging, which goes into the cigarette lighter, but we also found that one of our phone chargers works for in house charging (it was a Motorola charger). The battery does last for quite a while though, so don't worry if your car doesn't have a cigarette lighter, mine lasted for 6 hours before it finally gave up the ghost and needed charging again.
I've found that the maps are very accurate and I haven't managed to get lost at all since I bought this. I like how easy it is to input data and to save that data. You don't even need to have a postcode to enter a place into the sat nav, although it does help. The unit is very quick at getting the maps set up when you do enter the data and there are regular updates you can buy and download from the Navman website. But the absolute best thing about this sat nav is that it's very small and so can fit easily into my handbag when I need to take it out of the car when I have finished driving!
My male ego always dictated that I would never need a Sat Nav, that I had an excellent sense of direction and that I always knew where I was going "in my head". That was fine when I used to only hire cars every now and then to drive familiar routes. 18 months ago I decided to buy my own car...17.5 months ago I decided I needed a Sat Nav.
I never knew that there were so many products and manufacturers in this market and so choosing a model was pretty difficult. As I was still in my belligerent phase, I assumed I wouldn't be needing/using it much so I wanted to keep the costs down. I was also reliably told that you "pay for the name" when it comes to Tom Tom's. I eventually opted for the Navman F45, having done some high street browsing before eventually ordering it off Amazon.
2 things drew me towards this model, firstly the price...£75 seemed pretty reasonable to me for up to date full UK and Europe coverage, a charger for the car and a windscreen mount. There really are no hidden costs with this system. The second thing was the design and look of the product, sleek black finish with a great 4.3" touchscreen...there would be no squinting of eyes to see what was going on!
Once I got the Navman out of the box and had a play around with it, I was still equally impressed with what I found. This is so easy to use, a simple on/off switch on top and a socket to plug in the charger and you're ready to go. Once it is booted up, the language selected and the safety announcement agreed to (didn't really read this) then you are presented with an easy to follow main menu. There are loads of options, spread across 3 pages including Food, Fuel and parking for when you just need to find the nearest one of each. More often than not you will be using it for navigation and so you will select the address option. Once in this you can enter either a street name, place or postcode via the simple touchscreen keyboard that pops up.
Having had this a while I can honestly say I have never had a problem with the system not giving me an accurate street name based on a postcode in the UK. Once entered and the address selected, the Navman will calculate the quickest route. I am always impressed by how quickly the route comes up, I sometimes use it when I pretty much know the quickest route already and it always agrees with me. If you are likely to be in a rush when you get in the car then you can pre-programme the address as a favourite which is then stored on the device. In fact, you can store up to 200 destinations as favourites which is great if you have places you will be visiting on more than one occasion.
The connection is always very swift, taking literally from turning it on to the GPS picking up your location. If you were to miss a turn for whatever reason then it will update and recalculate an alternative route very quickly
I have a few favourite features about this device which I'll tell you about. The intelligent feature that makes the device recognise when it is night and day is very clever. The screen automatically adjusts the brightness to make is less distracting to the driver depending on the light conditions. There is pre-loaded speed/safety camera information which is very useful for avoiding those £60 fines (or worse). The device emits a beeping sound when you are approaching one of these cameras and are going faster than the legal limit. Another feature I really like is the ability to choose the map view you want. 3D map, 2D map, Route summary and Turn-by-turn all have their uses in different circumstances.
A clever built in feature if that if you plan a route that includes toll roads then the device will let you know and offer alternative routes in order to avoid the charges.
In the interests of a balanced review I have to try and come up with some negatives which is genuinely quite difficult for this bit of kit. I suppose the battery life isn't great if you were to not have it plugged in. Personally I only ever use it in the car and so it is always plugged in when it is on.
When I was in America last year I hired a car and was given a Garmin Nuvi to play with. I did notice when using this that it seemed a little bit quicker all round than my Navman. Whether it was the fact there were more street in Los Angeles to challenge the accuracy or maybe the GPS signal was slightly better over there I don't know, but it just seemed to be absolutely bang on with my location no matter what speed I was going. Coming back home and using the Navman, it just seemed to be a tiny bit slower in updating my exact position on the roads. I've looked up the Garmin model I had and it is 50% more expensive than what I paid for my Navman and so for the money I am happy to take this ever-so-slight hit on the overall performance.
This device is no frills, lots of the gimmicky stuff that you get on the more expensive models on the market has been removed. There is no Bluetooth, wifi, traffic management or multimedia player for example. If, like me, you just want it to help you to get from A-B then it is perfect for that.
In summary, this GPS system really does pack a lot of punch for the money it will set you back. Lovely widescreen, intuitive features and superb reliability with everything you need to get going included in the box, you really cannot go wrong with this device.
It was my birthday a week ago, I opened the present from my girlfriend and found the stunning Navman F45. Having no sense of direction and always getting lost using the tradition street directory, this is exactly what I needed. Women sometimes have a special ability to read your thoughts... they are like psychic!
The first thing I noticed when I unboxed the Navman F45 is its crisp brilliant touchscreen, it makes reading maps an experience. It weighs 155 grams with dimensions 80 x 137 x 18.5mm. The touch screen display is 4.3 inches with a resolution of 480 x 272 pixels. The bundle came with the usual vehicle charger, USB cables, mounting bracket and a CD. Okay, the details are out of the way.
We decided to take it for a drive right away. It has the usual voice spoken tun-by-turn instructions and preloaded database of maps. What impressed me was its ability to detect safety cameras. Having been a victim of speed and red light cameras in the past, this device came in very handy. I remember using my uncle's GPS (can't remember the make) and it didn't have the camera detection built in, so this was a bonus for me. After using it a few times, I realised it had a day/night display that automatically adjusts screen brightness. Also a cool perk. The connectivity is outstanding when compared to my uncle's device, it was able to pull out the maps a lot quicker. Cue geek talk: It's like having an Intel i7 compared to a Core 2 Duo... Know what I mean?
I'm still going through the features, but all in all it is a great device and the best birthday gift ever! I think it will replace my girlfriend...
With absolutely no sense of direction and being terrible at remembering routes my girlfriend saw it fit to purchase me a new friend. What a great friend he is. I would be utter lost without this thing. I had never laid hands on one before and thankfully it was really simple to get to grips with. The menu's are quite self explanitory and you can choose a destination based on a road name, post code, points of interest nearby ect.. So far it has served me really well the only thing I can complain about is the battery life, although you can charge it while your driving. When I first had my car the lighter socket wasn't working so I was unable to do this and the battery only seemed to last about 2 - 3 hours.
The directions are pretty easy to understand and you can choose from about 4 - 5 different views. I normally choose the 2D one. Once you have chosen a view you can also zoom in or out so you can see more of the vicinity you are in. It also picks up speed cameras so can save you a fortune in points and speeding tickets lol.
You dont get too many accessories in the box.. You get a CD which I have never used as the maps I need already seem to be on the Navman, a sucktion stand thing for you to set the nav man up on your car window, a car charger cable and a USB charger cable. It would have been nice to maybe get AT LEAST a stylus or some kind of protectice case.
I think this item does represent value for money. To me this is an absolute godsend which I now find to be a necessity and I have never had any problems using it.
Last year I was planning a trip to London so decided to borrow my friends sat nav. Since then I have recently invested in my own model.
The Navman F45 for Europe is a great piece of kit. I generally do a lot of touring about and camping and decided to go a bit further a field this year so this Navman was an essential for me. In my opinion it is hard enough to drive on the opposite side of the road without knowing where you are going on top of that!!
The Navman itself is very clear and concise. One thing that I would recommend is that you always plug it into the computer now and again to update it, otherwise you will be driving down a road (if its a new road) and the sat nav wont have a clue where you are - and niether will you!!
As for the F45, its very easy to use, just type in your postcode or the name of your destination and away you go. I would recommend that you read the instructions befor going on a long journey or using the Navman for the first time because it has a lot of features and different settings and if you press the wrong button (ie zoom out too much) it can be a little confusing!
Apart from that the screen is very clear and so are the directions, I keep mine plugged into the car to save the battery and have it mounted for a clear view.
Now that I have actually gotten around to buying a sat nav, I often wonder how I ever did without one! Also, sat navs have went down drastically in price recently and for £70 I think this is a bargain!
Give it a go - great for touring.
Thanks for reading!