Product Type: Navman in GPS Navigation
Newest Review: ... we're on the subject of warnings, I would also like to recommend that anyone considering getting any kind of Navman does their re... more
Navman F45: Can break the most solid of relationships!
Member Name: Holland1
Advantages: Quite useful for motorway driving (I'm being generous here!)
Disadvantages: Excessive charge for map updates, can't find roads, takes silly routes, very sensitive touchscreen
***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.
Summary: Don't. Just Don't.