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The iCN 520 is a fairly intuitive SatNav and for the feint of heart there is a built-in tutorial covering all the salient points of the unit accessed from the Home menu. This allows you to get on working with it right out of the box and glance at the tutorial only if you get stuck avoiding the need to refer to the helpful and extensive user guide.
The rechargeable battery is only needed when you walk from your house to the car and back as it is supplied with both a home charger and cigar-lighter car charger. Also, the iCN 520 is supplied with a leather slip over cover with a reinforced side for added protection to the screen side of your SatNav while it languishes in your pocket when you transfer between your car and home.
The iCN 520 is also supplied with a USB cable and Software CD to program and manage both maps and Points of Interest (POIs - speed cameras, MacDonalds, petrol stations, etc.) with the aide of your computer. A screen cradle is supplied attached to a sucker to stick it to your windscreen - Although you need to remember to disconnect the car charger cable when inserting or removing it from the cradle as the plug is accessed through a hole in the cradle, which also has a strain-relief clip so the cable does not unplug itself as you travel. My Skoda has the cigar-lighter behind the gear stick rather than in the dashboard so the cable, coiled to offer a long reach without dangling into important parts of the car or your cup of coffee. I experimented with a few positions for the Sat. Nav. on the windscreen, finally settling a position on the right edge of the screen at eye-level.
Time-saving Routing Tip:
Select your destination for your trip in the house so the iCN 520 can calculate the route even before you get in the car, so you are ready to roll when you do!
Be Secure - Take the SatNav with you once you arrive
Do not leave the SatNav in your car and remove the screen cradle and wipe the "coffee ring" off the windscreen before leaving the car. I put the cradle and charger in the glove box but always put the SatNav in its leather case and take it with me out of the car. Its bad enough if someone steals your car so don't leave them a SatNav so they can get directions and rob your house too!
The routing process assumes you want to travel from your current location as determined using GPS triangulation of up to 12 satellites. The destination address needs to be specified in three stages: First enter the 4-digit postcode and select the one of the suggested areas. Enter the Street Name until you uniquely list the street you want. Finally, enter the House Number so house names are of no use to you! You are then given the address in full and offered the chance to save it as a "favourite" location so you can simply select it from your list of favourite place the second time you go there avoiding the need to to the three stages again for that location..
I do sometimes find even the 7-digit postcode struggles in some rural and remote parts of England. My brother resides in such a leafy backwater and both postpersons and SatNav-equipped couriers still struggle to find him!
The iCN 520 has six buttons to the right of the nice-sized touch screen; Home Menu, SatNav On/Off, ESC (back up or exit a screen), Pages to change the displayed information, Plus and Minus keys to zoom in and out of your maps. Also, you have both a four-way joypad with click like you might get on your Playstation for navigating around menu screens together with an extending stylus, that slides into its own slot on the back for storage, for the touch-sensitive screen in case you have pork sausages instead of fingers as indeed I do!
When you are following a route you have a choice if 2D or 3D maps to give you more a sense of an "over the dashboard" view. You can increase and decrease the perspective effect of the 3D by moving the stylus up and down the screen.
Double-tap the screen with the stylus on a valid address or road and a menus appears offering you to view the full detail of the location, save it as a favourite, choose either to navigate to it or avoid the surrounding area altogether.
Tap the stylus in the bottom right-hand of the screen to change the display between; Distance to Destination, Distance to your next turn, Compass Heading, Current Time, Current Speed, Time to Destination, Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA),
One thing I really like about the Navman i520 software is the ability simply to draw an "avoid area" directly on the map screen encompassing places that you want to avoid and the route is planned without passing through it. This is great if there are roadworks or your local knowledge about roads in your area allows you to plan a better than the SatNav when left to its own devices.
The iCN 520 uses the same "camera food" as my Vivitar 5355 - SD memory cards up to 4GB but I have a 2GB in mine, which is sufficient for maps of; UK, Ireland, and all of mainland Europe to street-level. And if I go on holiday I can archive the SD card onto my computer and use it to store extra pictures taken with my digital camera.
The Points of Interest (POIs) part of the SatNav allows you to upload the locations of Safety cameras used to monitor the possibly more hazardous places on your route so you can be apprised of any of these locations and the maximum speed limits that are in force. I found this function next to be useless on both the new iCN 520s I bought and usually alerted me to places after or as I was passing them rather than giving me prior warning. This was a fault that I could not rectify even by repeatedly reinstalling the software and buying another one to see if this was a one off. It was not a one off and the situation was only resolved by chancing upon some Tom Tom 5 software that I could load onto the Navman iCN 520 and this both cured the POI alert problem and provided me with full 8-digit postcodes for locations.
The Navman iCN 520 maps are more detailed than provided by the Tom Tom and your current location is quoted as both a street number and name which is quite impressive but for its other shortcomings.
I bought the Navman iCN 520 at a cost of £175 when they were new which compared very favourably with the £300-odd for a Tom Tom 5. Currently (21 February, 2009), you can pick one up for around £60 on eBay.co.uk or even less if you are lucky. Then my advice is to program it as a Tom Tom 5. Although you might be able to just buy a Tom Tom just as cheap now too. There are two extras that you might consider an extension aerial this may make it quicker to initially pick up the GPS satellites when you first turn it on but I have had no problems without one - even with a windscreen with integral heating wires. The other and in my opinion equally redundant is the remote control. Just pick the thing up and use it! The only amusement you might gain from owning one is if another car you are next to in stop-go traffic also has a Navman iCN 520 then you could play with his or her SatNav as a diversion.
If you do not need to know where your POIs are so badly and you have programmed and saved all your favourite destinations then this is a perfectly serviceable SatNav now available at a knock-down price that would recommend.
Yeah, I brought mine on ebay last year for £70 when Navman brought out a newer model and all the 'latest gadget folk' traded theirs in for latest one. For a while, ebay was full of 510s.
I love it. Its small, lightweight, flat, and fits into the inside pocket of my coat without making me look as if I have one boob bigger then the other. (unlike my Tomtom),
Even I was able to understand and update the software that came with it without having to read the instruction book.!!
A lot of satnav systems have started to be filled with gadgets in order to get you to buy the new and updated model. For instance, you can download other voices, change the screen colours and graphics, connect it to your phone..etc
Navman510 offers none of these facilities. Its simple, uncomplicated and it works great.
Draw back, ok - just a minor one. It doesn't have 7 digit postcode search but do you really need it.? Four digit postcode search gets you into the area, then you can program it with the house number. Ive not found this to be a problem..
If you are REALLY clever, I understand that there is a way of changing the software on a 510 to allow more functions but Ive not found it necessary to investigate this further. Its fine as it is...!!
Having had a built in Satellite Navigation system in my Alfa 147 for 18 months, when the time came to get a company car, for my new role, I was actually concerned. How would I ever find my way from A to B, especially the last mile or two near B without the benefit of an electronic navigation system? I made the decision that I would invest in a new system, as it would be worth it to remove the worry about whether I can find a place and arrive on time using old fashioned maps and printed directions from www.theaa.com!
Picking a System
Tom-tom and Navman seem to be the two main suppliers of in car navigation systems available at present, and both are rapidly gaining in popularity. A colleague of mine also had a Navman which he had raved about, and like me spends a good deal of time on the road between our hotels. The Navman units typically look a little sleeker than their tom-tom counterparts. They have a vast range of navigation systems as well as being an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) of GPS systems. It is easy to upgrade via their website www.navman.com
The Navman iCN 520 system I chose is described as a Drive-Away system, meaning it is extremely simple to install and use. It also has Back-on-Track routing, which no navigation system should be without, in my opinion! Like many of the systems available, this system is easily transferable from one car to another, which was also an important consideration for me, as the first car I have is a temporary vehicle.
When I bought the unit perhaps four months ago, it was retailing at around £300 including VAT (I paid a devatted price). Now, like most technology, increased demand has meant the price has fallen to around £280 including VAT. Just in time for Xmas. Halfords are selling the unit for £350 including a "free" snooper system, so it definitely pays to shop around and find a deal on line if you can.
Inside the Box
I bought my unit from an online supplier and it was received within 48 hours.
The unit itself is remarkably lightweight and measures about 3.5" by 5". You also receive a memory card, a computer disc showing maps relevant to the purchase e.g. GB and Ireland and an application disc. You can purchase additional maps if necessary. Most of Europe is 95% to 100% mapped, with the exception of Spain, Portugal and Ireland (major cities are mapped though).
There is also a USB cable, so you can download maps and Points of Interest (read Speed Cameras!) from the website, and a cigarette charger to top up the battery while you are on the move. You don't have to do any downloading to use the Navman however, as it is a "Drive Away" unit.
You also get all the necessary bits and pieces to attach the unit to the windscreen and an A4 diagram showing you how to put all these bits together in eight easy steps!
You also get a pouch which you can use to protect the Navman when you leave the car. Given that satellite navigation units are now a prime target for thieves it is good practice to remove it and take it with you (don't just leave it in the glove compartment, as the cradle stuck on the windscreen gives away the fact that you have a unit)
Finally there is a 100 page instruction manual, full of step by step instructions on how to operate the Navman.
I followed the 8 step document to attach the cradle to the windscreen, which was relatively straightforward. I positioned this on the windscreen as per the drawings, but in hindsight the position is not the most ideal as sometimes I feel it is blocking my view slightly. Having ensured that the unit was switched on, and fitted with memory card and map of Britain, I tried to slot into the cradle and found my first hurdle.
I found at first that I simply could not get the suction pad to stick to the windscreen! It simply kept falling off all the time. I resorted to phoning Halfords to see if they were aware of such a problem. There was supposed to be an alcohol wipe in the box, but I did not appear to have one. Halfords were not aware of such a problem, but did say I could go down and someone would have a look for me. I was slightly concerned as the following day I had a drive from Scotland to Maidstone.
Eventually I tried the suction pad one more time and amazingly it stuck, where it has remained to this day. Finally we were in business.
There is a tutorial on the Navman itself, and you can access this from the start up menu. You can also use the instruction booklet, but to be honest, it seems to be overkill in terms of its instruction.
There is a stylus which conveniently slots into the back of the unit, and replacements are available if you do manage to lose it.
Using the Navman
Even without resorting to the user guide, the Navman is straightforward and simple to use. I did access the tutorial first of all, to understand the main buttons on the unit. To set a route, you simply need to select the "Go To" option from the Main Menu page, and you will be able to select from a range of options.
Recent routes will be stored, and this is obviously very useful as it saves you having to type the whole thing in again. You can also store in your HOME address (which could of course be any address that you navigate to frequently). If you need to input a new address you can do this by using the town name, street name, postcode or a point of interest (e.g. nearest Airport, Hospital, hotel, petrol station, anything!)
I tend to use the street name where possible, and then enter the house number if known. This is perhaps the quickest and most accurate method. The postcode functionality will get you to the right location very quickly, but as you can only enter the postcode in the format ZZ1 1.. then you might find yourself struggling for the last few hundred yards, which is usually when you need a navigation system the most. Fortunately for me, as I work in a Hotel group, many of our properties are also shown, as Points of Interest, and so that can also be very accurate to use.
You can configure the points of interest that you want to be shown on the map, although given that the screen is relatively small you will not want to select all options as you won't be able to see the route for all the pictures.
The route is shown in a kind of 3d display, so you can see how the road network spans out in front of, and to the side of you. It took me a couple of attempts to read the instructions properly, especially with regard to exiting motorways and major roads. You can also select a 2d display option. The system has built in Traffic Blackspot areas, so you can avoid these, and will navigate you to points of interest such as petrol stations.
You can opt whether to have the voice instruction on or off. If it is in a built up area, then it is a lot easier to follow a voice than try and read a screen at the same time as navigating a city centre. For longer journeys with more motorway driving I would tend to have it switched off, as I don't need to be told to "bear right" at every junction!
If you go off track, the system will recalculate the route for you, and put you back on track. Like any navigation system, sometimes you will find that you think you know a better route and will overrule its decision (neither of my two navigation systems seems to recognise the A70 as a valid way of accessing the M74 from my old address in Ayr, despite the fact I live 100 yards from the A70. I am not sure why this is the case, other than the systems must perceive the road as not to be suitable. If you therefore take the route not as guided by the system, you may find that data such as estimated time of arrival may not be as accurate until the system catches up with you.
If you forget to connect the unit to the cigarette lighter and you are on a long journey, you will invariably find you get a warning to connect without delay. This can be alarming if you are driving at the time, as you need to try and connect the power cable while driving, or risk losing your instructions. It isn't a major problem as long as you remember to ensure the unit has continuous power before you drive off!
My other little niggle I have is probably typical of all systems which adhere to the windscreen. In bright sunny weather it can be difficult to see the screen! I didn't have this problem with my factory fitted system in the Alfa as this was mounted in the centre console.
You can use the Routing options to select your preferences, for example to avoid the toll roads, or to spend more or less time on motorways, or whether you prefer the quickest or shortest route.
Overall, I am more than satisfied with my purchase, and despite the limitations of not using a full postcode, I have not had any major problems with finding my way since its purchase four months ago. I perceive that battery life is a little short (but then I am on the road A LOT), and it was slightly out with one of my destinations, but all in all it is a reliable and straightforward system to use, and in the case of the latter point, is streets ahead in terms of ease of use, when compared to the Alfa system I have in my other car.
The Navman iCN 520 is the latest offering in the iCN transferable series. It is a sleek, pocket sized mobile GPS solution delivering outstanding performance features and design. The iCN 520 enables you to accurately navigate from door-to-door using the latest Map data, all controlled via the easy-to-use interface.