* Prices may differ from that shown
People are constantly telling me that I need to get myself out of the dark ages and stop trying to travel around the country using the old fashioned map system, you know the ones, several sheets of paper with pretty colours imprinted on them, all stapled inside a shiny covering. So, with more and more people talking about there Sat navs, boasting of how easy they were finding there destination in minimum of time, I began to seriously consider getting one of these devices to see what they were actually like. Plus the fact that my kids were laughing at me every time I took a wrong turning on our travels, which was getting a little annoying indeed. Anyway, when I was chatting to a work colleague he advised me to start with a cheap and cheerful 'sat nav' just in case I didn't like using them, although I really think he was having a laugh at me, seeing me as a bit of an old boy who was afraid of coming into the 21st century... cheek. So, this colleague recommended a few devices to help me get from A to B as quickly as possible, including makes such as a 'Tom Tom', which I had heard of, and a 'garmin', which I think I raise my eyebrows at as I had never heard of it. But his personal recommendation for, as he put it, 'a beginner' was this device called a 'snooper' sapphire with GPS, as he believed it would ease me onto the satnav ladder with the least frustration ** SPECS... * 2.7 inch TFT QVGA full colour (320x240) LCD display with touch screen * H: 90mm high x 16mm deep x 55mm wide * Compact design for mobility * 256MB built in memory with an option to add a 256MB T-flash micro SD card * Full Post Code search * Full voice instruction * 2D and 3D mapping * MP3 and MP4 player * Photo viewer * Built in SIRF III GPS antenna * Built in rechargeable battery * Preinstalled 'route' package of UK and Ireland * Pre set points available plus several preinstalled 'points of interest' * Comes with a stylus for the touch screen * Embedded GPS Patch Antenna Plus, on subscription you can get... * Speed camera location program * Optional GPS Golf Shot saver ** IN CONCLUSION... Well, I have to admit it, after using this for a few months, my work colleague was right indeed when he said how easy this was to use and how understandable the given directions are. In fact I found this 'satnav' so simple to use that I may now have to get rid of the many street maps that I have acquired over time, now that will be one big bonfire. It has everything a driver needs to help in that stressless journey around the UK, (and Ireland), including the sometimes controversial speed camera location and possible position of mobile cameras too, all at a reasonable price indeed, around £30.00 a year, although I have read that a £100 up front payment will give you this for the life of the gadget. NOTE: To update the speed camera data base you will require a PC running windows 98SE and above and internet access Anyway, the 2.7 inch screen may not be the biggest but the LCD screen is so clear that you'd believe the screen was a lot bigger, although the way the maps scrolls along, surrounding the green triangle arrow as I travel along makes reading the maos so easy indeed. The views of the maps are crystal clear, in both 2D and 3D, making it easier for me to simply glance at the smallish, yet perfectly adequate, size screen without taking my eyes off the road for more than a second, and with the voice description telling me where to turn I'm finding getting lost very hard to do. Apparently the map which are shown on this device are supported by 'Navteq', who supply maps to most satnav companies, so this gave me a little more confidence when using it. And a note for the golfers out there... There is the Golf Pro Shot Saver, which can give you the exact position of over 2000 golf courses around the UK and Ireland, plus the mapping of all these courses so you can get around them with ease. Although this is an optional extra and can be bought via a subscription. I have no need for it myself, but it is there if you need it. I found that inputting my destination was so simple, using a standard postcode to locate the location I need to be, this is all done under the menu screen and following the easy to understand instructions. Plus, I have found the more times I have used it the easier it has become to 'program', making travelling a lot less frustrating. The sound quality is not too bad, although I recommend closing your car windows and maybe turning down you ABBA CD a little as the internal speaker is only 1W and will not blast out your ear drums at all. The internal battery is a 3.7V Li Ion and it charges up quite quickly indeed, from either the mains or your car itself, plus on a full charge it will last an entire working day with ease. In all, it is a rather nice little mapping system and, considering it is about the size of a 20 packet of cigarette, it is so easily transportable, I have often used it whilst on foot, sometimes just for the practice in getting the hang of it. Now for the price, well, it's not the cheapest satnavs on the market, and cost a hell of a lot more than your average road map of England and northern Island, but it has so much installed information in such a compact package that the price tag of around £120 is not bad at all.