Laser Navig8r G35 GPS unit
Laser's Navig8r G35 beats the competition when it comes to price, but its design is underwhelming
- Free map updates (for current map), clear Australian text-to-speech voice, cheap, speed limit warnings (optional extra)
- Small display, sunlight glare makes screen difficult to see, bland design, low quality speaker, keystroke lag when typing
The Laser Navig8r G35 GPS unit is let down by a small, low quality screen and a speaker that isn't loud enough. If you don't care what your GPS looks like, free map updates (with some limitations) and a low price make it seem appealing. However, there are too many issues for us to recommend the G35 as a good buy.
Price$ 169.00 (AUD)
A similar GPS unit to the Navig8r G43 but possessing a smaller screen, the Laser Navig8r G35 performs almost identically to the larger model. At $169 it’s the cheapest GPS unit on the market, but the design is underwhelming and the speaker and screen aren't up to scratch.
The Laser Navig8r G35 GPS unit looks and feels similar to the larger screened model in this series. It’s cased in a bland grey plastic, with a rubber-style strip covering the top and bottom of the unit. The Navig8r logo above the display looks as though it's been stuck on and the unit feels cheap. To be fair, the plastic casing seems sturdy enough and the included plastic window mount is easy to assemble. The cradle can be adjusted to twist left and right in order to position it optimally in your car.
The biggest problem with the Laser Navig8r G35 is its display. In addition to being quite small, it's hard to see in direct sunlight and glare poses a big problem while you're driving on a sunny day. As we found with the larger screened Navig8r, wearing sunglasses only makes the problem worse — we struggled to see the map screen due to the glare off the display. Poor viewing angles are also an issue, though the touch screen is responsive.
The Laser Navig8r G35’s user interface is reasonably effective but the selection boxes and menu options are a little small and the small screen only compounds the issue. The map screen includes three shortcut buttons in the top right corner (quick options, GPS information and battery information). Though these are handy additions, they require you to tap right in the corner of the display, which is hardly ideal while driving.
Searching for an address is a relatively straightforward process. After selecting the navigate option in the main menu you are presented with two options: a three-step wizard or quick step. The former is a regular suburb/street/house number search, while quick step allows you to enter just the first three words of the suburb and street name to save time. Laser also offers navigation to POIs (points of interest), waypoints, favourites and recent search options. You can choose QWERTY or ABC layouts for the keyboard. Typing is frustrating, with noticeable keystroke lag when you attempt to type quickly.
The Laser Navig8r G35’s map screen is clear and straightforward, with a similar look and feel to an Australian UBD street directory. Streets are clearly labelled and text-to-speech instructions have a distinctly Australian feel — pronunciation of street names is for the most part excellent, with Australian names such as “Parramatta” spoken correctly. One of the problems we had with the Navig8r G43 is also evident with the G35: audio quality isn't up to the standard we expected. In addition to sound not being loud enough at its loudest setting, you have to navigate into the settings menu to adjust volume.
The Laser Navig8r G35 has red light and speed camera warnings out of the box, but you only get a free 30-day trial of speed alert warnings. SpeedAlert is available for $9.95 — this optional extra can issue warnings when you are over the speed limit and when speed limits change along your route. The Laser Navig8r G35’s speed and camera alerts are annoying high-pitched sounds, though they do the job.
Two features exclusive to Laser GPS units include advanced turn assist (ATA) and free map updates. Advanced turn assist displays a large arrow of the direction of your next turn in addition to a map snapshot of the turn as it approaches. Laser also promises “lifetime” free map updates — these only include the areas covered by the map you get with the unit at the time of purchase, however. It's still a very good deal. For the latest maps with newly added suburbs, the upgrade fee is $59. These paid updates are available every three months, but you should only require them once a year to keep up to date.
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