- Included B2 hands-free module, intuitive user interface, convenient parking and fuel buttons, compact size and weight, external volume controls, 3.5in touch screen
- No multi-stop trips, no AC adapter or USB cable included, sluggish re-routing times, battery life could be improved.
The F40 is a mid-range unit, with an excellent user interface and clear maps. The included hands-free module only sweetens the deal.
Price$ 599.00 (AUD)
The Navman F40 sits between the F20 and the N40i in the company's range of dedicated in-car GPS units. It offers convenient fuel and parking buttons, a 3.5in touch screen and includes a B2 hands-free unit that enables calls from your mobile through the F40 using Bluetooth.
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The F40 is equipped with the popular SiRFstarIII GPS receiver and its performance is efficient and speedy. We found the unit took anywhere between 30 seconds and a minute to pick up a signal after being turned on, even with an obscured view of the sky.
Like most of the Navman range, the F40 is simple to use as most of its operations can be accessed via main menu screen. From here you simply tap the displayed icons to navigate to your home, a specific address or point of interest (POI), a saved favourite destination or a recent destination you've navigated to. You can also edit or change any preferences including time, language, units and navigation voice. Like the F20, the general menu appearance is bright and colourful, with clearly labelled icons.
When searching for a specific address the F40 filters suburbs by state, and this reduces the list of results to a manageable number. From here it is possible to search for a specific city, area, street or point of interest. The destination can then be pinpointed by choosing to navigate to a specific house number, intersection or even to the centre of the street or city. However, the F40 doesn't allow searching via postcode, nor does it allow multi-stop trips, which is disappointing. The F40's address entry screen uses a large on-screen keyboard, but you'll need to use your fingertips for the best possible accuracy. There is also a number pad available by pressing the '123' button at the bottom of the keyboard.
The F40 uses SmartST 2006 SE mapping software with the latest WhereIS R13 maps. A map with all states of Australia is pre-loaded onto the unit. The overall navigational experience is pleasing thanks to clear maps and precise voice instructions. The maps can be zoomed in and out and can also be tilted up and down when in 3D view. Using the route information screen, the F40's map displays current time, current speed, estimated time of arrival, distance to the destination and estimated time to reach the destination. It also includes a convenient progress bar on the left hand side of the map. Our only complaint is with re-routing times; they aren't as quick as we would have liked and the F40 struggles to keep up with rerouting, especially when driving on main roads.
The usual routing options, such as avoiding tolls or warning when routes include tolls are supported. Users can also set a preference for using motorways or normal urban roads and this is taken into consideration when the unit calculates a route. Navman has also included a route demonstrator to preview your trip. Other features of the F40 include the ability to adjust the screen brightness as well as a user-configured preset speed warning alert. The F40 doesn't include any speed camera or red light camera warnings out of the box but you can download these from the Navman Web site. These safety warnings are official licensed data and the secured download can be loaded onto your Navman unit at no extra cost.
The F40 comes bundled with an accessory called the B2 hands-free. This attaches to the F40's window mount and provides Bluetooth hands-free access to your mobile phone through the F40. Conveniently, calls received are displayed on the F40's screen, and the large, illuminated answer/end call buttons on the front of the B2 allow you to easily answer and reject incoming calls. The B2 is operated using a control switch and it utilises voice technology. Pushing the switch opens the voice menu, and the options are read out; the B2 even allows you to record keywords so you can use voice recognition to make a phone call, as well as send contacts to it from your mobile phone. Our only complaint with the B2 is that it's a bit flimsy to attach and detach to the F40's window mount.
The F40 is on the smaller side for a dedicated in-car unit, and although it isn't designed to be portable, its compact size and weight means it's easy to remove from your window mount for storage, or to take from car to car. Despite the small size, the F40 feels solid and well built thanks to grey plastic casing. Navman has conveniently included external volume controls on the right hand side. Although their presence is welcome, giving you quick access to volume on the fly, we prefer Navman's previous volume scroll wheel. The F40's volume buttons are a flat, rubber style and can be difficult to press quickly while driving. Navman also includes an SD card slot, and a mini-USB port for charging and synchronising with a PC.
The F40 offers a 3.5in touch screen that is bright and clear and it responds well for most uses. The TFT display is excellent for viewing both day and night time maps, and is further enhanced by Navman's easy to grasp interface. We found the screen had a good horizontal and vertical viewing angle, but it suffered a little in direct sunlight, even with brightness at the highest setting.
The unit is easy to operate thanks to the row of buttons on the left hand side. You can quickly change the map view using the cycle Maps key; the F40 offers standard 2D and 3D views, as well as turn lists and next turn views. The latter shows information relative to the next turn including the direction to turn and the distance to it. There is also a button for the main menu, as well as convenient parking and fuel buttons. Pressing these keys (marked with a P symbol and a picture of a fuel pump) brings up a list of the nearest parking and petrol stations which you can navigate to with two simple button presses.
The F40 sales package includes a car windscreen mount and cigarette lighter adapter, but no USB cable or AC power adapter. According to Navman, the F40's internal battery is rated at up to five hours, depending on usage. We averaged about three and a half hours of use before we had to charge the unit again.
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