- Stylish design, compact window mount, vivid interface, keyboard says letters out loud, preloaded speed and red light camera alerts, Bluetooth handsfree, NavPix
- Re-routing times are a little slow, no text-to-speech, no built-in camera for NavPix
The S50 adds Bluetooth handsfree and NavPix for a reasonable price. Although there is no camera to take NavPix photos, it's still a useful application.
Price$ 499.00 (AUD)
The S50 is the second model in Navman's S-Series range and adds NavPix, a larger 4.3in widescreen display and handsfree calling with Bluetooth connectivity.
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The S-Series focuses on a stylish and intelligent design. Cased in silver and gloss black plastic, the lightweight frame feels well built. A highlight is the window mount; it's small and is easy to clip on and off if you are moving the unit from car to car.
The S50 features a vivid menu system; it's bright and colourful, with clearly labelled icons. Most operations are accessed via the main menu screen -- tapping the displayed icons can navigate to your saved home location, a specific address, one of 500,000 points of interest (POI), a saved favourite destination or a recent destination. You can also edit or change any preferences from the home screen. Gone are the physical parking and fuel buttons of previous units -- these are now accessed via icons on the main menu, along with tourist destinations, food outlets and emergency services.
The S50 allows you to navigate using pictures with NavPix technology, but there is no camera on this unit. Instead, it comes preloaded with popular destinations within Australia, including the Sydney Opera House and Uluru (Ayers Rock). You can download more NavPix photos from the NavPix library online and upload them onto the S50 for your own use.
The S50 is equipped with the popular SiRFstarIII GPS receiver which proved to be efficient and speedy, taking less than a minute to pick up a GPS signal.
When searching for a specific address the S50 filters suburbs by state, reducing the list of results to a manageable number. The destination can then be pinpointed by navigating to a specific house number, intersection or to the centre of the street or city, and you can also navigate multi-stop trips. The S50 doesn't allow searching via postcode though. The address entry screen uses an on-screen keyboard that can be set to either normal alphabetic or QWERTY. A new feature says letters out loud as you tap them, aiming to prevent mistakes.
The S50 uses SmartST 2008 navigation software with the latest WhereIS R14 maps. Clear maps and precise voice instructions are highlights, though there is no text-to-speech. Tapping on the information box in the top right corner opens a convenient route information drop down, while an icon in the bottom right corner can display battery life, GPS reception and a mute button. Re-routing times are solid but not outstanding; the S50 can struggle to keep up, especially on main roads.
The usual routing options (avoid or warn of tolls, unsurfaced roads and ferry routes) are supported, and users can also set a preference for using motorways. Navman includes a user-configured preset speed warning alert and preloaded speed and red light camera alerts. There is also a tripmeter which acts as a digital log book -- an ideal feature for tax time.
The S50 has Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free calling. Pairing is quick and easy and there are a number of phone functions you can access through the S50 including your phonebook, SMS messages and your call log. A large dial and access to your phonebook means you won't have to pick up your phone while it's in the car. Voice quality is average; we'd recommend using a small microphone accessory for better quality.
Battery life is rated at up to five hours, though we experienced closer to four on a full charge. There is no AC adapter included in the package, so you'll have to charge the S50 in your car, or via USB.
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GGG Evaluation Team
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