So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
GPS that provides an excellent navigational experience.
- Design, large display, “gliding” touch screen interface, keyword search method, text-to-speech pronunciation, clear map screen, Bluetooth
- Touch-sensitive menu key isn’t always responsive, glide interface can be annoying while driving, traffic channel antenna is an optional extra
Although the S150 doesn't have all of the features of its more expensive sibling, Bluetooth hands-free remains, as does the excellent navigational experience.
Price$ 499.00 (AUD)
The S150 is part of Navman’s new S-Series Platinum range of GPS devices. It provides a similar navigational experience to the top-of-the-line S300T, but it doesn't have built-in traffic and FM transmission. However, it still includes Bluetooth hands-free and lane guidance.
The S-Series Platinum range is perhaps the most attractive collection of in-car GPS units currently available. The units have brushed metal cases and gloss black bezels.
Most operations centre on the touch screen, though there is a power button at the top and two touch-sensitive buttons to the right of the screen: a main menu button and an instant location capture button. The responsiveness of the buttons is not great, unfortunately.
Navman has redesigned the user interface, and it now employs a scrollable “glide” touch screen. Instead of the menus being multiple pages, you press the touch screen with your thumb then hold and drag upwards to reveal the rest of the menu. The result is a similar experience to using the iPhone 3G, though the iPhone is slightly more responsive than the S150.
It can be a little frustrating having to drag your finger up and down the screen while operating the unit in the car; — in this respect, the traditional method of tapping an icon on the display may a better option. Still, Navman deserves some credit for thinking outside the square, and the S150 is a very user-friendly unit.
The search function and address entry method have been overhauled. The S300T has three key search methods: 'go', 'find' and 'explore'. The 'go' menu allows you to enter an address, 'find' allows you to search for specific places or businesses while 'explore' searches an area for points of interest (POIs). Instead of address entry being a three-stage process (city, street then house number), you simply type the full address in one screen and the S150 will present a list of options. This is much faster and more convenient than having to wade through multiple screens.
The map screen is clear and concise. Tapping the left edge of the screen brings up a scrollable options menu. While you’re on a route, this can display a list of all the turns on your route, a complete overview of the route and information about the route including distance to go, ETA and average speed. We appreciated the list of turns, which has a different icon for each type of turn. You can also customise what’s displayed on the top right corner of the map display, choosing from distance remaining, remaining time to go, km/h, ETA and the current time.
Navman has also introduced 3-D landmarks, 3-D junction views and lane guidance to the S-Series Platinum. The 3-D landmarks don’t contribute much to the experience, but junction views and lane guidance are impressive features. They provide a much clearer image when exiting major intersections, freeways and multiple lane roads. Also new are the NAVTEQ maps. We didn’t have too many issues during testing, though we did encounter one faulty turn. Apart from this mistake it was pretty smooth sailing and the text-to-speech pronunciations are excellent.
The S150 doesn’t come with a traffic subscription as standard, so you’ll need to purchase an additional TMC antenna in order to have access to the SUNA Traffic Channel. Pricing is yet to be announced, but it should be between $100 and $150 and will include a lifetime subscription.
Rounding out the package is a full safety database of speed and red light cameras, school zones, railway crossings and accident black spots. Bluetooth hands-free, a mileage reporter and a digital log book, as well as the ability to search via TrueLocal using Bluetooth are all included. NavPix is also a feature, though Navman has dropped the built-in camera. Finally, a microSD card slot allows you to view pictures and listen to music, but there is no video playback option.
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