Road Angel Navigator 7000
- Outstanding and comprehensive safety features, good maps and voice guidance, MP3 player and photo viewer, excellent battery life
- Interface and user experience could be improved, no external volume control, sunlight glare an issue, chunky windscreen mount
The Navigator 7000 is outstanding for road safety thanks to its "Road Sense" subscription, but its navigational performance could be improved.
Price$ 999.00 (AUD)
A hoard of safety features, including a constantly updated database of red light cameras, speed cameras and school zones, is the outstanding feature of Road Angel's Navigator 7000. A successor to the Navigator, the Navigator 7000 is an outstanding road safety product, but its navigation performance could be improved.
The Navigator 7000 features a fully fledged GPS and a comprehensive road safety package called Road Sense. This aims to take some pressure off drivers by including safety warnings for a range of road hazards, including red light cameras, accident black spots, school zones, speed cameras and railway crossings. The Navigator 7000 includes three months of Road Sense updates. Optional updates are then $9.95 per month or $129 for a yearly subscription. Updating the Navigator 7000 is a simple matter of connecting it to your PC via the supplied USB cable and running the update software.
The Road Sense data can also be updated via Bluetooth. Users can use their mobile phone to update the 7000 if they need to update the unit quickly and don't have access to a PC. Unfortunately, data rates are high, so we don't recommend this unless absolutely necessary.
Purely as a road safety device, the Navigator 7000 is an outstanding product. When approaching road hazards, users are warned by audio and visual prompts. In addition to the safety warnings, the Navigator 7000 features a driver fatigue timer, which chimes an alert if it detects continuous driving for two hours without a break. There's also a user preset over-speed alarm which alerts you by using both audio and graphics when you're going too fast. The Navigator 7000 also allows you to store up to 50,000 hazard locations and these can be added and delete as you wish.
As a navigational device, the Navigator 7000 isn't as user-friendly as we would have liked. Although the large screen makes it easy to navigate through the the interface, it has a steep learning curve. Icons have no descriptions and loading times on some menus isn't up to scratch.
The 3.5in LCD display has a rather poor viewing angle and is easily susceptible to sunlight glare, despite being listed as an "anti-glare TFT-LCD QVGA display" in the technical specifications. On a typically bright summer day, we struggled to see the screen.
The Navigator 7000 software filters suburbs by state so users don't needlessly get a full list of suburbs in Australia. Street names are then filtered by suburb, reducing the list of streets during searching to a manageable number. The Navigator 7000 allows navigation directly to a house number, intersection or even to the middle of a street. Addresses are entered using on-screen keyboard, but we found the keys a little too small for our fingers.
The main navigational menu encompasses many large boxes with text and coloured icons. There are icons for address, Point of Interest (POI) search, recent, favourites and settings. The address button allows you to navigate to a specific address, while the POI button offers access to a host of POI's, like airports, shopping centres, parking stations, hospitals and cafes. The Navigator 7000 has over 380,000 POI's out of the box.
The Navigator 7000 uses the popular SiRF Star III GPS chipset and took less than a minute to establish and maintain a GPS signal. Re-routing times were also good, taking a mere couple of seconds in most instances.
Voice commands were fine although there is only one English voice option for Australia which was female and there is no audio sample of the voice before selecting it. The Navigator 7000 includes Chinese, German, Spanish, French, Greek, Italian, Turkish and Arabic. Unfortunately, the Navigator 7000 doesn't include an external volume control, so users have to navigate into the settings menu to adjust this.
Despite this, we found the audio prompts to be both precise and easily understandable. The next turn instructions are displayed on the side of the screen with the available menu options at the bottom. The map colour scheme was also clear (day and night modes are available), with the route displayed and your current position easily visible on the map.
The Navigator 7000 maps are simple and easy to read and can be zoomed in and out of easily using the large "+" and "-" controls on the touch screen. You can select either a 3D or 2D view, with the map oriented with either north up or track up (the direction you are traveling facing upwards). Road Angel uses WhereIs Sensis maps in Australia and these are preloaded onto the included SD card.
The Navigator 7000 measures 95mm x 75mm x 22mm and weighs 160g. All its inputs are protected by rubber covers, although we did have problems getting them to stay on. There is an SD card slot and a reset button on the right hand side as well as a miniUSB port (for updating software and charging) and antenna socket on the left. The silver and grey colour scheme isn't inspiring and certainly looks quite dull. However, the case is dust and splash proof, so it can take a bit of mistreatment.
The windscreen mount works well, but it is very large and does require a bit of patience to put together. The unit itself is cupped in a cradle surround, with the suction cap piece attaching to this via plastic clips. There are two adjustable dials which are used to position the cradle left/right and up/down, for the best position in your car.
The Navigator 7000 also includes a multimedia player that plays MP3 music files and a photo viewer. The player is very basic with only repeat and random play options and no equaliser, but it is easy to use thanks to large, easy to tap controls on the touch screen. With the maps stored on the SD card, music and photos can only be stored on the 64MB of internal memory. Alternatively, you could purchase an extra SD card if you wanted more storage space for multimedia, but you'll have to swap the SD cards whenever you want to use the navigational features.
Battery life is above average according to Road Angel figures, claiming 8-10 hours of use on a full charge. We experienced closer to seven hours of use, but this is still an excellent result. Keep in mind the battery life will be significantly less with use of the photo viewer and MP3 player.
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