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Navman S30 satnav

Cheerful as well as cheap

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For once, the choice between the shortest distance or the fastest travel time is not a one-or-the-other option, but a sliding scale with five increments between the two extremes, so you could select a middle ground between the two, or opt for either one or slightly more one than the other. We suspect only long-term or head-to-head testing would reveal whether or not this is a clever scale of choice, or just an unnecessary confusion.

Navman S-Series S30 satnav
Good looks

Once we were going, we found the volume is initially disappointing low, but it can be cranked up sufficiently via the settings, or a shortcut on the map screen, to make sure it can be heard over a moderately loud radio. The female voice is much more satisfying sound than the male alternative, which sounds like an evil robot from a Buster Crabbe Saturday morning serialisation.

Navman S-Series S30 satnav
Not the thinnest satnav available - but still a reasonable size

The route planning was fast and accurate. One outstanding feature of the spoken navigation was just how clear the instructions are. As an example, instead of just saying: "In 300 yards turn left", the S30 says: "In 300 yards, at the roundabout, turn left." Or: "In 300 yards, at the end of the road, turn left," which is a bonus on a budget unit.

The one minus point we'd highlight was that the S30 was slower than other units we've looked at to realise that a deviation from navigation was not a mistake, and that we'd chosen to take a slightly different route. Rather than quickly calculating the next best route, it did seem to continue to insist on taking the fourth exit at roundabouts or doing u-turns where possible for what felt like too long a time.

Verdict

Although we'd be hard pressed to name all the 500 enhancements Navman claims to have made with its S series, having used the S30 we think it has chosen wisely. Anyone wanting a bells-and-whistles-free GPS, without all that MP3 player nonsense, advanced phone functions and even the gimmicky NavPix feature found on the pricier S-series devices, would struggle to find major fault with this competent, tidy - and affordable - offering.

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Navman S30 satnav

Navman's budget S30 proves worthy of the asking price, if you don't need bells and whistles...
Price: £149 RRP

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