Ten... Satnavs to suit all budgets
At the next roundabout...
Product Round-up The squeeze is on for satnav makers stuck between the rock of smartphone navigation apps and the hard place of the built-in systems that are finding their way into ever cheaper showroom models. Of course, there are still a heck of a lot of cars on the road that don’t have built-in navigation and while using your phone is fine for occasional trips you may not want it mounted to your windshield on a semi-permanent basis.
So, before the PND market evaporates any further let’s take a look at the biggest, the best, the cheapest and the smallest from the five satnav makers who, between them, own the satnav market in the UK.
Garmin nüvi 3590LMT
With a super-bright 5in 480 x 800 multi-touch capacitive glass screen the 3490LT looks and behaves like a smartphone. Unfortunately, it also costs about the same. Still, the £310 asking price does include lifetime map updates and traffic information – hence the LMT part of the name. With none of the foibles that rather spoiled the now discontinued 3790T I found the 3590 to be fast, reliable and a pleasure to use.
The 3D building and terrain views may be a bit of a gimmick but the slick UI and capacitive touch screen make this by far the most enjoyable device to use on a daily basis. For enhanced data connectivity you can hook the 3590 up to your smartphone using Garmin’s Smartphone Link app.
Reg Rating 85%
Price £310 (Western Europe)
More info Garmin
Garmin nüvi 30
Like most sub-£100 satnavs the nüvi 30 makes do with with a small and rather low resolution screen - in this case 3.3in and 240 x 320 - but it’s brighter and more responsive to the touch than anything else I’ve found for the price and the 0.2in it gives away to budget 3.5in devices does at least up the dpi count.
The basic features are well covered with Lane Assist with Junction View displays, text-to-speech street name enunciation and Garmin’s handy Cyclops speed camera warning database combined with a speed limit alerts. The POI database is very comprehensive and the device itself is impressively small, light and well made.
Reg Rating 80%
Price £80 (UK & Ireland)
More info Garmin
Next page: Mio Spirit 687
Re: I use paper maps. Free, from AAA.
Yeah, I used to use them. But I didn't like the feature-set. No live traffic updates (have to purchase an optional radio) and no automatic route planning. There's no zoom feature (other than moving your head) and I'm not even going to go into detail about the roadtrip we undertook to visit all of the great Staple landmarks in the UK - suffice to say we didn't find any, just some stationary outlets which weren't even in the right place on the map. Plus the route guidance feature means having to maintain the optional 'partner' upgrade for the passenger seat, and these tend to be a bit rubbish, especially for the cost ("Where are we now", "Which way is up?","No, I meant left, no the other left, okay I meant right").
Well organized reviews EXCEPT for, as always, splitting ten items over five small pages. Can't El Reg at least offer the option to view more info on fewer pages? It would be a VERY popular feature.
Re: Hm, odd
I'm with FanMan.
I thought "why would I need a SatNav?", until I acquired my old man's cranky old TomTom One via handmedown. With stock software (who knows what delights the hacking community have come up with) it pisses all over Google Nav in most respects.
Even if you just look at the "alternative route" navigation features, it's the clear winner - you can't tell Google Nav to avoid a particular road or navigate you around a traffic jam ahead (or that you are in) can you?
Oh and you're not reliant on a data connection to recalculate your route.