With so many Sat Nav devices about it's hard to know which one to choose. A relatively unknown brand - Tibo - wants you to choose its model over anyone else’s. But why should we even consider this over the competition from Garmin, Navman or TomTom? Because the Tibo offers a lot more than just a GPS system.
Realising that you might want to do something else with your GPS unit, the Tibo offers users the chance to listen to MP3 tracks, watch movies and view images.
First to the navigation - afterall that is the unit's main aim and focus. Coming with a very large GPS receiver on the rear of the machine, there is no problem with getting a signal either through the tempered glass of our test car or in built-up or tree-lined streets. The unit uses the popular Destinator software that uses the Navteq map data.
The Destinator software offers the user door to door planning, Full UK street level maps, postcode navigation, Points of Interest (POI) and the ability to include the very latest UK speed camera database.
The result is that they are very easy to read and the unit provides a plethora of detail including distant to next turning, road you are on, road you are turning on to. As well as this you can choose between the standard 2D map display or the more favoured 3D view. If you are driving at night you can switch to ‘night-mode’ at the press of the screen and the colours immediately change to a more eye friendly scheme.
The performance of the system was good with straightforward direction given on screen and has voice instructions. To further help the driver, the unit has two Frankenstein bolts that protrude out of the left and right hand sides. These light up and flash faster as you reach your next turning, eventually turning red when you need to turn. It’s a nice addition and saves you have to look at the screen for further instruction. The only catch, is that on a bright sunny day you can’t see them.
The other strange element to the navigation software is that we found that software wouldn’t automatically recalculate when we had strayed off course. Instead the software merely tried all that it could to get us back on the same road even if this involved going around the block or getting you to do a U-Turn when possible. To recalculate the road we had to request it via the touch-screen command. That said, when we did request this, the recalculation was very fast.
Where the unit comes into its own is its ability to become a portable media player when you are not using the GPS features. The benefit is that if you’ve got kids and you're going to Grandma's, the unit can be used to entertain them, as you know where you are going.
Movies, MP3 tracks or images are all stored on an SD card - not shipped in the box. The unit’s 3.5 inch LCD touch screen with a resolution of 320x240 is big enough to watch programs without feeling sick and the MP3 interface although a bit kooky is simple to use. The unit offers a small speaker - normally utilised for the voice directions, however you can connect a set of headphone or one of those iPod cassette units to push the sound through your car speakers.
We think the addition of the media player is a great idea mainly because while having a GPS system is useful in the car, it’s not always needed when you do the regular journeys like visiting family or going to the shops. Now other passengers can benefit from the media player elements while you do the driving.
There are drawbacks of course. The unit is fairly large - a combination of the battery, GPS receiver and large screen, meaning you are unlikely to want to use this on journeys not involving the car. We would also like to have seen a strap to attach to a seat for when the kids use it in the back, but these are small things.
Overall the Tibo is a pleasant surprise, the navigation software is good, the GPS signal always strong and the added movie, MP3 and image viewer a great bonus. Couple that with a sub-£300 price mark and we had to pinch ourselves to make sure we weren’t dreaming.
This product was kindly loaned to us by totalpda.co.uk