The real test of any such device is how well it works in getting you from A to B, without going via C, D and Z along the way.
In this respect the BM6300-TMC is very hard to fault indeed. Not only are the maps installed bang up to date, they knew where the recently opened Robin Hood Airport near Doncaster was for example, but the software is easy to operate (accepting full seven-digit postcodes for example) and accurate to deliver its routes.
Rerouting is devilishly fast, which is just as well because you’ll probably be doing plenty of it. This isn’t because the device is dumb, just the opposite: it’s very smart indeed. The secret being the Traffic Message Channel (TMC) compatibility, using a provided FM receiver this grabs traffic information data from the radio waves and feeds them into the satnav device, rerouting you should there be traffic jams or bad weather that might slow you down ahead.
A free lifetime subscription to TMC is included in the cost, something worth checking with other devices as even those costing much more may make an annual charge.
There are, of course, going to be some corners cut in bringing such an all-in-one device to market at such a relatively low price point. However, finding them wasn’t as easy as we were expecting.
The 3.5-inch colour touch screen, for example, wasn’t any more reflective than your average satnav, and was very responsive indeed.
In fact, so much so that it’s perfectly operable by finger alone although a clever extendable stylus slots into the back of the unit for anyone with enormously fat fingers. The mapping and display were top notch, combining the 3D "Destinator 5.5" software the with latest Navteq maps.
Certainly there’s no evidence of money saving on the hardware front, with windscreen, dashboard and even a bicycle mount included.
So which corners have been cut? Well there’s the speed camera database function (with 6 months free updates, after which it costs £30 per year), which while being comprehensive enough and catching all the cameras on our extended test run, doesn’t report back by way of spoken warning output nor on-screen symbol, the actual speed limit in force.
Although you might argue that a good driver should know already, it isn’t always as simple as that. We prefer the system used by the likes of Talex (www.talex.com) which speaks and displays the speed restriction, even warning you when you stray over that limit within a SPECS "average speed detection zone".
Another cut corner is the lack of configurability of Destinator when compared to market leaders such as TomTom.
If you don’t like the female spoken voice output, there’s no option to change it for anything else. If you don’t want street maps but prefer a simple "turn arrow" display, forget it as you get both whether you like it or not (the turn arrows popping up and overlaying the mapping as directions are given).
The final annoyance has to do with messy cabling, and this is all down to the traffic update system which comes as a small receiver which has to be plugged into the main unit by way of a USB connector and a power cable which also connects to the cigarette lighter adaptor and won't work without it.
On top of this, you have to plug a length of antenna wire, via windscreen suction cup devices, into the receiver as well. All of which leaves an all but impossible trail of cables across your dashboard and hanging down to the lighter adaptor.
On the plus side, there’s only a single unit so it’s less "messy" than having a separate speed camera detector, satnav and trafficmaster system installed.
It’s also less than half the cost of the neatest solution, a SmartNav system which just leaves a single button and optional small screen on the dash, yet supplies all three services.
It’s not unique, there are plenty of TMC equipped satnav devices to choose from – but not at such a low price, and including a speed camera detection system. If you want an all-in-one device for less than £400, then this is it.