(Pocket-lint) - The NavCam 7500 uses Navigator 2006 software provided by the those very nice men at the AA. As well as the usual 2D and 3D mapping, the voice alerts, and full seven digit postcode searching, this brings one unexpected delight to drivers of older bangers: a breakdown button. Now don’t get too excited, this isn’t in the same league as the SmartNAV system where pressing a breakdown button puts you through to a real live person who takes details of the problem and passes it, along with your location, to the RAC. In fact the NavCam version doesn’t do anything quite as clever as contact the AA, you don’t even get AA membership with the device (a marketing opportunity missed if ever there was). What it does do is display your precise location, in map coordinates, so you can tell the very nice man exactly where you are.
To think of this as just being another satnav unit would be a mistake, it’s rather more than the sum of its parts. Parts that include a basic MP3 player and photo slideshow viewer. More importantly, though, is the speed camera warning functionality that provides both visual and vocal and fully directional alerts for all 6 of the current speed camera types in the UK. That’s Gatso, SPECS, Truvelo, mobile, temporary and red light in case you were wondering. The more alert reader might be surprised that it can detect mobile cameras without any laser/radar detection equipment. But, like the Talex system and many others now, it actually just reports on likely locations of mobile cameras. Doh! Updates are free for 6 months, after which they will cost you £30 for a year. We like the intelligent warning system that monitors your speed and only gives a gentle ping if you approach a camera under the limit, but goes ballistic if you are bombing it. Well, OK, not ballistic but it does clearly yell the camera type and display the speed limit on-screen and then return to a gentle ping as you become a considerate driver once more.
The Traffic Message Channel provides the TMC bit of the NavCam equation, with real-time road traffic congestion alerts and automatic re-routing. The TMC FM receiver is included in the package, as is a lifetime license for the alerts which is a nice touch and one avoided by many of the cheaper suppliers.
The 3.5-inch touchscreen LCD has a 320 x 240 Resolution with 64,000 colours and is surprisingly clear and bright. Thanks to the large on-screen buttons this can be used with just your finger (unless you have unfortunately fat ones of course) rather than the ridiculously small and easy to lose stylus provided. The 42,000 pre-populated points of interest database is big enough to cover most of the kind of POI destinations you are likely to need, from airports to wineries. And although supplied with a perfectly adequate 256MB SD card with all the maps pre-loaded, no activation necessary, you can stuff up to 2GB worth in there if you must (MP3 and images perhaps?).
The integrated 12 channel SirfII based GPS-receiver is quick to pick up a signal and lock on to your location, and holds this well during travel. The only real disappointment is the battery life, the Lithium Ion 1000mAh unit providing only 1.5 hours of full navigation in our real world testing. This only becomes a problem when on foot, away from the cigar lighter of your car, but does rather limit the usefulness of the unit as a MP3 player of pedestrian mapping unit. It is pocketable though, measuring 130 x 74 x 21.8mm and weighing just 191g.
If you can live without the traffic alerts, then a non-TMC enabled device costs £50 less although we’d pay the extra for the extra functionality.
At this price you don’t expect all the power that Evesham have included as standard with the NavCam 7500TMC. You don’t often stumble across a bargain in the world of SatNav, but this is it.