It might not be the sexiest name on the planet, but at a penny under £300, the Medion GoPal PNA515 certainly throws all the punches.
The GPS receiver, which features a 3.5-inch screen and a selection of quick buttons down the right hand side is, like most GPS units fairly uninspiring. It perches on perhaps what has to be the biggest, but sturdiest cradle our car has ever seen and although it's unlikely to fit in to your pocket, let alone your glove compartment, it does mean that you get a picture that is rock solid no matter what terrain you are on.
Featuring Bluetooth connectivity, an integrated TMC (Traffic Message Channel) service and a simple to use interface that even your Grandma would be able to stand, the GoPal PNA515 is incredibly versatile and easy to use. Maps, which automatically change colour depending on whether it's night or day have a distinct map-book feel to them rather than choosing to emulate other GPS receiver styles.
Maps, of which you get UK, Ireland, Western and Eastern Europe pre-installed on the 1GB MMC card included in the box, are provided by NAVTEQ, while the system itself runs on top of Windows CE4.2 with a Samsung 300MHz processor giving you a fairly zippy performance overall.
Your GPS position is pinpointed using the unit's integrated SiRFstar III GPS receiver and having a bit of fun with it, Medion has included a Compass feature so you can see clearly what direction you are heading should that appeal.
Other notes of interest are the system's 3D view which is very easy to understand and 63 categories of Points of Interest if you are not sure where you fancy going.
Get beyond the GPS and the PNA515 also features integrated Bluetooth allowing you to pair your Bluetooth handset with the unit to use the system as a handsfree option rather than having to wear a dorky headset.
Like every other top of the range GPS unit recently, the GoPal also features an MP3 player and Photo Viewer, although both are added extras because the company can, rather than probably should. At least the GoPal features an SD Card Slot so you can instantly see images on your SD Card.
The Medion GoPal PNA515 is a very good offering that competes with the top of the range models from the likes of Garmin, TomTom and Navman with a price tag half the price.
So what's the catch? We can't seem to find one. At times the unit's instructions were ahead of the map. A case of telling us to turn right when the map graphic still had another 50 metres to go, which in close quarters like a city did cause us problems, but out on the motorways and country roads didn't present a problem.
A pleasant surprise and one that we can happily recommend.
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