Navman has officially launched its new S-series, following a "dramatic redesign" of the company's satellite navigation systems. But is it for the better? We were able to have a brief play with the new models at the launch event in London.
Losing all its buttons after customer feedback, focus groups and research suggested that it made the previous models confusing to use, the Navman S-series and in particular the S90i is now a completely touchscreen experience.
In fact there isn't a single button on the front of the display, which boasts a 4.3-inch widescreen display the same as the latest TomTom Go and Garmin ranges.
Other features inside of this top of the range model include the now standard Bluetooth for handsfree calling, built-in traffic receiver so you can avoid the jams and Text to Speech which speaks the next turn road names out allow so you don't have to look at the display to see where you are going.
Missing, however, is an FM transmitter to allow you to reroute audio through your car stereo and the ability to give voice instructions for where you want to go as found in the TomTom range.
Setting the Navman S90i apart from others in the new range and its competition is the company's Navpix offering and so you get a digital camera slapped on the back to record places you've been.
The idea, first touted a couple of years ago by Navman, is that rather than have to key in address information every time, you simply snap a picture, store it and away you go.
It's a novel idea and one that you could use in situations like finding your car again in a big car park, or a remote address that doesn't have a decent postcode assigned to it. However we've always said that the system would only work when there were plenty of photographs around with geo-location data to use.
Hearing our calls, Navman has boosted its own collection of 11,000 pictures on its website to over 23million images with a deal with photo sharing website Flickr. The move is a stroke of genius as users will now have plenty of places to drive to once they've download the images.
Technology aside, the outer "retro looking" shell of the S90i isn't the only thing to get a make over here.
The software and map interface have been overhauled as well and on first impressions we have to say for the better. Although the lovely petrol and parking keys, that send you to the nearest petrol station or car park have now been buried in a menu system somewhere, the map interface is a lot cleaner with directions and maps looking considerably easier to read.
Another good feature to note is the speed camera information database. Although we weren’t able to test it personally, Navman tell us that the you'll only get notified of a speed camera when it's on your side of the road rather than beeping whichever way you go like the TomToms do.
The unique selling point of the S90i is the camera function and the new addition of all those Flickr photos. Take that out of the equation and you've got a unit that is a solid performer but by no means breaks any boundaries.
From our first look at the S90i its clear that this is Navman making sure they stay with the lead pack rather than steaming out in front, but from our brief play, first impressions are good.
The Navman S90i is due out in October.
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