Simon Lai reviews the new Navman SmartGPS.
Nowadays we’re surrounded by gadgets. However, there are still many limitations which we’ve just come to accept while still dreaming of the possibilities of a futuristic world.
Navigation devices, so far, do what we expect. The tell us which way to go, calculate the quickest route and occasionally give us road related information and warnings.
But now Navman has taken it one step further with the SmartGPS, the first navigation device to integrate social media.
Navman has a partnership with social networking platforms Yelp and Foursquare and displays offers and reviews of points of interest (POI) and businesses based on your current location automatically updating every 30 seconds.
So as you’re driving along, not only will it tell you the location of, say, restaurants as you pass them, it’ll let you know of any specials or discounts currently offered at that business.
The SmartGPS also uses cloud technology enabling the user to share information between the unit, a smartphone, tablet or laptop.
The unit can give live updates on red light and speed cameras, accident blackspots, school zones, common police enforcement points as well as fuel prices, weather and POIs.
The device displays the this information on a 5 inch screen as large square tiles which can individually be cycled through like a flip calendar. You can choose how much of the screen the tiles take up and personalise what information categories you want displayed.
I found the screen can get a little busy with the map and information tiles together and may be confusing for some.
My navigation journey didn’t get off to a great start stalling at the starting line. For some reason I was unable to download the phone app content.
But we’ll give it the benefit of the doubt and put it down to by phone service provider.
Once it was up and running though, I was able to pair up the two devices via Bluetooth.
The companion app allows you to input an address on your phone that you might have seen on TV or someone told you about and then send it straight to the GPS, eliminating the need to program the GPS itself.
If the GPS is still on in your car, as is usually the case, this can only be done if Bluetooth is visible on both devices.
For offline sharing, you can still search and select a destination on your phone or computer then add it to a ‘wishlist’. When you turn on your GPS the next day, the address will be there provided you have a WiFi signal.
In terms of navigation you can easily select your destination from numerous categories, saved searches and of course, input the exact address directly.
The Navman SmartGPS is for the more tech savvy given the rather lengthy and involved setup process which requires you to pair the devices, connect to WiFi and create an online account and download a small program.
Having said that, once it’s operational, it’s user-friendly and becomes a valuable asset especially if you can take advantage of the connectivity.
The Navman SmartGPS is available from JB HiFi, Dick Smith and selected Harvey Norman stores and retails for $299.