I covered the Navman’s 2013 range launch in late July and have been using its top of the line model since. I have been able to compare it to various portable, in-car and smartphone navigation systems over city and country routes - it performs very well.
Other brands including TomTom, Navigator, Garmin, and MiTAC Mio, all make competent devices. In swapping from one brand to another, it is more about becoming familiar with the user interface - where menus and information reside - than much of a difference in functionality.
The same comment applies to map updates, points of interest, or safety warnings. Maps usually come from Nokia HERE, Google Maps, or Sensis, with different features or information depending on what you pay for.
There is a glut of GPS units starting from AU$77 - obviously marketing people have mapped out - to use a bad pun - the current price landscape.
So let’s place the Navman My405LMT in that landscape. Current Hardly Normal price is $278 – the same price bracket as a Garmin Nuvi 2979LMT and TomTom Go Live 825. If you want to spend more TomTom Go Live 2050 is $329 (with world maps $498), Garmin Nuvi 3597LMT is $348. P.S. Shop around – you can do much better.
Navman versus in-car ‘sat-nav’ units
Even if you have an in-car unit, it is a no brainer to use the Navman for a three simple reasons.
First, you can place the unit closer to your line of sight for less distraction – ever noticed how most in-car systems are in the centre, mid part of the dash.
Second, the instructions are vastly superior – Navman offers far greater levels of information, far better turn-by-turn graphics, and descriptions (courtesy of using the HERE map). It is easier to get from A-B.
Finally do not underestimate the value of up to date maps. In running the Navman concurrently with a reasonably new in-car system, it became obvious just how out of date the in-car map was. Navman maps are updated monthly at no cost – something that car manufacturers charge an arm and a leg for - then the updates are soon out of date anyway.
Summary: If you do a lot of navigation, a dedicated, frequently updated maps unit is significantly better.
Navman versus other portable brands
TomTom and Garmin are the most visible of other brands and it is very hard to compare apples with apples.
- Traffic updates
- Map updates (Garmin and Navman have Lifetime map updates)
- Lane and exit guidance
- Safety alerts
- Spoken street names (Try pronouncing Mooloolaba in Jane – English voice)
- Intelligent routing (Navman presents options for fastest, economical, easiest, and shortest)
- Bluetooth connection to smartphones and spoken text messages
- Points of interest
Summary: All do a similar job. I am not willing to call one better than another.
Navman versus Nokia Drive (on a Nokia Lumia 920) and Samsung Navigation (Galaxy S4)
Samsung uses Google Maps. Nokia, and Navman, use the Nokia HERE Maps and points of interest which are superior to Google Maps in terms of update frequency and country road accuracy.
The Nokia has a 4” screen and the Samsung a 5” - the same size as the Navman. All must use a hands free, windscreen cradle, and are best in landscape mode. All calculated the same routes to the Hunter Valley and Newcastle.
Navman has spoken street names and more features like lane guidance, trip logging (useful for FBT) and Suma traffic (useful to help avoid accidents and traffic snarls). However, I was pleasantly surprised how good the Nokia Drive, and Samsung Navigation were.
Summary: 7 out of 10 in comparison to a dedicated unit and more than adequate for occasional use.
It is hard to pick one GPS over another in this price, and feature, range. I was most satisfied with the Navman; as I was with the Garmin Nuvi last year; as I was with the TomTom earlier this year; and as I was with the Nokia Drive Lumia 920 smartphone and Samsung S4 Navigation …
I think the edge is in the maps. Navman uses Nokia HERE mapping (as does Garmin) that is reputed to have a slight edge over Sensis and Google maps. But Navman 450LMT has monthly updates so it’s the winner.
Navman is owned by MiTAC who also owns Mio, Magellan and Tyan and provided the review unit.