Where to now?

Rod­ney Ch­ester takes the lat­est GPS de­vices for a test drive

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TECH -

THE Nuvi 3950LMT is a high­end unit that re­minds you that a nav­i­ga­tion app on your smart­phone can re­place the features of a car GPS. The 3590LMT, with Aus­tralian and New Zealand maps, has a thin 5- inch screen, free life­time maps, voice con­trol op­tions and traf­fic in­for­ma­tion. Those fa­mil­iar with other Nuvi models will feel at home with the menu nav­i­ga­tion which be­gins with ‘‘ where to?’’ YOU don’t need to be a road safety ex­pert to ap­pre­ci­ate that fre­quent tap­ping on your GPS screen is not a way to stay fo­cused on the road.

The TomTom Via 280 comes with a dic­tionary of more than 1000 words, so you can tell it where to go. The voice com­mands in­clude ‘‘ take me home’’ or ‘‘ nav­i­gate me to the near­est petrol sta­tion’’. It did a sur­pris­ingly good job of un­der­stand­ing me. The Via 280 an­nounces the street names of your up­com­ing turns and splits the screen to show you which lane to be in. LIKE Garmin’s Nuvi 3590LMT, Nav­man’s MY350LMT has a 5- inch screen and comes with Aus­tralian and New Zealand maps. The Nav­man unit, sig­nif­i­cantly cheaper, is slightly thicker than its com­peti­tor and menu nav­i­ga­tion is a lit­tle more com­plex. What helps high­way driv­ing is how it dis­plays the exit, il­lus­trat­ing which lane to be in. YOU just have to pick up the eX­plorist 710 to feel it’s a solid, rugged de­vice. This is the top of the eX­plorist range and has Aus­tralian and New Zealand to­po­graphic and city maps which pro­vide in­for­ma­tion from where to find the near­est petrol sta­tion to lo­cat­ing a camp site. In an in­ter­est­ing, although per­haps un­nec­es­sary, con­ver­gence, the eX­plorist 710 is also a ba­sic dig­i­tal cam­era ( 3.2 megapixel cam­era, which is far less than what is now stan­dard in smart phones). It’s wa­ter­proof with a 3- inch screen and a mi­cro­phone to record trip de­tails.

MY350LMT Nav­man, $ 279 nav­man. com. au

★ ★ ★ ★

EX­PLORIST 710 Mag­el­lan, $ 649 mag­el­langps. com. au

★ ★ ★ ★

VIA 280 TomTom, $ 199 tomtom. com/ en— au/

★ ★ ★ ★

NUVI 3590LMT Garmin, $ 449 garmin. com. au

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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