Where to now?
Rodney Chester takes the latest GPS devices for a test drive
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
★ ★ ★ ★ ★