Navman iCN 510 review

Price when reviewed

The PDA GPS business is growing fast. However, while it’s more economical to buy an add-on for an existing PDA, this doesn’t always result in the most reliable or user-friendly experience.

Navman iCN 510 review

For those who don’t want the hassle of installing GPS navigation on their PDA, Navman has released the standalone iCN 510, which competes directly with TomTom’s similarly priced GO. The iCN 510 is still a Pocket PC, but runs Windows CE .NET 4.2. You can’t install any other apps on it, but the unit is built a little more robustly than your average PDA. It also has a clear 3.5in LCD with a 320 x 240 resolution, which was visible even in direct light.

Version 3 of Navman’s SmartST software is preinstalled. This has some key improvements over version 2 – and one drawback, in the lack of full European maps. On the plus side, multiple destinations are now supported, which can be used as waypoints in a journey. This functions through the new Trip Planner screen. SmartST 2 also had limited route-calculation options of just Shortest or Quickest. With version 3, a slider is now provided with five options, from Shortest to Quickest, plus separate sliders to configure preference for motorways and urban roads.

Points of Interest (POIs) can be imported, so a company can customise its own, such as regional offices. POI warnings can be set up to alert the driver of a nearby amenity, such as a petrol station. There’s now a Next Manoeuvre icon, to make directions more visually explicit. Ferries are now included on the map data, too.

The full UK maps are preloaded on the supplied 128MB SD card. Ireland is also included on the CD, along with a USB cable and ActiveSync 3.7.1 to download maps. However, unlike previous SmartST versions, only Base Roads of Europe are now bundled. This just includes motorways, not street-level maps. Full European maps cost £79 each or £149 for the complete set.

In testing, the iCN 510 performed flawlessly. We also found its re-routing – if you diverge from the chosen route – was much quicker than with SmartST 2 running on an iPAQ 3970. Despite the quibble over European maps, we can’t help being impressed by the iCN 510.

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