Navman PiN 570 review
The Navman looks and feels like a quality PDA. The grey-on-black colour scheme is attractive, and held in the hand it feels sturdy. It only costs £17 more than the bargain Acer, but the build quality is better. The receiver has an even firmer hinge than the Acer’s – neither feels flimsy. The proprietary SmartST navigation software also makes a decent impression, with simple, elegant menus. It’s a good all-round package, but not perfect.
For example, the 266MHz Samsung processor struggles to open SmartST quickly. Once loaded, everything runs more smoothly. Dragging the map to browse an area caused no problems: we found it redrew new areas quickly. This is no doubt helped by the high compression of the maps in question. They’re still clear and high contrast, although there’s tell-tale fuzziness around lines.
Trip planning is less intuitive than with other systems; you’re taken to a blank screen with only a few buttons to help. Once we learned what these buttons were for, route planning was still a touch too laboured. Navigating to PC Pro’s offices in Cleveland Street, for example, was frustrating. Entering ‘Cleveland’ and tapping the tick box eventually turned up the correct Cleveland St, but only after a long pause, unlike with CoPilot and TomTom, which try and auto-complete as you enter your destination rather than waiting for you to tap the Search box.
Once you’ve selected your destination, the interface doesn’t show a screen to let you see an overview of your journey – it simply produces a dialog saying the stop has been added and then sits there waiting for you to do something. It doesn’t even clear the input fields for another waypoint. This process is repeated whatever you’re planning to visit, be it a point of interest, contact address or intersection. Once you’ve planned your journey, things get easier. Directions are clear, but the 3D view can all too easily become cluttered and confusing.
The included mounting kit has rubber pads to grip the PDA tightly, while the adjustable stand lets you position it as you want. There’s not only a powerful suction cup, but an adhesive plate too. If the 220mm stand proves a problem, you can stick the plate somewhere closer and stick the stand on that instead.
While neither the Acer’s Destinator 3 nor SmartST is perfect, we prefer Destinator for its more intuitive and polished interface. However, the Navman’s price includes maps of Western Europe, which makes it a great alternative if you regularly travel to other countries.