Route 66 Maxi Europe review

£196
Price when reviewed

Address search is a fiddly business with most satnavs, but Route 66’s entry to this month’s Labs gets around this by providing a “fuzzy” search capability.

Where other satnavs force you to enter addresses by typing street name, country and post code into separate screens, with the Maxi you only need one field.

It sounds a small thing, but it pushes the Maxi up with the TomTom in the ease-of-use charts, and the rest of the package isn’t bad, either. Its map display updates smoothly and pre-trip route planning is straightforward.

The responsive map-browsing facility allows you to pinpoint locations that you might otherwise not be able to locate with a simple text search. Speed camera data is included, too, and the mercifully uncluttered 4.3in 480 x 272 widescreen display means more map is displayed on screen than some others. We also like the way the info bar can be relocated from the side to the bottom of the screen, depending on your preferences.

There are some negatives, though. The map display is occasionally confusing: when you come across complicated junctions with flyovers, the roads on the screen seem to merge into an impenetrable spaghetti-like mess. Next-turn icons are symbolic and don’t necessarily reflect what you’ll actually be faced with at the next junction. And you have to fork out extra for traffic – a TMC cradle is an optional extra, not included as it is in, for example, the Medion satnav or Sony U93T.

During testing, it wasn’t the best performer, either: the 26-second route calculation was nowhere near the TomTom’s swift five seconds, and the time to GPS fix from off was slow at 1min 30secs. It also slipped up during the test route: a complicated series of left-right-left turnings saw the Maxi fail to deliver on voice instructions.

These negatives aren’t enough to dampen our enthusiasm for the Route 66 Maxi completely. We like its fuzzy search, browsability and ease of use too much for that. But such weaknesses do prevent it from giving the TomTom Go 720 a tougher run for its money.

Details

GPS recommended use In-car

Mapping

Maps supplied Western Europe
Map data provider Navteq
Navigation software Route 66 Navigator 8

Hardware

Screen size 4.3in
Resolution 480 x 272
GPS chipset make/model u-Nav Orion RX2
In-car mount type Windscreen
External GPS antenna included? no
Bluetooth support no
Front panel memory card reader yes
Headphone output no
Sync via cable? yes
Sync via cradle? no
FM transmitter? no

Other functions

Traffic information Via TMC receiver
Speed-camera warning no
Postcode search 7-digit
Tracklog export no

PC Software

Software supplied Route 66 Sync

Dimensions

Dimensions 120 x 20 x 81mm (WDH)

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