Christmas Present - Budget Sat Nav? - Chris M
It's that time of year when I have to think of something to buy Mrs M for Christmas. Trouble is, if she wants something, she buys it. None of this 'I'll wait till my birthday or Christmas' stuff for her.

So, as my wife gets lost at the end of the road, I was wondering about a cheap, basic Sat Nav. Nothing at all fancy. Requirements would be ability to stick in postcode/address, press button and off you go (my wife has only just mastered the DVD recorder). UK only. No speed camera spotting.

Garmin i3 is available for around £100. Any good? Alternatives? I know a lot of backroomers have Tom Tom, but it will be a complete waste of money as she will only use it occasionally and I'll rarely use it either.

Any advise gratefully received.
Christmas Present - Budget Sat Nav? - Armitage Shanks {p}
If your wife really gets lost at the end of the road a sat nav is just going to muddle her more IMHO! I would think a sat nav requires more know how than a DVD, for which she presumably had an instruction book? She won't be able to read sat nav instructions on the move and unless it is totally instinctive to use I don't think she will get much use from it.
Christmas Present - Budget Sat Nav? - Dipstick
As many vehicles with built-in sat nav have a (mostly unreliable but getting better) system of voice recognition, then a fair prediction is that within perhaps a year some portable unit or other will have that feature. You can then get in the car and simply say "take me to postcode xyz123" or whatever and away you go.

That's technology anyone can work, probably, and I'll just bet it's on the market within the year. Wait till Christmas 2007?

If you can't wait until then and simply must have a similar system now, then the answer is a taxi. Which in my experience is about as reliable.


Christmas Present - Budget Sat Nav? - Chris M
Thanks for the replies so far.

Yes we do have the instructions for the DVD - but she doesn't read them. That's my job! I'm not exaggerating that much when I say she gets lost at the end of the road and she's not stupid, just lacks confidence in finding her way.

My only experience of Sat Nav was in a Vectra hire car. I assumed, perhaps wrongly, that all Sat Nav would speak directions and so wife wouldn't need to do anything once it had been set.

Maybe it'll be the M&S lingerie department again!
Christmas Present - Budget Sat Nav? - barchettaman
There´s nothing in your size there Chris.
Christmas Present - Budget Sat Nav? - Dipstick
To self-moderate my somewhat facetious original reply - I think you are right. Pretty much any satnav unit you can buy these days will talk to you, and once programmed, will take her to the destination with little or no intervention. If the destiantion is one that ha been visited before then it's likely to be no more than

Turn it on.
Choose "navigate to"
Choose the destination from a list.
Press "go"


As ever, the more you pay, the more features you are buying, so if you have found a cheap one that seems to do no more than get you from A to B, and you are happy with the quality of the map and speed of update on the display, then buy it!

Christmas Present - Budget Sat Nav? - Armitage Shanks {p}
There's some confusion here Chris! Your wife mastered the DVD without reading the instructions? That should make sat nav a breeze! To be serious - something from Per Una or La Senza will probably give you both something to smile about! If you buy a sat nav that she can't use and you say you won't use there doesn't seem to be much point!
Christmas Present - Budget Sat Nav? - philipb
Let us know how you get on in the New Year.

My wife is very similar: if she is going somewhere neither of us have been before, she insists that I work out a route for her and put it in clear turn by turn instructions. Years ago I tried just printing out the Multimap version but that wouldn't do. I then bought a VW Touran with built in Sat Nav as a family car but she decided she only wanted to drive her MINI Cooper S (can't really blame her for that). So, next years S max will have a bog standard CD radio plus a portable sat nav unit that I can programme for both of us to use as required.

These portable units look great in the adverts but I would like to know which are best at actually locking onto GPS signals in real life driving situations especially behind a heated front windscreeen!
Christmas Present - Budget Sat Nav? - Mad Maxy
Ah, good thread. I may be in the market for a portable sat-nav. Prices range from £175 - or less maybe - to c£500 according to superficial research so far. I want something that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, but is useful and usable. What do I buy?

Any recommendations? And what does the recommended bit of kit do? What sort of features should I be looking for, sat-nav-experienced ones?
Christmas Present - Budget Sat Nav? - none
The tom tom 1 has a mode in which only the current road, and details of the the next junction and route are displayed.
The display doesn't change until a turn is made. It's much clearer and easier to follow than a constantly changing map screen, and updates faster as well.
A quick glimpse at the screen to establish which exit to take, a bit of prompting from Tony or Jayne and away you go.
Christmas Present - Budget Sat Nav? - BobbyG
To slightly hijack this thread, what is the difference between stand alone Tom Tom and the Tom Tom you can get on PDA sat navs? You can pick up the PDAs for about 300 quid and these have built in GPS that can be used on foot, bike etc, they are slimmer than standalones, and they are also a PDA! And, as far as I am aware you can download additional features to it like speed cameras?

Or am I missing something? (You can guess I am thinking of buying such a PDA, but will wait to the Jan sales!)
Christmas Present - Budget Sat Nav? - Dipstick
The PDA solution has all the advantages you mention.

The main disadvantage are that it's inelegant - cradles and gps units and two chargers and wires etc -and that they are often smaller screens, which may or may not matter to you. If you are using the thing whilst driving and like me you have fat fingers you want nice big icons to stab at in the dark, not some squiddy little blob of pixels stuck in a corner of the screen.

Christmas Present - Budget Sat Nav? - BobbyG
Dipstick, surely those disdvantages are for the satnavs not the PDAS? My B-I-L has a PDA based unit with built in GPS so he can literally have it siting on his dashboard with a wee bit of velcro with no cables, no chargers wires etc.

I take on board your point about size of screen but, being devils advocate, surely you shouldn't be touching the screen whilst on the move?
Christmas Present - Budget Sat Nav? - Dipstick
True enough - you can certainly get pdas with it all very compact. I should have been clearer that *some* pda solutions are messy, so make sure you know what you are buying is all.

Not poke at the screen whilst driving? However else can one inject a frisson of excitement for a nervous passenger I'd like to know. It's clear to me that 80 miles an hour in the rain and the dark whilst closing on a spray-shooting lorry is the perfect time to establish the precise distance to a National Trust property you have no intention of ever visiting.
Christmas Present - Budget Sat Nav? - BobbyG
But surely your spare hand is for texting? :)
Christmas Present - Budget Sat Nav? - Dipstick
satnav features in ascending order of cost tend to be:

1) very basic - turn by turn only, no map on screen.

2) maps drawn on screen, basic destination input, some points of interest included

3) Addition of speed camera locations or the ability to add them

4) Addition of bluetooth to allow phone to be used handsfree

5) Addition of mp3 or viedo playing ability

5) Addition of traffic jam notification



You will get crossover, so some will do perhaps 4 and 5 but not 3, etc, but generally these are the main things on a satnav unit. So the advice is - try to establish which of these features you want and exclude those that have more or less. That whittles it down considerably straight away.

The thing to look out for I find is that very often the older model of a unit has EXACTLY the same navigation software as the newer. The newer is just in a smarter case, or runs a bit quicker, or has the addition of one of the other features. But at core it's the same software, so don;t assume newer is necessarily better.

Market leader is probably Tomtom - easy to use, pretty reliable as long as you keep clear of the brand new traffic add-on right this minute.


Christmas Present - Budget Sat Nav? - henry k
I have only used a TomTom 500
A quick glimpse at the screen to establish which exit to take,

I find this is a good feature
a bit of prompting from Tony or Jayne and away you go.

>>
( or John Cleese on the one I use)
www.tomtom.com/plus/service.php?ID=5&Language=1
for a bit of humour in the directions, corrections and end of journey.

However along a simple route I use the voice directions are totally wrong.
On the A312 going north through the J3 roundabout under the M4 the voice says "take the 4th exit "rather than 2nd
On the reverse route it says "take the 3rd exit" rather than 2nd.
I was not impressed with the response to my email sent to TomTom about these errors.

These are not the only wrong voice directions ( but with a correct visual) that I have identified so be warned not to trust them.
Christmas Present - Budget Sat Nav? - Chris M
Well, I went for a Tom Tom One in the end.

So far, pretty successful in that Mrs Chris M went from Portsmouth to Worcester yesterday and only got stuck once. There's no way she would have tackled this prior to TT.

Have noticed a number of times though that the map is a couple of years out of date. For example the junction of the A3 and A27 has been traffic lights for 2 or 3 years, but TT thinks it's still a roundabout. How often do they update the mapping?
Christmas Present - Budget Sat Nav? - LeePower
Normally TomTom & Garmin update the mapping once a year.

It can take a couple of years for new roads, roundabout etc to appear though so you still have to use the old grey matter some times.
Christmas Present - Budget Sat Nav? - Chris M
You certainly do.

I was on the road that runs past Goodwood racecourse this evening. Where it meets the A286, Jayne said bear right. Er no, give way - it's a T-junction. Well more of a Y-junction actually .
Christmas Present - Budget Sat Nav? - David Horn
Ya know, with a TomTom and Mercedes' radar adaptive cruise control, you need never look out of the windscreen again.
Christmas Present - Budget Sat Nav? - piggy
Having recently bought a Tom-Tom One,I can recommend it,but with some reservations.For example,mine is set to "fastest route" but will still try to make me take miles of unclassified roads to reach my home. If you just ignore these less perceptive instructions it will re-program itself very quickly. This is fine if one (no pun intended)has local knowledge,but this obviates the need for a sat-nav in the first place.
It`s great advantage is that it removes the need to constantly look at direction signs when driving in a strange town for example, and just watch the traffic around the car,pedestrian crossings etc.
This makes such excursions much less sressfull. Just use a bit of un-common sense!
Christmas Present - Budget Sat Nav? - Pugugly {P}
"fastest route" but will still try to make me take miles of unclassified roads to reach my home"

If you go to prefrences and bring the average speed thing right down, it'll stop doing that, apparantly it "thinks" you're a lorry and avoids narrow lanes.
Christmas Present - Budget Sat Nav? - Honestjohn
"apparantly it "thinks" you're a lorry and avoids narrow lanes."

That is a very good feature, especially for truck drivers, but for car drivers too.

Many satnavs, including Hondas OEM, will lead you up the garden path to get you from A to B.

HJ
Christmas Present - Budget Sat Nav? - oldgit
Give the new Mio C250 a look at. Apparently it is without too many bells and whistles but is, nevertheless, a very useful unit. It can be bought online for about £165. Have a look at its specification.
Christmas Present - Budget Sat Nav? - none
You could try 'Modern mechanix'. Go to the automotive section and scroll down until the highway beam contraption appears.
Christmas Present - Budget Sat Nav? - RichardM
Agree with the Mio C250, not a bad little toy. Been using a relatives and have found it works well, though like all these things has its quirks re mapping and local knowledge will always be better. Reception very good though (SirfStarIII chip very sensitive), fast processor, and good spec for price. Can be set to 'lorry' (which is probably advisable). Has speed camera location warnings and shows speed limit for every road, but unfortunately IME about 50% of the time this is incorrect for the section of road you are on, rendering this potentially great feature of over-speeding warning useless! But if you are in the market for a good budget model give it a look, definitely.
Christmas Present - Budget Sat Nav? - Another John H
Can be set to 'lorry' (which is probably advisable). Has speed camera location

>>warnings and shows speed limit for every road, but unfortunately IME about
>>50% of the time this is incorrect for the section of road you are on, rendering
>>this potentially great feature of over-speeding warning useless!

Perhaps it is giving you Artic "lorry" speed limits, which may be 40 on some roads
which are 50 or 60 for cars.
Christmas Present - Budget Sat Nav? - RichardM
Not the case John, sadly. Although it's possible the NSL indication may well change if you select Lorry, I cannot confirm this as I've always had it set to Car. Shame really, as the unreliability of this speed limit data makes this feature useless. (e.g. Telling you it's a 60 when it's really a 30, which has happened several times, and not just on roads which have had a limit reduction). If they got the speed mapping data accurate it would be great. But that's quite a big task, and would need almost daily user updates to achieve I suppose, especially with all the limit reductions going on. Maybe in a few years?..
 

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