Can we survive in a world without a Sat nav (satellite navigation systems)? How did we ever find our way before the invention of this ultra handy gadget?
Best Entry Level Sat Nav
[easyazon-link asin=”B000H866BM”]Tom Tom One[/easyazon-link] was launched as an affordable but high quality entry level sat nav and it has since proven very popular, becoming the world’s most popular in car navigational aid. However, while the market leading TomTom One is available for prices at around $200 it is the Tom Tom Europe – usually about $50 extra but dropping in price – which has proven an even bigger hit at Review Centre. One of our highest rated sat navs, the Tom Tom One Europe comes with pre-installed UK and Western European mapping software.
Small, reliable, light and easy to follow while on the go Review Centre reviewers recommend the TomTom One Europe for the ease in which it can be installed and removed. It also appears to be a durable product. “I dropped it on the ground and it’s still working fine,” says one owner.
An important reminder – you must have a Bluetooth enabled phone to allow access to TomTom updates; including traffic data, weather and speed camera info. The Tom Tom One Europe is also available in a bigger XL version with a 4.3ins wide touchscreen.
- Size – 96 x 82 x 25 mm
- Weight – 174 grams
- Pre-installed database of speed camera locations in the UK.
- Wide range of route options.
- Points of Interest information pre-installed.
- It will also tell you about traffic up on your route, the weather and speed limits ahead.
- 3.5 inch screen.
- Convenient postcode navigation.
- Clear spoken instructions in language of your choice.
Best Budget Sat Nav
Available for as little as £170 the tiny [easyazon-link asin=”B000BKJZ9Q”]Garmin nüvi 300[/easyazon-link] is highly recommended by Review Centre users. Offers superb value for money and is known for its stylish and easy to follow interface and a good level of spec for the UK user.
The lack of Bluetooth may account for the slightly reduced price compared to similar expensive models but for quality and reliability the Nuvi 300 does very well indeed.
“Absolute bargain and I’m most impressed” says one reviewer at Review Centre before detailing the 300’s clear instructions and consistency.
The Garmin Nuvi 300’s very small size also makes it easy to double as a pedestrian friendly navigator. There are also lots of extra little goodies thrown in to make sure you feel like you are getting your money’s worth, including a currency converter, measurement converter, calculator, picture viewer and world clock![easyazon-image-link asin=”B000BKJZ9Q” alt=”Garmin nüvi 350 3.5-Inch Portable GPS Navigator” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51FAMKYWE7L._SL160_.jpg” align=”right” width=”160″ height=”160″]
- Size – 98.3 x 73.9 x 22.1 mm
- Weight – 144.6 grams
- 2.8ins wide display.
- UK mapping.
- MP3 player. The Nuvi can play mp3s while simultaneously providing navigation instructions.
- Big, user friendly graphics.
- Detailed trip computer, including miles travelled etc.
- Touch screen.
- Portable GPS navigator, Audio Book Player, travellers reference.
- Full 7 digit postcode search.
- Turn-by-turn voice directions.
Best Super Budget Sat Nav
[easyazon-link asin=”B000ILIINM”]Navman F20[/easyazon-link] is a very popular device from a leading manufacturer. Highlights include a 3.5ins touchscreen, dedicated info buttons and surprisingly high tech GPS system. “Fantastic value for money” and “Amazed at what you can get for so little!” are some of the user comments at Review Centre. With prices as low as £120 the Navman F20 is one of the cheaper but better value sat navs around.
One of its most popular functions is the automatic re-routing. If you go off route it quickly updates your best route. Likewise, if you drive onto to an unlisted road, it will simply tell you where the nearest listed road is and get you going again.[easyazon-image-link asin=”B000ILIINM” alt=”Navman F20 3.5-Inch Portable GPS Navigator” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41LOKzaCA7L._SL160_.jpg” align=”right” width=”160″ height=”113″]
Basically, the F20 is a sat nav for someone who does not want to be overloaded with too much information but still wants reliable help getting from A to B.
It’s ready to go straight from its box and users testify to it providing very quick, straightforward navigation.
- Size – 116 x 79.5 x 24 mm
- Weight – 200g
- Dedicated buttons – find the nearest petrol station, car park etc.
- Full postcode searches.
- Optional T1 traffic pack for real-time traffic updates.
- Advanced motorway navigation.
- Route summary view and pause journey functions.
- Places of interest (POI) import capability using optional desktop connectivity kit.
- Automatic re-routing with ‘back on track’ function.
- Pre-installed safety camera data.
- Available initially with UK and Ireland mapping only the F20 Europe is now on sale. This is the standard F20 but with maps of 21 Western European countries included.
Best High End Sat Nav – Garmin Nuvi 660
Overall, the consensus view is that [easyazon-link asin=”B000IC2HZQ”]Garmin Nuvi 660[/easyazon-link] is the real deal if you want to splash some cash. Small, comprehensive built-in features, easy to use, a large screen and ultra reliable. What more do you want?
Well, upping the ante with prices hovering at just below £400 the small Garmin Nuvi 660 is not the cheapest sat nav around but it is definitely a good buy for those seeking a highly recommended, high spec product.
In fact, the Garmin Nuvi 660 has some of the better levels of functionality on the market and the most consistent recommendations. It’s difficult to find anyone who has highlighted any major faults with it.
“This unit is absolutely brilliant! It is totally foolproof!” says one reviewer at this site.[easyazon-image-link asin=”B000IC2HZQ” alt=”Garmin nüvi 660 4.3-Inch Bluetooth Portable GPS Navigator (Bilingual)” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51o5zhE3VpL._SL160_.jpg” align=”right” width=”160″ height=”160″]
Users reviews also confirm the bigger than average bright 4.3ins wide display as one of its main advantages. A real beauty, this crisp widescreen helps make the 660 easy to view from the driver’s seat.
- Size – 12.4 x 7.4 x 2.3 cm
- Weight – 190g
- MP3 Audio Book playback.
- Built in travel guides.
- Built In City Navigator NT street maps.
- Points of interest database with hotels, fuel, ATMs etc.
- 2D or 3D maps.
- Turn-by-turn voice directions.
- Preloaded safety/speed camera database in the European version.
- Free upgrades of traffic/speed camera info.
- Bluetooth wireless built-in with microphone and speaker.
- Traffic/road-works alerts.
- FM transmitter – you can hear audio voice prompts, MP3s and audio books through you vehicles stereo.
- High quality Garmin Lock theft prevention device.
Best Luxury Sat Nav – Garmin Streetpilot 2820
Offering hands-free calling, instantaneous traffic updates, customizable points-of-interest and multiple instant route options the luxury sat nav [easyazon-link asin=”B000A5T7AO”]Garmin Streetpilot 2820[/easyazon-link] is one of the most highly rated products on the market.
One of the standout features is the integrated Bluetooth set up allowing you to talk handsfree. The Bluetooth wireless technology, including built-in microphone and speaker, also aids safety by helping to keep your eyes peeled on the road. You need a compatible Bluetooth mobile phone for this.
The Review Centre team regards the Streetpilot 2820 as excellent value for money in the higher price category and the versatility of its hands-free set up and the raft of deluxe features may well tempt you to part with over £600 or around $700 USD or AUD![easyazon-image-link asin=”B000A5T7AO” alt=”Garmin StreetPilot 2720 Portable GPS Navigator” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51DshEY7I1L._SL160_.jpg” align=”right” width=”160″ height=”160″]
Other great functions include a range of instant touch auto sort destination guides, including fastest route or route avoidance – where you can avoid motorways, tolls etc.
Unlike many sat navs this waterproof model is also recommended for motorcyclists. Bikers need a special headset/helmet to operate the Bluetooth gear.
- Size – 14.3 x 8.0 x 5.0 cm
- Weight – 420 grams
- Fully Integrated Bluetooth.
- Personalized phone book, phone call history log.
- Turn-by-turn voice prompts including street names.
- 3.3ins touch screen interface.
- Remote control.
- Motorcycle compatible.
- Auto route functions – fast, shorter distance, off road etc.
- Preloaded 2D or 3D European map.
- Points of interest database (Can be customized).
- City Navigator.
- Optional real-time traffic capabilities.
- Traffic, Weather updates.
- Mp3 player for MP3s and audio books.
- Protective cover
Sat Nav Buying Tips
- Remember sat nav mapping software is constantly being updated but so is the world around you. You will find even some of the best products have a few quirks. Use your common sense when using a sat nav, especially for the first time, and take time to get know to know your device.
- Difficult installation causes annoyance for many owners. Check your car interior and consider available space and the desired location of any new sat nav. Check carefully with the manufacturer’s instructions on how easy it is going to be to install.
- Smaller devices are recommended as they are easy to remove from your car and put in your pocket, doubling as a walking navigation tool. This also makes it easier to prevent them being stolen.
- Check you are comfortable with the screen size. The widest possible screen size is desirable for ease of use.
- Only pay more for features you intend to use. There are many lower specification models which are very good value.