Navman S300t

Best. Looking. GPS. Ever. Shame that it's marred by a weak FM transmitter, reluctant Bluetooth and some interface issues. Still besotted but don't want traffic messaging? Go for the cheaper S100 or S150 instead.


7.3
CNET Rating
4.8
User Rating

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About The Author

CNET Editor

Derek loves nothing more than punching a remote location into a GPS, queuing up some music and heading out on a long drive, so it's a good thing he's in charge of CNET Australia's Car Tech channel.


Design
Navman is aiming for the high-end of the GPS market with its S-Series Platinum range, atop which the S300t sits. To this end the company has broken into Apple headquarters and stolen a few pages from the Cupertino crew's playbook. By combining a body of silver-plastic-pretending-to-be-metal with a real brushed metal applique on the rear, supermodel thinness (it's a mere 13.5mm thick) and a flush 4.3-inch touchscreen, the guys and gals at Navman have created a real looker.

The troublesome windshield mount seen in older Navman designs and the current Mio Moov range has been rightly given the old heave-ho. In its place is a cradle into which the GPS slides into and, although attaching the cradle to the windshield mount took a little figuring out, the levered suction cup sticks manfully to the windscreen.

Turn the S300t on and you'll notice that the fruity inspiration doesn't stop at the exterior; the Platinum range are the first Navman models to feature the company's completely redesigned interface. While simple and easy to use, the previous interface — still in use in the entry-level Navman S35 and S45 models, as well as Mio's Moov range — wasn't exactly the last word aesthetically pleasing design.

Chunky graphics are no more, and the heavy reliance on sky blue and azure have been ditched in favour of muted greens and greys sitting alongside black and the ever-present swathes of stark white. Despite screen resolution being a bog-standard 480x272, text is now far smoother thanks to a finer level anti-aliasing.

Although the main menu still features big, bright buttons, the underlying settings and features are laid out in scrolling lists that are somewhat difficult to access. This is primarily down to the swipe to scroll system — another pilfering from the world of mobile phones — that still requires a bit more time in the engineering department. This is because the Navman rather too frequently selected a menu item when we wanted to scroll, and scrolled when we wanted to click on a button. The trick we employed was to use our fingerpad for scrolling, and the junction of our fingertip and fingernail for clicking, but even this isn't foolproof. Also irksome are the two off-screen touch buttons (one for the main menu, another to tag favourite locations) which require an extremely firm prod.

Features
The models in the Platinum range (the S100, S150, S200 and S300t) differ only in the fullness of their respective feature lists, as all share the same exquisite-looking body, new interface and use Navteq's maps. Being the top-of-the-range model, the S300t comes loaded with everything in Navman's armoury. There's text-to-speech, Bluetooth hands-free, 3D landmarks, junction view, both an FM transmitter and receiver, traffic messaging, and MP3 and video playback.

Like other Navteq-based devices, spoken street names, or text-to-speech, works well on the S300t, as phonetic pronunciation information is included in the map. So although there's a slight English clip to the Australian computer voice — infinitely preferable to an earful of Strine — street names are usually pronounced well.

It wasn't too difficult to pair a phone with the S300t and sound quality via the built-in speaker is decent too. But since the S300t's Bluetooth isn't, and can't, be set to auto discover, if you turn the Navman off for more than a minute or two you have to trudge your way through the Navman's menus to reconnect phone and GPS.

The usefulness of playing MP3s back through the S300t is undermined by the lack of easy access to the song selection menus, making album changes at the lights a desperate race against the clock. Additionally, despite trying a suite of frequencies with plenty of clear space around them, the FM transmitter proved so weak it must have felt like it was fighting Lennox Lewis with four grains of salt. In the suburbs, static was ever present, either as an annoying background grumble or an overwhelming assault on the ears, and the vaguest approximation of a CBD sent the transmitter diving into Lake White Noise with a flying forward one-and-a-half somersaults with pike.

Performance
Destination entry by keyword is such a neat, unsung feature on the new Navmans that we're wondering why it isn't more widely used. The route entry menus are overlaid onto the main map screen and can be brought up or hidden away by tapping either the right or left screen edge. This allows for easy access to various route summaries but, oddly, not traffic information. Routing is sufficient for getting you to destinations unknown but often routes are circuitous and just a wee bit dumb, while CBD performance is prone to occasional satellite drop outs and misplaced bearings — but that's all par for the course with all sat nav systems.

Detailed lane guidance is available primarily on major intersections, as well as full-screen graphics for motorway exits and entrances. Although it falls a fair way short of the comprehensive lane guidance available in the TomTom Go 730 and Go 930, it's still handy. Of more marginal use are the 3D landmarks.

The S300t's traffic antenna is so incognito that we had to — shock and horror — consult the manual to learn that it's actually built into the car cigarette charger cable. There's no tell-tale double thickness cable, as in the Garmin Nuvi 265WT, and definitely no messy, unsightly separate antenna cable that needs to be stuck to the windscreen, like the ones found on TomToms and Mio Moovs. Locking on to the correct FM frequency happens quickly and automatically but traffic alerts are sometimes incomprehensible — unless, of course, that you know State Route 54 in NSW is either Canterbury Road, Enmore Road or King Street. And unfortunately there's no way to view the map or the list of all incidents without going via the main menu.

Conclusion
Best. Looking. GPS. Ever. Shame that it's marred by a weak FM transmitter, reluctant Bluetooth and some interface issues. Still besotted but don't want traffic messaging? Go for the cheaper S100 or S150 instead.



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whitey
5
Rating
 

whitey posted a review   

The Good:was good

The Bad:gps failed

Had Navman s300t for just over 1 year and unit has just failed (its not able to pick up gps) but up to know i have had no problems.

 

andymc posted a comment   

i have owned a s300t for 10 months pitty its been back at navman 4 times
(each time its away for 3 weeks) with different problems

 

dc posted a comment   

The Good:none

The Bad:poor slide screen, poor selection of locations, locations out by over 2 km, puts me in correct position one time then out by 2km next time, no name suggestions when typing street names

sent an email to navman supposedly for a reply within 24 hrs still no reply after 1 week. took unit back and swapped for tomtom sooo much easier to use will never look at another navman ever again. still awaiting a reply after sending another email to navman support.

 

rambo posted a comment   

The Good:Not much

The Bad:Too many to mention in one review.

Worst GPS unit I have ever seen.
1. User Interface:
The menu system is annoying to use. It regularly selects or changes a menu item when I want to scroll. It is also unresponsive at times, and at other times, it double triggers. Worst ever user interface. It wa so annoying, I felt like smashing the unit after 3 minutes of usage. Menu items are hard to find and extremely unfriendly. The maps are also dull (as compared with the TomTom unit I had).
2. False triggers:
It constantly false alerts on school zones that aren't actually there. Also, it doesn't take notice of the time for the school zones (e.g. it alerts of school zone at 8pm when it's not school time). Also, at times it shows safety cameras but fails to sound an alert (both alerts and visual selected). At other times, it warns of speed cameras (alert) after you have driven past one, when it's too late.
3. Power-up:
It seems to take ages to powerup.
4. Settings:
Very few features are configurable. E.g. you can't select the alert sound for different alert types. Also, where the hell are the POIs?

Bottom line: Don't waste your time or money on this rubbish. You will be sorry.

 

ozziemick posted a comment   

looks like i will be staying with my tom tom go 500 given what im reading.at least my unit has a remote control

andy
7
Rating
 

andy posted a review   

The Good:Easy to read, touch screen after you get used to it

The Bad:Manual, Inaccuracy of data in logs, bluetooth, FM transmitter

The ancillary functions on this unit are useless you may as well get a basic model it will, at least, perform as expected. You want to change school alerts you need to connect to your PC and enter changes through the program files in the device address for this info is

http://www.navman.com/in-car/3294/Australia/Navman-Australia/Our-Products/Platinum-Quick-Guide/Schoolzones/

This is a joke! Buy something else except this piece of junk. Also it doesn't accurately record distance travelled in the logs accurately, this is both on the S200 and the S300 so its the software not the device

 

Ian posted a comment   

The Good:No simply rubbish for the price point

The Bad:Poor interface low rent funtionality.

Navman S300T

First Issue:

The screen did anyone during the development of this product try looking at it with sunglasses on? I would suggest the answer to that is no.

Second Issue:

School zone warning who ever set the sensitivity on the trigger for these warnings needs to be shot. It triggers school zone warnings on zones that are not even on my current track. And how hard would it be to tie the zones into a time check. For example only put the warnings up firstly for zones on the current track and only when those zones are active.

Third Issue:

Entering GPS co-ordinates, I did call you tech support on this one because I cant find where to enter direct co-ordinates. I was told this isn’t possible on the S300T! Please tell me this isn’t true I have a camping and caravan book that has GPS co-ordinates. On my Garmin GPS I can enter these co-ordinates for guidance to these sites. I expect this feature to be on a top end unit like the S300T.

Forth Issue:

Trip statistics? On my Garmin there is a page with comprehensive trip stats so far I have not been able to find this on the S300T. I have feeling given the low rent nature of the S300T interface that this also doesn’t exist.

In general I have found the s300T to be a disappointing product and it will most likely end up as shelf ware unless you guys have some updates to fix some very serious shortcomings in this product. If I had tried this device in a store before buying I would never have brought it.

You market this unit as top end but it is very light on in features for its price range...

Back to Garmin for me...

SRC
5
Rating
 

SRC posted a review   

The Good:Good navigation and directions. Good interface and menus. Good visually to follow maps as you drive.

The Bad:My concerns re data logging / retention of log files. Being unable to bring up your current GPS coordinates and the time that traffic alerts are displayed remain. Hopefully to fixed in a future software update.

Since my previous post SP1 and SP2 have been released. This appears to have fixed the rebooting and screen lock up issues I was experiencing. The touchscreen is now more responsive and easier to use. Overall I am 60% happy but would give the unit 100% if my issues below were fixed by a futuire software upgrade.

SRC
4
Rating
 

SRC posted a review   

The Good:Have never had a GPS previously so can't compare. Maps are easy to read and directions are generally very good with plenty of prompts.

The Bad:I have an s300T - 1. My unit regularly re boots itself if I do consecutive CBD and metro routes over approx 80 kilometres.
2. Their is no way of bringing up your current coordinates, so if you want to give a 3rd party your current location by GPS coordinate you can't do it. This seems a pretty basic function for a $700.00 in car GPS / Navigator. Too bad if you have an accident in the bush and want to call an ambulance, you won't be able to tell them where you are. Friends have S50 units and can look up their coordinates? Also No good if you need to check coordinates of places to compare against a database of sites. ( EG if your company has thousands of sites referenced by GPS coordinate, Telstra, Optus, Vodaphone etc )
3. Traffic updates display is too brief, if you can't look at the screen immediatly in traffic you miss it and have to navigate to another screen. ( Thats if the screen hasn't locked up ) 4. The data logger only retains 10 wordpad files of data up to 2mb each, their is no means of auto archiving the log files to a memory card, so although you might have a 4 gig memory card the unit automaticly overwrites the data in the sytem memory. Bad luck if you want to review old routes and map where you have been, times, speed using google earth or similar etc. So you then have to manually back up the files every few days, if you want to retain the data. ( The unit has 1 gig of memory spare on board, why not use it?
5. Touch Screen locks up regularly if the unit is warm, and menu functions then won't work, have to shut down and restart before you can search again.

S300T purchased December 08. I have found the unit has numerous shortcomings some of which I have listed below. I am hoping Navman will address these with a software update, however I am not expecting anything really positive from them having already spoken to their phone support staff, very disapointing.. In hindsight I wish I had gon for a cheaper S50 or a mio and save a few hundred dollars.

johndd
4
Rating
 

johndd posted a review   

If there is a way to vary the alert limit distances I can't find it. So everything within 500m triggers an alarm. This was meant to be an upgrade - it's anything but...


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User Reviews / Comments  Navman S300t

  • whitey

    whitey

    Rating5

    "Had Navman s300t for just over 1 year and unit has just failed (its not able to pick up gps) but up to know i have had no problems."

  • andymc

    andymc

    "i have owned a s300t for 10 months pitty its been back at navman 4 times
    (each time its away for 3 weeks) with different problems"

  • dc

    dc

    "sent an email to navman supposedly for a reply within 24 hrs still no reply after 1 week. took unit back and swapped for tomtom sooo much easier to use will never look at another navman ever again...."

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