Road Angel Navigator 7000

The Navigator 7000 is a fine GPS system with oodles of add-on safety features, but its complexity is also its Achilles heel. Read our Australian review.


7.0
CNET Rating
4.8
User Rating


Design
The Road Angel Navigator 7000 is, to put it bluntly, a pretty ugly little GPS unit; an unremarkable 95mm by 22mm by 75mm rectangular 160 gram box with a 3.5-inch touchscreen used for all input functions. Rubber covers protect the SD card slot, reset button, USB connector and antenna socket from dust and splashes, although not particularly well. Our test unit came out of the box and from the moment we flipped the flaps up, they refused to slot comfortably back into place. It's not something that largely detracts from the Navigator's core functionality -- it's just a bit of an eyesore.

Aside from the core GPS unit itself, the Navigator 7000 also ships with a rather complicated car mounting bracket. This is a multi-part affair that takes some construction before you can stick its sucker cap to your windscreen. To be brutally honest, the Navigator's car mounting kit had us flummoxed for a while, and we began to wonder if we were dealing with an IT variation on the Lemarchand Configuration. It uses a complicated locking procedure for snapping a holding caddy onto the windscreen mounting arm itself, and despite the presence of arrows telling you to push it in certain directions, it took us a solid amount of time to get it all together. When the Road Angel is in the mounting arm, it also charges from it, although with a minimum of fiddling you can also use the USB connector for charging if you've got an in-car USB charging kit.

Features
The Road Angel 7000 has most of the same core features that many GPS vendors offer -- Sensis 2006 mapping data, with the option of other maps via the side-mounted SD card slot, trip planning (including recalculating routes on the fly) and so on. What makes the Road Angel stand out from the pack is the inclusion of lots and lots of optional road data, lumped under the "Road Sense" banner. This is a subscription service -- you get three months free when you buy the Navigator 7000, after which it'll cost you AU$9.99/month to maintain it -- which keeps a constant database of red light cameras, school safety zones and other traffic hazards. When you're entering into a zone of interest, the Road Angel will let you know -- often quite forcefully for a GPS -- so that you can adjust your driving habits -- largely your speed -- to a safe legal limit.

The Navigator brand has had Road Sense installed on plenty of previous models as well, but the other defining feature of the Navigator 7000 is the ability to update the Road Sense data via Bluetooth. This means that you can use your mobile phone to update the 7000 while on the move -- although data rates might make you think twice, depending on your mobile phone plan. As with most other GPS units, the Navigator 7000 also offers voice commands to assist your driving. We're still undecided about whether the decision to continue offering Peter Brock's voice as a safety guide is either an honour for him, or just macabre.

Performance
We tested the Road Angel in an exhaustive fashion, trying it alongside several other GPS models on a drive from Adelaide to Sydney. It was given the chance to run for several hours and in multiple different types of road conditions, which also gave us a good chance to assess its road safety features.

The Road Angel 7000 has plenty of features, and plenty of ways to toggle on or off different alert types depending on user preference. It's great to have this kind of control, but there is a downside, as it makes the Navigator 7000's interface very difficult to learn and requires some solid time tweaking to fit your personal preferences. Unlike competing GPS systems from providers such as TomTom, Navman or Garmin, the Navigator 7000 has a very solid learning curve to it, something that's not entirely desirable in a GPS system. Matters aren't helped by the Navigator 7000's icon-driven interface and somewhat slow response times to screen clicks. While you will eventually learn to remember the icons, this isn't a GPS that you can easily lend to someone else without teaching them its particular interface style.

The Road Angel performed generally well in our testing, routing the same kind of driving pattern as the other units we were concurrently testing -- hardly a surprise, given that they're all based off the same road data. Its GPS lock did go very peculiar on us for one stretch of driving, deciding that we were in fact driving about 100m to the left of our actual current position, although this was driving on a very hot day, where GPS systems often get a bit stymied. For what it's worth, the specifications for the Navigator 7000 give it an upper operating temperature of only 40 degrees, and on longer Australian summer drives it can easily exceed that in an in-car environment.

If you're prepared to learn the interface and can put up with the subscription pricing for the Road Sense application, then the Navigator 7000 comes highly recommended. If you want a simpler device that you can simply plug in and get going with, however, we'd recommend something else.

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PeterW2 Facebook
3
Rating
 

PeterW2 posted a review   

The Good:all the alerts

The Bad:updates don't work properly base constantly fell of the windscreen

paid $1000 for a unit that won't work properly. updated the unit with new card to fix the problems and made it worse they told me to send it back and they would check it out and fix it but i had to pay for it

Baz
2
Rating
 

Baz posted a review   

The Good:all the alerts

The Bad:expensive unit, expensive updates, guidance not always correct, poor after sales support from road angel, problem with speaker it just stopped working, over all not worth the money paid

bought the unit 3years ago ($1000) it always took ages to find satellites, when the speaker stopped working road angel took their time replying to our email and then wanted too charge just too have a look at it ($100) before they would fix it. Dont buy it,buy a garmin instead they are more value for money and heaps heaps better

top gun
10
Rating
 

top gun posted a review   

i do 360-370 thousand k a year.heavy veicle operator,have Road Angel 6000 and its the best thing i ever bought.had for three years now and only prob i have had is a bad battery.

 

Gav1963 posted a comment   

The Good:Not much.

The Bad:Unreliable, complex and the worst after sales service ever

I have both a Navigator 7000 and a 3000. Both items play up all the time and if you decide to not pay for useless updates you end up with the most annoying outdate page at startup(they dont cover WA at all in updates).

Apa70
1
Rating
 

Apa70 posted a review   
Australia

The Good:I had to give 1 point because no less on the scale. Shame!

The Bad:DO NOT BUY IT !!!

This is the WORST GPS unit ever!!! Since I've got it (2005) I'm having trouble with it no stop! I returned it back many time. I always paid for upgrade $$$ but it still does not work! CRAP! CRAP!! CRAP!!!

ocky
3
Rating
 

ocky posted a review   

The Good:Road Sense

The Bad:Interface icons - menu navigation
Rubber side covers keep bending open
Battery wont recharge after one year

Very difficult interface compared to competitor units, after one year the battery is now stuffed. Not happy

ronski53
1
Rating
 

ronski53 posted a review   

The Good:great features incl school zones bus lane red and speed camers

The Bad:No backup service. units fail regularly. They havn't ironed the bugs out of these yet. constant problems with screens charging and updating.

Fantastic unit. The best WHEN IT WORKS.
But many faults and problems recorded, and management unwilling to fix. BET THE INVENTOR DOESN'T KNOW OF THE SLACK SERVICE provided by his factory

Davidl
4
Rating
 

Davidl posted a review   

The Good:Solid case Good Base No rattles

The Bad:No support Expensive updates and maps No enough options on voice etc

I have the Navigator anf travell 40k a year - I have used garmin in holdens and fid the reroute fuction on them better Navigator takes you around the block and back where you were. Sometimes very slow 10min to aqquire satellites poor in hight rise areas requires external antenna. Serve department is poor NO responce to emails sent from their website monthly updates not free after trial period 29.95. MAP UPGRADE $245 MAY AS WELL BUY A NEW GPS AT THAT PRICE. For a unit that retailed at $1000 very poor. Display is good voice clear but cannot clear peter brock voice the guys dead an I hear his voice! I will not purchase this brand again will go for a navman or similar

Ivory
8
Rating
 

Ivory posted a review   

The Good:EASY TO USE, LOTS OF FEATURES ON THE SYSTEM AND I LOOKED FOR A FEW MONTHS B4 I JUST WENT OUT AND BOUGHT THIS 1.

The Bad:DOESN'T ALWAYS GIVE THE CORRECT STREET BUT GOING TO WAIT TILL I UPDATE AGAIN AND SEE IF IT CHANGES THE STREETS TO THE RECENT STREET CLOSURE, AND STREET NAME CHANGES IN THE AREA.

Bought the unti about 6 months ago, so far have had no problems tried to update road sense and some how it deleted or was deleted from my system so called them and they sent me a new SD card the following day FREE OF CHARGE!

davval
2
Rating
 

davval posted a review   

The Good:None - only worked a handfull of times over the two years

The Bad:For $1100 probably had 1/2 a dozen working uses out of it and useless support. Fix one problem arfter chasing an outcome for another to pop up. I GIVE UP have sent four emails over the last month to the customer help desk and not even a response.

Had a road angel for two years now. Had no end of problems and customer service doesnt even rate a mention.


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User Reviews / Comments  Road Angel Navigator 7000

  • PeterW2

    PeterW2

    Rating3

    "paid $1000 for a unit that won't work properly. updated the unit with new card to fix the problems and made it worse they told me to send it back and they would check it out and fix it but i had to..."

  • Baz

    Baz

    Rating2

    "bought the unit 3years ago ($1000) it always took ages to find satellites, when the speaker stopped working road angel took their time replying to our email and then wanted too charge just too have..."

  • top gun

    top gun

    Rating10

    "i do 360-370 thousand k a year.heavy veicle operator,have Road Angel 6000 and its the best thing i ever bought.had for three years now and only prob i have had is a bad battery."

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