Review: Navman MY450LMT car GPS navigator

Navman’s device attempts to stand out with a big screen and map updates

GPS based navigation devices have become indispensable tools when driving in both familiar and unfamiliar territory, though in recent years users have had the option to use their smartphone devices to carry out the same task. In response to this, manufacturers such as Navman have stepped up their game and attempted to offer a more premium user experience than the one offered by the map app on a smartphone. At the top of Navman’s product portfolio is the MY450LMT, which comes with a strong focus on providing the latest and most accurate maps for travelers to use.

Big screen and sturdy design

The MY450LMT sports a black plastic exterior with a silver metal bezel. The simple look suits the device and the case feels surprisingly robust, so it should be able to withstand bumps and shakes associated with car travel. The device comes with a five inch LCD screen in a case measuring 142 x 86 x 15 mm. The large nature of the screen makes it easy to navigate the menus and icons at a glance. However, LCD screens tend to be difficult to view in direct sunlight, and the MY450LMT sometimes suffered from this as well. Fortunately, the included windshield mount for the device is easy to adjust to get a better viewing angle in situations such as this.

Although the MY450LMT is touch based device, it comes with a physical button that is used to power it on and off. A long and firm press is required to power on the device and is followed by a lengthy boot time for the OS, which means the MY450LMT was not designed to be turned on and off regularly. Instead, the user will have to be vigilant about keeping the device fully charged and operational to avoid repeating this step. There is a mini USB port on one side of the device used to charge the battery, which can be done with the included USB cable and lighter adaptor. An optional Navman reverse camera can be connected to a dedicated AV port on the MY450LMT, while a microSD card slot provides added storage.

Functional but sluggish

The MY450LMT runs on Navman’s own OS, with options such as Find, Map, My Places, Explore, Traffic, and Settings found on the home screen. The menus and icons are designed to be functional, so they are simple in look and placement. Navigation of the OS is generally problem free, though the overall experience lacks the smoothness that users may be accustomed to with other touch enabled devices, such as smartphones and tablets. Transitions between screens is a bit sluggish and the LCD touch panel is resistive so the on-screen keyboard is not as responsive as it could be, which becomes apparent when typing in long addresses or street names.

Performance issues aside, the MY450LMT does a good job of simplifying the navigation experience. Locations can be searched up in a myriad of ways, whether it includes inputting street names or getting recommendations based on search results. Aided by the large screen, directions are clearly shown on the on-screen map, enabling the driver to get a quick understanding of the situation via a quick glance. The built-in speaker delivers the audio prompts clearly and at a good volume, and the voice used for this feature is pleasant and not distracting.

Accurate navigation

A key selling point with the MY450LMT is the promise by Navman to provide updated maps to the device on a monthly basis for free, which can be installed from a PC via the USB port. While the existing maps on the device, provided by the Nokia’s service, are already accurate, this feature helps to effectively extend the device’s lifespan. While the screen and software could be better, the robust functionality of the MY450LMT makes it a worthwhile investment for anyone who drives a lot.

The Navman MY450LMT is available now for $279 from leading retail outlets such as Bing Lee, Dick Smiths and The Good Guys.

Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.

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