It’s incredible to think that we are now in 2016 and sat-navs are yet to be an as-standard feature in most new cars. It means that you’ll still have a lot of thinking to do when you come to purchase such a system.
Taking into account the broadest range of factors – from the comprehensiveness and relevance of their feature set to their ease of use and price – we have listed five of our favourite sat navs presently on the market.
Although this, Garmin’s current range-topper is certainly a strong all-round sat nav – thanks to its highly competitive price and lifetime traffic that prevents you having to fork out for a subscription fee – it isn’t as intelligent as the GO 6000 at coming up with ways to beat hold-ups. Still, there are new models apparently on the way soon.
3. Snooper Pro SC5700 DVR
The SC5700 distinguishes itself by apparently being the first single device to combine sat nav functionality with safety camera detection and a DVR dash cam-style recorder. The individual features work pretty well, and although we found trying to control several of them simultaneously a bit confusing, we consider this model a good option if you presently lack a nav, dash cam or safety cam locator.
If you don’t have much experience of using sat navs but don’t want to choose a model that only boasts the most basic functions, the Start 50 could make a lot of sense. Its concise, easy-to-understand routing will certainly make your journeys easier and the lifetime maps are also more than welcome. This sat nav’s biggest strengths of all, however, are its ease of use and sheer good value. Downsides? You don’t get jam updates, but we can forgive that at this price point.
5. Binatone U605
The U605 is hardly the most complicated of sat navs, but if you really do just want something that you will you from A to B with little fuss, there aren’t many better options around. We liked the standard of this model’s routing, while its maps come with lifetime updates. However, there are arguably better entry-level five-inch systems available from the likes of Garmin and TomTom.
TrackR bravo – The newest addition to the TrackR line. Never lose anything again with the coin sized TrackR bravo. Put it on anything! The TrackR Bravo is an intelligent tracking device that has just become available in the UK after its huge success in the USA. The gadget is now available in the UK in EE shops, John Lewis, Argos and Currys.
App integration with Wi-Fi and Nest network to disable alerts from sounding when wandering around the house
The use of Bluetooth 4.0 for a 100 ft. range and Bluetooth Low Energy which consumes 50 times less power than Bluetooth Classic
The use of a replaceable battery, cutting down on lifetime costs and keeping the growing Crowd GPS network strong
The use of anodized aluminium, making TrackR devices smaller, thinner and lighter
Recently, TrackR founders announced partnerships with big brands. HP, Cross Pens or Mezzi can now offer customers the ability to utilise the scale of Crowd GPS network for locating their valuables worldwide.
Picking an in-car satellite navigation system is a very difficult choice at the moment. What with mobile phones becoming so much more competent at being companions on the road. It seems a bit futile for you to spend money on a decent, dedicated GPS system. However this has not stopped Garmin from producing a high end unit that dwarfs older units from years gone by.
Looking around the device, on the top there is nothing but a large shutter button, allowing you to snap a quick and easy picture. Obviously not whilst driving as that would be dangerous, however if a moment were to present itself whilst you are parked then you can grab it quickly and easily.
The back features the power button, a grill for a speaker that is easily fit for purpose and inside a magnetic circle are some ports for connecting the charger and mount. One of the handiest features is the NuviCam’s ability to just pop onto it’s mount to start charging. No need for fiddling with MicroUSB connector or a proprietary connector every time. A powerful magnets guides you in and clamps the two together with a satisfying connection. This great mechanism eases the burden of having to remove the unit from view every time you leave the car.
On the bottom are three ports, one for a mircoUSB when connecting the unit to a computer or power source outside the car. There are two MicroSD card slots. The first is an expansion port for storage of maps whereas the second is dedicated storage for the dashboard camera. A simple and tidy solution. A 4GB card is included as standard for video recordings.
The Garmin is a massive device first and foremost. A 6 inch screen fills a huge unit however this size allows the NuviCam to capture so many desirable aspects of in-car equipment that you would not normally have access to. Not only does it tell you directions and find local services but it integrates with your phone via Bluetooth, it records your journey via camera, preserving important maneuvers to SD card for easy playback when required and barks orders at you to help or correct your driving.
The device is easy to set up, has a fantastic holder that connects to your dashboard with minimal effort, alongside a very simple to use interface. One thing I can’t sing praises about is the wiring, the power cable and microphone cable are incredibly difficult to conceal. Whilst one is a double width cable that you cannot easily conceal in dashboard seams. The other is so fine it slips out with a simple knock or shudder. However you can forgive this because the rest of the unit works so darn well and there might also be cars out there that have particular troughs that can accommodate. Here is, rather crude, video to illustrate the nuisance wiring.
Whilst we are on the topic of video here are some examples of the in built camera:
As you can see from the footage in the video above the picture quality on the inbuilt DVR is exceptional. A wide angle lens captures everything you could need on the road right down to the fine detail and most importantly number plate information from a considerable distance. Videos are recorded at full HD 1920 by 1080 resolution at 8mb per second. The quality is perfect level of detail and you should hopefully only ever have to use the footage in the instance of an accident. A already mentioned it is pretty handy to be able to hit the button to allow you capture a still image along the way in case of something interesting ahead of you. I can’t imagine too many instances that you would need to grab a still image, however it a nice feature to throw in. The 4gb card in included and this is great for about an hours worth of footage, if you were to upgrade to a larger card, say for example 64 gigabytes you can get almost 18 hours of storage.
The screen is excellent, on paper a 6” screen sounds pretty hefty for a portable device however it makes sense when in use as it really has to rival the screens built into the dash of modern cars. One criticism is that modern day smartphones tend to use swipes and gestures to navigate around the menus and the user may find that they are swiping unnecessarily as a Garmin does not support swipe-like movements.
Whilst driving with a camera I noticed that there were a number of warnings as I’d progressed through my journey. There were things like Lane departure notifications, speed limit warnings, proximity collision alarms and whilst these are very handy they become a little annoying from time to time and distracting whilst driving. They were easy enough to turn off and on again whilst parked however I was unable to find a way to vocally interact with these warnings perhaps including the voice command “shut up” may have be a good idea.
Garmin have included a Digital Traffic via DAB radio service. This has a DAB radio receiver built into the unit that allows the device to update itself with traffic information every minute. I found this to be somewhat accurate during rush hour. The Digital Traffic lifetime subscription is included with the new Nuvicam however this does not stretch to all countries around Europe, instead a handful including Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway and Germany. For other countries you receive standard RDS-TMC updates which aren’t quite as luxurious and only update every 15 minutes.
One handy extra feature is the integration of Foursquare point-of-interest locations that appear on the map. This is a nice use of relevant social networking to keep the Garmin system as an up to date platform.
When it comes to the voice commands I found it to be fairly accurate. I do not have a particularly broad Northern Irish accent and I did not have to make a much of an affort to “bend” my accent to help the system pick up certain phrases or words. Once you learn how it works you find it to be quite confident at picking up local requests. I did have an issue trying to find the nearest Smyths Toy Shop at one stage and it recommended Smiths Tours or some such over 300 miles away. Changing it to Smyths-Toy-Shop-Belfast sorted that out on the first try.
Comparing this to a smartphone app like Google Maps the Garmin is a very choice satellite navigation system. The differences are phenomenal. Having used Google Maps to navigate for the last few months I have found it I have made several errors whereas the Garmin has always kept me right I have not had to question its logic or lane placement when leaving a motorway. The roads around Dublin tend to be quite difficult for new drivers to understand and mistakes are often made along the way, the Garmin helped me navigate them very easily and in a sensible fashion that I was able to understand whilst not distracting me from my driving.
Certainly the Garmin is more expensive than using your smartphone on the road. There is no doubt it is really for the road warrior as opposed to the casual driver. Having something like this in your car will require forward thinking as this is such a large, bulky device you will likely need to take it with you when leaving your car in a city centre for fear that it may be spotted and removed. It wipes the floor with smartphone and inbuilt car navigation. There is also the factor it does not impact on your phone’s battery life or data allowance and can be used across Europe without fear of extra charges and will actually serve as a bit of a talking piece for passengers in the car.
The Garmin Nuvicam will make you realise just how half baked the other options are and it is with a heavy heart I have to hand this back to Garmin.
The Blackvue is, simply put, a high end dashboard camera. Recording the daily routine with every feature you could imagine. In the following video we take a look at the key features of the camera, the additional hardware, the quality of the footage and the desktop software.
The Blackvue gives users the ability to record their journeys in full 1080p at 30 frame per second. A built in G-Sensor reacts to movement as you drive and adds additional peace of mind to the recording practice. Adding WiFi support allows for the unit to connect to a phone and utilise the Blackvue app to modify settings and preview footage on the go. Built in GPS ensures increased accuracy when travelling and integrates the position into the desktop suite to help locate any incidents that may have occurred with the added help of the G-sensor.
The camera is a wide angle 133 degree lens with an optional rear camera. A 16GB class 10 Micro SD card has been included however there is support for cards up to 64GB
There are are couple of things that will become obvious about the Strike Alpha Cradle when you consider it for your in car docking solution. Some good, some bad. There is still no perfect solution and there likely never will.
The Strike Alpha Cradle is a well constructed and sturdy phone holder. This is evident as soon as you touch it. If you are dedicated to your phone and want the most serious solution then this is the one to be looking at. The combination of features and design is second to none.
This brings us to the crossroads of how far do you take something. Back in the late 90′s cars were being fitted with holders that latched onto the dashboard and specifically designed for particular phones. If you had a work/business phone then this was the norm. A nokia phone mount was in nearly all fleet cars in the UK. Eventually this was done away with as mobile phones became more popular and everyone had one. Apple and Blackberry become more popular in the business world and the phone cradle had to be more flexible. People changed their phone yearly or even 6 monthly and an expensive install of a phone holder gave way to a suction cup and a cheaper universal holder from Ebay.
Strike cater to all desires. Offering suction mounts, dash mounts, hard wiring solutions, NFC or Bluetooth integration. It is hard to measure the fast charge capabilities of the mount and some might be a little confused between fast charge compatibility and the super fast charging terminology used here. There will even be a wireless charger compatible version available in the future.
Are a mount there are a lot of options and out of the box this performs well. There are a few liberties that work out for the best. The USB connector is a welcome one, whilst it might not suit everyone it suits me as I would be plugging this into an already existing USB cable and there was a little extra cable to play with. The signal booster cable wasn’t terribly useful as I am unable to find a use for it or even a fitment to install in the car to accommodate it.
Strike are treading a line between specific build and universal fitting. It’s a dangerous one but for someone picking up a particular phone, a Samsung Galaxy for example and knowing that they will be keeping it for the 24 months of a contract then this a good choice as it is a well build and a very convenient design. If you are likely to be looking for a new phone after 6 months and are not the type to stay loyal to a manufacturer then there is little to recommend here unless you have money to burn.
Strike Alpha Cradle for Samsung Galaxy Xcover is available RRP GBP is £84.99.
Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. has launched the nüviCam, the first portable navigation device (PND) to feature a built-in dash cam and advanced alerts to enhance driver awareness on the road. Thanks to the integrated dash cam that continuously records and automatically saves files on impact, the nüviCam offers the protection of having an eyewitness that records exactly where and when events occurred.
One of the most comprehensive sat navs to ever hit the roads, the nüviCam offers the latest in premium driver-assist features typically found only in luxury vehicles. For example, Forward Collision Warning2 alerts drivers if they’re driving too close to the car ahead; Lane Departure Warning2 alerts will appear and sound if the driver drifts off the road or into oncoming traffic; and Garmin Real Vision™ takes the guess work out of deciphering hard-to-see house numbers by displaying the camera view along with a bright arrow to direct drivers where to go when approaching select destinations.
“The nüviCam goes beyond helping drivers get from Point A to Point B,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin Vice President of worldwide sales. “The intuitive driver-assist features not only lessen the stress of getting you to your destination, but the nüviCam also provides peace of mind in knowing that your commute is being recorded and can be referenced should you need it.”
The nüviCam features a 6-inch pinch-to-zoom glass display with a high-definition dash cam built in to the back of the device. When powered on, the integrated dash cam continuously records on the included microSD card, and if an incident occurs, the device’s Incident Detection will automatically save files on impact. GPS records exactly where and when events occur and drivers can play back the video on the device or from a computer using garmin.com/dashcamplayer. There’s also a Snapshot feature on the nüviCam that allows drivers to capture still images in or outside of the vehicle if desired. The included magnetic mount enables the device to be easily and quickly secured or removed from the vehicle. Other navigation features offered with safety and convenience in mind include voice-activated navigation that allows drivers to speak commands to the device while their hands stay safely on the wheel, and Bluetooth® wireless technology for hands-free calling (requires Bluetooth-enabled smartphone sold separately). Smartphone Link, a free mobile app that connects nüviCam with a compatible iPhone® or Android™ smartphone, can also provide real-time data services3, such as weather or safety cameras to the sat nav. Drivers can even pair the nüviCam with the Garmin BC™ 30 Wireless Backup Camera (sold separately) to see what’s behind their vehicle when they reverse.
To make sure drivers never miss a turn, the nüviCam utilises Active Lane Guidance, which uses a combination of voice prompts and visual cues to prepare users to drive through an exit or interchange with confidence. “Up Ahead” appears alongside the driving map and constantly informs of nearby services, including restaurants, fuel stations and rest areas, and spoken Garmin Real Directions™ guides drivers like a friend would, using recognisable landmarks, buildings and traffic lights. Additional features included are speed limit warnings, school zone warnings, PhotoReal Junction View, Bird’s Eye Junction View and preloaded Foursquare® data that adds millions of new and popular points of interest like restaurants, shops and more.
The nüviCam comes preloaded with detailed maps of Europe and free lifetime map4 updates are included to ensure the most up-to-date maps, points of interest and navigation information is available. This sat nav also features Garmin Digital Traffic via DAB, the best and fastest traffic solution available from Garmin, for the life of the device.
The nüviCam is the latest from Garmin’s consumer automotive segment, the leading worldwide provider of portable navigation devices for automobiles, motorcycles and trucks. Garmin’s user-friendly navigation solutions have innovative features that provide time- and fuel-saving benefits to meet the demands of everyday driving.
The Garmin nüviCam has a suggested retail price of £309.99. For more information, visit www.garmin.com/nuvi.
For any parent or caregiver, your children’s safety is of paramount importance. Whilst it used to be impossible to keep an eye on your children’s every movement, the right children’s GPS tracker will enable you to do just that.
There are a number of factors which contribute to finding the perfect kids GPS tracker. These range from signal quality to the size and efficiency of the tracker itself. Below are five of the most important things to consider when purchasing a tracker for your children.
1) It needs to track effectively from indoors and outdoors
A GPS tracker can have an array of handy features, but the most crucial thing is an ability to track consistently from any location. Some trackers have been criticised by customers for an inability to keep a consistent track unless held outside, and pointed skywards.
Whilst sometimes it’s convenient to use the tracker outside, at other times you’ll need to use it in the house, the office or travelling between places. This means that the tracker you purchase needs to be reliable and versatile enough to track from a variety of different locations.
2) Live tracking is crucial
Live tracking enables you to monitor your child’s movements in real time, and retains a complete history of prior activity, on your personal mapping setup.
This means that you can go back through a history of previous movements, to see if you’re happy with the general pattern of where your child is spending their time, as well as to review their whereabouts during a period when you were unable to check the tracker.
It also means that if you suddenly notice your child somewhere that you don’t want them to be, you can react in an instant and make your way to them – knowing exactly where they are at every moment.
3) Your tracker should have a customisable secure zone and boundary area
Many of the places your children will go – such as walking to a local shop, going to school or meeting up with other family members pose no real risk. This means that whilst your youngsters’ safety is always vitally important, there are times when you can relax. After all, there are enough stressful moments as a parent!
Thankfully, some GPS trackers have developed a perfect compromise. Their technology enables users to set a customised secure zone. If the child leaves that specific area, both you and other designated individuals can receive a text or email alert to inform you that they are outside of what you consider safe areas for them.
As the kids get older, this customisable format allows you to change the locations within this safe zone at any time.
4) You want something small, portable and lightweight
Whilst innovative technology and reliability are the most crucial elements of a good kids GPS tracker, it’s also important to have a tracking device which is small and lightweight.
Considering that you – and your child – probably have the device on your person a good deal of the time, you don’t want something bulky or uncomfortable. With that in mind, it’s a big benefit to have a tracker which can just be slipped into a pocket, purse or for your little ones, a school lunch box or soft toy.
Trackershop offer some of the most effective, portable and lightweight personal GPS trackers available anywhere.
5) Long battery life is important
This might seem obvious, but it’s important to find a tracker which has a long battery life (preferably one of several days), to facilitate constant tracking even when you’re in a situation where charging the device simply isn’t tenable – for example when you are in a remote location for any period of time.
MoneySuperMarket have debuted world’s first mind-controlled electric car this morning. Carol Vorderman was on hand to take the car for a spin using her big brain! Video footage has been made available for all to see of Carol working her way around the track.
On Thursday the track is empty and waiting for some lucky members of the public to be brain trained and drive the car themselves, in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. All they need to do is register before lunch time tomorrow at midday following this link: http://www.moneysupermarket.com/hubs/car-insurance/mind-drive/ .
Eighty years since the first driving test and with more distractions on our roads than ever before, MoneySuperMarket is reminding people to keep their brains in gear when behind the wheel with a truly epic motoring experience – the world’s first mind-controlled electric car.
The Car Insurance Epic Mind Drive gives drivers the opportunity to negotiate this ground-breaking vehicle around a futuristic track using brainwaves alone to turn left, right, move forward and stop.
The car is controlled with an electroencephalogram (EEG) neuro headset, using sophisticated software algorithms to translate raw EEG data into mental commands. Each user must train with the headset so it can decipher their thought patterns and learn their unique mental topography. The software is then able to recognise distinct thought patterns and using some complex electronics, wirelessly sends these commands to the car’s controls.
Those selected to take the driver’s seat will be judged on the track by a series of variables. This includes statistics fed back by a telematics box in the car reporting on how safely and accurately they drive, a technology system used to calculate fair premiums and save drivers money on car insurance policies. Accuracy, smoothness and lap time will all be fed into a bespoke formula to generate a score that they can take away with them, along with the pride of being one of the very first mind-control drivers.
The experience highlights that driving with your brain in gear not only keeps you safe but also saves money on your car insurance.
David Harling, Digital Marketing Director at MoneySuperMarket commented: “Driverless cars are currently being road tested but until they’re an everyday reality, we know it’s as important as ever for motorists to use their heads while driving. Our customers are great at using their heads to find the best car insurance quotes and have inspired us to launch the Car Insurance Epic Mind Drive, a once-in-a-lifetime, truly epic experience.”
There is a new device on the block and it’s called the “Skully P1″ and it’s actually an Android-powered motorcycle helmet which can let you see what’s behind you with an Augmented Reality overlay. This innovative device actually has a rear-camera built-in and displays a 180-degree AR view of what’s behind the rider.
That’s not the only cool thing about this high-tech armour. It also includes a Skully Synapse HUD integrated into the helmet visor. This makes it appear the HUD is floating about 20 feet in front of the riders vision. This HUD includes two different views. One incorporates the rear view display as previously mentioned, but the other offers detailed turn-by-turn navigation. This HUD uses a lithium-ion battery which will hold a charge for nine hours of use
As mentioned, the helm uses Android for its OS, and will integrate with other smartphones from Androids to iPhones. The OS also includes voice controls for playing music, getting directions, and more. The manufacturer will launch an SDK for app developers later in 2013. No details on pricing have been shared just yet.
There were a couple of devices from Garmin at Mobile World Congress this year. I paid particular attention to two of them, the M10 and A50. With the focus primarily on Satellite Navigation they run both Windows Mobile and Android as the title of each phone might suggest. I played with the A50 for a long enough to ascertain that the Operating System runs very well and the facelift looks well, the GPS navigation client isn’t the fastest when scrolling around, I have shot a short video showing this and will upload it once I return.