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Review: Navman Platinum S300t GPS Unit

SatNav (GPS) units were one of the "hot" items at Christmas time. Most were the low-cost, low-featured variety. But we wanted to see what was offered in the top-of-the-range models and Navman came to the party with their just-released "Platinum" S300t. About the only thing it doesn't have is the kitchen sink. Oh, did I miss that?

By Ross Tester

My main reason for visiting the Sydney Motor Show back in October was to get as much information as possible on electric cars – and in particular, the Chevy Volt (see report in SILICON CHIP, December ’08)

Apart from that, I found the show somewhat disappointing with quite a number of manufacturers choosing not to show (no pun intended!)

Sure, it was all glitz and glamour, lots of bright lights and agonisingly sparkling paintwork – but not much in the way of substance, especially for us and, therefore, readers of a technical electronics magazine.

So I started to look for other items of interest. Apart from a long, envious drool at the masterpiece of auto engineering that Enzo Ferrari kindly named after me (Testarossa, of course!) and staring gobsmacked at a magnificently restored Ford GT with an estimated auction price approaching $300,000 (you could buy them for less than $20,000 brand new!) there really wasn’t much to hold my interest, at least.

As I was about to leave, I took another look through the press kit which organisers gave to members of the media. It was mostly one PR blurb after another, until I got to the Navman folder.

"What's this? A brand new GPS unit?". My excitement lasted only a few milliseconds when I realised that it wasn’t a "real" GPS but unfortunately only a case (yes, a real GPS case!) with a weight inside it to simulate the works.

There was also an invitation to visit the Navman stand to see what all the fuss was about with their new Platinum range. I’m not sure the PR effort was all that successful, as mine was the first dummy GPS the people on the stand had seen (and this was day 3!).

Anyway, the most helpful Navman salesman took me through the features of this new model and that was enough to convince me that we should get hold of one for review.

Why look at SatNav?

Let’s face it: SatNav (GPS) units are the proverbial "dime a dozen". They’re long past being a toy for the idle rich; in fact, GPS units are now inbuilt into many cars, ranging from the humble daily drive to some very up-market (read expensive!) marques.

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