In an increasingly crowded market Navman, like others, is searching for ways to differentiate its standalone navigation products with 'must have' extras above and beyond simple routing between locations. The company's latest attempt at differentiation is NavPix. The term refers to photos taken with a built-in digital camera. Photos can be shared via the Web and also used as navigation destinations.
NavPix makes its first appearance on the iCN 720 and iCN 750. These are essentially the same device, the £549 iCN 750 coming with maps for 17 Western European countries pre-installed and ready for use; the £399 iCN 720, reviewed here, has the same maps pre-installed, but only the UK ones are available to use -- maps of the remaining countries can be activated for a fee as required.
The Navman iCN 720 is neither small nor lightweight for a navigation device, weighing 300g and measuring 136 by 77 by 31mm. One reason for the device's bulk is its widescreen display, which measures 102mm (4 inches) across the diagonal. To the right of the screen is a column of hardware buttons, more on those later.
On the right edge is a volume control wheel. The left edge houses a connector for an external antenna, a power socket and a mini USB port, as well as an SD card slot that can be used for storing both maps and photos. The top edge carries the power switch and shutter button for the digital camera. The lens itself is on the back of the device, along with the flip-out GPS antenna. The system's speaker is also on the back of the device.
The windscreen attachment unit is in two sections, held together by a ball joint. This allows you to move the iCN 720 through all planes, but by rejecting a swan-neck-style system, Navman has made it difficult for anyone whose vehicle has a deep dashboard, as the device rests about 15mm from the windscreen. That said, it's easy to attach and remove the iCN 720 from the mount thanks to a simple catch mechanism.
As well as the windscreen mount, mains power charger and cigarette lighter cable, the Navman iCN 720 box includes a USB cable for PC connection, Navman's SmartST software on CD along with map data and a user manual, a printed user manual and an in-car installation guide.
If you want access to real-time traffic information, you need to purchase the optional T1 Traffic Pack, which costs £100 extra.
Features and performance
Finding your first destination with the Navman iCN 720 should be a positive and straightforward experience if it mirrors ours. When you turn the device on, several pages of on-screen tutorial walk you through some of the key features. Once that's over, you can begin to plan a route.
Pressing one of the buttons to the right of the screen brings up the Go To menu. You can now tap large icons to go to a recent destination, a destination saved as a favourite, one of the Points of Interest (PoI), a specific address you want to enter or the place you have designated as My Home. You can also use this screen to configure a multi-stop trip.
Choosing to go to an address or PoI takes you on to a screen where you first choose a country (subsequent trips do not require this step unless you wish to change country), then either enter a city or area, a street name or a postcode (or access the PoI database). Postcode navigation is often all you'll require as full seven-digit postcodes are supported. Oddly once you've entered a postcode you can't fine-tune the destination by adding a building number.
We did identify what could become quite a serious issue if you want to begin entering a destination using a city or area designation. One of our destination streets in Ashtead, Surrey, was, the software was convinced, not in Ashtead at all, but in Leatherhead; another in Walworth, South London, was designated by the software as being in Camberwell. On that basis, our advice is to only use the city or area designation if you aren't actually looking for a specific place.