Navigon Easy 40 satnav review

Convergence seems to be affecting all handheld devices with a touchscreen. From PMPs to gaming consoles and satellite navigation systems, it’s pretty likely that your smartphone – whether ‘Berry, Apple or Gingerbread flavoured – would be able to do a passable impression of gaming, music playback or getting you from A to B. And indeed if you have modest needs, then dedicated systems are not for you. However, there is something to be said for focus, be it the dedicated horsepower of a gaming console (Sony’s NGP looks particularly hard working), the storage capacity of a PMP or the increased functionality of a sat-nav.

Navigon-Easy-40

Navigon, a leading German brand sent us an Easy 40 to review, to see if we would prefer navigating with it to just winging it with a smartphone (although they also make some pretty full features smartphone software). Out of the box the unit is as expected, small, black and solid feeling plastic. I could accidentally drop it without worrying too much. The Windows CE based 4.3 inch touchscreen is thin and light and pops onto the windscreen with no trouble. But that’s the least I expect. So what’s it like to drive with?

Navigon also have a lovely little sightseeing function built in. Although this only has the sites you’d expect, when you are in an unfamiliar locale it can be reasonably helpful. It also can provide a little historical detail (I’m a born and bred Londoner and even I can’t tell you what half these buildings are). And I can think of countless times when the opening times function would have been a Godsend.

Other useful features included the Last Mile, that takes from where you park to where you actually want to be and will also help you navigate back to the car. You can also customise the places of interest so it will show you museums or service stations along the way – if you are really into service stations that is.

The Navigon Easy 40 is £130 or so from Amazon and is both feature packed enough to interest a serious motorist over the casual user and reliable enough to take on the more established brands (in the UK at least) of Garmin or TomTom.

Parrot MINIKIT Smart: Making smartphones even smarter

Parrot, a leading company of wireless peripherals for mobile phones, has announced its latest creative product to hit the market, the MINIKIT Smart. The MINIKIT Smart is the first Bluetooth hands-free, multifunctional kit with docking bay, which is compatible with all Smartphones and operating systems.

Parrot-Minikit

This innovative creation may prove to be particularly advantageous to men, who, being notoriously bad at multitasking will wholly benefit from the multifunctional capabilities of the MINIKIT Smart, which can simultaneously manage hands-free conversation and the navigation apps available on Smartphones. Although on the other hand men may argue that their ‘no sense of direction’ other half, will now not have an excuse about losing their way because they were chatting to their friends, as both telephone conversations and GPS guidance will go through the 2Watt speaker integrated in the MINIKIT Smart.

Smartphone’s batteries running out of life, particularly on long journeys, will also no longer be an excuse for ending up in Edinburgh instead of Ealing, Tewkesbury instead of Tunbridge Wells, and not answering the phone to the missus’ endless bombardment of ‘where the hell are you’ calls. As thanks to a USB cable being included with the MINIKIT Smart, this smart device can also recharge Smartphone’s batteries.

The MINIKIT Smart can be positioned easily and quickly with a suction cup that swivels from either portrait or landscape maximizing its visibility to the driver. The docking bay can be positioned with similar ease with a magnet.

Earlier this year Parrot launched the MINIKIT Slim, a portable Bluetooth hands-free car kit, which has been commended for its neatness, precision and capabilities. With today’s busy lifestyles, in which time is of the essence, multi-functioning gadgets are now becoming imperative as opposed to solely superfluous. In this sense, when Parrot’s MINIKIT Smart hits the market in November, it is likely to be met with the same, and if not more, admiration and praise as the MINIKIT Slim.