Novogo S700 Review

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Review Novogo S700

The propaganda

Novogo’s S Series navigators are developed with navigation, and navigation alone, in mind. Unlike so many of the current mid-range GPS systems that come filled to the brim with extra features like music players, photo viewers and organisers, Novogo clearly believes that a GPS shouldn’t get bogged down with functions that you probably wouldn’t use – even if your phone, MP3 player, PDA, digital camera and laptop didn’t have it all covered already.

The result is a compact, standalone navigator that comes with full maps of Western Europe, using TeleAtlas mapping software, and is backed up by a 400MHz Intel CPU, 64MB of RAM and a SirF Star III GPS receiver. As you can see from the pic, it comes in a wider range of bright colours and you can also get real time traffic updates with an optional RDS add on.

The good

The high speed specifications of the S700 make it a real pleasure for general navigation. The map overview updates fast and smoothly as you drive along which makes it easier to get a good idea of exactly where you are and where you’re meant to be turning if you’re trying to find your way around more complicated street layouts and junctions.

There is a slight tendency to feel overcrowded by the sheer number of buttons and symbols adorning the sides of the 3.5” screen, however the swift pace at which the map tracks your progress and adjusts its zoom and angle to match your speed adequately compensate for that. The best part is that if you’re not completely happy with how your map is laid out or tracking you, there’s a vast wealth of adjustable settings that allow you to tweak the display to exactly how you want it.

The TeleAtlas mapping software is the same as Mio uses in its GPS devices. We’ve seen a few different Mio navigators in the past and have generally been impressed by the hardware but felt a little let down by the complexity of the mapping tools. The Novogo S700 seems to have tweaked the menu layout of navigator so that it is much easier to find your way around the various layers of menus than rival Mio products have so far managed, which is good news for first time users.

The bad

Despite the efforts to make the mapping software more user friendly, it falls a little wide of the mark. You still have to follow through the same strange sequence of button presses to get to what I would consider the most basic and fundamental functions of a GPS: postcode entry. Combined with the extensively customisable settings, a technically minded user will probably be right at home, but the flip-side is that it’s definitely not something you would have much hope of making a more technophobic person understand.

The physical design of the S700 is relatively slick and streamlined in comparison with a few other mid-range GPS systems. The dimensions are 115 x 81 x 34mm and it weighs in at 240g. Although this will probably just about squeeze into a pocket or bag, it does feel a little bulky given the lack of other features.

Geek Sheet

3.5” colour TFT LCD (240 x 320) anti glare touch screen TFT LCD

SIRF Star lll 20 channel GPS receiver

64MB SD RAM memory

Supports SD memory card up to 2GB

Removable, rechargeable high performance 2200Mah Li-ion battery

Cigarette lighter charger

2 Watt loud speaker

Optional support real time free RDS TMC

Overview

When the S700 was first announced back in October, the price tag was set to be around £230. Nowadays you pick one up for under £200 without much effort and that makes it an extremely good deal for a GPS equipped with full maps of Western Europe and postcode recognition. Although there are still kinks to iron out in the navigator software, it really doesn’t mar the performance enough to spoil the overall high quality feel. It’s well priced, good looking unit, especially if you’re looking for a portable, stand-alone GPS that doesn’t need to do anything else.

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