Destinations PC Navigator 7.0 and Navilock BT315
Couldn't find a thread dedicated to it, so thought i'd bolt it in here.
I bought this setup in June after a brief dialogue with CCSNet (Terran) about the merits of Navigon Navigator as I had a big (3500mile) trip from UK planned across France and Spain for our summer holiday.
I'd been running PrymeNav for a couple of years in my MG but we were using a different car, and my options were to take my old laptop, instal PrymeNav and use my 3yr old Fortuna Clip-on BT receiver, however without postcoding and TMC, it would have been barely better than using a paper atlas, plus my laptop is clunky and we wanted to travel lighter or invest in an all-singing all-dancing dedicated Europe wide sat nav receiver with TMC (£300plus), but as I have the PC installed in the MG, it would make that redundant so a PC solution was the way to go.
I saw a Samsung Q1 on ebay at a good price, its an ultra-mobile PC (http://www.samsung.com/uk/products/m...q1_v000suk.asp) and looked at Navigon, however after Terran's review I wasnt convinced about the TMC capability, I spoke with Destinations a couple of weeks ago and they told me that although their product would support TMC across Europe (free service) it wouldnt work in the UK because its a chargeable service here and they werent currently negotiating licenses on that.
If I wanted TMC, I'd have to update my Fortuna, ebay listed a couple of receivers but they were asking £50 plus so I resigned myself to using the Fortuna and dispensing with TMC support.
Navigon was more expensive compared to Destinations (about twice the price), and although I liked the Audi-esque look of the German product, my partner asking what I wanted for a birthday present made the English product a no-brainer.
When I installed it, I was very impressed at the interface, having used PrymeNav on my PDA and then on the touch screen in my MG and struggling with the small buttons, Nav7 was a revelation, nicely laid out, big buttons, simple processes to follow but it wouldnt connect to my Fortuna :-(
After trying to make it work for a weekend, and confirming the problem wasn't just on the Q1, I decided to bite the bullet and buy a new receiver thinking that old one somehow wasn't compatible (it uses SPP Slave mode and I didnt know if Nav7 could use that), I was worried with only 1 week until the holiday, that if I bought a second hand one and had problems, I'd be no better off, so I ordered the latest Navilock BT-315 from Germany, Tobias at emedia versand was fantastic; http://www.emedia-versand.de, price was about the best i could find, and after some hassles with the courier I got it at 4pm the day before leaving for Dover.
However it wouldn't work, I worked on it until 3am and no matter what I did I couldn't make the software find the receiver, I used default settings, then everything else, I could connect to the Rx through the Bluetooth wizard but Nav7 just kept timing out, and we ended up using PrymeNav and the reliable Fortuna to get us to Tours in France.
During a 3 day stopover, I thought I'd try the Fortuna with Nav7 and somehow, by losing the pairing and forcing for connection manually, then telling Nav7 to find it, it connected, which was fantastic as Nav7 is such a step-up from PrymeNav, we used it for a day but we couldnt be sure if it was going to connect each time.
However after some perseverence, Nav7 found the new Rx, including receiving TMC broadcasts, but again it was unreliable on connecting, we'd usually have to commence each leg of our trip with PrymeNav/Fortuna and whilst on the autoroute my girlfriend would persevere with the Nav7/BT315 and get it connected then we could use the later software.
Maybe I've got a problem with the Samsung, so I'll be testing it on the Mini-ITX in the MG and on my older Lifebook over the next few weeks, but it seemed to me that Nav7 doesnt always want to talk with the appointed serial port, either when the Rx is connected manually before running nav7, or from within (you have to chose the icon to turn GPS on from the 2nd menu), but when connected, its fantastically easy to use.
For those on here who complain about it not running in a window, we didnt find that as a problem, in fact full screen is good because there's nothing else to distract you whilst driving and as the interface is simple, it adds vaue, you can switch between it and other apps by ALT-TAB'bing, there's also a minimise button on the 3rd menu, however I'm going to suggest they might add a minimise button to the main screen, there's a group of buttons which you can call up and disappear automatically (drag-hand, info, zoom, and flag), and it would make sense to have it pop-up with those.
Aside from the connection problems which for me was a hit-miss affair, the other problems I found were;
- When you drag the map, the result isnt accurate, it seems to go further than requested, so if you have a destination in the centre and drag it to see a little further back, depending upon the zoom level, your original destination often moves off the screen, when really you wanted it to just move down.
- On the TMC list, the entries seemed to be incorrectly formatted in that the distance away, was overwritten by some of the onfo, however that may be down to screen resolution, as my Q1's default is 800x480 and I will play with that.
- The TMC list shows all problems, I would suggest showing problems along the route and prehaps on adjoining roads to a limited radius, it also doesn't show if the problem is ahead, behind, etc.
- The TMC would also be more useful if there was an icon shown on the map at the location of the problem, plus as the messages came in, if a problem was relevant to the programmed route, a flash message might come in on the main screen.
- The TMC list in France didnt work correctly, we got the data but an error messag said 'no location table installed', so whilst we got the distance and problem, we didnt know where it was.
- On the satellite background info from the main screen, the course is shown as + or - degrees, so South West would be -135, North East would be +45, I think the heading might be more useful - e.g. SW is 225 degs, or even better a compass rose on the main screen, showing North and the heading would be even better.
- The Points of Interest list wasnt formatted correctly, it may again be down to my screen resolution which I'll try.
I dont know if the TMC actually intervened in the route, it didnt ever tell me that it was re-calculating the route due to a problem, we did wonder if our routing in and around Barcelona was due to Nav7 realising there was a problem on our expected route, because it took us around the rind road, instead of direct which would have been my plan, however without information from the Software telling us what it was doing, we couldnt be sure.
All in all, I thought it was good for a first version, I normally stay away from x.0 releases but we needed to make a decision and once we'd got it working for the remaining 75% of our trip, we were very pleased with the product, it found many of our points of interest, e.g. Chateaux of the Loire, it even found the location of our Villa in Spain, whereas I know PrymeNav wouldn't have stood a chance and the postcoding capability is just awesome.
I'm going to forward my thoughts/questions to Destinations and hopefully they will be positive/pro-active about them, because whilst I personally think this is a good PC based product at a sensible price, it wouldn't take much more effort to make it a more complete solution.
Finally, and I hope this wasn't all too-long winded, there is a postscript, Terran suggested in one of his previous posts that we should be able to benefit from the UK TMC broadcasts, if somebody was able to write something, Destinations told me their product works with TMC in Europe but not in the UK because TMC is locked/enrcrypted/licensable, well someone's doing something with TMC because when we landed at Dover, we got the list of problems on the M20, M25, etc, I dont know if its the receiver, the software or that TMC has been opened up but the data is there which was a nice surprise and means we can use our PC solutions instead of buying one of the Garmin/TomTom devices, I've tried to post some screenshots and hope this review was useful?