For the S-Series of portable satellite navigation devices, Navman has made a number of design changes. These, we’re told, are the result of focus group input from consumers, so ought to be useful refinements, rather than outré extras just for the sake of it.

There are many elements that make sense. For example, on the higher-end models in the S-Series range, there’s a built-in camera round the back with a cover that slides to one side, protecting it when not in use. This is used to record geo-reference points which can then be shared with millions of others on the Flickr photo-sharing site, as well as for photo-based navigation.

The Navman S30, as the entry-level model in the range, lacks this function, but shares the updated mapping and software function and is an excellent satellite navigation device.

The clamp that attaches the Navman S30 to the dashboard retains its useful lock and solid, flexible design, but the cradle for this slimmer Navman now sports a mini USB connection on its underside with which the power cable is attached. This firmly pushes into place and snakes back towards the windscreen rather than getting in the driver’s way by dangling loosely on the dashboard.

You don’t get a mains adapter as part of the Navman S30 package, so you’ll need to charge it over USB for several hours before use. We were caught out, charging for less than three hours initially before plugging it in to the cigarette lighter in our car and setting off for the wilds of Essex. The result: our Navman S30 powered down some 15 or 20 minutes later, though it did at least warn us that lack of juice was the issue at hand. We were able to coax it back to life about 15 minutes later, however, by continuing to have it attached to the charging point. A note about minimum charging time would have been handy.


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