The S90i is Navman’s top-of-the-line model in its S-series of GPS devices. It features a large 4.3in widescreen display, text-to-speech, Bluetooth handsfree calling and, of course, a leather pouch to carry it in. But the feature that really sets the Navman S90i apart from its rivals is its ability to navigate by image.

Indeed, Navman’s own NavPix technology allows the S90i to navigate not with postcodes and house numbers, but with the aid of a simple image captured with the built-in 2Mp (megapixel) camera. Images are automatically geotagged and saved for later use to the generous 2GB of internal memory. Navman’s partnership with photo-sharing site Flickr also allows you to download images from its database of 23 million pictures.

The Navman S90i looks and feels great. The bright, clear display is framed in black, and set within the smoothly-curved edges of the sleek, silver casing. It’s slim and, weighing in at 198g, will sit comfortably in your pocket.

Onscreen icons give quick access to the Navman S90i’s user-friendly navigation options, recent or saved locations, or to one of the 500,000 POIs (points of interest). You can edit the POI preferences to flag up petrol stations, emergency services, cash machines, the nearest McDonald’s or other food outlet.

Many of the Navman S90i’s features are the result of customer feedback and focus groups, which told the bods at Navman that consumers want more simplicity – and less buttons. All functions are accessed via the touchscreen, and the intuitive menu system is so clear that you won’t miss the buttons. Indeed, I didn’t need to consult the manual once.

The Navman S90i is quick to find a signal and, once on the road, its text-to-speech software goes one step further than most GPS devices announcing street names during navigation. The Navman S90i gives plenty of warning before turnings, and its voice is clear and precise. The mapping is up to date and, apart from not always recognising new stretches of road (such as the new section of the A23 just outside Coulsden), is spot on.

The Navman S90i’s integrated real-time traffic info service does a good job of alerting you to known accidents, roadworks and general congestion. As you would expect from a high-end satnav device, the Navman S90i also alerts you to speed cameras – impressively, it alerts you only to the cameras situated on the same side of the road as you’re driving. The Navman S90i’s built-in speed camera database can be updated at the Navman shop, while its iUpData feature allows you to log errors.

Battery life was a bit disappointing, and we managed to squeeze only 3.5 hours of juice out of Navman’s promised five. The Navman S90i is also a bit slow to recalculate your route – though this is simply picking holes in an excellent navigation device.

Manufacturer's blurb

"With its clean lines and sleek finish, the S90i makes its mark as one of the best-designed and most innovative portable navigation devices in the world.

"Intelligent features such as built-in Real-time Traffic and Route Traffic Overview let you know in advance what’s ahead. Safety features such as text-to-speech speaks road names as you approach a turn and built-in Bluetooth handsfree calling helps you focus on your driving. Slim, light and complete with a foldable cradle, the S90i fits your life, perfectly."

The Navman S90i goes beyond navigation to give you:

  • Stylish, intelligent design
  • Safe, easy-to-use menu
  • Brilliant, sharp 4.3in high-quality touchscreen
  • Western European maps preinstalled
  • Built-in real-time traffic information - Free product lifetime subscription
  • Route traffic overview
  • Integrated Bluetooth handsfree calling
  • Text to Speech - Speaks 'next turn' road names
  • Preloaded safety camera data - free trial
  • Up-to-date maps with Navman's iUpData
  • NavPix technology: navigate to pictures
  • NavPix camera
  • New Navman Desktop Manager including Mileage Reporter

Technical specifications

Hardware

Weight: 198g
Dimensions: 80x140x20mm
Processor: 400MHz Samsung 2443
Memory: 2GB internal Flash memory; 96 MB SDRAM
Memory Expansion: SD/MMC
GPS receiver: SiRFstarIII
Battery: Rechargeable integrated Lithium-ion battery (up to five hours life depending on usage)
Display: 4.3in touchscreen
Display resolution: 480x272 pixels

Extras

2Mp integrated NavPix camera
Real-time traffic information
Built-in traffic receiver with free product lifetime subscription

Software

SmartS 2008 navigation software
Pre-installed safety camera data: free trial
Integrated Bluetooth: Handsfree calling
NavPix: navigate to pictures
Navman Desktop Manager: Mileage Reporter, NavPix album
POIs (Places of Interest)
Voice-guided instructions
Text-to-Speech: spoken ‘next turn’ road names
Multiple route options
Improved address search
eight-digit postcode search

Navigation views

Turn-by-Turn
Route Summary
3D moving map
2D map view

Mapping

Tele Atlas map data 2007.4
Street level Western European maps pre-installed

Navman S90i: Specs

  • 400MHz processor
  • 2GB internal flash memory
  • TeleAtlas SmartST 2008 navigation
  • Western Europe maps
  • 4.3in widescreen (480x272)
  • SD/MMC
  • Integrated 2Mp NavPix camera
  • Bluetooth
  • built-in traffic receiver
  • Text-to-speech
  • eight-digit postcode search
  • POIs (points of interest)
  • 80x140x20mm
  • 198g
  • 400MHz processor
  • 2GB internal flash memory
  • TeleAtlas SmartST 2008 navigation
  • Western Europe maps
  • 4.3in widescreen (480x272)
  • SD/MMC
  • Integrated 2Mp NavPix camera
  • Bluetooth
  • built-in traffic receiver
  • Text-to-speech
  • eight-digit postcode search
  • POIs (points of interest)
  • 80x140x20mm
  • 198g

OUR VERDICT

This attractive and intuitive navigator is a welcome addition to Navman’s S-series. It remains to be seen whether navigation by image will become a hit, but top marks to Navman for not just listening to feedback but acting on it too. Given its high-end feature set, the Navman S90i represents great value for money

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