If we needed proof that Packard Bell's Compasseo 500 couldn't cut the mustard, V7's PMD 1400 has proved its ultimate source of shame. With a similarly cheap tag, this is the perfect example of what we might call a bargain.
Indeed, the V7 laughs at the Compasseo's paltry MP3 player and photo viewer, adding Mpeg4 video and games to its multimedia portfolio. It might not have the Bluetooth, traffic updates or speed camera warnings you'd expect from more expensive models, but this device doesn't skimp on software. Indeed, it squeezes MyGuide maps covering Western Europe on to its 1GB SD card, plus a selection of help guides. We can't fault the 1400's robust casing. Both models feature 3.5in touchscreens - this one works. Chunky fingers can use the stylus, but will appreciate the ability to increase button size.
We were touched by V7's regard for our safety, cautiously locking the screen on the move to prevent distraction. With controls for adjusting the backlight, plus the ability to zoom and tilt the screen, it won't leave you in the dark. And if you're worried about power - note the inclusion of a mains charger - you can switch off the backlight.
Backing up and customisation options are major attractions, while the ability to alter speed tolerance and lose the monotone guidance are welcome. Change the sensitivity of route recalculation and choose between fastest, shortest and most economical routes, using a variety of vehicle and pedestrian modes.
You can choose how much detail is displayed, preview a route and search by postcode - even by coordinates. Plus you can stop mid-route to plan a detour, or to avoid using certain roads. POIs (points of interest) on the map are impressive - if you're still avoiding Tesco petrol, for example, search for Esso instead.