By Brandon Miniman | April 3, 2006 4:45 PM
I just met with the head of Navman PR to get a briefing of their new line of products coming out this spring, and they’ve made some compelling changes and additions to their three in-car navigation device lines, the 300, 500, and 700 series. All models get an upgraded SiRFstarIII chipset, meaning quicker signal acquisition times. I got a first hand look at the new iCN 330 and iCN 750.
The iCN 330 is an update to their current entry level device, the iCN 320, which is basically the same unit, but with some hardware and software upgrades. You’ll also be able to snap on faceplates that will help to match to a car’s decor (wood grain, carbon fiber, etc). The unit will be offered at the $499.95 price point, and goes on sale this month.
Second is the iCN 530 which is an upgrade to the iCN 520 (we reviewed the 510 here). Although I didn’t get a first hand look at the 530, the below image show us that it’s got a redesigned exterior that features shortcut buttons for gas and parking. And apparently, the unit is quite small in size, as the 520 and 510 were. This unit will weigh in at $599.95 and goes on sale in May.
But the real news here is the release of the new 700 series (yes, they killed off the 600 series, which is a good thing). From an exterior standpoint, the device looks quite sexy it carries on a similar theme to that of the 530 (black exterior, few buttons), but adds a large 4″ wide aspect touchscreen that doesn’t have the annoying glare that the 510 did. It comes with a 4GB hard drive and a remote that attaches to your steering wheel. The device will retail for a premium price of $699.95 and will be available in May.
The most unique feature of the iCN 720 and 750 is called NavPix, which integrates a 1.3mp camera into the rear of the unit (bravo to Navman for delivering an industry first!). Here’s the scenario: you’re driving around and find a new restaurant that you like. You take a picture of the restaurant, and the coordinate data is saved into your Navman. A month later, you don’t quite remember where the restaurant was located, so you scroll through your NavPix on the device, select the picture, and click go. It takes you to the restaurant. Soon you’ll be able to download “picture itineraries” for your device: if you’re traveling to Paris, you can load up a visual tour of the city from the NavPix website, and have the device navigate for you to various sites.
My thoughts on NavPix? Such a feature has never passed my mind, but it makes perfect sense countless time we encounter a new place that we remember visually, but not geographically. This is going to be a tremendous help in many situations while driving.
From what I’ve seen I’m impressed, but holding the devices in-hand for a few minutes wasn’t enough to truly give it a true evaluation look for our iCN 750 review in the coming weeks, and see the result of some real world testing!