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The one thing we couldn't complain about with last season's Navman S-Series models were their looks. And with 2009's top-of-the-range MY500XT, many of those design cues, such as the flush screen and the strip of real metal along the back, have been carried across.
Like the other members of capacitive touchscreen technology. This technology is part of the reason why everyone's favourite smartphone, , is so responsive, and it means that the XT is less likely to confuse a push with a scroll than its siblings and predecessors.— excluded, of course — the MY500XT features a 4.7-inch display. Unlike those models, however, the XT's screen is not only flush and glassy, but is the first dedicated GPS device to feature a screen with
That said, it's neither as responsive nor as foolproof as the iPhone. So, if you find the standard swipe to scroll interface too fiddly and error prone, you can always switch to the more proletarian button scrolling set-up. The glossy screen is prone to reflections in bright daylight and drivers wearing polarised sunnies may think they've slipped back to the psychedelic '60s.
When we can see the screen, we're still fans of the stark white — almost modernist — map screen. Instructions and map detail are easy to see, although it may not be immediately apparent to all that there's an info box hidden away on the side of the screen or that tapping the map allows for quick access to volume settings. Despite its top-of-the-range billing, the MY500XT doesn't feature a faster processor, consequently many animations, as well as manual map zooming, are slower than a turtle on Prozac.
The main menu features a grid of good looking pastel coloured icons, but the layout is far from ideal, with items like traffic and settings requiring a scroll or two to get to. Keyword destination entry makes a welcome return and is an order of magnitude easier to use than the usual entry method requiring a suburb, followed by a street or point of interest. Although with popular street names, such as George, it's still necessary to enter a suburb or postcode entry first, unless you find scrolling through a list of a thousand George Streets a particular thrill.
With traffic messaging, music playback, an FM transmitter, guide book info, Bluetooth hands-free, text-to-speech, camera warnings, lane guidance, junction view and 3D landmarks, loaded to the gills is an accurate descriptor of the MY500XT's feature set.
The Wcities and Lonely Planet guide book info for points of interest may be nice to have if you're out of town and wondering which of the Big Banana or the Big Pineapple is a better destination. 3D landmarks on the other hand are a nuisance, especially in the CBD, where even in semi-opaque mode they obscure roads.
Given our trials and travails with theFM transmitter, we weren't exactly looking forward to testing this part of the XT's repertoire. Thankfully, Navman has turned the power up a notch or two and, assuming the right frequency is chosen, static shouldn't be an issue unless you're crawling from the CBD canyon. Unfortunately, that's the only item on our gripe list that's been fixed. Despite the presence of a microSD card slot, music must be loaded on to the device via the NavDesk computer software.