Navman's last portable navigation system, the Navman iCN 750, wowed the market with its built-in camera. Yet this type of innovation (not to mention its high price tag) is better suited to the driver-cum-gadget hound crowd. What if you just want an affordable system to get you from point A to point B? Enter the Navman F20. This compact unit offers basic navigation tools and a simple, attractive interface that first-time users will appreciate. More importantly, it provides accurate directions. While there are some downsides, such as an outdated points-of-interest (POI) database and a weak speaker, we think the Navman F20 is a very solid, entry-level GPS device. And at $379.95, it's one of the most affordable systems we've seen to date.
The Navman F20 is well designed and attractive, with a charcoal-gray case. The unit is easily swapped between cars, as it's a compact 3.1 inches high by 4.5 inches wide by 0.9 inch thick, and weighs just 7.1 ounces. Navman kept external controls simple: to the right of the screen sits a Main Menu button and a navigation key that, when pressed repeatedly, cycles through various screens--3D map view, next turn, turn-by-turn directions, and route summary. We also liked the Gas and Parking buttons, which retrieve a list of the closest gas stations and parking garages. The power button is located on the top of the unit, with volume controls on the unit's right side--a touch we always appreciate, as external buttons save us the trouble of digging through multiple screen menus. Oddly, these buttons looked a bit crooked on our review unit, but they still worked fine.
There are no tricks or gimmicks with the Navman F20--the company set out to create a basic, easy-to-use navigation system, and that's what it is. The SiRFstarIII GPS receiver is integrated into the device, and all maps are preloaded on the unit's 2GB Secure Digital card--so all you have to do is insert it into the Navman F20's expansion slot and you're ready to go. When you first turn on the Navman F20, you'll answer a number of setup questions, such as selecting a regional map and whether you want the unit to display miles or kilometers. This process is straightforward and fairly quick.