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Road Angel Navigator 7000 review:

Road Angel Navigator 7000

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Typical Price: $999.00
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The Good Road Sense application. Lots of customisable features. Dust and splash-proof.

The Bad Rubber port covers don't fit properly. Windscreen mount is stiff and complicated to install. Complex and sometimes befuddling interface.

The Bottom Line The Navigator 7000 is a fine GPS system with oodles of add-on safety features, but its complexity is also its Achilles heel. Read our Australian review.

CNET Editors' Rating

7.0 Overall

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The Road Angel Navigator 7000 is, to put it bluntly, a pretty ugly little GPS unit; an unremarkable 95mm by 22mm by 75mm rectangular 160 gram box with a 3.5-inch touchscreen used for all input functions. Rubber covers protect the SD card slot, reset button, USB connector and antenna socket from dust and splashes, although not particularly well. Our test unit came out of the box and from the moment we flipped the flaps up, they refused to slot comfortably back into place. It's not something that largely detracts from the Navigator's core functionality -- it's just a bit of an eyesore.

Aside from the core GPS unit itself, the Navigator 7000 also ships with a rather complicated car mounting bracket. This is a multi-part affair that takes some construction before you can stick its sucker cap to your windscreen. To be brutally honest, the Navigator's car mounting kit had us flummoxed for a while, and we began to wonder if we were dealing with an IT variation on the Lemarchand Configuration. It uses a complicated locking procedure for snapping a holding caddy onto the windscreen mounting arm itself, and despite the presence of arrows telling you to push it in certain directions, it took us a solid amount of time to get it all together. When the Road Angel is in the mounting arm, it also charges from it, although with a minimum of fiddling you can also use the USB connector for charging if you've got an in-car USB charging kit.

The Road Angel 7000 has most of the same core features that many GPS vendors offer -- Sensis 2006 mapping data, with the option of other maps via the side-mounted SD card slot, trip planning (including recalculating routes on the fly) and so on. What makes the Road Angel stand out from the pack is the inclusion of lots and lots of optional road data, lumped under the "Road Sense" banner. This is a subscription service -- you get three months free when you buy the Navigator 7000, after which it'll cost you AU$9.99/month to maintain it -- which keeps a constant database of red light cameras, school safety zones and other traffic hazards. When you're entering into a zone of interest, the Road Angel will let you know -- often quite forcefully for a GPS -- so that you can adjust your driving habits -- largely your speed -- to a safe legal limit.

The Navigator brand has had Road Sense installed on plenty of previous models as well, but the other defining feature of the Navigator 7000 is the ability to update the Road Sense data via Bluetooth. This means that you can use your mobile phone to update the 7000 while on the move -- although data rates might make you think twice, depending on your mobile phone plan. As with most other GPS units, the Navigator 7000 also offers voice commands to assist your driving. We're still undecided about whether the decision to continue offering Peter Brock's voice as a safety guide is either an honour for him, or just macabre.

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