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Route 66 Chicago 9000: Unravelling Europe

Come and take a look at Route 66's first foray into the world of complete sat-nav units: the trendily named Chicago 9000

When Crave mentions sat-nav, our beloved readers probably think TomTom, possibly Garmin, or maybe even Navman. But, you guys should probably start adding Route 66 to your mental Rolodex of cool GPS devices.

We've just taken receipt of the trendily named Route 66 Chicago 9000, part of the new line of Route 66 sat-navs announced at CeBIT earlier in the year. The 9000 is the big daddy of the bunch and incorporates a 2GB SD card with detailed European maps, plus an RDS/TMC receiver -- the anti-traffic missile of sat-nav warfare.

The unit is fairly innocuous-looking. Its 4.3-inch screen is big and bright enough to see comfortably while hurtling along the motorway. Plus its 132 by 91 by 24mm dimensions and super-light 210g frame make it compact enough to slip into a hand/manbag when you're on foot patrol.

We're not convinced it's as good as the identically priced (£299) TomTom Go 710, though. There's no Bluetooth for hands-free calling, no iPod control, and it has just the one (albeit very pleasant) female voice to the TomTom's 50.

But it's easy enough to use, provides free traffic and speed camera updates, and unlike the TomToms, it doesn't look like a stupid miniature CRT telly. You have our blessing to buy one. -Rory Reid