Navman's MY450LMT is the current premium "hero" product of the Navman range, but you might not automatically pick that from simply looking at it.
The design is relatively plain and broadly similar to any other Navman unit, with a 5-inch LCD touchscreen packed into a unit that measures 142x86x14mm and slots into the same simple GPS screen mount that Navman offers with all its navigation devices.
It's functional, but that's about all we can say for it; compared to the sleek lines of GPS units from companies such as Garmin, the MY450LMT just doesn't look that "special".
That being said, your mother always told you it's what's underneath that counts, and here, Navman has a few premium pitches to make the plain-looking MY450LMT a much more appealing prospect.
One of the big new features that Navman offers with the MY450LMT is lifetime map updates, which pretty much everyone offers on GPS devices these days. The hook here is that the MY450LMT can get "Rapid Map Refresh", which is Navman's way of saying that instead of quarterly updates, you can update it with monthly map updates.
It does work, although you can only update by hooking up to a PC or Mac, which means pulling it out of the car when you want to update your maps. We do wonder how many people would need that level of update, although it's clearly not a bad thing to have. There are other correction facilities, such as TomTom's MapShare, that allow for user-level modification that we feel are even more powerful.
Navman hasn't changed its basic UI for several years now, but it's always been a very solid offering, with clear route markings and simple maps that keep other indicators — speed, distance to destination and so on — out of the way to the right of the display screen. One nice factor here is that when you're taking a turn to the right, the display panel fades out of the way to give you more of a view of your upcoming route. It's a small touch but one that makes navigation that bit easier.
Journeys are split amongst the fastest — which we suspect is the option that almost everyone would take anyway — easiest, shortest and most economical, although for shorter distances many of these end up logically being the same route anyway. There are a variety of search options on offer, including smart keyword searching for destinations. The MY450LMT is full of these kinds of small touches, but the easy standout is the use of real world landmarks to give you guidance. This isn't new with the MY450LMT, but it's a big premium point for the device compared with other GPS units. Navman calls it "Landmark Guidance Plus", and it works by using actual descriptions of the world around you rather than a simple "turn left in 800m" or "turn left into Turner Street". The latter might be OK if you can see a street sign, which isn't always easy.
What Landmark Guidance Plus offers you are actual landmarks as part of the description, including brand names. So you might be told (as we were, during testing) "Turn right at the church, then left at the KFC." The MY450LMT's text-to-speech voice is a bit on the robotic side, but it's clear enough and means that you spend a lot more time staring at the road rather than the GPS, which is exactly as it should be.
The database of locations seems fairly wide, we didn't have time to drive every Australian road to sort them all out, although we did notice some brand confusion around petrol station types. The oddest of these was a Shell station that was correctly identified going north, but then apparently switched to Mobil on the way back south. In any case, we could pick that it was indeed a petrol station and turn accordingly.
It turns out that your mother was right and not just about not picking at your spots. The Navman MY450LMT might not be that much of a looker, but it's a very powerful and easy-to-use GPS. Most people won't need monthly map updates, but almost everyone would find Landmark Guidance Plus invaluable.