Navman has had its S-series in the development studio for some time: can it make TomTom shift uneasily in its cradle?
Navman is one of the sat-nav big players, sitting happily up with Garmin and TomTom. Happily enough, that is, unless they were able to climb a couple more branches and rule the roost.
Enter the S-series, of which this S90i is the flagship. The whole user experience from packaging to design to menus has been tweaked and refined. There are three others in the range: the S30 with a 3.5in screen, then the UK map S50 and Europe map S70, both with 4.3in screens.
The S90i also has a 4.3in screen, but adds a 2MP camera for use with Navman's NavPix feature. This aligns photos with locations, to make it easier to navigate to them.
All the Navman's are compatible with NavPix, even if they don't have a camera built-in, and Navman users can share NavPix with each other or download 11,000 of them from an online library. It's useful enough, but does anybody actually use it after the novelty has worn off? Let us know.
There's more to the S90i than NavPix. Its new menus are straightforward, and address entry easy. The device says every letter or number as you enter it in a manner reminiscent of Speak & Spell.
Maps are clear, with neat 3D turn arrows, and on-screen information is well presented. The S90i pauses a little with each manoeuvre, which can be unsettling. The basic spoken instructions sound natural, but you can opt for a synthesised-sounding, but street-name reading, choice.
A lifetime of TMC
Bluetooth handsfree use is straightforward, and the microphone is good enough to overcome road noise. Lifetime TMC traffic updates are included, for which you need to attach the bundled aerial, and there also a speed camera alerts pre-loaded.
Previous Navman's had hardware fuel and parking POI shortcut buttons which Navman has relegated to a menu choice. This makes them a little harder to get to, but not so much that you'd have to pull over. We do wish, however, that the resulting list of destinations had a clearer indication of their position relative to the device, or could be overlaid on the map.
Overall we like the S90i. Aside from a couple of niggly faults, it's a decent, attractive sat-nav with features like NavPix that might swing your decision.
Navman S90i review
Smart, clever and capable. A couple of imperfections keep it off the top spot, and we might be tempted by the camera-less S70, but it's a fine choice