Navman MY500XT: Bouquets and Brickbats

It’s no secret that I found the Navman S200 appallingly irritating. So you can imagine my trepidation when I was accosted by a charming PR person (do they come in other flavours?), bubbling about the new Navman range, now with integrated traffic information for New Zealand. Casting aside my black mood towards GPS units, I grudgingly accepted the offer of a review unit.

Navman MY500XT intro stickerFirst big change: the unit comes with a giant sticker over the screen, advertising the solution to one of the more irritating UI issues: lack of responsiveness. You can see the sticker at right. It informs you that you can either use the slidey-glidey menus, or turn on the more basic “tap-touch”. The ironic thing is that the screen on the MY500XT is massively more responsive than the S200, so the slidey-glidey menus actually work quite well. Bouquets! Having said that, I can see that the tap-touch menus would work better when on the move (not that anyone uses a GPS device when on the move, right?).

Navman have also removed the inane and utterly pointless “don’t click there, click here!” video on startup. It has been replaced by a nice clear tutorial, with a big “never, ever show me this tutorial again” option on the first page. Bouquets!

The map display in general appears to be tidied up. Road names appear clearly and almost all upcoming roads are named. This is important when you’re running in non-routing mode and looking for an upcoming side road. I loved the way TomTom did this, but Garmin do it very, very badly. Navman’s new software is right up there with TomTom. Bouquets!

I’ve yet to have a proper play with the traffic options in anger, but I’ve seen a demo and I’m impressed. All the bits and bobs are there, including options to route around bad traffic or road closures. The traffic data itself is of cours sourced from Geosmart and completely out of Navman’s control, but the display and layout of traffic info is done well. Bouquets!

Now the big, aching brickbat. Whoever designed the mounting bracket and power plug arrangement on this device is an intellectual dwarf of the lowest order. They should be locked in a padded cell covered with Navman mounting brackets and forced to plug and unplug MY500XTs continuously for the rest of their living days.

Navman mounting 1Navman mounting 2Navman mounting 3

Look closely. There is no possible way to plug the Navman in before mounting it on the bracket. None. Am I being picky? How about you sit in your car with the MY500XT on its bracket on the window, where you can’t see the mini-USB socket on its underside, and try plugging it in. Do that every. single. time. you hop in your car. 👿 👿 👿

Navman, please, if you are reading this: open every single MY500XT box you have in your warehouse, remove the power cable, and replace it with one that bends the other way. It’s a simple fix. I’m begging you.

Conclusion: lovely device software. Pity about the lack of attention to detail.

23 Replies to “Navman MY500XT: Bouquets and Brickbats”

  1. Simple answer – Navman have no control over the hardware design, it’s all done in Taiwan and Shanghai. Why do the cradle and power cord designs change every year rather than keeping a standard fitting? No idea.

  2. Hi Ben, I’ve been playing with my review unit here at the PCW bunker, these are my thoughts.

    The idea seems to be that you use the cable routing bracket on the back of the mount to secure the cable in place, which gives you about 3cm of freedom to plug it into the Navman. To me, this is a good thing — it means the cable doesn’t flop to the floor of my car whenever I whip the plug out to take the Navman out of the car, and it’s always in the right spot ready to plug back in. Also, I rarely seem to plug any GPS device in before it’s in the bracket so my GPS mounting habits, so to speak, are a little different to yours obviously.

    Anyway, that’s my take on it.

    Do you find the the new screen too grippy? Feels kinda odd.

  3. Hey Scott, I tried using the cable guide, but it just makes my problem worse. Can you confirm that the power cord you have is identical to the one in my pictures? It’s really firm and doesn’t bend too well.

  4. Yep, same cable. I can see where you’re coming from, but for me, it works like a charm.

    A
    but it’s all by the by now I have TomTom for my iPhone. Just need a bracket and a car charger for it now.

  5. Totally agree. I’ve got a bracket and AV/USB cable for my iPhone in the car already. The loaner 3GS with TomTom just slots straight in and works fine. No worries about theft because I always take my iPhone with me.

  6. Hi Ben.
    I have a navman S-150 and despite the flaws it has served me well and recently guided me around Europe without any problems. I assume that Navman replaced these S models with the MY models so quickly because of the interface problems, especially the ‘glide’ screen issues. What I don’t understand is why they just did not update the firmware to add navigation buttons to the S units. It would seem this should be possible with the existing touch screen. I thought there might be some thoughts on this in some of the forums but have found nothing. Have you come across anything about replacement or alternative firmware for the S series?? Do you think it would have been a good idea?

  7. You’ve got to think of it from a profit perspective – you’ve already bought your device, so where’s the profit for Navman to release a complete upgrade for it?

    Personally I think this is short term thinking. Happy customers will come back to the same company in the future, whereas customers who’ve received poor or even adequate service will look around when buying in the future. I know for a fact that the new software runs on the old devices (I did the work myself), but the cost of testing and releasing was deemed too much and apparently would prevent customers from buying a new device. Daft, eh?

    By the same token, I’m hoping Sony will release Windows Mobile 6.5 firmware for the Xperia X1 phone when they release the Xperia X2, but I can bet some marketing dipshit is saying if they release the new software for the old phone it will hurt sales.

  8. Thanks for you quick response Parsley.
    You make a good point (or 2). I would have thought releasing this software to S series users might appease them a little!! But then Navman don’t seem to excel at customer service.

    Were you working for them when you tested the software? I am surprised there is not more people asking this question on the forums or even a ‘hack’ for installing it.

    @parsley

  9. Used to work there but I left a couple of months ago.

    The way the software is written, in order to use the new application you need a new license key. Anyone who got hold of the installer wouldn’t be able to use it. If the upgrade was released officially then you could connect to the license server to get a new key.

    Incidentally, the security is done because Navman (like all GPS companies) are legally obliged to protect the map data (supplied by Navteq, TeleAtlas, etc). If you don’t protect their data they won’t sell you the maps!

  10. Hi Hayden

    The key difference is the MY500XT has “live” traffic and the Go750 doesn’t. I say “live” because I keep finding the traffic feed drops off, and even when it is working, it’s a bit pointless because in most NZ cities there aren’t alternative routes to use.

    From a purely personal perspective, I prefer the layout of TomTom’s screen and menus, but you might find that different.

  11. I don’t have any problem with signal dropout, but then I don’t live in Te Atatu! It’s transmitted on a standard station – think it’s Hauraki but they changed it and I forget – so if you can receive that it should work fine.

    I use the traffic most days to tell me whether to take the motorway or avoid it and use the back route, but I don’t have to cross the harbour bridge anymore so there are alternatives.

    Navman’s UI isn’t as simplistic as TomTom’s, but allows you to do more complex searches. For instance, you can enter a postcode then find where an intersection is. Difficult to say which is better or worse, more a personal preference.

  12. @Parsley72 Yeah I’m not sure if it’s a “dropout” as such. Just sometimes when I used it (and in the E500 Merc too), the TMC icon never lit up at all even on an hour long drive. There was nothing shown on the roads that normally showed green/orange.

    Perhaps if there is nothing going on it doesn’t show up? I was kinda expecting it to show “all green” all the time even when nothing is happening.

  13. That’s how it was written – “green” means “I’m receiving a signal I can understand”, even if nothing’s happening. I kept having arguments with people who wanted to change it…

  14. Navman MY500XT is terrible

    GPS Unit
    a. does not include have major locations such as Sydney Airport
    b. Does not sync with Iphone 3G Bluetooth
    c. Extremely limited range of local services in the directories (Petrol, food, parking, tourist etc) compared with other GPS units

    Navdesk software
    d. POI uploader does not work (CSV files are not imported. Additionally, the software does not allow you to import POI descriptions (only lat/Long locations)
    e. Unable to import locations from previous GPS units
    f. Unable to plan trips from the software to load onto the GPS (other GPS software brands make this basic function available)
    g. Unable to add places from the computer to load onto the GPS (other GPS software brands make this basic function available)
    General support
    h. After contacting Navman 40 times, via webpage (one webmail per problem) and phoning customer support I have not heard back although they promised to send further information

  15. I was given a MY500XT for a Christmas present and it works quite well in New Zealand so I decided to download the European data because we are going to Scotland shortly. BAD DECISION!!!

    I paid for the download and installed as instructed but this has not been successful so I went through to “customer service” only to find that there is no customer service in NZ or Australia – one has to phone the Americans at hours quoted in “Eastern Standard Time” and, frankly, this is no service at all.

    So, if you want to waste over $100 dollars on a map download, use the Navman system – it is useless!

  16. The MY500XT is a nightmare….the capacitive touchscreen is too responsive or doesn’t work at all…after approx. 15 -30 min it develops its own life and zooms in and out (without touching any button or a finger close to the screen) and navigation becomes impossible…sometimes it starts dialing telephon numbers without any buttons beeing activated ….this device doesn’t work as advertised and is also dangerous!…unfortunately I redeemed points for it and now I struggle to get them back….. never ever will I redeem points for a product I never tested before and never ever will I buy a Navman product again: no customer service at all!!!!!…make your own test and try to get one from Navman on the phone or wait for an email response….

    ..don’t buy it ! …you are warned!!!

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