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 It has been replaced by a nice clear tutorial, with a big “never, ever show me this tutorial again” option on the first page.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.

Spring Cleaning

You might notice a new look to the blog. If you’re viewing this post in an RSS reader, pop on over and have a look.

The old theme was quite cluttered and not particularly pretty. I had made some design decisions based around a bunch of widgets and some advertising, rather than designing around the content. Dumb eh?

Update: Damn it looks like Safari on Mac is rendering my sidebar below the main content. Anyone have any tips to fix this? Content and sidebar are in a container div with a right margin. Sidebar has a negative right margin to bring it in to line.

Just Call me a CSS Whore…

Yeah so I re-skin this site every few months. I blame the ADHD. Anyway, I like this version a lot. Clean, simple, adverts have been demoted, and there is a lot less clutter to battle through before you get to the actual guts of the blog.

Gravatars seem broken, but I think that’s because gravatar.com is currently down. Scratch that, gravatars are working nicely.  I like the non-images for non-gravatar members, rather than the default anonymous image.

You might find that one or more of the right-hand sidebars disappear on lower resolution screens.  Scroll to the bottom of the page to find them.  I love this feature of this theme, because it demotes the less-important fluff on lower resolutions, leaving the text available to everyone.  Kudos to the theme creator.

Comments appreciated.

Update: Some minor tweaks.  The grey text was not very readable, and the minimalist title up the top make the page feel more complete, if less minimalist.

[tags]design, html-css[/tags]

My Eyes!

Oh my gods!  I’m trying a different style here because the previous one felt way too busy, but I think I’ve broken it.  This style is like some madhouse of insane design.  There’s like 4 or 5 different fonts on the page, about an acre of crap and whitespace before the posts, and general madness all round.  Sorry… I’ll work on it.

Update: back to the old…