Monday, November 17, 2003
Lost In Space (or the UK)? Get the Navman GPS 4400!
Posted by Philip Colmer in "HARDWARE" @ 10:00 AM
The Navman GPS 4400 combines the flexible SmartST routing software with a compact GPS unit that has a class two Bluetooth radio, supporting reception up to 10m (33ft). The multi-directional antenna can be augmented by an external antenna and provides accuracy of five metres 95% of the time. Or so the blurb goes … but what is it like in real life?
What's In The Box?
The GPS 4400 comes with:
- CD-ROM of software and maps for your territory;
- Adapter to power the unit from a car's cigarette socket;
- Suction clamp for fitting the unit to a window;
- Mount cradle for use with the suction clamp;
- Alcohol swab, for preparing a surface to use;
- Self-adhesive mounting pad if you want to stick the unit somewhere a suction clamp can't be used;
- Lanyard or wrist strap.
Figure 1: What you get for your money
You also get three AAA batteries for powering the unit and two screws to fit the mount cradle to the suction cup.
Figures 2 and 3 show a size comparison between the unit and an iPAQ 3660 with a Bluetooth sleeve attached.
Figure 2: Comparing sizes from an overhead view
Figure 3: Comparing sizes from the side
Mounting the unit inside a car is easy if you want to use the suction mount. After screwing the mount cradle to the suction clamp, you use the suction clamp to hold the cradle in a suitable location and then slide the unit into the cradle. This has the advantage that you can leave the combination suction cradle in place yet slide the GPS unit into and out of the cradle when you don't want to leave it in the car.
Figures 4 and 5 show the unit mounted in a car, from the internal and external perspective respectively.
Figure 4: The GPS unit mounted with the suction clamp - internal view
Figure 5: The external view of the unit mounted with the suction clamp
If you don't want or can't use the suction clamp, the GPS unit has a non-slip pad so that it can be placed on a dashboard or rear parcel shelf.
One thing you do have to be careful with when using the unit in the car is that some vehicles have an athermic (heat reflecting) or a heated windscreen, either of which can cause problems for the unit receiving signals from the satellites. Some retailers have notices on their Web site that such car designs are not sufficient grounds for returning the product if it doesn't work inside the car. The recommendation from the retailers and from Navman is to use an external antenna to get the signal to the unit.