Binatone Carrera X350 Sat-Nav - Binatone Carrera X350

By Jonathan Bray

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

The maps, both in 3D and 2D views, are as nicely rendered as the voice instructions are clear. Particularly good is the turn indicator arrow which, in the 3D view, hovers above the surface of the road and casts a shadow. This sounds a bit gimmicky, but it makes it extremely easy to see which exit on a roundabout you need to take, for example, or where to go at a complicated, multi-exit junction.

Search and routing options are much more impressive than the budget price tag would have you expect, too. There's full postcode search here, and though you're stuck with the two keyboard approach (one for letters, one for numbers), it's not too fiddly and the keys are easy to poke. There are trip management tools here, which allow you to set up routes in advance, and adding start points, stopovers and destinations is about as easy as I've found on any sat-nav, let alone one this cheap.

There are even options to optimise for pedestrian, bicycle and motorbike as well as for the usual shortest and fastest routes by car. You get a safety camera database with six months worth of free updates and roadblock avoidance too, with the option to route around traffic jams and rejoin the route a mile or two further down the road.

It's a remarkable feature set but there is a pretty major problem that seems to be related to the power (or lack of it) under the X350's hood - it just doesn't seem to be up to the job. Initial route calculation, as a result, takes an absolute age for anything other than the most simple of routes. I asked the X350 to take me to Norwich airport from north-east London and I'd finished writing this paragraph before it managed to calculate a route successfully. Even by giving it something simpler to deal with failed to improve matters, with a straightforward 17 mile route to Wimbledon Park in south-west London taking a painful 1min 20secs.

Worse still, complicated routes often confounded the X350 completely. On more than one occasion it simply refused to complete route calculation and informed that it didn't have enough resources. I tried entering addresses in Liverpool, north Wales and the Lake District - all of them failed. The lack of power also means that the Carrera is a little sluggish when browsing the map.

Verdict

In the Carrera X350, Binatone has made a decent stab at producing a comprehensive sat-nav for not much cash. It's well-featured for a device so cheap and isn't too hard to use. Maps are clear and navigation, once you've set up a route, is good. However, its slow calculation of simple routes and inability to calculate complicated ones effectively render all of this effort useless. After all, what's the point in having a sat-nav that can't get you to Wales or Liverpool from London?

Overall Score

7

Scores In Detail

  • Value 9
  • Features 8

Brian Reyolds

June 9, 2008, 8:41 pm

New Sat Nav user but generally very pleased with the Binatone Carrera X350. Takes some funny routes to get me on and off the nearby motorway and has a ridiculous diversion off of the main road as I approach home involving two unnecessary right turns. OK if you know rhe area and ignore it but I wonder about strange places. Spots some speed cameras which appear only to be traffic cameras - better safe than sorry!


Detour from suggested route brings immediate recalculation and screen is fairly easy to see. Woman's voice rejected by both myself and my wife, she appears tetchy if you do not follow her route though have not noticed this with the man. Ridiculous because they would probably both say the same thing!

DIJ

July 31, 2008, 5:54 pm

Presentation is quite good, visually and verbally but navigation is very poor. The 'full post-code' navigation isn't, there are many 6 and 7 figure post codes (and not new ones either) which it truncates to 3 or 4 figures. Even in large cities like Birmingham. I also found that it failed to recognise the names of some roads (not new roads either) which were present on another Navteq mapped satnav. I didn't find it too slow calculating routes but sometimes it failed to find a route at all. If you want to rely on your satnav don't buy one of these.

Highland Park

January 2, 2009, 4:02 pm

I aggree with the comments made already but would add that although the machine itself is fairly robust and the actual navigation appears to be reasonably good, the lack of up-to-date mapping is pretty attrocious. I bought mine from Tesco on 26th December and I'm taking it back on 5th January as it is not fit for purpose. Of my four children, who live in properties built between 35 and 4 years ago; NOT ONE, had an address which was acceptable to this machine. My Wife's work did not even have a road going into it. Tesco dingwall - petrol station appears but the actual store does not even exist. The only way I've been able to get this to work for me is to save locations AFTER I've been there in the favourites. - Rating - a waste of an opportunity, hardware good - software rubbish.

Linda S

March 10, 2009, 2:54 am

I actually bought this sat nav from Argos when I was staying at a remote caravan site at Easter 2008. I went on a shopping trip and couldn't remember the way back to the site, I thought, oh well I'll buy a cheap sat nav, as I'd been meaning to get one. It did get me to the general area, and I managed to find my way back eventually, but it didn't recognise the full post code and it was quite disappointing. The maps are quite out of date, and you can't seem to get any updates when you go on the website, very disappointing. The unit has malfunctioned on a few occasions as well, and sent me around the block a few times. But on the whole, when reset it will generally get you to the general destination, as long as its been there over 10 years! On a more positive note it's quite easy to use, but can't recommend it, unless you can pick one up really, really cheap, and just want something very basic.

Jay Werfalli

March 10, 2009, 3:05 am

Thanks for taking the time to post your comments! It really helps to read everyone's opinions on each and every product we review, not only for us but also for potential buyers ;)

Steve Robinson

May 6, 2010, 10:53 pm

I bought my Binatone Carrera from a friend who won it in a raffle and already had a sat nav. I am finding it very difficult to obtain any advice on updates for this hardware. I wish i hadn't bought it now i think i am £60.00 worse off! Anyone out there know anything about software updates?

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