Review Price free/subscription
In the world of sat-nav, the competition's so tight it's like a rugby World Cup match between England and Australia. Every time one company takes the lead, another comes back with a sneaky penalty. As a result, budget sat-nav software and devices are now packed with useful tools and features that, a year or two ago, only premium products could command.
It's getting silly now, with MP3 players and even calculators thrown in to sweeten the deal and persuade people it's worth paying more than £200 - I'm not too sure how much use anyone gets out of any of these. With Pocket Navigator 7, however, it would seem small British company, Directions Ltd has grabbed the ball from the back of the ruck and, by including extra features that are actually useful, tucked it up its metaphorical jumper.
This is a company that has traditionally specialised in providing integrated vehicle tracking and navigation systems to business company car fleets and trucking companies. But it also sells its Pocket Navigator GPS software - now in version 7 - to the public too, and some of that experience filters down.
First on the list of features that you don't normally see in GPS products - not even the top end TomTom GO devices - is an odometer. Now this sounds stupidly simple, doesn't it? All it does is keep track of the number of miles you've driven, with the option to switch between private and business mileage. Yet this little feature makes it a very tempting prospect for any small businessman or, in fact, any worker who uses one vehicle for both business and personal journeys and wants to keep track of how many miles he's driven in each capacity.
The second feature of note is a truck mode. This will be of interest to anyone who drives a wide vehicle, not just an HGV - such as those with caravans or trailer tents; we've all heard the stories about truckers regularly ignoring their common sense and following sat-nav instructions blindly down narrow country lanes only to get well and truly stuck. What this feature does is attempt to keep sat-nav dependants on the straight and narrow, and though it doesn't know specifically about road widths it's claimed this feature will try to keep you on main roads to a greater extent than in car mode.
Pocket Navigator 7 costs £89.99 for the version with European maps and £69.99 for GB and Ireland, which is competitive with Wayfinder's Navigator 7 (£105.99 and £67.99, respectively) and TomTom's Navigator 6, and your money buys you the product on DVD. All the program files are installed locally on your PDA or smartphone from DVD or a downloaded file, so there's no need to worry about data charges.