Only a short few years ago the one box satellite navigation system was something of a novelty. Indeed, when the original TomTom Go appeared it was quite a revolution – small, portable and astonishingly easy to use. Since then many others have rushed to get in on what is now a huge market and the shelves of your local Currys or Halfords are now groaning under the weight of the various GPS systems on offer.
Therefore, each has to offer something unique to stand out from the crowd. The Road Angel Navigator 6000 claims to be two products in one. It aims to combine the best bits from Road Angel’s dedicated speed camera and blackspot database units with a small GPS navigation system. It makes sense to combine the two but does that make it the perfect solution?
The device itself is as small and light as one could hope for and naturally a car bracket is supplied, which I found quite tricky to plug together compared to others I have used. I also found it tricky to get it to sit an angle that I liked. Once set up you have an in-car charger than plugs into the USB connector on the side. The device isn’t as thin as some of its competitors but it does have the advantage of the battery lasting a decent amount of time – it’s rated at eight hours, and I managed to get nearly seven out of it during my testing so that's not bad. One thing that disliked about my TomTom Go One was how often it nagged about needing to be plugged in, which meant trailing cables around the car.
The device is Windows CE based so is able to play MP3’s and display photos as well. Why one would want to do this on a GPS device is always a source of bemusement for me, and on the Navigator 6000 it makes less sense than ever - there’s no headphone socket and the screen is quite grainy so it’s not the best way of showing off your snaps.
The menu button at the top also reveals an interface that I could only describe as odd. When you press it you get two small icons – ‘RA Menu’ and ‘Full Screen RA’. Choose the menu and you get a very large icons and arrows to navigate the choices – to make changes you have to press Open, then press ‘Adjust’ and then press ‘Store’, and you then get a confirmation screen. It’s definitely not something you’ll want to do when driving.
When you fire up the Road Angel button you are confronted with an image of a globe surrounded by satellites with laser beams shooting down. It’s designed to indicate how many satellites you are getting a signal but it’s rather bizarre. You can choose to wait until you’ve got a signal or press the Nav button to go into the navigation interface proper. Overall, my impression of the interface was that it was by no means intuitive or in any way well thought out. I got used to it with practice but I couldn’t say it was fun to use.