Summary

Our Score

6/10

Review Price free/subscription

Binatone Carrera C350 Sat-Nav

When Mio was acquired by Navman earlier this year, a massive hole was left in the sat-nav market. Mio had been leading the pack in terms of innovation and the last Mio product I reviewed - its C620T - was the most impressive TomTom rival I'd come across.

Since the acquisition, however, I've been getting Mio withdrawal symptoms with Navman/Mio products yet to materialize. I needn't have worried, however, as Mio's old mapping engine - from Nav 'N' Go - is now being used by Binatone Carrera in its latest range of navigation products including this budget model, the C350.

It hasn't done very much to the design of the interface, though: turn it on and the C350 looks just like one of the old budget Mio devices, with only a few branded Binatone tweaks. But while the Nav 'N' Go interface conjures up a certain sense of nostalgia - it was the interface on my very first car sat-nav device - it isn't perfect.

For starters it has a huge information bar running down the left hand side of the screen that cannot be removed. This features various status windows showing information such as speed, ETA and journey time and has a bulbous next-turning indicator at the top and a menu button at the bottom.

It's a far from ideal use of space - giving a quarter of the screen over permanently to the info bar still seriously cramps the style of a small 320 x 240 pixel, 3.5in TFT such as the one on the C350. Moreover, the interface that lies behind this awkward screen layout is still a little unintuitive and confusing.

You have to delve, for instance, down several menus deep to alter the volume level because there's no hardware volume control. The POI system is confusingly split into two parts (the bit that you use to switch icons on the screen on and off, and the bit you use to find nearby POIs) and when entering address information you have to first click a button labelled 'Other City' before being able to enter a postcode. Weird.

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