The navigational map interface offers 2D and 3D options. Alternatively, you can display a full-screen illustration of the next turning, or a split screen combining this with the map. The 3D option shows a horizon with somewhat unrealistic distant hills, which is attractive but not necessarily that useful. A selection of handy information is ranged along the bottom panel, including current and maximum speed, expected arrival time, plus distance and time to destination. The current speed limit is displayed as an icon on the left.
There are even speed camera warnings and lane guidance, although both are somewhat limited compared to the best current implementations. Camera locations are marked on the road, but there is no intrusive pop-up or audible notification, so you could miss one. The lane guidance is displayed in a strip along the top of the interface, which is again less clear than the full-screen graphics with realistic road signs offered by the major brands, such as TomTom, Mio and Garmin.
Medion has also bundled a selection of extra apps with the P5235, although some are more useful than others. You may want to employ the MP3 playing facilities alongside the built-in FM Transmitter to pipe your music through your car stereo, but using your sat-nav as an image viewer has always seemed a little pointless. There’s also an alarm clock, and even a Sudoku game. We presume the latter is for when you find yourself stuck in stationary gridlock. Most useful is the Berlitz-powered Travel Guide, although it didn’t appear entirely complete. For example, the whole of Geneva was missing from the Switzerland listing. But we found the main attractions were included for most of the European cities we tried.
The Medion GoPal P5235 is not a slick, attractive device for the gadget lover. But it does do the job intended perfectly well. Best of all, you can currently buy it for £189.99 from the Medion shop, which is a very keen price for a 5in widescreen sat-nav with European maps and RDS-TMC traffic updates. However, Garmin’s nuvi 1490T provides mostly the same features and a more polished appearance for just a little more. So the Medion is great value, but the Garmin just edges it out of the best-value 5in sat-nav slot.