Motorola has been selling personal navigation devices (PNDs) in the US for a few years now, but it has only just launched a range in Europe. Called the Motonav, it aims to offer something a little different to the existing brands. Our first look is the top-of-the-range TN760t, and it marks itself out as soon as you remove it from the box.
The TN760t is a 5.1in widescreen device, but the display is actually being called 'cinematic', because it doesn't have a conventional 16:9 aspect, instead opting for 2.39:1, more akin to LG's Chocolate BL40 mobile phone. It also sports extra physical buttons on the left, right and top. Either side can be found a trio of paddles that operate a variety of functions. These include zooming the map in and out, calling up saved Favourite locations, controlling the volume, and muting sound, but customisation is possible too.
The Motonav can also be professionally installed in your car, which costs as little as £60 for some vehicles, but over £100 in others. This will connect it to your car's speakers and hands-free microphones, which can then in turn be used with your mobile phone via Bluetooth. The device itself will still be portable, but the mount will be connected to the ISO wiring behind your car's hi-fi system. Professional installation will also facilitate using the TN760t's voice operation system, which enables you to enter addresses verbally, although you can still use this with the standalone device.
The interface also follows a different design strategy to most other sat-navs. Motorola has attempted to keep the map onscreen as much as possible. So a single touch doesn't switch the entire screen to a menu. Instead, a panel in the middle invites you to Enter a Destination, whilst onscreen buttons ranged at the edges provide alternative options. These include rapid routing to a single Home location, operation of your Bluetooth paired mobile phone, and saved favourites. The latter can be arranged into user-specified folders. There's also a full menu available containing the remaining functions and settings, and even this doesn't entirely cover the map.
The Enter Destination interface combines both address and points of interest, and again is designed like no other sat-nav we've tested. First you specify a city or postcode, then you can type in an address or POI name. As you enter more letters, the pane on the right dynamically narrows down a list of possibilities, which blends both addresses and POIs. However, a secondary tab confines these results to just POIs, arranged by category. If you don't enter any letters in the search field, however, POIs in your chosen city will be listed.