In cluttered markets like multimedia players, computers and GPS you need a differentiator to break from the pack. In the latter category ViaMichelin – via its Michelin Guide – has always had that rare advantage and now it has a new flagship model to take full advantage of it.
The X-980T looks to be a radical advancement on the company’s previously top dog, the X-950XT, and it brings a raft of new features.
Key most among them is the new 4.3in panoramic screen (as big as anything on the market) which has a real party trick up its sleeve: dual navigation. This means you can see both 2D and 3D maps simultaneously which should be an excellent way to clear up any ambiguities over which turn to take or roundabout exit to follow.
Also pleasing punters will be a second major asset: hands-free Bluetooth phone support. This technology has long been on the market, but by pairing with your handset and routing calls through the device’s speaker you’re essentially getting two pieces of equipment for the price of one.
Of course, the killer function of the ViaMichelin range is its built in Michelin Guide and naturally enough the X-980T has the latest 2006 edition complete with over 51,000 hotel and restaurant listings and 19,000 tourist sights with detailed descriptions accompanying each and – where appropriate – stored phone numbers, menu lists, parking and even website addresses.
Content can also be updated via the web (including that all important list of fixed speed cameras), maps for 20 different European countries are bundled and pedestrian and bicycle routes are catered for. The X-980T goes on sale immediately for £449 including VAT and could be a great Chrimbo gift (yes, we’re at that time of the year already) for the women directionless members of your family.