Route 66 Mini Regional Sat-Nav - Route 66 Mini Regional

By Jonathan Bray

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Route 66 Mini Regional Sat-Nav

Summary

Our Score:

8

But it's the address entry and search system that really catches the eye. Where most other portable sat-navs force you to split your search laboriously by country, post code, city and street the Mini is intelligent enough to allow you to perform free text searches for your destination, just as you can with Google Maps. This means that, not only can you simply tap in a street name without knowing the precise geographical area in which it lies, but also hunt through points of interest just as easily. Thus you can simply type in "Hotel South Woodford" and it'll go away and find you exactly that: hotels in South Woodford. Want to be more specific? Type in "Travel Inn London" and it'll come up with a list of appropriate results. I can't understand why more sat-navs don't do this.

Other forms of destination and waypoint searches match this superlative ease-of-use. Creating multi-point trips is a doddle, for instance, not something that every sat-nav can lay claim to. And the on-screen keyboard is pretty usable too, occupying 90 per cent of the screen and including numbers and letters all on-screen at once so you don't need to keep switching between alpha and numeric keyboards as you do with other small sat-nav devices.

But none of this is any use, of course, if the driving instructions are no good, and I'm happy to report that, in most instances, the Mini works very well in this respect too. The speaker - so often an area of weakness - is loud, clear and free of distortion. The voice instructions are delivered in a timely manner and the device links turns that follow each other together.

Route choices are largely sensible too, and I failed to find serious fault in over 300 miles of driving. Route calculation and recalculation when you go off route is handled swiftly and without fuss, and the Mini even includes a Lorry profile along with the usual car and pedestrian options. This optimises routes for wide vehicles and should keep truckers from getting stuck down narrow country lanes.

Alan 1

July 1, 2008, 3:12 pm

Having read good reviews about this satnav, and Halfords had reduced the price to 㿻.99, I got one. While I agree with Jonathan's review, there are a few problem areas which I need to mention. First, to get the speed camera database and do any updating, you need to connect the satnav to a Windows PC (so no good for Mac or Linux users). Not only that, you need to download and install Microsoft ActiveSync (if you run XP) or Microsoft Mobile Device Centre (if you run Vista). Second, the version of Route66 sync provided on the CD doesn't work. You have to download the latest copy from the Route66 website (www.route66.nl) and install that. Having done that, you can easily install the speed camera database on the satnav (and extra voices, colour schemes, etc.). Then you hit problem number 3. From time to time the GPS software seems to get confused as to where you really are. Not to worry, there is a GPS firmware update on the Route66 Website which you can download to your PC then install onto the satnav. Trouble is, you need an SD card slot on your PC to do this. The good news is that having upgraded the GPS firmware, it is better but can be slower when getting your position after switch on. Then comes problem number 4. When you are out and about, the unit is great until you pass a speed camera. The speed camera alert pops up and after that, there are no more voice commands until you reset the satnav (using the factory reset button), or the software crashes and the satnav reboots itself. Not much fun halfway through your journey. The good news is, there is an update on the Route66 website which you can (in theory) install. However, my attempts to do this have resulted in the install process stoping after 20% and I have had to do the factory reset to reboot the satnav. If I do get the update installed to fix the speed camera/no voice/crash problem, I am hoping there isn't a problem 5!





In summary, A nice cheap satnav and if you are happy with it out of the box with no speed camera database (and the odd GPS hiccup), great. If you want speed cameras you are going to have to hook the satnav up to the internet via a windows PC to get all the updates.

Alan 1

July 2, 2008, 2:29 pm

Update: On the third attempt, the satnav managed to update the Route66 software and the best way to do it is to factory reset the satnav (so you have a fresh reboot), connect it to the PC, then do the update immediately. It does take a while so be patient.





The update does fix the speed camera/no voice/crash problem and the new software matches the user manual more closely. I did wonder why some of the items mentioned in the user manual were missing. I have done a couple of test trips and it is working fine. It looks like the speed camera database is valid for a year and it will cost 9.95 EUR to renew which isn't too bad.





Having gone through the update process, I am pleased with the unit. However, not everyone will be PC literate enough to do the same. On the plus side, not only is this now down to 㿻.99 at Halfords, the widescreen version (Route 66 Maxi) is down to 䀏.99.



routegodknowswhere

February 9, 2009, 6:01 pm

My route 66 mini really is awful, it resets itself mid journey, constantly tells me to re load the software becuase strings go missing, and freezes up. This is all after the firmware/software updates.





The route 66 support must have gone to the same customer services school as BT and i might as well tell my dog about how or why it doesnt work. Now its stuck with no maps so i can only use it to navigate my way to London or Southampton, ive taken it back to the shop and got a new one god knows how many times, each time i have to have a fight with route 66 support just to get the cameras i paid for put on to the new device.





You really do get what you pay for with this, mine is about to navigate its way out of the car window.



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