But that’s not all. There’s also Bluetooth, so you can use the system as your hands-free car phone system. You get a preloaded speed camera database and full European maps courtesy of Navteq – further impressive inclusions considering the TomTom Go with equivalent mapping costs £40 more. And the GoPal E3410 has a feature that TomTom doesn’t have – motorway lane assistance. This tells you precisely which lane you need to be in using a road-sign style graphic stretched across the top of the navigation screen, and it works not only on big motorways, but also on multi-lane A-roads, such as the A406 and A1 roads in London.
It may not sound much, but it’s a great help in situations where “take the next exit” might not be the clearest of instructions. There’s a junction on the A406 that demonstrates this feature quite nicely: as you travel clockwise, the road splits into three when it joins the M11 and here the lane assistance is invaluable, turning what could be a confusingly vague instruction into something much more helpful.
So, the Medion E3410 would appear to have most of the major sat-nav tick-box features covered, and then some. In fact it would appear to rival TomTom’s all-conquering devices in many respects. The big question is; can it compete when you take it out onto the road?
On motorways, as I’ve pointed out already, it works rather well, and that text-to-speech engine helps you keep your eyes on the road. The maps are clear, if not terribly slick-looking, while the voice instructions are timely and the speaker loud and clear. I couldn’t find fault with its route choices either, which were largely sensible. For instance, it rarely directs you down tiny side streets when major roads would get you to your destination just as quick.
Clearly, the driving instructions are not a problem. It’s when it comes to ease of use – one of TomTom’s greatest strengths, incidentally – that things begin to unravel. One issue is that the tiny size of some of the text on the main navigation screen makes it difficult to read on the move. While the map and next turn icons are clear enough, the rest of the information is squeezed in tiny font sizes into a bar along the bottom of the 3.5in screen. Anyone without perfect 20/20 vision will find this impossible to read.