- Massive, clear 7in screen
- Universal keyword search
- Maps for 44 European countries
- Truck Mode one month trial only
- RDS-TMC an optional extra
- Size isn't everything
- Review Price: £134.99
- 7in widescreen
- Maps for 44 European countries
- Keyword search across addresses and POIs
- Cityseekr guides for six cities included
- Truck Mode - one month trial
- RDS-TMC traffic ready
A sat-nav this big requires a specially robust mount, and Navman supplies an articulated arm with a particularly powerful suction cup. The sat-nav slips on securely, and there’s a notch built in for the mini USB plug which supplies power. This means you can slide the sat-nav in and out with a single motion, although it’s actually quite hard to slide out. The arm itself isn’t completely solid, jiggling a little in transit, but the cup attaches so securely we wouldn’t be worried about the sat-nav falling from your screen on a bumpy road.
Once you get past the supersized nature of the Panoramic, however, it’s a pretty run-of-the-mill device. It’s not the first 7in sat-nav we’ve seen, either. Mio’s Navman Spirit V735 TV has the same screen size, but it has the excuse of incorporating a television receiver, so the large display is somewhat imperative. But the Panoramic’s main use for the the extra visual real estate is simply map visibility.
The menu is Navman’s now standard Spirit interface. This offers pages of large colourful icons, which you can scroll through with sizeable arrows. All the main functions are within easy reach, including key points of interest (POI) categories such as parking and petrol. Click one of these, and you get the nearest amenities in that category, listed by distance.
However, the Spirit interface’s unique feature is keyword search. Although the traditional address and POI category searches are available, you can also do a keyword search across both databases. This makes finding a street or point of interest without knowing the host town or city possible. In fact, it’s so much quicker than the usual method of drilling down through levels that you will probably use this as your first port of call for any address where you don’t have the full postcode to hand. If you do, though, the Panoramic supports the full set of UK digits, so can navigate you directly without needing to know an address at all.
Other than this, the usual facilities are in evidence. You can plan a journey with multiple waypoints using the Trip Planner, navigate to a city centre or map coordinates, and store a list of favourites including a home location. If you upload NavPix images to the device, you can use the location information of one of these to set up a destination. A list of recently found locations is also stored – always a handy feature. When you’ve chosen your destination, the Panoramic gives you a choice of four different routes – the Fastest, the most Economical, the Easiest and the Shortest. It has to calculate each of these in succession, so takes four times as long, but you can choose one before it has been calculated and the Panoramic will discard the others and focus on your choice.
The Panoramic has a few premium extras, although in quasi-trial form. Cityseekr travel books are included for six major European cities. These are essentially POI databases on steroids, providing a lot more detailed information about amenities – such as opening times for museums, and a short review of each one. This will help you plan a holiday trip, but of course you can also choose to navigate to them directly once you’ve found something you want to visit. You can obtain some travel books of individual countries for £7.99, or the whole of Europe for £39.99. Another optional extra is RDS-TMC traffic notification. The receiver for this costs £36. The Panoramic has the requisite menu option for traffic, but it’s non-functional until you connect the extra hardware.
None of this is particularly unique. However, the Panoramic does have one extra feature which befits its mammoth size. Included in the package is a one month trial of Truck Mode. This calculates routes that avoid small roads, and also other limitations which may be particular to your vehicle, such as bridges with a weight limit. You can enter details of the dimensions, weight, load, and vehicle type for your truck, and the route provided shouldn’t include any roads which will be unsuitable, although this feature isn’t available in every country. With so many stories of sat-navs stranding commercial vehicles down country lanes, Truck Mode will be very welcome if you drive a lorry for a living, and you can even specify whether you’re carrying hazardous materials. However, if you do want to make use of Truck Mode after the trial finishes, it will set you back a fairly hefty £69.99, although that is a one-off payment rather than a subscription.
In use the Panoramic’s huge screen really comes into its own. You will not have any trouble seeing the map or directions, and the screen’s so large you can expand the drop down list in the top right corner permanently, so you can see all the details about your trip at the same time. Information includes distance and time to destination, current speed, estimated time of arrival and current time. TomTom’s IQ Routes has been licensed, so the ETA will be more accurate as it uses real historic traffic speed data rather than just a nominal road speed for calculation. The map itself is very clear indeed, with a bold sign showing you the current speed limit in the bottom left-hand corner and your next turn, although there’s so much space onscreen you could have had the next one after that listed as well without losing map visibility.
Amazingly, despite its humungous size, the Panoramic is already available online for £135. So, although its only significant unique feature other than the screen is the Truck Mode option, the Panoramic is incredible value, particularly when you take into account the fact that this is a European version with maps preinstalled for 44 countries, including some in Eastern Europe. So if you’re planning to take your recreational vehicle on a European trip, or drive a lorry on continental deliveries, this is a big-screen sat-nav for a small-screen price.
Score in detail
Battery Life 8
|Screen Size (inches) (Inch)||7in|
|General Features||Maps of 44 European countries; Cityseekr guides; Truck Mode trial|
|Battery life (Hour)||2hr|
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