OK, so that’s the Connected bit of this particular Road Angel covered, but what else does it have to offer? Quite a lot actually. The unit itself is shaped like an old CRT widescreen TV – the front fascia is obviously flat, while the rear projects back a way, but in a rounded casing. It’s not a massive device, but it’s not tiny either with dimensions of 105 x 55 x 55 (WxDxH). The actual screen takes up the central portion of the fascia and measures about 2.5in diagonally. There is a single button located on the top of the devices, this will power the unit on/off when held for two seconds, or mute alerts when pressed quickly. There are no other buttons necessary, since the Road Angel Professional Connected is controlled entirely via the supplied remote control.
At the rear of the unit are three connectors, one of which is a mini-USB port – this can be used for both connecting the Road Angel to your PC via the supplied cable, or charging it using the bundled adapter. It’s great to see a mini-USB connector being used, since most PC users will have cables knocking about, or even other power supplies, which means that the device can be charged in multiple locations without needing to buy extra accessories. Flanking the mini-USB port are an Aux port for hooking up an external laser detector, and a socket for connecting an external antenna.
When you power the Road Angel on, you’re met with the satellite acquisition screen. Depending on your environment, it can take anything from a few seconds to a few minutes for enough satellite locks to be acquired. Once that happens, the device switches to its main screen, which displays current speed and heading in the very centre. To the right of the digital compass is a battery indicator, while to the left are indicators for GPS and GSM/GPRS signal strength.
When the Road Angel alerts you to a camera or black spot, the colour of the display changes (red if you’re travelling above the speed limit, green if not), and you’re also shown an image of the type of danger ahead – whether that be a fixed speed camera, camera van or accident black spot. You can specify how far ahead the Road Angel should be alerting you of hazards, choosing between 250, 500 and 1,000 metres – my preference is 500m, which gives you plenty of time to react, without the alerts lasting so long that they become annoying. Another useful setting will double the alert distance if you’re travelling at over 50mph – when you’re travelling fast, those distances get eaten up all the quicker, so a bit of extra time to react is welcome.