Most of the attention in GPS navigation goes to the big four--Garmin, Magellan, Mio, and TomTom--but if you're shopping for a navigator, chances are that a low-priced lesser name will call to you, and you'll wonder if it's just as good as the majors. In the case of the V7 Nav740 the answer is yes. While the physical design isn't first rate, the features represent an excellent value for the price.
Design and Features
At first glance the Nav740's bezel feels a bit cheap and doesn't have the sleek appearance of other models. It surrounds a 4.3-inch touchscreen, however, which is rare for this price, and worked well. The on-screen icons are colorful, but aren't as attractively designed as those of bigger names. Go a bit deeper, though, and you'll see that the device doesn't lack for features. It offers a huge, up-to-date 11 million points-of-interest database, for example, and licenses the same routing software that Mio uses, so driving directions look just like those on a Mio unit.
Other features include a media player (music, movies, and pictures), which has a basic look but works well enough and supports MP3, WMA, WMV, AVI, DivX, Xvid, MPEG4, and JPEG. The Nav740 also includes TMC traffic upgradeability (a traffic receiver should go on sale in the second quarter of 2008), and thorough route creation options, including a simulation mode.
Driving with the Nav740
Driving with the Nav740 was easy, thanks to street name pronunciation, another unexpected feature at this price. The unit offers four English voices, but only one with text-to-speech. The rear speaker, however, is especially poor, so the voice often sounded crackly. The navigation software is just as quick as more expensive units to reroute drivers who get off track, but the unit doesn't favor larger, faster roads. For example, it had us turn onto a mall road, which was heavy with stop signs and pedestrians, rather than take a major road one block farther.
V7 Nav740 Verdict
It's a little rough around the edges, but you can feel confident with the V7 Nav740. It's a small name but a big bargain.
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