Garmin Nüvi 860T £450
22nd Jan 2009 | 10:55
Lacking in style, but a fully featured and easy-to-use satellite navigation device
Garmin's Nüvi 860T (£400 inc. VAT) is a high-end sat nav device, packing a number of impressive features into its conservative-looking casing.
It's finished in metallic grey plastic, but looks a bit bland compared to rival devices from TomTom or Navman.
That said, the plastics are tough and it's thin enough to slip easily into a back pocket or small bag.
The front of the device is covered by a 4.3-inch touchscreen display, with all functions carried out via large and spacious onscreen buttons. There's a 3.5mm headphone socket on the side, along with a mini USB port for charging and a micro SD card reader.
The display is easy to see in all conditions, with a resolution of 480 x 272 pixels providing attractive images.
We found the menus easy to navigate, with large finger-friendly buttons. The menu is split into pages that display two rows of four icons.
You'll be able to enter destinations by address, postcode or by simply searching the map.
In an unusual move, you can also control the Nüvi by voice. A remote control with a microphone is provided as standard, and clips onto your car's steering wheel.
There's a button to activate voice control – where you'll be able to carry out functions such as entering addresses. Although it works, we still preferred to enter destinations when stationary, as making sure the correct details are entered still requires concentration.
European mapping is provided by Navteq and stored on 3.48GB of internal storage space. The maps include speed camera locations throughout several European countries – including the UK, France and Spain.
We found the maps themselves bright and clear, and the unit's SiRF Star III GPS chip gained satellite reception quickly, and held a strong signal.
As with many sat-nav devices the 860T uses TMC (Traffic Message Channel) to help you avoid congestion on the move. In this case, you'll find a pre-paid subscription to traffic updates included and it's valid for the life of the product, helping to avoid future charges.
Other features include Bluetooth, letting you use it as a hands-free kit for your phone. There's also a comprehensive list of local attractions, with regular POI (Points of Interest) including garages, restaurants and cash points. You'll also be able to play back audio books, view images or listen to MP3s, although the sound quality isn't really ideal for music.
Although it's not the most desirable device, the Garmin Nüvi 860T is packed with features, and its comprehensive mapping, lifetime traffic updates and voice activation is sure to appeal.