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Headline:FastSaloon.com review of the Clarion MAP770Date:10/10/2007
Source:FastSaloons.com   (Click Here for more details).OurRoadTests
   
Review:FastSaloon.com review of the Clarion MAP770  
We've got it all mapped out

When Clarion announced it's new range of Satelite Navigation devices we thought it only right that we should see how they performed. And what better way than a 5-day dash accross Europe with their top-of-the-range
MAP 770.


Contents
  • MAP770 unit
  • Mains power cable
  • Car power cable
  • Alternative UK and Europe plug ends
  • Aerial
  • Window mounting suction arm
  • Detachable back plate
  • USB cable
  • Quick start guide
  • PC install disk

  • First Impressions
    Pleasingly the unit powered on and contained enough charge for a good old play. First to greet me was the licence agreement screens, who reads these ? Next I'm presented with the main menu with 4 options:

  • Navigation
  • Audio
  • Pictures
  • Settings

    Not suprisingly I click on Navigation first, after all this is a satnav unit not an ipod, or is it? The unit comes with a stylus but on the whole is usable with your finger. Satelite Acquisition is fast and I am soon staring at a top down view of my location. So far so good.

    Next thing is to try to enter a route. This can be achieved by either selecting a city that you have used before, or by entering a new one. This can either be a city name or a post code. In my case I entered the start of a london postcode and then entered a street name. In both cases I enter the names using an on screen soft keypad, as before fingers can be used without problem. As is the norm, individual keys are activated or disable based on what you've entered thus narrowing the search to know addresses for the given postcode. The system works well and soon I am looking at another top down view, this time of my fictious destination. Once the destination is confirmed the route planning begins and quickly a green line overlays the map to illustrate your route. The left hand side of the screen shows time and distance to the destination.
  • Next I decided to decide to see how easy the unit to fit into a car. The mounting arm comes in two parts a back plate that can fix onto the back of the unit and the arm which has a large single suction mount. Once on the back of the unit the back plate can be simply slid onto the arm. The point where the backplate meets the arm is movable, meaning the unit can be adjusted easily.

    The suction cup fits quickly onto the windscreen and provides a solid anchor. A plastic switch at the suction end of the arm, enables you to loosen the unit and a small elongated tag on the actual suction cup allows it to be released from the glass.

    If required the car power cable connects into the bottom of the unit on the right hand side and is long enough to be positioned out of the way and adequately reach the car power socket (cigarette lighter).

    Advanced Features

    Whilst the unit does support safety cameras (aka speed cameras) you need to sign up for an annual contract in order to obtain the data, and of course then be able to download the information into the device. For this reason we did not test this.

    The unit does however display the known speed limit on any road you are travelling which is useful. In addition you can set a speed limit on the device to make you aware that your speed has exceeded the limit.

    The unit also features RDS/TMC again we did not get chance to test this feature.

    The Big Test

    In order to give the unit a proper test we took it on a road trip from Nottingham to Buchloe (a small town south of Munich and home of ALPINA). Over the course of 5 days and in excess of 1600 miles the unit was put through it's paces.

    Good bits
  • Big clear screen
  • Screen easy to read even in very bright sunlight
  • Route planning proved good
  • On the whole the unit can be used with fingers
  • Predicted arrival time was accurate

    Not so Good bits
  • Cockpit mode restricted to 1 layout
  • Some overlay buttons on cockpit view difficult to select with finger
  • Could do to be louder (travelling at speed on Autobahn)
  • Some verbal instruction too late (travelling at speed on Autobahn)

  • Other Features

    Photos
    The unit has a SD card slot in the top edge. This can be used to allow the unit to view photos held on the card. Once a card is inserted and photos has been selected from the main menu you are presented with a thumbnail view of the contects of the SD card. From here individual photos can be selected individually or all the photos can be viewed as a slideshow.

    In addition there is a zoom facility and you are able to delete the photos.

    The unit proved to be ok at displaying images, the resolution wasn't brilliant and my idea of being able to review my photos that I took during the trip wasn't quite as successful as it could have been (as I needed to zoom to check the quality) However as a bonus feature it is useful.
    Audio
    In the same way that an SD card can be used to view photos, it can also be used to listen to mp3s on the unit. Selecting Audio from the main menu loads the media player. Tracks are displayed in a clear way and again big enough to be easily selected by your finger. Once playing the track is displayed in a clear player, featuring all the normal functions - previous and next tracks; fwd and rwd; volume control and access to the graphic equaliser.

    In practice the unit isn't quite loud enough to be used incar with it's own speaker. However it plenty loud enough in a room, for example a hotel room and thus could be used for entertainment at night.

    Bluetooth Phone Facilities
    For me this proved to be one of the best additional features of the device. I hate bluetooth or rather I hate my phone and bluetooth. I have lost count of the times I've nearly thrown my phone or headset out of the window due to difficulties pairing or reestablishing a connection. To be far I think the problem lies with my phone rather than the appliances I try to connect it with. On the whole though I find myslef getting a little irate with the whole thing.

    So what a suprise it was that the unit paired up immediately, and continued to reestabligh a connection each time it was powered on. Some features like the phonebook sync didn't work, but again I think this is down to my phone rather than the MAP770. Apart from that the unit worked brilliantly as a hands free kit. Incoming calls flash up on the screen regardless of the mode and a simple tap picks up the call.

    I like the system so much that I actually found that I used it at my desk, as a speaker phone for my mobile.


    Conclusion
    The Clarion has a list price of £289. Competing with the likes of the TomTom 710 (£299), Garmin Nuvi™ 660 (£324).

    I felt the Map 770 offered a lot of functionality for the money, it was easy to use and had no glitches in the extensive testing that we caried out. In addition although we were unable to test some of the more advance functionality such as the integration with traffic information and also the ability to support speed cameras we feel that based on the level of quality of the rest of the device then this should be equally good.

    Therefore the Clarion Map 770 gets a big thumbs up from us. (4/5)










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