Review: The Navman iCN 750

In the latest issue of Smartphone & Pocket PC Magazine, I talk about the Navman iCN 750, a Windows Mobile GPS navigation system with a digital camera. The iCN 750 sets itself apart with a feature they call "NavPix." While my article focused on the NavPix features of the unit (and you should pick up a copy to read all about this innovative feature!), I promised to give a general overview of the device on my blog.

IMPORTANT: Although it wasn't available when my article went to press, Navman has just launched a special Web site for NavPix-enabled images. You can download images created by Lonely Planet or other NavPix users, as well as uploading your own images. You can add titles and share them with friends and family as well as making them "public" so that other iCN 750 owners can download them.

The iCN 750 features five buttons on the front of the unit, with the top two buttons giving you one-click directions to the nearest gas station and parking lots. The next two access the iCN 750's menus and the final button will switch the display between the different views (turn-by-turn text directions, overhead map, guidance and 3-D displays).

iCN 750
To the right of the iCN 750's beautiful screen, five buttons give you quick access to the most important features of the GPS system.

The rest of the unit is kept relatively uncluttered. There's power and camera shutter buttons on the top, and a volume wheel on the right side of the iCN 750. The opposite side features headset, power, and USB jacks as well as an SD card slot.

A multimedia champ!

But the real advantage only becomes clear when you turn the unit on. The iCN 750 sports a four-inch (480x272 pixels) landscape screen. I've always felt that GPS systems should be shown in landscape mode (most Windows Mobile GPS applications support this feature, but Pocket PCs don't mount "sideways" very well) and the iCN 750 shows exactly why this is important. When the display is on 3D Map screen you get a wide view of the landscape and on Next Turn screen, you can easily see the directions alongside the real-time map.

In addition to the impressive screen, the iCN 750 has great audio features. The speaker is clear and loud enough to hear, even in a convertible with the top down, and the optional headset port offers an alternative for the hearing impaired and situations where ambient noise levels might be high. When the volume is changed using the scroll wheel on the right, the iCN 750 displays the volume level on-screen and repeats the current driving direction (like "turn right then take the next left") if a route has already been entered, or says the word "test" to give you an idea of the current setting. Pushing down on the volume scroll wheel mutes the sound.

Innovations abound!

Although setting a destination (by entering an address) is slightly more cumbersome than other GPS solutions, the rest of the user interface on the iCN 750 is nothing less than amazing. Navman has created an innovative "soft scroll wheel;" an area on the display where you can drag your finger to quickly move up and down a long list. If you drag slowly, you move a few items at a time, but if you drag quickly, you can jump to the end of a list. This feature alone is worthy of an award in user interface design!

The system also ships with an incredible 4 gigabytes of storage space. This means you can store the entire US map on the built-in storage. And, there's an SD slot in case you need more space. The GPS system supports all of the standard features (automatic re-routing, Points of Interest, multiple destinations and on-screen indicators for ETA/time remaining/distance remaining) and shows that the team at Navman knows what they're doing.


Although Navman software is slower to respond than some of the GPS systems out there, the iCN 750 is absolutely one of the best I've ever seen. It is extremely easy to use and has the innovative NavPix feature to set it apart from the rest. If you're looking for an all-in-one GPS solution, the iCN 750 should be one of the first units you take a look at.

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