If you follow @campingly on Twitter, you might have read that I dropped my Snooper Ventura sat nav a couple of weeks back. Predictably, the screen shattered, and whilst the unit would still power on, the touch screen functionality had gone for good. I phoned Snooper who said that they could repair the screen at a cost of £139.99 and with about a 2-week turnaround. Neither of these were great news, but the 2-week turnaround was a no-no for me, because I needed to make several long-distance trips that week, with no navigator.
So the decision was made to buy a new sat-nav, and since we were on a budget, we decided to see whether we could survive without a motorhome -specific one. Snooper Ventura sat-navs allow you to enter your vehicle’s height, length, width and weight, and then they calculate your route with this info in mind. But the Start60 from TomTom is a plain and simple sat-nav with no size parameters to input. Would we survive? Would we appear on the local news, having wedged our van into the narrowest village street in the Cotswolds?
Happily, nothing quite so bad has befallen us in the 2 weeks we’ve been using the Start60. I’m convinced that some of the roads we’ve been down would have been discretely avoided by the Snooper, but all in all it hasn’t been dreadful. We did have to use our own common sense on one occasion, as the Start60′s route took us down a narrow lane – at the sight of the sign saying the road narrowed to 6″6′, I knew we had to take another route, so we averted a sticky situation.
As for appearance and map layout, I think the Start60′s maps and displays are clearer than the Snooper’s, especially the lane guidance screens. I also like the reading out of road names, and directions. The screen, at 6″, is almost as big as the Snooper Ventura, and a decent size for motorhome use, where you’re a lot further away from a mounting place than in a car.
Mounting has been a little temperamental. The Start60 features an all-in-one unit, with the mountin arm and suction pad all integral and permanently fixed to the sat nav device. The mounting arm can be rotated to fix to the windscreen or to the dashboard, and a swivel lock should hold it firmly in place. Except that from time to time, and using my previously fixed dashboard disc, the Start60 tends to lose it’s grip and come loose. Not ideal when you’re travelling along. I will give the disc a good clean and see if that fixes the problem.
The other little niggle I have with the Start60 is that sometimes the 12v charger comes loose too. It’s easy enough to push it back in, but coming loose means that it powers off the unit, which is, again, less than ideal as you are driving along. Neither of these issues arose once with the Snooper.
So, it’s a mixed bag really, in terms of how I’d rate the Start60. Visuals and verbal directions are excellent, but the external fixings seem like they could be improved. Here in the UK, I will probably be happy to keep using it, but once we head back to Europe, I think I will probably get the Snooper Ventura screen fixed.
Anyone know of a reliable sat-nav repair company that charges less than £139.99?
Buy the TomTom Start60 from Halfords.