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Clarion MAP 790

Product Details
Manufacturer: Clarion
Website: http://www.clarion.com
Typical Selling price: £279.99

One of the new breed of devices that started life as a navigation unit but is a full on multimedia device and handsfree telephone system these days. It has Bluetooth and also receives TMC and as well as that, has a multimedia facility to play videos, still images and music tracks from MP3 and WMA files. It uses Teleatlas rather than Navteq maps and the internal chipset is amongst the best in existence and possibly a bit of an animal for this size of device – 4.3inch touch screen. It has the 3D landmark images of such buildings as Buckingham Palace and so forth. It comes with a sturdy window sucker system and a mains adaptor as well as a 12V adaptor, both of which terminate in a standard 6V 500ma USB mini-plug. You get a backup DVD as well in the pack.

- 4.3in sunlight protected LCD touch panel
- Maps by Tele Atlas
- Built-in RDS TMC Tuner
- Bluetooth for both handsfree calling and audio streaming
- MP3/WMA Player
- Picture Viewer
- Movie Player
- Text-to-Speech (TTS)
- 3D graphics of major landmark structures
- Safety camera warning compatible
- Coverage: 45 countries -Scandinavia & Europe to the Black sea
- Choice 31 languages for nav screen text
- Choice of 36 languages for nav voice guidance
- Choice of nine languages for text to speech
- “only” 18 languages available for system and setting screen
- 400MHz CPU
- SiRFstarIII™ 20ch GPS chip
- 2GB internal flash memory
- SD/MMC memory card slot
- USB 2.0 for charging and USB connection to PC
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- Includes car mount kit, USB cable and backup DVD
- Complete with 12V to 24V cigar lighter charger and AC Adapter
- Weight 184g
- Dimensions: 127.2mm x 82.2mm x 20mm (WxHxD)

Review by Adam Rayner

In a world of proliferating standards like clusters of bananas, it is a risky thing to attempt to be all things to all men and this beast has got that sticking off it in lumps. It's a Pan-European-and-beyond navigator of astonishing power and it's a media player and it's a full Bluetooth device. In a recent Pioneer headunit review it was found that two huge brands of HDD device would simply not fire up and work with the later generation of their �ber sexy headunits' USB connection as their system is now optimised to work with iPhone as well as the latest generation of iPods and there are so very many makers of HDD devices. And so it is with video formats and this device.

Every size of screen image has its standard – you have heard of VGA and HD1080p and maybe even 2K4K if you are an image-hound but the proliferation of file formats in existence for different sorts of video and video players will make that playback sizes-and-proportions issue look easy.

For one, when the older and less hectic-spec Canon pro-sumer SLR camera that I used for Talk Audio died recently (-ish) it was replaced with a better one with higher pixel-count. This now creates .mov video files instead of .avi as before and sadly the MAP 790 wouldn't play a video I made on the new Canon. In theory, you ought to be able to film a clip on your camera, even one on your phone if you use an SD card system and then watch it in the MAP 790's screen. (I was a bit sad about that, as the clip I had just made was about how I was just going Perch fishing – a version of which went on the Anglers Mail Facebook page as well!) But then neither would the previously tested and yet ill-fated Blaupunkt device read video files I wanted it to read either. I tried it and it was so terrible that I didn't publish and it was withdrawn from the UK long before Blaupunkt's brand was sold. I am sure there are formats MAP 790 will read but there was so much else to test that I got on with that. I reckon it's time to download some of my free-with-Blu-ray digital copies of some movies and stuff 'em onto a USB or SD to test these puppies out in future……

I Purple-Fangled and downloaded my phone book from the Blackberry to the MAP 790 in a short moment and then made some calls in each direction to test the hands free stuff, which worked perfectly without even a single one of those Bluetooth-created intermittencies that can so annoy you as an overlay to the utter perfection of clarity that is the average cellular call. (Yeah right!) So that was impressive and further proof of its easy BT ability was shown when it paired up happily to the Pioneer DEH-P8100BT headunit still in the TA test rig and it also found and so told me that my old Nokia phone was still on charge and 'on' downstairs even with its now disabled SIM still fitted, as the magic pairing, 'Fat Bastard' appeared. I had no idea it was still on! Then I BT streamed a song from the Blackberry to the MAP 790 and played it on the MAP's little speakerette – but then my 'Berry's body-emanating speakerette is probably louder….but it worked is the point, so could be used as yet an extra source for a headunit like the Pioneer mentioned above.

I played some tunes on the media player after importing a few MP3s from my PC on the USB hook-up. And above all, I drove around a lot to test the navigation.

It was utterly gripping in a really geeky sad sort of way to watch the Navteq-equipped Snooper do it's thing (which is primarily about a lovely updated speed camera database from a company who's very roots are in electronic countermeasures in the shape of radar detectors.) versus the Clarion MAP 790, also lodged in the corner of my dash. It was quite a task to fit them both so they could be seen yet not occlude any road-view but they were tucked in OK.

I could see how much faster the MAP 790 was to re-route, or to work out how long it would take to get places, than the old faithful Syrius but oddly 790 always thought it would take longer to get there, over a longer mileage than the Navteq based system. It did change it's mind when it realised my rate of progress was higher, pretty happily though.

I did find a few small issues with one of the voice tracks in English that used a couple of very slightly quaint terms but changed to the bloke's from the lass's voice and found it worked better. I also found that the postcode of an Island in the Thames where Alcosense were doing a get-the-press-drunk event that I was invited to, was liable to send my example do-lally. Perhaps it found the concept a bit hard to bear. I gather this was a software glitch in my machine alone as it didn't do this with the ones tested at Clarion when I called them over the issue. Although, yes Teleatlas didn't use an Amphicar to map that part of Bray and so the Monkey Island Hotel wasn't in there, despite having it's own postcode. (What's wrong with those guys?)

One super duper feature is how you can upgrade and update your MAP 790 with the navi extras site here: https://clarion.naviextras.com/shop/portal. You can add enhanced POI lists, maps for other territories like the USA and can add a camera database, too. It's a very sophisticated set of doings for one so simple and so small looking but it packs a mighty punch and I would be happy to allow it to look after me on a grand tour but I would check that the picture stills and video formats I wanted to use were types that I could play back after dinner with the MAP 790 in the hotel room afterwards.

I am mightily impressed and reckon this small navigator is a whole world more powerful and clever than some machines out there costing more yet offering less. A really pukka PND with whistles and bells on with amazing VFM when you consider all it does.

Another happily easy to judge Talk Audio Best Buy.

Appearance/Display 8.0
Ease of use/HMI 10.0
Features 10.0
Effectiveness 9.0
Value For Money 10.0
Overall rating 9.4

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