Evesham Bluemedi – BM638

“To create the ultimate in-car navigation system you need to team up a feature-rich, innovative device with the latest, most up to date software. Well that system is no longer a motorists’ dream as Evesham delivers the Bluemedia BM6380,a state-of-the art remote-controlled personal navigation system that’s powered by Destinator ND – one of the most advanced mapping and navigation systems available. Well, that’s what it says here, anyhow. Red rag to a bull if  you’re The Don …

Is it worth being woken up at 7.15 in the morning by the mailman? Well, it depends. If he’s arrived with a bundle of goodies, then yes. If your underpants are on back to front, you feel a bit hazy as if you’ve been drugged and he’s woken you up by tapping you on the shoulder and offering you a suggestive wink (read carefully), then no.

Luckily I never make the same mistake twice, so opened the door to receive my parcel. Sure enough it was from my friends at Destinator, the European satnav software gurus.

Even better was that although they make satnav cards for mobile phones and PDAs, this was pre-loaded on to a BlueMedia GPS device from Evesham, who are known for making computers. And, funnily enough, GPS devices.

So, like the game-show enthusiast I am, I opened the box, and found that inside was a plethora of bits and pieces all adding up to an impressive looking navigation gadget.

There was a mounting kit for the car, complete with charger, including a USB cable, an SD card with the Destinator ND maps on it and some booklets, CD’s etc.

Ok, let’s test the system. The BlueMedia 6380 is a slim silver device, with a big touch-screen and several buttons on the side. First noticeable problem with these though is that they are a bit small and flush to the casing. Aesthetically pleasing yes, but not the cleverest of ideas as they take a lot of getting used to. If you’ve got stubby fingers, or happen to be half man, half horse with hoof hands, you’ll struggle to use it.
All is not lost though, as BlueMedia knows more than one way to skin a cat. The clever rascals have included a remote control. This looks cool, until you work-out that you’re actually less than 10cm away from the device. But whether you press the buttons on the remote or use the corner of the remote to push the buttons on the console, it works.

Getting started
When you start the 6380 up for the first time, you just slot in the preloaded SD card and turn it on. You are presented straight away with a lush-looking menu screen and most of the options you expect to find on these little devices.

The animated prompts let you touch the screen to get to the MP3 player, Picture Viewer Settings Options, Alarm and Voice Memo Functions or, and most importantly, the Navigation system.

I must confess that I did not use the MP3 player or picture viewer. I have however gone through the menu and these are handy applications that add a real all-rounder feel to the device.

The last thing to note about the device is the aerial on the back. It’s a bit bulky but twists away when not in use. I can’t really complain about this, as when I tried to design a GPS device, the aerial was mounted on the accompanying headwear. Strangely it didn’t get past R&D.

So enough on the BlueMedia 6380, let’s talk about Destinator’s ND software. Known for up-to-date maps and clarity, the Destinator ND system doesn’t fail to present you with a very readable map of your position. The cold start requires about a minute of your time, and if you choose to view the connection process, you get pretty satellite network pictures.

Once connected, you get to key in your destination on the touch screen. You can do this via a postcode or place of interest, or by selecting the city, street and number when prompted. It’s not difficult to do in theory, but yet again in practice the touch screen areas for some selections are very small. Those located near the corners or sides of the display are clumsy to press. The 6380 comes with a stylus, but this is in-car satnav: who wants to use a stylus? I want to push the screen like the woman in the Lycra romper suit on Star Trek.

With my co-ordinates mapped, the route gets calculated, which is a very quick process and the most impressive feature so far. I start on my journey and the female voice talks to me informing me of where I’m going.

I wonder if she’s wearing a Lycra romper suit? Perhaps not. She sounds a bit sterner than other systems. Maybe she’s wearing a headmistress outfit. A friendlier voice would be more appealing for most consumers I feel, and possibly something for Destinator to think about in the future.

I had some problems with it, though. Firstly, the routes were very strange and I was being taken all over the place on the routes I knew. This was easily solved by a settings change on the main menu from ‘Quickest Route’ to ‘Shortest Route’. The quick route option apparently calculates speeds and distance and so you travel down the faster roads. I think the Destinator software could lose this option, as it doesn’t work particularly well.

The other problem I had was with the Pedestrian option. Out of the car this becomes a walking aid, guiding you on your way to wherever you want to go. Though for me it wouldn’t pick up a GPS signal in Pedestrian mode, so I found an alternate method to use my device to get directions: asking passers-by the way. I found people walking past me and threatened to beat them with it unless they told me where the station was. Well I didn’t quite go that far, but it would have demonstrated that the 6380 is a sturdy device, survives knocks and drops well. Impressive stuff.

There is an “avoid roads” function, which requires a bit of pre-planning, if you are planning to drive! You have to enter in roads or categorise them and then avoid the road or category. It’s easy when you know how, I suppose, just those touch screen buttons are kind of small again, so it’s stylus at the ready.
There is also a Gatso camera warning system, which warns you of traffic cameras, whether there’s one there or not. Sort of hyper-efficient like an annoying assistant.

In fairness though, you never can be too careful, so a camera warning system no matter how sensitive is a good addition to the software, and on further inspection of this features sensitivity, most of the times the cameras weren’t immediately visible, they were located on the other side of the road or up-coming turn-offs.

Last words
So, apart from the odd foible, a software reset to clear the memory from the last guy who had this unit, and its strange dislike for a roundabout on the A41, the software  and device passes the test.  It sends you round the houses every now and again, and I would like to find out a bit more about map updates, but I never once lost more than a few minutes on these stranger routes.

I would very much like to see the new improved version of the Destinator Software for Smartphones, Symbian phones and PDAs, but until then I would say this is easy-to–use satnav. It boasts wonderfully clear maps that are very easy to read even with the quickest of glances and does what it says on the box without any messy loading or installing. Even my nan who can’t use the video recorder would find her way to Bingo with it.

Stick it in your display case. It’s easy to demonstrate to punters, looks good and has an attractive price tag. If you can’t sell these then you should really look into pet-grooming or something of that ilk.

The facts
Size    
118x69x16mm

Weight    
165g

Display    
3.5in
320×240 pixels
65K colours
touch screen

Battery    
Talk time 4 hours
Standby 200 hours

Memory    
ROM 128MB
RAM 64M
miniSD card slot

Functions    
Stylus input plus
handset remote
control,
MP3 player,
picture viewer,
built-in handsfree,
pedestrian mode,
full seven-digit
postcode search   
 
In the box    
BM6380PNA
Destinator Backup and
Manual CD
BM6380 support and
Activesync
Quick Start Guide
Destinator Quick Start
Guide
Speed Camera Start-Up
Sheet
Remote Control
Car Mount
12-24V Car Charger
Mains Charger
USB Sync cable
Pre-loaded SD Card

RRP   
£299.99 inc VAT

Source    
Evesham Bluemedia
0870 1422 214