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MacFixer, the iPhone, iPod, and iPad specialists
ROADTOUR Satnav Tour Guide Review 23rd June 2008

 

RoadTour Logo

by Darren Griffin

 

RoadTour provide audio/visual guides for Satellite Navigation GPS devices. Taking advantage of the 'Rich POI' features now appearing on some platforms brings a unique audio commentary to the driving experience with fascinating information on UK heritage sites including castles, stately homes, historical sites and more with each commentary triggered as you pass nearby.

 

It's a unique product and one that I was hooked on after using it on a long journey to the South West of England. The information is concise with most commentaries lasting between 60 - 90 seconds but it certainly made the boring journey more interesting and much of the information was new and enlightening.

 

Installation

RoadTour's products are currently available for compatible Garmin Nuvi and Windows Mobile with the Windows Mobile product being standalone application that runs separately from any installed navigation application.

 

For this review we have been using a Garmin Nuvi 760. At purchase you can choose to downloaded from RoadTour via a link provided (400Mb download) in your purchase email or purchase on a CD or SD Card. Installation is a simple matter of copying files to a memory card installed on your device.

 

Menus

 

Once installed, the guides are activated via the Proximity Points Menu where a new option will now be visible 'TourGuide'. You can configure the audio commentaries to be played automatically when you drive within 4 -10 miles of a location or for a prompt to appear when a commentary is available.

 

Now all you need to do is drive!

 

In Use

As you approach a location that is in the RoadTour database an Information bar appears on the map display and the audio commentary commences. A pleasant female voice gives you the pertinent information with historical background and other interesting snippets on the location being covered.

 

 

Map display

Click the speech bubble to hear a sample of the audio commentary.
(The speech bubble is used here to represent the audio commentary that you would normally hear, it is not visible on-screen.)

 

A button is also displayed on-screen during the commentary. Clicking this takes you to an information page (below left). Here you will find more information including the full address and telephone number.

Selecting the large GO! button will set that location as your destination.

 

Clicking 'MAP' will show you the location of the attraction on a map and clicking 'MORE' will take you to a more detailed information page with opening times and admission prices where applicable.

 

Conwy Castle Conwy Castle

 

You can also view an image of the location with options to zoom in or display full screen, Conwy castle which is only a few miles from my birth place is shown below. I thought I knew all there was to know about the castle but still found the audio guide informative and interesting.

 

Conwy Castle Conwy Castle

 

RoadTour's Heritage Guide contains over 600 locations including National Trust and English Heritage properties. The full list is available on their web site here.

 

Other RoadTour Guides

In addition to the core Heritage Guide, RoadTour also offer Harden's Restaurants Guide and Sawday's Pubs & Inns Guide. You can buy each guide individually or if you prefer, you can buy the Heritage Guide and Sawday's Guide a 'Full Trip' Guide bundle.

 

Guide Selection
RoadTour's Full Guide Selection

 

Although not a concise guide to every pub & restaurant it has useful information and a review of each one that is covered with a guide to menu prices and range and ratings. The pub information is similarly useful and gives you a great idea of what to expect.

 

I've included an example from Harden's and Sawday's Guide below. I have been to both of these establishments previously and the findings are very close to my own impressions which is encouraging.

 

Harden's Sawday's
A sample from Harden's Restaurant Guide (left) and Sawday's Pubs & Inns Guide (right)

 

 

PPC PPC PPC PPC
RoadTour on Windows Mobile


Conclusion

I'll admit I wasn't convinced as to how useful or interesting these guides would be beforehand. I was concerned that they may be irritating or boring but I'm delighted to say I was completely wrong. The information provided is concise enough to remain interesting even if the subject is not normally one you would find of interest. I found myself listening to guides describing the formal gardens of a stately home with great interest and I am no gardener!

 

The audio commentary is interrupted when a navigation prompt is played and you can easily mute a commentary using the on-screen button and it made an otherwise long and arduous journey much more interesting.PocketGPSWorld Highly Recommended

 

Pricing is reasonable with the Heritage Guide £19.95 for the downloadable version and £24.95 is supplied on CD-Rom or 1GB SD Card and the Full Trip guide which includes Heritage and Sawday's at a very reasonable £24.95 downloaded or £29.95 on CD-Rom or SD card. The full product and price list can be viewed here.

 

As this is an electronic guide updates would be obtained by purchasing an updated guide as and when they are released. The Heritage guide is the the most expensive and the one least likely to have regular changes and the restaurant and pub guides are very reasonably priced so updating isn't onerous or expensive.

 

RoadTour are currently working on a guide for France which should be ready soon, as I'm driving to the South of France in August I shall be first in the queue for that one! But don't take my word for it, download a trial here.

 

RoadTour Banner


References

Manufacturers Web site www.roadtour.co.uk
Pocket GPS Contributor Darren Griffin

 

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