Hema HX1 Navigator - Our Review
We are really excited by the release of the HX1 and have put together our intial thoughts on the system.
The biggest questions we get are what are the differences with the HN6 and HN7. The short answer is that it would be comparing apples with oranges - the HX1 is a completely new unit,
and while relying on the fundamentals of the previous Hema Navigator series, it is very much a new breed.
So let's look at the basics. The Hema Navigator HX1 is a 7" tablet. It has a beautiful glass screen and responds to multi-touch gestures.
The screen has 1024x600px, which gives a wonderful sharp picture and great colour. The system is run on 1GB of RAM, with 16GB of internal memory. The internal memory can be expanded with a 32GB external micro SD Card.
One past issues was the battery life of the Hema Navigators, this has been well and truely resolved with the HX1, with an impressive 5000mAh battery
installed - which gives up to 6 hours of running time off charge (depending on settings). While this sounds great, we don't
recommend you start taking the HX1 for a long bush walk; it is an in-Car Navigation system, so is designed to be keep clean,
dry and oncharge. That said, with the improved battery life, you can how confidently take the HX1 out of the car to review
your days trip, plan the next day, or snap some geo-tagged photos from the best vantage point.
Photos & Movies
Geo-tagged photos?! Yes, the HX1 now has a digital camera inbuilt, which can take movie and stills. The Camera is 5 mega-pixel and
automatically tags the images or movie with your location (geo-tag).
Wifi Connection & Updating
The HX1 also has inbuild wifi, which makes updating your street and 4wd maps a breeze, as well as allowing you to connect to the Hema Explorer Cloud, where you can upload,
edit and share you tracks and photos, as well as download other peoples shared information.
The Wifi also allows you to connect to the Explorer Map database, where you can download additional free mapping for your unit - more to follow on that below.
A Hybrid GPS Navigation System
The main screen of the Hema HX1 is is simple and intuitive, you can select either "Drive" mode, which is your street navigation, turn-by-turn system; or you can select "Explore" mode, which is the off-road 4WD mapping.
The Drive mode contains everything you expect of a City GPS unit. You can select a destination and get route information, lane information, heads
up on next turn, etc. The booster that the HX1 has is that it also contains 40,000+ Hema verified points of interest, which includes the famous
Camps Australia Wide and Caravan Parks Australia Wide.
All these Points of Interest come with deatiled information, like photographs of Camp sights, phone numbers, web addresses, etc. Everything is in the one place and literally at your fingertips.
The new software and touch features make programming you trip quick and easy, and the improved operating system with its 1GB of RAM makes the
whole process super fast.
The Explore mode is probably the one thing everyone gets excited about with any Hema Navigator, and the HX1s Explore mode is no exception.
The big news in the HX1 is that the system uses the amazing multi-scale Hema Explorer Map. There is a video about this above, but in summary, this is
all the Hema maps rolled into one. As you zoom in and out on the map (using multi-touch gestures), the system renderings the appropriate scale map
(similar to Google Maps and other online webmapping services).
This means you have about 14 different maps in the one map, going from a full Australia 1:18 million scale, down to the driving scale of 1:150,000.
But wait! 1:150,000 scale not good enough for you? Well, using the Wifi connection, you can download even MORE detailed mapping, up to an amazing 1:9000 scale!
You can also download the Paper Maps (ie: Cape York 4WD Maps, Great Dessert Tracks, etc), if you want to have a direct comparison between you paper and GPS.
Beware! Data Use and Memory Space
The one issue you will encounter here is memory space. The HX1 comes with 16GB internal memory, and that is just not going to be enough for you to have everything you want loaded up. The idea here is that you download only the portions of the maps which you need. If you are doing Cape York and you want it all in 1:25,000 scale, you just download that section to your system, and off you go.
It is important we make this point - you will need a LOT of data allowance to do this. We are talking many GB of download. Once you have downloaded it, the data is safe on your unit, you don't need internet to view it.
The functions you will have come to expect from Hema are all here. You can drop waypoints, measure distances, log your tracks (and share online), log your journey details (speed, distance, altitude, etc). All with very intuitive and clean menus and buttons. You can even customize the tool bars to show what you want to know while driving.
Camps & POI on Explore Map
Yes - you read that right. Hema have now added all their Points of Interest (POI) to the Explore Map. You can now easily search, find, select and navigate to locations and destinations in the Explore mode.
Your Own Tracks & Waypoints
Hema haven't made it easy and straight forward for you to import your own tracks and waypoints, even if they came from an HN7.
Luckily, we aren't just a tyre kicking retailer hoping to make a quick buck, we are actually a chart and map specialist; which means we know data format, systems and how to make this work.
So, regardless of what anyone else says, you can bring your own tracks and waypoints into the HX1 - and we are happy to assist you to achieve this. It might require some data formatting, a service we can supply, but it should be pretty straight forward. Please feel free to give us a call, or drop us an email, if you want to discuss this prior to purchasing.
Bespoke Maps & Overlays
Unlike the HN6 & HN7, Hema is not using OziExplorer in the HX1, which means any none standard maps you were using, or do use in OziExplorer, won't work in the HX1.
We are working on how to overcome this limitation, however it may simply not be possible. We have flagged the issue with Hema from the outset, and are hoping it will become an updated feature in the near future.
In the meantime, we CAN help with bespoke POI, Waypoint and Complex Line overlays.
Overall we are very impressed with the Hema HX1 Navigator. It looks great, is responsive to the touch gestures and feels very intuitive.
Everything you expect from a Hema Navigator is here and designed for this day and age. In the first week of being released, Hema has already released several "updates" to fix minor bugs.
Our only advice is that people keep an eye on their data usage. Don't try and download maps, or do updates via a phone hotspot. Get some free wifi at a Caravan park or at home before hitting that go button.
We are really pleased to be a premium retailer of this unit and look forward to helping you with your choice. Please don't hesitate to call or email us if you require further information. You can also drop into our shop for a one-on-one demonstration.