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Hema HX-1 Navigator Review

The Hema HX-1 Navigator makes finding your way easy, no matter whether you’re on the road or off it.

I’ve been using a Hema HX-1 Navigator for a couple of years now, both around town and on bush tracks, and it’s got to be one of the easiest ways to navigate, no matter where you are in Australia.

The HX-1 Navigator provides on-road voice-guided navigation like a traditional satnav device as well as off-road navigation thanks to a full suite of detailed Hema maps and topographic maps that cover Australia and New Zealand.

The HX-1 has a bright seven-inch high-resolution touchscreen with rich colours and it comes with a sturdy windscreen mount with a secure suction cup and good adjustability to suit different vehicles.

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Off-road Navigation

The main point of difference between the HX-1 Navigator and more traditional satnav units is its excellent detailed off-road mapping, which is accessed by selecting ‘Explore’ from the home screen. The main map in ‘Explore’ mode is the Hema Explorer Map (1:150,000), which shows more than 1.2 million kilometres of 4X4 tracks and outback roads. For more detail the HX-1 can be connected to an online account via Wi-fi allowing the user to download Hema Explorer maps to a more detailed scale of 1:9000. There are plenty of other map sources, too, including digitised Hema touring maps, state government topographic maps, and HERE Street, Terrain and Satellite mapping.

In ‘Explore’ mode you have access to more than 40,000 POIs overlaid on the maps, and these are split into subcategories for easy access including Accommodation, Facility, Service, Information, Supply and My Waypoints. Delve further into an individual POI and you’ll find its coordinates, address, phone number, email address, website details and any facilities on offer (where applicable). You can also overlay weather radar information on the map to monitor conditions.

Hema HX-1 Review

Route planning is achieved by either plotting positions on the map point-by-point or by using the HX-1’s Quick Routing tool, where the device will calculate the optimum route for you.

Saving waypoints can be done by either touching the ‘flag’ logo on the screen and selecting ‘Create Waypoint Here’ or you can select ‘Take Picture’ to capture a visual image of the waypoint. No matter which method you use, you can easily assign a name to the waypoint and add notes, which can all be accessed later on by touching the flag icon on the map. The HX-1’s camera also allows you to capture video using this function, so you can look back on conditions/features at a particular waypoint when reviewing the footage, either on the HX-1 or when you upload the information to your computer via USB.

A Trip Toolbar at the bottom of the screen in the ‘Explore’ mode displays information such as Distance, Moving Time, Total Time, Coordinates, Altitude, Ascent, Max Altitude, Min Altitude and Average Pace. This information (and more) can also be accessed via a drop-down menu and includes graphs that display Altitude and Speed Profiles over the trip.

One of the best things about ‘Explore’ mode is that the Hema maps you see on the screen look like those in your Hema road atlas, which comes in very handy when planning a route or reviewing a trip later on. I also use the ‘Record’ function to log my trips for later reference, and these can also be uploaded to a Hema Explorer Cloud account (see boxout ‘The Cloud’).

On-road Navigation

The HX-1 is much more than a one-trick pony thanks to the inclusion of on-road voice-guided navigation, accessed by selecting ‘Drive’ from the home screen. As with most traditional satnav devices, this mode presents you with easy to set destinations, voice guidance, traffic light locations and speed camera warnings.

Hema HX-1 Review

When searching for a destination, you can set a number of route options to avoid tolls or motorways and the like, and you can add POIs (Points Of Interest) under sub-categories such as Accommodation, Auto Services, Emergency, Entertainment, Camps and Locations, Caravan Parks, Medical, Petrol Stations and much more. Select a specific POI and the HX-1 offers a variety of details such as facilities, coordinates and contact details.

When navigating in ‘Drive’ mode, the HX-1 alerts you to upcoming turns, current road name, speed, speed zones, estimated arrival time, distance to destination and more. There’s also a comprehensive trip computer that displays speed, altitude, heading, arrival time, trip time and more.

There’s a route preview function that allows you to check out any POIs along the way, and you can alter your route with Detours and Alternatives, and queue up numerous destinations in one route by using the Multipoint Route feature.

‘Drive’ mode also offers ‘On-road’ and ‘Off-road’ navigation preferences and is also handy when navigating on foot as there are settings for not only ‘Car’, but also ‘Pedestrian’, ‘Bicycle’ and more.

The Cloud

The HX-1 allows you to sync trip information including routes, waypoints and photos with your Hema Explorer Cloud account via Wi-fi. This information can be shared with friends, family and other Hema explorers, depending on the settings you select. You can also view trips recorded by other explorers and download them to use as a route-planner for your own trips.

Once you have synced your trip with your Cloud account, you can view the HX-1’s recorded information on your computer, including the map route, waypoints, trip statistics and more. You can also add notes, view different map layers and access driving directions.

The HX-1 also updates (software and mapping) through Wi-fi connectivity.

Final word

The Hema HX-1 Navigator comes with 4WD map updates for the life of the unit as well as three years of street-map updates. For full specs on the HX-1 check out www.hemamaps.com/navigate/hema-navigator-comparison.

Details / Hema HX-1 Navigator

Price: $699

Specs: See hemamaps.com/navigate/hema-navigator-comparison

Where: shop.hemamaps.com/collections/hema-hx-1-navigator


Dean Mellor

Dean Mellor