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(Please note that this review is for the Talex Lite, the budget priced, cut-down version of Talex 's flagship regular model)
My wife and I have different driving styles. She's very careful and I'm the one who drives like he's at the helm of the USS Enterprise ("Warp 9 it is, Captain"). However, as things turn out, ironically, she was the one who was caught speeding just over two years ago. But it did make me think that it was only a matter of time before I got my bottom kicked too and so I began looking for some gizmo that would help me control my Lead Right Foot Syndrome. A couple of weeks after changing my car in April this year I came across this little doohickey in Tesco's for the princely sum of £79.95, "Ahh, yes..." I thought and snapped it up.
What attracted me to it (apart from the price)? The main one was that it gave warnings of fixed, possible mobile and red light camera's. I also liked the fact that it used the same sort of satellite-based technology that my wife's TomTom GPS unit uses. Another plus was that the database in the device was updatable via Talex's website. Neat.
I took it home and cracked the box open, ready to install it in my new Mazda. In the box I got the Talex unit itself, (...oblongish, about 10cm x 6cm x 2cm, in dark grey metallic plastic,.green LCD segment display), the lighter-socket plug in power cord, the magnetic mount and number of cable guides to stick on your dash, to help up the length of power lead (of which there is a LOT. They didn't scrimp on that, I can assure you) and instructions.
The first trick was to stick the magnetic mount onto my chosen dash position. I did this (on the top, not the front) but found the double sided tape supplied was insufficient to do the job so after searching around at home I found some of that double sided thin white foam that you can buy. This did the trick. Next was to mount the unit on the magnetic mount and stick the power lead guides and tidy up the power lead. No probs with that, but as I stated, there is a very long length of power lead, but I just wound this up, held it with a rubber band and stuffed it in my ashtray! (I'm a non smoker, thankfully).
So, we were ready to test it. A quick point to note here is that if you have a windscreen that is thermally efficient, you will need Talex's external antennae, but this was not something I needed. I mounted the device on the magnetic mount, plugged in the power and away we went...
On starting up, it gives a chime and flashes the time (displayed whenever the car is stationary) on the display and after a few seconds, it chimes again as it picks up a satellite. As you drive off the speed of your car is displayed on it, though I've noticed it tends to show around 3 - 5mph faster than the speedometer. I'm not sure why it has this discrepancy. It has two working modes: Normal and camera mode. In Camera mode it just gives you the camera warnings but in Normal mode you get this and warnings to slow down, if you are exceeding the speed limit in your area. I use it normally in Camera mode, less annoying. It will give you vocal (female-voiced) warnings of red light cameras at traffic lights and also fixed speed cameras ("warning, speed camera ahead, speed limit 30mph") and will give a chime when you pass those types. At the same time it will flash that speed limit on the display. For mobile camera sites it gives the warning in the style "warning, possible mobile speed camera site ahead, speed limit 30mph" but doesn't chime when you pass these possible sites.
Basically, it's all pretty simple and even the biggest technophobe could use it. I have no complaints about the operation or styling of this device at all. It does exactly what it says on the box. What really peeved me was the fact that regular downloads had to be paid for, although in the more expensive Talex, you do get a cable, software and six months downloadable updates. If you have my Talex Lite, you have to pay £34.99 (£54.99 for 3 years) and £24.99 per year therafter to continue with the updates. Or you can send the Talex Lite away to them, to be updated for the cost of £10 in a jiffy bag, if you don't have a PC. Although the procedure for doing this is a piece of cake (yes, despite my moaning, I DID shell out £34.99) and takes only a few minutes, it is, quite frankly, pretty poor. I would have expected at least 6 months free download, maybe as a promo and then to be charged for subsequent updates, at least. But not so. I would have given it a clear 5 stars but for this, it gets only three.
So in conclusion, it is a neat little gizmo and for this alone I would recommend it, but only if you don't mind forking out for the update subscription. And has it trained me to drive safely? Suprisingly enough, yes, it has.
And that, dear reader, is something of a miracle in itself...