TapAdvent GPS 400

There is virtually no information about this device anywhere. I’m sure that there was a promise of a support web site when I bought it, but there is no sign of anything. The Dixons group (Dixons, PC World and Currys) are the only retailers in the UK and they know nothing about them nor do their parts/accessories agency, Partmaster. There is not much about this device on the various GPS forums yet either.

The Advent GPS 400 is made by Medion as the, now discontinued, PNA 400 re-badged. Their web shop has some accessories including the external antenna and a Traffic Message receiver which I presume work OK with this model.

The box says it uses Navteq software but in fact the software is Navigon 5 (I think v5.1) but with a few modifications, mostly cosmetic; the maps are by Navteq. The only features that I can see are missing are the on-screen qwerty keyboard, signpost information, the info bar and speed limit display and some that would only apply to a PDA device. There is an upgrade to v5.2 on the Navigon download site but I don’t know if it would work with this device. Similarly they have maps available (at a price), including North America, and I imagine these would work with the device. Navteq only sell maps direct for manufacturer’s in-car systems.


This is not a comparison with other devices, only having used a hand held GPSr before. Some of the faults may be unique but others may be common to all such systems.

  • The physical device seems to have been designed for a left-hander. The battery bulge/hand grip is on the right and the stylus withdraws from the back left. If you use it the natural way around your index finger tends to switch the screen off or eject the memory card.
  • There is very little in the documentation about the external buttons. Some of the functions are obvious but others are not. The sockets for headphones and external power are close together and very similar, fortunately the plugs don’t engage in the wrong socket. A full set of connecting cables, a windscreen mount and a carry case are provided.
  • Getting started proved very easy following the large format idiot’s guide enclosed.
  • Entering destinations is pretty straight forward so long as you know the full address. It only accepts partial post codes and if this covers more than one village or district then you need to select one before going on to enter the street. In some cases the best bet is to get close and then use the map.
  • When navigating, the directions given are clear and there is plenty of volume from a voice we have dubbed “Sat. Nav. Lady.” Perhaps she says “Please” a little too often but otherwise there are few problems. There is no choice of voice but the volume is adjustable. The use of the phrase “Bear left/right” is sometimes ambiguous meaning either to turn off or just a bend in the road. I think that this is because the system has no concept of priority at road junctions. The A4137 junction with the A48 on route from Hereford to Monmouth was not announced at all.
  • It is very good and quick at recalculating routes if you make a mistake, or deliberately overrule the instructions, and she doesn’t complain either <g>
  • There is a tendency on twisty roads for the apparent position to wander off the road. This can lead to delayed or completely incorrect instructions; in the worst case to “Make a U turn when possible.” I am hoping that this is down to the poor reception behind our metallised windscreen and an external aerial will solve it.
  • The currency of the (UK) map varies. Some very new features are there but some older ones are not. A few junctions are missing altogether (e.g. Sussex Place junction in St. Paul’s, Bristol) and it doesn’t acknowledge mini roundabouts at all. The weakest aspect of the maps is the POI (Points of Interest) data. Many of the petrol stations and garages are incorrect; either missing (from the map), wrong or closed.
  • There doesn’t seem to be any recognition of the quality of roads beyond their classification and sometimes speed limit. Examples are: the A5 between Llangollen and Bangor is very twisty, narrow and slow despite its trunk designation. It is preferred over the A55 Expressway on a journey from Shrewsbury to Holyhead. It also likes the A466 Wye valley road. All routes from our house in Redland to the M32 seem to use Brookfield Lane, a very minor residential road which I wouldn’t dream of taking a car down unless I had to, and then turn right onto the busy A38!
  • Possibly for the same reason, the ETAs given are rather optimistic. It expects you to be able to achieve the designated speed limit at all times and no allowance is made for negotiating junctions. Some adjustment seems to be made for built up areas and the target speed reduced to 20 or 25mph but even that is not enough with modern traffic. I would allow at least 10% extra time for any journey and more if the traffic was likely to be busy.
  • It thinks that the quickest route from Bristol to Bromley is via Central London, ignoring both the M25 and the South Circular. As this was our first use of the device ,we chickened out and don’t know exactly which route it was planning to use. I thought that we had said avoid tolls and expected it to not go into the Congestion Zone but we may have got it wrong. Similarly it has no qualms about taking us over the Severn Bridges in either direction.
  • It comes with the UK maps preloaded and street level maps for the rest of Europe on CD. Together with the large 512MB removable memory card this gives it more potential than many devices on the market. It also runs one of the PDA versions of Windows and a copy of ActiveSync is provided giving the potential to run other software. It comes with an MP3 player which we are not particularly interested in but it may have an afterlife as a picture viewer when the navigation features cease to be useful.


Despite some of the rather negative comments we rather like the device. It is easy to use and very good for travelling to places which you don’t know, just that you can usually do better if you do know the roads, however the difference is rarely more than a few minutes.

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