After years in development and a number of prototypes, Hema’s latest offroad navigator is out. Following on from its predecessor in the hugely popular HX-1, the new HX-2 is not an evolution of the old navigation system so much as a wholly new take on offroad navigators — though it is familiar in more ways than one.
Here we’ll run through some of the basics and high-level overview of the key additions, what has changed, and what makes the HX-2 the ultimate offroad touring companion.
- 7in high definition screen
- New 4X4 Explorer software
- Three key navigation modes
- Adventure Mode
- Better mounting option
- Loaded with more roads, tracks, and points of interest
- Operates without an internet or phone connection
Designed for adventurers that want to feel safe knowing exactly where they are and what their surroundings hold, Offroad Mode comes with over 100,000 Points of Interest (POI) and over 30,000 campsites already loaded.
Offroad Mode is loaded with Hema’s latest and most popular maps, including the Great Desert Tracks series, the 2020 version of the Vic High Country, and of course, Cape York. Hema has also added track notes featuring difficulty ratings that can be read on the tracks or in the bush — well away from internet or phone connections.
Over 40,000km of the tracks in Offroad Mode have been verified by the company’s Map Patrol team, with additions being made regularly.
You can record your driving and review details like average speed, altitude, and time, as well as being able to add new POIs like your favorite hidden campsite and then upload to your Hema cloud account which you can share — should you want to.
Adventure mode puts the knowledge and detail of Hema’s most popular maps at your fingertips. Effectively displaying high-resolution digital versions of Hema’s best maps, you can explore like you would a paper map, pinching to zoom and swiping to move the map. Your position is shown as a blue dot that needs only a GPS signal to work.
In Adventure Mode, POIs, and the names of roads and stations are displayed as they would be on paper maps.
Using Here Road Maps, the HX-2 works like you expect a road navigator to — in that you can search by address, save favourites, and navigate easily to and in our towns and cities.
When navigating in On Road mode, your next two directions are shown on screen, a particularly useful feature for anyone towing that needs time to get in the right lane amid busy traffic. You can also choose the voice most comfortable for the audible directions with volume adjusted by buttons on the top of the screen.
When driving in On Road mode, you’ll see POIs around you which you can filter on and off to keep your screen clear for ease of viewing key upcoming attractions such as fuel stations and restrooms.
As sun drops, the HX-2 flips into Night Mode automatically. Changing the colours to dark blues and greys, it reduces distractions and strain on the eyes.
WHAT COMES IN THE HX-2 BOX
Open the box and you’ll find a new style of mount, a charging cable, and quick start guide as well as an in-depth specs guide, a warranty booklet, and a soft bag to store your HX-2 in when off the dash.
A key change we’ve implemented from customer feedback lies in the mounting of the HX-2 — the new mounting arm is lighter, stronger, and uses better joints to hold the device firmly to your windscreen.
HX-2 COMPARED TO THE HX-1
The HX-2 is lighter and sleeker than the HX-1 partly thanks to a smaller battery (HX-2 has a 2400mAh battery, down from the HX-1's 5000mAh). But don't be fooled into thinking it will have less battery life as the newer screen and operating system uses less power. With typical use the HX-2 should see up to 8hrs use when unplugged. A new 2 amp USB charging system allows for better charging when in use, too.
The screens are the same size, but brightness is up in the HX-2. Both feature a camera with the HX-2 now able to take an 8MP image (up from 5MP).
A significant difference between the outgoing HX-1 and HX-2 is the use of a seamless multi-scale digital Vector Map in Offroad Mode — the new maps are clearer, quicker to load, and scale infinitely while also displaying icons and POIs more clearly than the raster maps found in the HX-1.
HX-2 COMPARED TO OTHER NAVIGATORS
The closest rival to the HX-2 is the HX-1 — and that's because there haven't been any other dedicated offroad navigation systems built. Garmin would be closest with their Overlander, a unit that licenses Hema’s maps in order to compete.
The Overlander is good — it has a lot of the same features as the HX-2 such as turn-by-turn road navigation and some different capabilities like pitch and roll gauges. Where it really differs is in the maps it licenses from Hema for offroad navigation. The Overlander comes pre-loaded with Hema’s 150K Topo maps of Australia with over 36,000 POIs, however is missing the full vector maps and two thirds of the POIs you’ll get in the HX-2.
KEY SPECS OF THE HX-2
The HX-2 uses a 2GHZ processor — up from 1.3 GHZ in the HX-1 — and the aforementioned bigger battery. Its base operating system is Android 10.0, meaning familiar menus for connecting to WiFi and making adjustments to sound and keyboard settings for those familiar with Android phones. If you’re not, don’t fear — it’s pretty intuitive. The 7in screen is 5-point capacitive and, with the upgraded processor, is responsive to touch.
The HX-2 is ready to have an optional reversing camera added and you can buy a ruggedised case, sun visor, and other mounting accessories from Hema.
AVAILABILITY AND PRICING
On sale from 2 August 2021, the HX-2 is available online from Hema and from leading outdoor adventure shops like BCF, Anaconda, Supercheap Auto, Macpac, and more. You’ll also be able to find them in independent outdoor recreation shops around Australia.