Before I begin, let me say that any
tool is better than no tool. Some tools, like the Navitool, only manage to make this true by a very
slim margin. However, as a multitool nut, when faced with a discontinued, somewhat rare multitool that originally retailed for $100, brand new in the box, with the box being in mint condition, and the instruction sheet inside, all for $35, I had no choice. I was powerless to resist.
That having been said, one has to realize that the Navitool is a bizarre tool, even by my standards. For $100 I would have expected more, like an actual built in lighter instead of a compartment to drop a Bic lighter into. Or, at least a waterproof compartment for a lighter to fit into. Still, the lighter does fit snugly in there, but I guess a Bic is just about as universal a size and shape as anyone is likely to ever get.
The flashlight is about as bright or useful as the ones found on the older 58mm Victorinox models. It's a red LED, but you really have to put some pressure on the switch to make it light up. However, someone was
thinking when they put it on the main body and made the compass detach, so you can use the light to look at the compass in the dark, and not ruin your night vision. I haven't noticed yet whether there are any glow in the dark markings on the compass but considering that it will be covered 99% of the time by the rest of the tool, it isn't terribly likely that it will ever get charged if there is.
The compass itself seems adequate, and also includes an inclinometer. I'd love to comment on how well it works, but I have no idea how it works, so I can't really say. Still, the bezel rotates, the compass is large and easy to read. I would feel reasonably
confident in using it if the fan got covered in brown stuff.
The tool compliment is reasonably decent, with a main blade, saw, scissors, can opener and bottle opener. The can and bottle openers are reminiscent of the Victorinox style openers, and include screwdrivers and wire stripper. The big difference is that the bottle opener end has been ground into a phillips screwdriver. All the implements lock open, but due to the bulky, awkward "handle" they really aren't terribly useful.
The whistle is a quality piece of equipment though- it's an ACME whistle made in England. Personally I'd have preferred a FOX 40 whistle, but that's personal preference. Both work quite well, and was a pleasant surprise. I had kind of expected the type of whistle found in a gumball machine...
All in all I wouldn't suggest anyone buys the Navitool if they are looking for something even remotely useful. I put this in the Collector's forum rather than the review forum as that's pretty well all this thing is useful for- collecting. In that light however, this is another fascinating offshoot of the Multitool Evolution. The Navitool is one of those odd doodads that came out dring the rampant proliferation of multitools around the new millennium. If you have an interest in oddities or oddballs, the Navitool is something you really need to have. It fits in well with the Victorinox SportRatchet, Autotool, Leatherman Flair and some other designs that in hindsight were comical at best.
Do you need one? Should you get one? Only if you are a sick, twisted, hardcore collector. If not, if you want something even remotely useful, then look elsewhere...