Review: Navigon 70 GPS‏

Riding on the success of their iPhone applications, Navigon are releasing an update to their hardware line. The Navigon 70 Plus GPS is a slimline 5 inch, 16:9 display...

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Riding on the success of their iPhone applications, Navigon are releasing an update to their hardware line. The Navigon 70 Plus GPS is a slimline 5 inch, 16:9 display that hits all the standard features expected today. Built on top of Microsoft Windows CE, the Navigon 70 features lane guidance, 2D/3D maps, day/night mode and speed camera alerts.

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The good
As an early owner of a Garmin Nuvi, one of the things that always puzzled me was why it could calculate how long it should take to travel along a road, yet didn’t display the speed limit of that area. This speed limit was clearly being used to calculate the time. Fortunately Navigon have got you covered, always displaying the current speed limit of the road your on, as well as audible alerts if you go over.

School zones are a common issue motorists have to face on a daily basis. Given these are relatively fixed locations it makes sense that our GPS could remind us when they are close. The Navigon does provide an audible ‘Caution’ but would be more useful to say something like ‘Slow to 40 for school zone’ and only during school zone hours.

Another bug bear from older GPS’ is that when you decide you need to go a different way (read: took the wrong turn), the GPS would yell at you repeatedly just to make sure you knew it was still working. Saying ‘RECALCULATING’ doesn’t help the driver in any useful way. Thankfully Navigon 70 says nothing, just quietly and quickly recalculates your route and continues providing instructions on how to get there.

Often when driving its handy to know what’s around you. While these may not be part of your initial route to your destination, the display of well known business logos is a helpful feature. This occurs for fast food restaurants, service stations and many more. Its a welcome feature that didn’t have to be there, but I’m glad it is. One question I have is about it’s currency, businesses tend to change locations a lot more rapidly than roads, so an annual update may not be enough.

The 5” display was great, before the trip it allows for easier location input (which is awesome by the way), despite still being on a delivery man resistive screen. When driving, it makes a real difference, allowing for much more of a casual glance over, rather than having to focus on smaller details.

The GPS comes with a USB cable for connecting to your computer for map updates, but connects to a cigarette light USB connector (included). This means there’s not 2 sets of cables required.

The bad:
One big issue I had with the Navigon is that it provided incorrect directions a number of times. The first was sitting at an intersection in Albury and was directed to drive straight, despite it being a left turn only and the road being divided by a small cement median strip in centre of road.

The second instance was being encouraged to turn right across a park, looking through the park there was indeed a street on the other side, but I don’t fancy playing Bruce Willis.

Another black mark was the lack of announcement for roundabouts, Navigon just shows straight road. Other GPS’s also get roundabouts wrong, instructing you to take the 2nd exit, when they really mean go straight through. Given you need to slow down and check for traffic coming from the right, the GPS should have some kind of round about instruction.

Lane guidance is a nice feature, particularly when travelling in cities you don’t know, this makes getting to your exit a lot easier. The Navigon displays a still image that represents the highway your travelling on, with a left arrow to indicate you should take the exit lane. This is fine, and works ok, but there is a mental translation you have to do to convert the still image to what your seeing out your front window. The two do look considerably different.

Overall
While I feel the Navigon 70 is a decent offering and has a great screen, I just can’t recommend it given its slipups in navigation. Admittedly I do live in a regional city, so maps may not be as accurate as major cities, so if you live metro and don’t plan on visiting the country, its probably fine.

Right now there’s no Australian website for the Navigon 70, so here’s the international version. NAVIGON devices are available at Harvey Norman, Clive Peeters, Bing Lee and Supercheap Auto stores around Australia and costs $329 for the NAVIGON 70 Plus and $399 for the NAVIGON 70 Premium model.

Update
In a special Christmas promotion, Navigon are throwing in some freebies, which includes a dashboard mount, air vent mount to compliment the windscreen mount. There’s also some free safety camera and map updates included as well.

More @ Navigon

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Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis.