Sunday, September 20, 2009

Navigon - Mobile Navigator North America






One way to run more than one iPhone app at the same time:


- I picked this up because we were planning to do some driving over a week long vacation. Both our cars have built in nav so I needed something portable. I really didn't want to carry another device than the iPhone I would already have on me. I've rented a garmin nav system in the past so I'm familiar with these stand alone portable units too.
- Refuse to pay a subscription fee for nav which sounds like highway robbery to me. So no at&t app.
- At the time TomTom was still not out so based on a few qt3 recommendations I picked this up at the sale price of $70.
- I drove over 700 miles using navigon (v 1.0) and then later a bit more on the latest release which has the text to speech.
- On my iphone 3gs it takes about 10 sec to get to the main menu, another 10 sec to load the map, and finally another 10 sec to get a gps lock. So about 30 sec for the entire startup process which isn't bad at all.
- It helps if you hold the iphone near the front window over the dash during this initial lock. Once you get a good gps lock you can pretty much freely move/place the iphone, and it does a pretty good job maintaining the lock.
- It will definitely lose lock when in a tunnel or if you have a freeway overhead. It does regain lock pretty quickly in these cases.
- It does a pretty good job in rainy cloudy weather and tall sky scrapper filled urban areas. I pretty much maintained lock all the time in these cases.
- The graphics are good. For some reason I hated the 3d view on the garmin but found the 3d view really useful on the navigon. Voice quality was about as good as can be expected on the iphone speakers. Of course you can always use a 1/8" stereo cable if your car stereo has a line input.
- Performance for searching POI, addresses, switching between 2d-3d view, panning, zooming, viewing entire route, etc all performed quite snappy. I have no complaints.
- I do wish there was a way to toggle off POI icons in the 2d view. It can get quite cluttered looking in urban areas.
- The speed limit data was also quite helpful and accurate for the most part. You can set different thresholds before the nav lady will bark at you or you can just turn it off.
- Automatic day/night modes.
- The text 2 speech in the latest free upgrade works and works quite well.
- I reality view, lane assistance works great. It does a great job showing lanes, which lane you need to be in and turn off on, and signs. It's all very accurate.
- The nav lady could speak up a littler earlier sometimes when turns comes up. Most of the time it was fine.
- Navigon did a good job with route calculations. Again, no complaints.
- Real time traffic is coming but for an additional one time charge ($20).
- For the $70 I loaded it up on my iPhone and my wife's. So basically I got two nav systems for the price of one.
- Contact integration worked fine for the one time I used it. POI database seemed pretty complete to me. Saving favorites and history all worked nicely.
- Integrated ipod controls are nice. It automatically quiets your music when the nav lady speaks.
- It resumes gracefully after phone calls.
- It sucks down the battery like crazy. You'll definitely want your iPhone on a car charger while using navigon.
- You need quite a bit of space (double at the time of install) to store all the maps locally but that also means you don't need an at&t signal to use it. Keep at least 4GB free and you should be fine. Since it is so big it sure takes a long time to download and sync the updates.

Highly recommended. It pretty much did everything I expect out of a nav system and did it accurately, reliably, and quickly. The price might be a bit high but I think it is worth it for the convenience.

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