Advanced guidance features from a new player in the Australian market
- Sleek design, easy to grasp interface, lane assistance, text-to speech, Bluetooth hands-free, Road Sense Safety
- Bulky window mount, poor viewing angle and sunlight glare, cluttered map view
Navigon’s 2150max is certainly reasonable value at this price. Lane assistance, text-to-speech and Bluetooth hands-free combined with comprehensive safety warnings and a reasonably intuitive interface make it a credible choice.
Price$ 479.00 (AUD)
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Navigon is the latest player to enter the portable GPS market in Australia. Its 2150max unit boasts 'lane assistance', 3-D junction views and realistic representations of street signs. It also has text-to-speech capabilities, Bluetooth hands-free support and road safety features.
Navigon launched its range of portable GPS units in Europe in early 2007. Now entering a small but rapidly growing space in Australia, it will be competing with the likes of TomTom, Navman and Garmin.
Aesthetically, the 2150max is a stylish but very simple unit. It is finished in a combination of gloss black and matte black plastic and feels reasonably well built. The piano black finish does attract plenty of fingerprints but gives the unit a slick look and feel. Navigon offers a 24-month warranty on all units. Unfortunately, the window mount is annoying: it comes in two pieces held together by a screw and it is large, bulky and difficult to mount.
The 2150max features a 4.3in widescreen display. Brightness is excellent, as is the horizontal viewing angle. Unfortunately, the vertical viewing angle is poor and glare is a huge issue. We struggled to see the display in any sort of bright light while driving.
Although it lacks the colourfulness and appeal of many other models, the menu interface is simple and clear. The main screen centres around four large boxes. Unfortunately, speed is an issue. Finger taps register fine on the touch screen, but there is regularly lag when navigating through the menus, particularly when adjusting settings.
Entering an address is a three-stage process of typing the suburb, street name and house number using the on-screen keyboard, which can’t be changed from a standard ABC layout. POIs can be searched near your current location, in a specific city or nationwide. POIs are displayed with small icons and some even use official company logos — for example Subway stores are denoted on the map by the official Subway logo.
The navigation experience is above average, though the map screen is a little cluttered with icons compared to most other units, so there may be a steep learning curve. Text-to-speech is standard, but there is no Australian voice option and both the English and American voices struggle with some street names. Some suffixes, such as “st” and “ave” were pronounced phonetically, though Navigon claims this issue is being addressed with a free upgrade to be released shortly.
The NAVTEQ maps themselves are fairly detailed with 2-D and 3-D views and day and night modes available. The maps come with a number of handy guidance features, the best of which is Lane Assistant Pro, a feature that provides graphic lane assistance when entering and exiting complex motorways and freeways. Where ordinary GPS units may advise to “keep left”, the lane assistant box will display all available lanes and clearly advise which one you should travel in. We found it helpful, especially in and around large city roads and motorway junctions.
Also featured is Real Signpost Display, which attempts to include realistic representations of upcoming street signs and Reality View 3-D, providing easier to comprehend junction views on freeways and motorway exits. In addition, Navigon utilises Road Sense Safety Plus, providing speed and red light camera alerts, school zone warnings and notifications for bus lanes, accident black spots and railway crossings — all free out of the box.
Navigon claims the 2150max is Traffic Message Channel “ready”, with integrated support for a traffic channel. The unit has a TMC antenna built in, unlike many other units which require this as an add-on. According to Navigon, traffic services will be available in early 2009, although details are yet to be announced.
Rounding out the features list is a picture viewer and Bluetooth hands-free. The latter is a convenient addition, but we would have liked an external microphone included — the built-in microphone isn’t always up to scratch, especially on noisy roads.
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