So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Navigon 70 Plus GPS unit
Navigon's 70 Plus sat nav packs in a 5in display
- Stylish design, hassle-free window mount, clear map screen, MyRoutes, land guidance, Bluetooth, price
- Poor viewing angles, interface lacks the polish of competitors, Bluetooth audio could use a boost
If you're after a 5in GPS unit, Navigon's 70 Plus should be high on your list. It may not be as polished as competing sat navs, but Navigon provides good bang for your buck.
Price$ 329.00 (AUD)
German company Navigon has joined TomTom, Garmin and Navman in releasing a 5in portable sat nav. The Navigon 70 Plus GPS represents good value at this price, packing in live traffic, lane guidance and junction view along with its large screen.
The Navigon 70 Plus has a similar design to the company's previous GPS units, particularly the Navigon 6300. The 70 Plus is finished in a combination of glossy matte black plastic with chrome edging, and the piano-black finish on the top and bottom bezel offers a nice contrast to the matte black edges on the left, right and rear. Navigon offers a 24-month warranty on all of its GPS units.
The Navigon 70 comes with a hassle-free window mount. It is a little larger than usual and is basically a chunk of curved plastic with a large, solid clip that helps attach it to the windscreen.
The Navigon 70 Plus GPS unit has a 5in widescreen display that is reasonably responsive. Viewing angles are poor, however; we suggest mounting the 70 Plus as close to direct line of sight as possible. The display doesn't have a very high resolution, but the interface is bright and clear and the screen performs reasonably well in direct sunlight. Like the rest of Navigon's range, the 70 Plus has a dark user interface with orange and white highlights. Although it's simple enough to operate once you familiarise yourself with the menus, it lacks the polish of the interfaces used by competing units, particularly those from TomTom and Garmin.
Entering an address is a three-stage process of typing the city, street name and house number using the on-screen keyboard, which can be changed from the standard ABC layout to QWERTY, QWERTZ and AZERTY layouts. When searching for an address you can choose to enter the city or street first and the keyboard is large and clear; search options are narrowed down as you type.
The Navigon interface uses information boxes on the bottom of the map screen. We really like the next turn icons, which are large and easy to see. The text-to-speech voice is loud and clear but can struggle when pronouncing various street names. We found the Navigon 70 Plus a little sluggish to pick up a GPS fix when turned on, but rerouting is fast. The Navigon 70 Plus also includes an integrated "motion sensor" — move your hand across the face of the display (without touching it) and the unit will bring up the menu panel when you're on the map screen.
Navigon's MyRoutes technology claims to learn from the user's past driving experiences. For example, if certain roads take too long at particular times, MyRoutes will avoid them in the future during those times. The MyRoutes feature is most useful for people who will use the GPS device on a daily basis (such as couriers or taxi drivers). When selecting a route, the Navigon 70 Plus will provide up to three route options with an approximate time for each — one of these is a MyRoutes option, highlighted green. The Navigon 70 Plus includes maps of Australia and New Zealand.
The Navigon 70 Plus also includes Last Mile, allowing you to save the location of your car after parking. When you go to collect your car again, you can navigate on foot in pedestrian mode. This is handy for outdoor car parks, but not so useful in multi-tiered shopping centre car parks, as a GPS signal won't get picked up.
Lane Assistant is a feature that aids the driver when entering and exiting complex motorways and freeways. The lane assistant box displays all available lanes and clearly advises which one you should travel in. We found it very helpful, especially in and around large city roads and motorway junctions.
Also on offer are Reality View Pro, providing easier to comprehend junction views on freeways and motorway exits; Real Road Signs, which displays lifelike road signs on the map screen at various points in your journey; and Landmark View 3D, showing various POIs (points of interest) and landmarks in 3D. The Navigon 70 Plus also has speed and red-light camera alerts, school zone warnings and notifications for bus lanes, accident black spots and railway crossings — all of these are available free out of the box.
The Navigon 70 Plus comes with traffic capabilities and Bluetooth hands-free. The latter works reasonably well, though many callers complained that we sounded distant, even when talking with the windows up in a quiet car. Navigon also provides a free two-year subscription to FreshMaps, which promises new map updates every three months.
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