Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/10/11/review_satnav_navigon_70_plus/

Navigon 70 Plus satnav

Street cred

By Alun Taylor

Posted in Science, 11th October 2010 12:11 GMT

Review These days PND makers are having to offer more to keep the smartphone wolf from the door. Yet as dedicated devices they maintain appeal by delivering a superior range of navigation functions and a screen size that no phone can match. The Navigon's 70 series with a 5in screen is a case in point.

Navigon 70 Plus

Revolutionary road? Navigon's 70 Plus

The Navigon 70 Plus on review forms part of a revised line up, which, along with the 4.3in 40 models, has Easy, Plus and Premium versions with varying degrees of functionality. If the 70's 5in screen wasn't enough to make it stand out from the crowd, it also features a motion sensor.

Let's start with the LCD, not only are map graphics very clear and easy to read at a glance, but POI icons and street names can be shown without cluttering up the map. The big screen also allows space for one of Navigon's big ideas, Active Lane Assistance which is an animated rolling road that appears in a box at the lower right of the display and shows you which lane you should be in during multi-lane road manœvres.

Wave your hand across the face of the 70 and a POI proximity menu drops down from the top. Tap the relevant icon and the 70 will navigate to the nearest petrol station, car park or food outlet, or to any one of a dozen other categories you can populate the three sections with.

Navigon 70 Plus

Waving not pointing: movements close to the screen prompt menu favourites to appear

A second menu pops up from the bottom allowing you adjust the volume, settings, enter the birds-eye-view map mode or go back to the main navigation menu. The motion-activated menus were pretty well-behaved though, yet even with the sensitivity turned down they still occasionally popped up unbidden, especially when the wipers were on.

Navigon reckons the 520MHz chip running the 70 is one of the fastest in a PND. Indeed, the UI certainly operates at a very brisk pace and map re-orientation is extremely rapid. The resistive touch screen is very sensitive and the combination of size and sensitivity makes the 70 very easy to use when mounted on the windshield. This is helped by the screen bracket being compact, easy to mount or remove and very solid.

Navigon 70 Plus

Sound device: the speech functions are certainly above par

Though lacking the subtleties of TomTom's HD Traffic and IQ Routes, basic navigation proved faultless. After a week, the MyRoutes facility started to suggest roads that I was using as preferred local short-cuts, in preference to its initial suggestions, traffic allowing.

Navigon 70 Plus

Amenity distances highlighted

The quality of both the male voice and the text-to-speech facility deserve a special mention. Pronouncing Bolton as "Belton" aside, it was near perfect and road numbers over two digits were enunciated in my preferred style of A-1-2-3.

Navigon 70 Plus

Turn and road information

Navigon's menu layout and map design are models of simplicity and the search facility supports full, seven-digit post codes. The comprehensive POI database had no problem performing all my usual test searches by name and type.

Navigon 70 Plus

Pop-up menu options

The 70 comes bundled with a TMC subscription and uses the charging cable as an FM antenna. The system can be set to either re-route you automatically around traffic jams or show you the options and ask for approval before heading off the beaten track.

Navigon 70 Plus

As you would expect from a premium PND you get a host of other features including speed camera locations, European guided tours – for the Lake District in the case of the UK – a feature called Last Mile which remembers where you parked and changes to pedestrian mode assuming you can't drive to your destination and "realistic" lane views at motorways junctions.

Navigon 70 Plus

Functions aside, the big screen will certainly appeal to those who do a lot of driving

Verdict

The £199 Plus sits second from top in the Navigon 70 range below the £260 Premium. For the extra you get Bluetooth, voice command and a semi-transparent 3D view of city blocks. The last is a bit of a gimmick but the other two functions may appeal to those who spend a serious amount of time behind the wheel. Still, the motion sensitive menus and animated lane guidance are enough to separate the Plus 70 from the herd, while the five-inch screen makes it very easy to see where you should be going. ®

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