GPS MINI-REVIEW: Navigon North America
This is the latest review in a series of GPS app mini-reviews I've been doing for the iphone. I own every GPS app available for the iphone (Gokivo, AT&T Navigator/Telenav [ATTN], Sygic, G-Map) and have toyed with them all.
For reference to the other GPS apps...
This was my review of G-Map: http://forum.theiphoneblog.com/iphon...t-gps-app.html
This was my review of Gokivo: http://forum.theiphoneblog.com/iphon...-os-3-0-a.html
This was my review of ATTN vs. Gokivo: REVIEW: AT&T Navigator by Telenav GPS (and how it compares to Gokivo) - Mac Forums
This was my review of Sygic vs. G-Map: GPS MINI-REVIEWS: Sygic North America VS. G-Map East/West V.1.3.1 - Mac Forums
This mini-review is for Navigon MobileNavigator for North America.
The following are just my opinions and my opinions only :
+Beautiful graphics with smooth scrolling.
+Very clean interface. Not a lot of clutter.
+Has widescreen/landscape view. Not a big deal for me, but I know a lot of folks are gonna be excited about this option.
+Yes! Contacts integration! And it seems to work even faster/snappier than Gokivo's offering.
+Probably the fastest off-route recalculation I've seen so far...1-3 seconds tops.
+For the most part, the voice instructions/prompts are pretty good (on par with G-Map but not as good as ATTN). Like Sygic, I think it sometimes gives the turn instruction a little TOO late for the driver (like within 50 feet or so). For my tastes, a little more notice would be nice.
+Good, loud voice which is easy to understand. The voice does sound like a 50-year old female smoker, but nonetheless, it's still easy to understand.
+The real-lane guidance is a nice feature. I do think the 1/2 screen option that G-Map gives you is better (vs. the full-screen splash of Navigon) but it's still a nice touch.
+The speed limit warnings are pretty cool. Nothing like getting a "CAUTION" verbal warning when you're going over the speed limit.
-No text to speech (TTS), however Navigon promises to fix this in a future update.
-There's no route summary. This is a pretty standard (and essential) feature for any GPS app. I personally like to see an itinerary of the route I'm being asked to take before I blindly go on a trip and not know which or how many turns I'm going to be taking.
-Of all the GPS apps I've tested, Navigon seems to take the longest to lock onto an initial GPS signal (as long as a minute). It takes a while to get started but once it gets the signal, it's fine.
-I wish the interface would follow the model that G-Map, ATTN, Gokivo, and Garmin use: the name of the road you're on is displayed at the bottom of the screen, and the name of the road you're turning onto next is displayed at the top. Navigon displays the name of the road you turn onto next at the bottom of the screen and if you want to see the road you're on, you have to tap it once. That's all I'm asking for: the name of the road I'm on and the name of the road I'm turning onto next.
-I do agree with other users: the lettering/text on screen is a wee bit too small. I'm only 34 years old so my eyesight is still pretty functional, but I can definitely see (no pun intended) how it would be difficult for someone with not-so-sharp vision to read the tiny names/letters.
-Navigon's POI database is terrible. In fact, it's the main weakness of the Navigon app. Be warned: if you believe that POIs are an extremely important feature of a GPS app, you probably should *not* purchase Navigon. From the testing I've done, the POI database is seriously outdated. It was bringing up banks, restaurants, etc. that have been out of business for almost 10 years or more (! -- at least in my area). New restaurants that opened up in the past 1-2 years did not show up in the database. This is in sharp contrast to ATTN: say what you will about a $10 monthly fee, but at least you get a constantly updated POI database -- or at least the most updated POI database of any of the iphone GPS apps. The very same businesses that opened up in the past 1-2 years that Navigon couldn't find, ATTN COULD. I actually found both Sygic and G-Map to have a better POI database than Navigon, but the app with the best overall POI database was, not surprisingly, the app that streams live data over the air (ATTN).
-I'll have to double check this but IINM, highways/major roads are displayed in a light blue color on screen. It almost looks like a river on the map. Not a huge deal but still, it would be nice if they would change the color.
-Yes, Navigon will play music from your itunes library while you're navigating, but when the voice prompt comes on, the music doesn't pause or mute -- this was the same problem Sygic had. For ATTN and Gokivo, the music stops or pauses when the voice prompting comes on. That's how it should be, IMO.
-There's one other main concern I have about Navigon: I found the routing algorithms to be the least accurate of all the GPS apps I tested. It would sometimes ask me to take routes/trips that were far out of the way that I would normally go. Even Sygic calculated routes that were shorter and more efficient. What's more alarming: the routes that Navigon was churning out were the very same inaccurate routes that G-Map v.1.2 used to give me before it's update. Now that's kind of frightening. :-| I've read other user reviews re: Navigon's strange routing, so I know I'm not the only one having this problem.
CONCLUSION: 3/5 Stars. For the most part, Navigon is a pretty stable, reliable GPS app that (like all apps) needs some tweaking. Navigon is a GOOD app, but not a GREAT app. Overall, I do think Navigon is better than Sygic and probably on right on par with G-Map -- but I still think ATTN is the best overall GPS option until TomTom finally comes. I personally don't mind the $10 monthly fee because I think the unique features you get are worth it, but I know the monthly fee is still a sore point for other users.
So to keep score, my power rankings for the iphone GPS apps are as follows:
1) AT&T Navigator by Telenav
2) Navigon/G-Map (TIE)
I'm really hoping that the TomTom app doesn't disappoint, otherwise I'm sticking with ATTN...