GPS MINI-REVIEW: Navigon North America

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by Tunnelrunner, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. Tunnelrunner macrumors regular

    May 9, 2009
    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:
    This was my review of Gokivo:
    This was my review of ATTN vs. Gokivo:
    This was my review of Sygic vs. G-Map:
    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)
    3) Gokivo
    4) Sygic

    I'm really hoping that the TomTom app doesn't disappoint, otherwise I'm sticking with ATTN...
  2. Vandam500 macrumors 68000


    Sep 29, 2008
  3. randyharris macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2006
  4. blueprint1983 macrumors 6502

    Sep 4, 2007
    I agree with this for the most part. I don't think that the audio mixing in with the voice prompts are a big deal. The POI's are definitely outdated though. The directions need to be improved though, i've been getting weird directions lately.

    You should check out my "Another Navigon review", it's in this forum.;)
  5. thaliagoo macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2009
    I found Sygic and G-Maps much worse in terms of routing algorithm. Navigon seems fine to me but I haven't tested it extensively. Also, they DO have a route overview option. It is a picture of the whole route and you can zoom in to see the roads. However, it is not a list of turns like Google maps but it's useful nevertheless.
  6. itsjustmeee macrumors 6502a

    Dec 28, 2008
    Great review...... thanks. I have G-maps now and was on the fence as to whether to buy Navigon or not. Sounds like it's pretty much a draw at this point. All in all, I'm pretty happy with G-maps. I'm sure one could pick any of these GPS apps apart, but the bottom line is that if they get you there, it's all good!
  7. bbplayer5 macrumors 68030

    Apr 13, 2007
  8. schulzmc macrumors regular

    Aug 13, 2006
    It took me a while to find it, but if you tap the screen and then tap the button on the bottom right you can see the whole route and zoom to any particular part of the route you want to check in greater detail.
  9. sinsin07 macrumors 68040

    Mar 28, 2009
    Damn man, you could of just brought a GPS is knowing where your going is that important
  10. pooryou macrumors 65816


    Sep 28, 2007
  11. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere


    Apr 16, 2008
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    And in English?

  12. Vandam500 macrumors 68000


    Sep 29, 2008
    That is English. You didn't understand him? He said:

    Jfpajfpe pfjpaefjapoe nekflwanf wfnwif hahg aazsxcas hffha.
  13. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere


    Apr 16, 2008
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    Hey then he took over a sock Im going to sleep tommorow this bird is blue cause the door opened and September doesn't seem like funny GPS computer device on the sink:D
  14. stockcerts macrumors 65816

    Jun 29, 2007
    San Francisco, CA
  15. SpaceKitty macrumors 68040


    Nov 9, 2008
    Fort Collins Colorado
    For now, I am liking G-Map better than Navigon for the simple fact that G-Map shows street names, Navigon doesn't. How can you have a GPS without displaying street names?
  16. pooryou macrumors 65816


    Sep 28, 2007
    You can turn Street Names on in the Options IIRC.
  17. severe macrumors 6502a

    May 23, 2007
    They display fine for me.
  18. Tunnelrunner thread starter macrumors regular

    May 9, 2009
    Yeah, I read it when you first posted it (we actually posted our reviews just a few minutes apart). Great minds think alike!

    I think it's important. Yes, a pure standalone GPS will probably always have the edge over any GPS iphone app but *most* PNDs won't play your entire itunes library, surf the web, allow you to read Kindle books, browse Twitter and Facebook, etc. It's a trade-off: one device that does only one thing really, really well...or the other device which does EVERYTHING well.

    Heh. ;)

    Thanks for the pops, everyone. I was hoping to do a Navigon vs. TomTom post but I'm still waiting on the brand-leader. Maybe this week....
  19. cc999 macrumors 6502

    Jul 15, 2008
    My review

    First off I was a little skeptical to spend 69.99 after reading the various complaints here. All I can say is that I am so glad I did make the purchase. This program is fantastic!

    GPS - This is the single most important aspect of any navigation program. After launching program GPS was initiated within 10 seconds. I used this on a 3 hour trip to NY State in the middle of nowhere. My GPS signal was superb. here is something tat surprised the heck out of me. I was in a portion of the trip where I had NO SERVICE on my phone. The whole time I has no phone service the GPS was running perfectly! I was shocked. I though that the GPS signal depended on the telephone signal triangulation. Boy was I wrong. Cudos to the iPhone GPS chip and the Navigon team. I NEVER lost GPS signal the whole 3 hours and believe me I was in the middle of nowhere (Roxbury, NY).

    SCREEN - Very clear and easy to read. Maps names are not as detailed as my Garmin 660 but the main roads were there.

    VOICE - The voice was loud and clear thru the iphone speaker. I have seen complaints on this but I was happy with the volume. Even though all strrt names are NOT in the speech I did notice major routes were spoken by the voice part of the program.

    Overall this program worked better then expected. I ran it side by side with my Garmin 660 (with updated maps) and it was dead on exact. Voice prompts and a wrong turn calculation was just as quick as the Garmin.

    Overall I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this program. I am perfectly happy with the performance and it can defiantly replace my Garmin. I have Garmin mobile on my Blackberry and I can tell you this is just as good.

    Charlie C
  20. funnyboy88 macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2009
    Why is it that these GPS apps take such a long time to find your current position. The Google Maps app does it in a flash!
  21. army91c macrumors 6502a

    Mar 9, 2009
    Tried out both sygic and navagon today... Sygic is the best of those two IMHO.... Navagon didn't have the town I was going to in it's database, sygic did. I also like the street names being told to me even if they get annoying on the fifth time being said. I have yet to try g-maps. Now to get a holder and car charger for my 3gs! Will the tom tom holder work with any gps program? If so that would be kinda cool. Nice review by the way. I thought I saw in the sygic vs gmap you said you can't listen to music and nav at the same time.... I did for the entire trip using sygic.

    It didn't take a long time for me....
  22. Tunnelrunner thread starter macrumors regular

    May 9, 2009
    Sygic - improving quickly?

    When I wrote the Sygic/G-Map review, Sygic lacked ipod integration of any kind - once you started the app, it killed the music. Sygic has since fixed the problem is that (like in Navigon's case) the music doesn't fade or pause when the voice prompts are given. Hopefully, they'll fix that as well.

    RE: Sygic: This past week, I've been in close communication with Sygic's PR Rep and their Development Team, doing "unofficial" testing/troubleshooting with the app. and giving them my input/feedback on what I think should be fixed. The more I've been using/testing Sygic, the more I'm liking it. As I told the Sygic team, the routing algorithms are very accurate (as accurate as any of the GPS apps and a little more so than Navigon's, IMO). One of the problems that I told the development team, however, is the the UI - the menu system is too complicated, unintuitive and "un-iphone" like (reminds me more of a Windows Mobile app). I gave them feedback on *many* other issues as well - English is not their primary language but I think they got the basic idea of what I was asking for. I'm not allowed to give any specifics, but some of my feedback they agreed with, some they didn't, and some they met me on only halfway - we'll have to see how this all shakes out. They're supposed to be keep me updated on what progress the development team makes. What I CAN confirm is that they're in the final stages of contacts expect to see that soon in a Sygic update.
  23. TB07-NJ macrumors 68020

    Jul 7, 2008
    The POI's are absolutely horrible in both Sygic AND Navigon. Searching the entire state of New Jersey it found no FRIDAYS (or TGI FRIDAYS), CHILI's, COSTCO, SAMS CLUB and many many more major chains or restaurants yet it had lots of local tiny mom and pop shops.

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