(yet another) mini review of Navigon

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by tboooe, Aug 19, 2009.

  1. tboooe macrumors regular

    May 22, 2009
    Like many, I was really on the fence about which navigation application to get. What really ultimately made me decide to purchase Navigon was the recent announcement that version 1.2 would have TTS. I installed the app last night and used it on my 1 hr commute from South Orange County to San Diego. Here are my thoughts (many of these same sentiments have been echoed by others but here goes anyway):

    Installation: I did not follow the direction listed on the Navigon site that recommended I reset my phone. I am not sure if I believe/understand what they mean with their reference to memory allocation....

    GPS signal: it seemed this app was very fast to acquire a signal. In fact, I was able to lock on to a signal while sitting in my family room. This morning, when sitting in my car, I got a GPS lock by the time Navigon started up on my iphone. One strange behavior I noticed was when I received a call while the app was running. Once the call ended, Navigon could not lock onto a signal. I had to end my route and start it again before it could reacquire the location. Another time, I lost the signal when I was at a stop light under a bridge. Once I got out from under the bridge, Navigon got its location within 5 seconds.

    GPS Accuracry: I did not have any issues with the accuracy. I did notice at times my speed was off by as much as 5 mph.

    Navigation: Navigon worked just fine. The route it planned for me was just fine even though I do take a different route. That being said, my commute to work is mainly freeway and major roads. It will be interesting to see how Navigon does routing only in city or residential. The estimated time to arrival was fairly accurate, no better or worse than my Garmin Nuvi or Lexus in car GPS. Navigon did at least update the arrival time during the course of my drive. I think in the end, I arrived 5 mins later than the original estimate. Not too bad. Even though TTS would be nice, the directions and voice prompts were clear and timely enough for me. That being said, I was traveling on a well known route. I am sure TTS would come in very handy when traveling in an unfamiliar area, especially since the street names on the GUI are virtually impossible to read.

    Re-routing: This was one feature I was very impressed with. I was surprised at how quickly Navigon was able to re-route when I missed a turn. It happened within seconds, even faster than my Garmin Nuvi!

    GUI: this is may major area of complaint. As other have pointed out, the street names and POI symbols (nice touch to have the actual logo of businesses by the way) are nearly impossible to read. It would help if we could zoom in a bit on the 3d map during navigation but it seems we are only given a default zoom level when in 3d mode. What I do like is how the screen zooms in and changes when its time to take an offramp. It would be better if the vehicle position was also shown in the zoom mode. There also needs to be more on-screen buttons for things such as volume, adding an intermediate destination, POI search, etc. As it is, you have to go into the menu in order to get access to these features.

    Interaction with other iphone apps: During my commute I received multiple calls and push alerts. Aside from the GPS signal issue after a call, Navigon performed fine when interrupted. I think if Navigon could be allowed to run in the background during calls, then I would not have had an issue with the app re-acquiring the GPS signal. I am going to look into jailbreaking once OS version 3.1 is released.

    POI: I did not use this too much as I do not really use a GPS unit for this purpose. No other GPS unit I have used is very good in this regard so I do not expect Navigon to be better. I live in a community that is about 10 years old. It found all the addresses and businesses that I go to often. It would be nice if the address of the business was shown in the search list. Instead, only the business name and distance is shown. For example, I did a search for Wells Fargo which resulted in multiple listings. I wanted to select a particular one but there were several which were within 3 miles of my house. I had to go through the list, selecting each one before I found the one I was looking for.

    Battery drain: my iphone 3gs never got great battery life and using GPS for an hour did not help matters. I lost about 20% during my commute.

    Summary: overall I am very happy I purchased Navigon. Of course I did not try out the other options so I cannot compare. For me, Navigon does everything I need it to. I am looking forward to TTS and better integration with ipod controls. The ultimate will be to jailbreak my phone so I can run Pandora in the background while using Navigon. There is definitely room for improvement but I could easily live with this version.

    Sorry for the long post...thank you for reading.
  2. Jeremy1026 macrumors 68020


    Nov 3, 2007

    What kind of car do you drive.
  3. stockcerts macrumors 65816

    Jun 29, 2007
    San Francisco, CA
    When I use Navigon for more than a short drive I plug the USB cable into my car stereo. It keeps the battery levels about even. I often go to the Bay area on the weekends (two hour drive), during that time I use my Navigon GPS and listen to the music loaded on my iPhone.

    The $70- I spent on this app was well worth it. There is some room for improvement, but Navigon is showing that they will be enhancing the product. I was previously using a Garmin Nuvi, and I think I like this system even better...which is surprising as the Garmin was a dedicated GPS system.
  4. tboooe thread starter macrumors regular

    May 22, 2009
    I drive a BMW...I know not all car speedos are accurate but I believe they are least consistent. According to the speedo I was driving at 78mph with not deviation. Navigon would display my speed as low as 73mph. Interestingly, it never over-estimated my speed.

    Anyway, no big deal for me.
  5. Jeremy1026 macrumors 68020


    Nov 3, 2007
    That is very common. European car manufacturers are held to very strict standards and regulations. If their speedometers read lower then actual from the factory they are slapped with a huge fine. So they typically set them to be 3-5MPH low. I drive a MINI, and the majority of our cars (I'm in a MINI club) read 4MPH low consistently. I think the error is truly in your speedometer, not the application.
  6. Metsfan7450 macrumors regular


    Jun 2, 2008
  7. FearlessFreep macrumors 6502a

    Jul 15, 2008
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Not the same at all. Missing several features (lane assist, reality view) and the core difference is that it uses its own proprietary map and POI set, which some users have indicated is old and updates are questionable.
  8. DotComCTO macrumors 6502

    Aug 17, 2006
    +1 for the review from tboooe. I was also sitting on the fence, but I think 3 things did it for me:

    1. I had been reading all the Navigon reviews since release and have been looking at videos from folks. The video review from http://www.insanely-great.com and the info from http://www.obsessable.com/feature/review-navigon-mobilenavigator-for-iphone (based on v1.0) were especially helpful in showing how the app works. The forums here have been invaluable.

    2. The TomTom mini-review from Insanely Great Mac was helpful also. I also got to see TomTom crash during their demo! Not good. Plus, I was unimpressed with the TomTom UI.

    3. Most importantly, Navigon has been pretty up front about what is coming in the next release. They put out v1.0, and followed up on their promises for v1.1. Now they put out a press release about v1.2. Compare that with TomTom: they were tight-lipped about the timing of their release and the features, they seemingly had no idea their app was being released, and there is still no info on what's coming next. Why would I spend $30 more on software from a company that doesn't explain what features are on deck?

    I'm pretty impressed with MobileNavigator. I've used it for the past two days on a number of routes. There are some improvements to make beyond v1.2. I think traffic is a huge feature that is a must have. I would also like to see a detailed list view for the planned route. I also agree with "tboooe" that there should be better interactivity with the 3D map; plus the 3D map fonts for streets, POIs, signage, etc is somewhat small...and I have uncorrected 20-20 vision.

    Still a very good product. No regrets at all about the purchase. In many aspects, this software exceeds the features in my BMW nav unit (2004 BMW X5).


    P.S. I also noticed the speed difference in my BMW. Same issue...GPS shows speed up to +5 MPH from the speedometer.
  9. globalist macrumors 6502a

    Aug 19, 2009
    Nice review, thanks!

    I also purchased Navigon and have yet to test it, but I was looking through the menus and couldn't figure out what the Block settings (500m,1km,2km,etc.) does?

    Any ideas?
  10. tboooe thread starter macrumors regular

    May 22, 2009
    Hi, I just checked the menus and did not see a Block setting...am I missing something?
  11. globalist macrumors 6502a

    Aug 19, 2009
    In my MobileNavigator I go to Options and I see it in the "Route" section, right under "Route Profile" there is "Block".

    I have the Eastern Europe edition if that matters...
  12. tboooe thread starter macrumors regular

    May 22, 2009
    ah ha! Us folks in the USA do not have this option. Once again we get screwed! :)
  13. NightStorm macrumors 68000

    Jan 26, 2006
    Whitehouse, OH
    This was added to the US version in the v1.1 update. It shows up on my screen when I go into options.
  14. tboooe thread starter macrumors regular

    May 22, 2009
    Strange, I have V1.1 but dont see this option. What does it do anyway?
  15. NightStorm macrumors 68000

    Jan 26, 2006
    Whitehouse, OH
    I believe it is used to force MobileNavigator to recalculate a route due to a detour or closing.
  16. ksmith80209 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 15, 2007
    I'm in the US and I have it...
  17. ddrueckhammer macrumors 65816


    Aug 8, 2004
    America's Wang
    Road Blocks are in Navigon. I need to go check but I don't think you can block specific roads like you can in TomTom yet though.

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