Much has happened at gps front since last year’s supertest by navigators. The devices have become easier, prices lower and more. We have tested 10 navigation solutions in three different categories-all-in-one, mobile phones with built-in gps and accessory kit for cell phone with bluetooth gps and software.
All-in-one navigation devices
The range of sat NAVs are almost the same size as the range of mobiles-a quick search on price comparison sites shows that there are nearly 200 different navigators to choose from right now on the Swedish market.
Formats and mountings
A good Mount for your GPS is rewarded with important points in the test. It should be easy to take the receiver from the car and on the ground, it should sit properly so that the screen is visible, and the sound is good. Swan neck mounts were common a few years ago, but most manufacturers have models of the year gone articulated brackets. Among the tested navigatorerna is the only Packard Bell that sends with a gooseneck, but is fortunately a rather short and rigid type that holds your GPS in place but that it starts swinging on rough roads.
Packard Bell is the cheapest navigator it is possible to find just under £ 200-but it is still a convenient format and feels well built. The two outer flaws on Packard Bell Compasseo 600 is the power connection, which is not integrated into the mount, and the shiny shell, which produces irritating glare when the Sun is low.
Garmin nüvi series was the pioneer in the formats and mountings. Thin navigators with all connectors combined in the holder. Now has competitors started to catch up and maybe even beyond. Mio C520t has a bracket that provides the Navigator with the power, the tmc-antenna and an extra speakers without any wires need to be pressed in the Navigator. Garmin’s stronghold is almost as good–the only thing missing is the speaker.
Mio sat nav is the thinnest with their scarce 20 millimeters. Brackets for Navigon and Magellan is stable and good, but has no electrical connections. Magellan Crossover GPS has a real field scale. It’s clear that it’s built for more than just sitting behind a windscreen. The Unit feels solid and comes with a rubber casing for extra shock absorption. Even the NAVIGON device has a high quality feel-it’s thicker than the Garmin and Mio’s navigators, but black skin gives the impression that withstand the most.
Winner: Mio C520t
Because the Navigator becomes an instrument in the environment, it is important to have a screen that is easy to read in various lighting conditions. It may not make too much light at night driving so as to have impaired night vision behind the wheel. All the units in the test has different color schemes that give good legibility at day and night driving. The function uses the data for sunrise and sunset in various locations to set the colors. It works pretty good, but it would have been better if the manufacturers cost on the drives light sensors-then had the image been adapted also for tunnels, the weather and other things that affect light.
On laptops and mobiles provides courage to screens to be as shiny as possible. We hope that this trend does not reach navigatorerna-it is very good that all displays in the test has a matte surface that does not provide the reflexes that can dazzle the driver. The highest resolution is Mio, Garmin and Navigon with its wide touch screens with 480 x 272 pixels. It is a high-quality TFT displays and I can’t discern any differences in widescreen-trio. Magellan and Packard Bell have 3.5 inch qvga screens. Magellan’s screen is slightly sharper than the Packard Bells-above all when it comes to brightness.
Winner: Garmin Nuvi 670, Mio, Navigon 7000T C520t
All navigation devices need a gps receiver to determine its location. A few years ago, there were many different manufacturers with their own gps receivers, such as Garmin and Trimble, but now buys nearly all brands into a receiver named SiRFstarIII. SiRFstarIII, or sometimes as a shortened name Sirf3, is manufactured by the company SiRF Technology and the recipient’s main characteristic is the high sensitivity. SiRFstarIII can amplify the very weak signals from the satellites and can therefore keep in touch even in the woods or on narrow streets between tall buildings. All all-in-one navigation devices in the test are equipped with SiRFstarIII receiver. Garmin uses a flip-up antenna that must sit in the correct position to provide good reception. In General, the difference is minimal between the devices.
Winner: dead heat
Navigator and extras
MOBILE RECOMMEND! The Navigator from Packard Bell uses Destinators software and is easy to use even if the menus are far from the best looking in the test.
Packard Bell Compasseo 600
Packard Bell uses a navigator software called Destinator Navigates. It is simple to use, although the menus are not the best looking in the test. The Navigator is controlled using the touchscreen-the only controls in addition to it’s volume settings, and a reset button. The Navigator seems to be free of serious bugs, so reset button never came into use during the trial period. Compasseo 600 comes with two different manuals-a for the software and the hardware.
The Navigator is indeed cheap, but it still feels a bit churlish to Packard Bell does not put together a complete manual. Efficient it feels also that Destinator software is still quite poorly translated. On Destinator-Swedish called it not “run” but “the drive” to name the worst example. The voice instructions, however, there is nothing wrong with-they are clear and free of linguistic frogs. The built-in speaker sounds alright and there is a 3.5-mm jacks to connect headphones or external speakers.
The interface is not the prettiest. It gives a somewhat messy first impressions, but you get used to it quickly, and there are good search capabilities with support for zip codes, addresses and intersections. Numbers and letters are input via the screen and the surfaces of each character is pretty small, so a PDA pen or any other pointed object is a great addition. Compasseo belongs to the slower navigatorerna when it comes to figuring out the routes and find alternative routes in case of failure, but the differences are small.
In the box are in addition to the Navigator a disk with software, such as an application that converts tables with favorite sites to a format that your Navigator understands. You can easily load your device with speed cameras, a list of Sweden’s top ice cream cafes or other places whose position you know. The extra features in Compasseo 600 is a simple mp3 player and a program that can display images from the SD card.
BEST IN TEST! Garmin navigator has a built-in FM transmitter that sends out voice instructions in the car’s speaker system.
Garmin Nuvi 670
The flagship of the Garmin nuvi series costs a lot of money, but has some features that the cheaper navigators in the test lacks. Such is the built-in FM transmitter. Instead of listening to voice instructions directly from the device’s speaker so you can select a frequency, and listen to them through your car stereo instead. The idea is good, but it seems as if the car manufacturers screens of their antenna cables a bit too efficient for the radio signals to reach. I tested the device in a Honda Accord and a Volvo S60 with the same result-regardless of which frequency I choose so will sound pretty noisy, and the Navigator’s built-in speakers are preferred. Older Nuvi models used an active tmc antenna connected to the usb connector. Nüvi 670 has a much better solution-all electronics are sitting in the navigator unit and the antenna is a thin cord attached to the holder.
Grass cut can be recognized from other Garmin products and is both stylish and easy to navigate. The Setup is basically unchanged and the new, wide screen had come to greater benefit if Garmin used more columns in certain views. To input destinations works fine and the big screen means that every letter has a surface that is easy to hit with your finger. The route calculation is fast and it is easy to get an overview of the planned route, but it is not easy to see if the device is using traffic information to find the best route. This is for example the Mio clearer.
A strange detail is that the Garmin displays the status of the tmc receiver with an led at 12-voltskontakten. It can of course be useful if it is in a visible position, but in some cars, the contact hidden on the floor or in the armrest. Garmin was talsystes, or text-to-speech as it is also known. The function is of course in the nüvi 670, but even the device from Magellan can read aloud. Speech synthesis means that the Navigator in addition to mentioning distances and directions also reads aloud the name of roads and locations. The pronunciation is not always the best, but one understands what the Nuvi is saying and it is good to know which names to look for on road signs, without having to take your eyes off traffic to read on the Navigator screen. The map data is the most comprehensive-both Europe and North America are included.
There are plenty of extras in the Nuvi 670. It can play audio books from Audible, there is a simple mp3 player and also practical programs to convert between different currencies and units of measure. The Navigator can also be used as a bluetooth hands-free.
Software for Mio C520t feels, at first, very complex.
C520t is the top model from Belgian Mio. To the exterior is pretty similar to Garmin’s nüvi navigation devices, but the software seems at first very complex. Each screen contains large amounts of information, small icons and a series of buttons that open tabs with even more information. After a few minutes with the manual C520t feels more understandable, and you start to appreciate the many features. For example, you can choose to enter text using a keyboard where keys are placed in the order a, b, c or q, w, e, r, t, y, as on a real keyboard. Strange that not all brands have this option.
C520t is quick to work with. Route calculation go in seconds, even long distance travel through several countries, and the map image floats nicely when you are out driving. Unfortunately there is no speech, but the sound through the loudspeaker to the bracket is very good. TMC receiver is included, and it is easy to see the dangers lurking in the vicinity by pressing the varningsskylts icon. C520t is not just a navigator but also a quite capable music player and picture viewer. The MP3 player has playlists, search functions and equalizer. It feels very complete to sit in this type of product. In addition, you can load it with song lyrics and let your passengers sing karaoke. C520t also has bluetooth and can serve as a hands-free. You can also easily copy your contacts from your phone to the Navigator to navigate to a contact address or number via bluetooth.
From Magellan will test only water-protected navigator.
Magellan Crossover GPS
Roadmate 2500T crossover GPS, or that the model is also called, is the only water-protected product. It is useful if you only want to use the device in the car, but also on the bike, on the boat or in the mushroom forest. Touchscreen is not the ideal input tool when the water splatters and perhaps have gloves on, but Magellan has done well with making icons and menu selection big and easy to maneuver. From the main menu, there are three choice-vehicle navigation, maritime navigation or outdoor navigation. Maritime navigation works well and you can for example add routes between ports and easily follow them as a virtual highway on the screen. There are also good possibilities to add positions manually and navigate along straight lines.
Crossover GPS can view nautical devices and figuring out the course deviations, and compass directions. Utomhusläget works similarly to the chart position, but using topographical maps and shows distances in kilometers instead of miles. Nautical charts and topographic maps are available as accessories from around 2000 SEK.
Crossover GPS comes with road maps for Scandinavia. The interface is easy to understand, but Magellan has not put as much effort into the look like Garmin, Navigon or Mio. Addresses is entered in the usual way via the touch screen and the Navigator can quickly find the right path and gives good instructions. After a software upgrade, Crossover GPS and speech synthesis can read out the names of streets and towns.
Among the extra features is an mp3 player and a program for image display. The music player is good, but not quite in the same class as Mio.
MOBILE RECOMMEND! NAVIGON delivers the truest navigator and has neither the mp3 or picture display.
NAVIGON 7000T Europe
NAVIGON 7000T does not play mp3. It also doesn’t show images. NAVIGON is the most pure car navigator. The Navigator becomes better by not having to jostle with different entertainment features? Any such connection may not be available, but there is no doubt that Navigon has one of the better software.
The interface, mainly maps in 3D mode, is the best looking and features is both powerful and easy to get started with. Points of interest as gas stations and restaurants are presented on the map with the logo, so it’s easy to see if your favorite chain is represented along the way. The screens contain a lot of information, but the presentation is smarter than the Mio, so it never gets messy even for inexperienced users.
Text input does not hold the same class as Mio, but works otherwise without complaint.
NAVIGON 7000T comes with a tmc antenna, but it’s unfortunately not integrated in the bracket so the contact must be pressed into the drive itself. Once in place, the function works well and you can use three different modes-the Navigator can reschedule your route so you don’t have to run into the lanes and road works, it can warn of obstacles and let you make the decision about the route should be changed or finally ignore the information and let you discover the obstacles when you come to them.
NAVIGON 7000T do not work as fast as Garmin or Mio, but delays in the translation of routes is entirely acceptable. The graphics flow nicely despite the fancy 3D effects and contributes to a positive overall impression.
Winner of user-friendliness: Navigon 7000T and Garmin Nuvi 670
Winners features: Magellan Crossover GPS and Garmin Nuvi 670
Garmin Nuvi 670 gets the highest score, but the difference in score is not as great as the difference in price compared to competitors. About Mio and Navigon manages to push the speech synthesis in their devices, but that the price gets too high, it becomes tougher for Garmin to retain the top spot. Garmin’s high score is the result of a great and friendly user interface, large maps, important features like tmc and speech synthesis as well as a good format for your pocket. NAVIGON is appointed “good buy” as it is both good and affordable. Although Packard Bell appoints “good buy”.
Phones with built-in gps
Built-in gps is about to sail up as a major trend among handsets. Nokia N95 and HTC are two current smartphones that comes with navigator features. What you will find the best?
Nokia N95 shows your position, but for navigation, you pay extra.
The built-in gps antenna in the Nokia N95 is not as sensitive as navigators with SiRFstarIII. It is difficult to get in touch with satellites through the window when I test my phone indoors, but if I go a few meters outside the door so it works great. It’s no problem to get a good signal through the windscreen of the cars I had access to during the test. There is no connection for external gps antenna on the N95, so if your car have an athermic windscreen can be difficult to use the N95.
The Navigator is started with the “Maps” in the cell phone and the program is the same as Nokia provides under the names of Nokia Maps and Smart2Go. You can see your position on a map and browse for different sites, but for navigation with voice instructions, you must order a service subscription. The price for the navigation in the North is 60 USD for 7 days and then there are a number of different steps up to a treårsprenumeration which costs £ 651. In addition to the navigation functions, you can order the “city guides”-about the same information called points of interest in other navigators. Instructions sound great and it’s quick to download the voices over the 3 g network.
Nokia software works similarly to the Wayfinder you download maps to your environment via the mobile phone’s internet connection. It is also possible to download maps to the memory card via a computer. The interface is neat and easy to get started with, but the small screen that has no touch operation cuts the overall impression of the Nokia N95 as navigator. A plus for the opportunity to submit their own position as text messages to other mobile phones.
BEST IN TEST! Everything included from the start and the gps receiver is of expert Sirf3-type.
To be a mobile with PocketPC HTC P3300 feels really smooth. However, it is slightly larger than the N95. The touch screen has qvga resolution-the same number of pixels as in Nokia N95 but the surface is larger. The built-in gps receiver is a SiRFstarIII and wouldn’t the sensitivity range, there is also the possibility to connect an external antenna. The software in the mobile phone is Our site Navigator 6 and maps for Western Europe included. Unlike Nokia N95 includes everything needed for navigation when you purchase your phone. It requires no extra subscription. However, there is a range of additional services, such as traffic information and weather over gprs.
The joystick seems frail and delicate, so I prefer to use the touch screen, but the whorl that surrounds the joystick works very well for zooming in and out of maps. The interface is a bit “rougher” than Nokia’s mapping software, but the functionality is more and it’s easy to get started. Our site program is linked to a special gps button on your phone, so you never need to browse the phone’s menus to start the Navigator. HTC P3300 is sold in different packages, so make sure you get it with the all important accessories such as car charger and bracket.
Winner-mobiles with integrated gps
HTC wins this mini-duel. The premium package includes everything needed for car navigation, and you don’t need to buy a subscription to get driving instructions. Our site program is almost as fast as an all-in-one navigator and SiRFstarIII receiver has good sensitivity.
Navigator package for your phone
Installation is effortless and the Our site starts to show an introduction.
Our site Navigator 6
The Our site navigator software comes in many guises. Mobile has previously tested brand’s all-in-one navigation devices and HTC-mobile here comes with Our site preloaded. You can also buy Our site as accessories to your phone-either on the memory card or on a DVD, which you can use to install the application on your phone. Our site works on newer phones with Series60, Uiq, Windows Mobile, or PalmOS and we have tested the application on Nokia N80.
It is quick to install Our site. With the memory card in the phone pops up on the menu, and the navigator Our site program starts with a tour that shows the key features. Our site’s own bluetooth gps comes with the package, but you can also use the recipients of other brands, for example, if you need an external antenna-no, you cannot connect to the Our site gps.
The program is simple, yet powerful. Graphics and animations are not real so beautiful as in the Garmin or Wayfinder, but in return there is more-and not least-more useful features. A favorite is the ability to insert the desired arrival time and the program shows how long before or after the schedule I am.
Our site offers a number of so-called plus features such as traffic information, weather, speed cameras and celebrity voices. It is possible to test the traffic information free for a month and then the service costs approximately £ 380 per year.
The majority of features of Our site work well, but there are also shortcomings. The connection to the phone book, for example, is unbearably slow. If you want to navigate to one of your contacts-look up the address in the phone book first and enter it manually into the Our site. Our site is delivered without carrier-a major drawback if you want to quickly get started with navigation in the car.
BEST IN TEST! Garmin has collected all of the functions in the cradle, which works very smoothly.
Garmin Mobile 20
Most accessory kit comes with a small, separate bluetooth gps. Garmin has chosen a different path. Both gps and a bluetooth hands-free speaker/fits inside the bracket-which, despite the built-in features are not particularly clumsy. Benefits are good sound and that all are gathered. In addition, you can connect your phone with an included AC adapter to the cradle and charge the battery during that car ride. On the minus side we can conclude that Mobile 20-holder lacks both the built-in battery and socket for external antenna. With Our site, Wayfinder, you can stop the bluetooth gps in your pocket and navigate, even on foot, but it is not possible with Garmin Mobile 20. The program also seems to be locked to Garmin’s hardware.
The installation is a model of simple. It is just to push the memory card into your phone and launch the program. The software called Garmin Mobile XT and has great similarities with the interface in the nüvi navigatorerna. However, quite a lot of memory-I had to shut down all other applications on your phone in order to start the Navigator. Most of it is downloaded directly from the brand’s all-in-one devices, but Garmin has not missed to exploit opportunities in mobile. There is support for traffic information over the phone’s internet connection, and through the Garmin Online, you can also get weather forecasts, updated points of interest and other information. You can also send your position or tips about interesting locations to other Garmin users via sms-a feature which Garmin calls PeerPoints.
MOBILE RECOMMEND! One of the strengths of Wayfinder’s website which belongs to MyWayfinder.
Wayfinder Navigator 7
Wayfinder’s software works not only in smartphones but also in java mobiles. Just like in Nokia N95 maps loaded down as needed, so you need not install some large data sets in your phone or use a special memory card. However, you must pay for the data traffic-up to 300 Kb of data per hour of run time is normal according to Wayfinder’s Web page. To cut costs, you can pre-install maps via the Web page.
Version 7 by Wayfinder is pretty fresh, but most of it is the same from version 6. New is the ability to night colors and Wayfinder has also added new databases with points of interest. To navigate with Wayfinder is easy. The mobile phone’s number keys have different functions; for example, zoom in and out with 5 to 0 and switch between different views by #. There is no option to add routes with multiple stops, however, Wayfinder has support for traffic information and will help you both to avoid roadworks and keeping track of speed cameras.
Search the opportunities are good in Wayfinder. You can either mark the beginning and end of your journey graphically on a map or finding locations and addresses. The program’s Web page MyWayfinder is very good. You can make settings for the application in your mobile, plan trips and study maps. Then it retrieves all settings automatically by your mobile phone via GPRS. The interface is easier than Garmin and Our site, but on a cell with small screen need not be a drawback.
Bluetooth gps that comes with a high class and in the box, there is also a simple universal bracket for mobile.
Garmin Mobile 20 cost the most, but also contains the largest number of opportunities with hands free, a real good holder and an easy-to-use software. Garmin Online service is completely new and it is difficult to predict if it will be as good as the Our site plus services such as Garmin receives fewer points in the category of functions.