A lot has happened on the GPS front since last year’s super test of the navigators. The devices have become leaner, lower prices and more features. We have tested 10 navigation solutions into three different categories – all-in-one, mobiles with integrated GPS and accessory packages for mobile with bluetooth GPS and programvara.
All-in-one navigation devices
The range of navigation devices is almost as large 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.
Format and brackets
A good mount for navigator rewarded with important points in the test. It should be easy to take the receiver from the car and the place it should fit properly so the screen is visible and the audio sounds good.Gooseneck Mounts were common a few years ago, but most manufacturers have models for this year switched to articulating mounts. Among the tested navigators, only the Packard Bell sends a swan neck, but fortunately a rather short and stiff type that keeps the navigator on the spot without allowing it to swing on rough roads.Packard Bell is the test’s cheapest navigator – it is possible to find just under SEK 2000 – but it still has a flexible format and feels well built.The two outer gaps on the Packard Bell Compasseo 600 is the power connector, which is not integrated in the bracket, and the glossy shell, which provides annoying glare when the sun is low. Garmin nüvi series was a pioneer in terms of format and mounts. Thin navigators with all the connections are collected in the holder. Now competitors have begun to catch up – and maybe even beyond. Mio C520T has a mount that provides the navigator with power, TMC antenna and an extra speakers without any wires need to be pushed into the navigator.Garmin mount is almost as good – the only thing missing is the speaker.Mio navigator is the test’s thinnest with their scarce 20 millimeters. The brackets for the Navigon and Magellan is stable and good, but without electrical connections. Magellan Crossover GPS has a real field conditions peel. It is noticeable that it is built for more than just sitting behind a windshield. The device feels solid and comes with a rubber cover for extra cushioning. Even NAVIGON device has a high quality feel – it is thicker than the Garmin and Mio navigators, but the matte black shell gives an impression to withstand most things.
Winner: Mio C520T
Since the navigator is an instrument in the cockpit, it is important with a screen that is easy to read under different lighting conditions. And do not give off too much light at night driving so as to have decreased night vision behind the wheel. All devices in the test have different color schemes that provide good legibility at day and night driving. The function uses the data for sunrise and sunset in different locations to set the colors. It works pretty well, but it would have been better if the manufacturers cost of the units light sensors – when the picture had been also adapted to the tunnels, the weather and other things that affect the light.
On laptops and mobiles provide the courage that the screens should be as smooth as possible. We hope that this trend did not reach navigators – it is excellent that all screens in the test has a matte surface that does not provide reflections that can dazzle the driver.Maximum resolution is Mio, Garmin and Navigon with its wide touch screen with 480×272 pixels. It’s TFT display of high quality and I can not discern any differences in widescreen trio. Magellan and Packard Bell has QVGA screen of 3.5 inches. Magellan’s screen is slightly sharper than the Packard Bell – especially regarding brightness.
Winner: Garmin nüvi 670, Mio C520T, Navigon 7000T
All navigators 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 almost all brands in a receiver named SiRFstarIII. SiRFstarIII, or Sirf3 as the name is sometimes shortened to, manufactured by SiRF Technology and the recipient’s main characteristic is its high sensitivity. SiRFstarIII can amplify very weak signals from the satellites and can therefore maintain contact even in the woods or on narrow streets between tall buildings.All all-in-one navigation devices in the test are fitted with the SiRFstarIII receiver. Garmin uses a flip-up antenna that must be in the right position to give good reception. Otherwise, the difference is minimal between the devices.
Winner: Dead Heat
Navigator and extras
Packard Bell Compasseo 600
Packard Bell uses a navigator software called Destinator Navigates. It is simple to use, even if the menus are the best looking in the test.Navigator is controlled with the touch screen – the only controls in addition to the volume settings and a reset button. Navigator seems to be free of serious bugs, so reset button never came into use during the test period. Compasseo 600 comes with two manuals – one for the software and the hardware. The Navigator is indeed cheap, but it still feels a bit stingy to Packard Bell put together a complete manual.Saving it also feels that Destinator application is still quite poorly translated. On the Destinator Swedish name is not “Run” without the “Drive” to name the worst example. The voice instructions are, however, nothing wrong – they are clear and free from linguistic frogs.The built-in speaker sounds okay and there’s a 3.5mm jack to connect headphones or external speakers.
The interface is as I say not elegant. It gives a somewhat messy first impression, but you get used to it quickly and there are good search capabilities with support for zip codes, addresses and intersections.Numbers and letters entered via the screen and the surfaces of each sign is quite small, so a tablet pen or other pointed object is a good addition. Compasseo among the slower navigators when it comes to figuring out routes and finding alternative routes at the wrong turn, but the differences are small.
With the box is in addition to the navigator a disk with software, such as a program that converts tables with favorite places to a format navigator understands. You can easily charge the device with speed cameras, the list of Sweden’s foremost glass coffee shops or other places whose position you know. Additional features of the Compasseo 600 is a simple mp3 player, and a program that can display images from the SD card.
Garmin nüvi 670
The flagship of the Garmin nuvi series cost a lot of money, but you have also some features that the cheaper the navigators in the test lacks. Such is the built-in FM transmitter. Instead of listening to the voice instructions directly from the unit’s speakers so you can choose a frequency and listen to them through your car stereo instead. The idea is good, but it seems that car makers screens of their antenna cables bit too effective for the radio signals to reach the front. I tested the unit in a Honda Accord and a Volvo S60 with the same results – no matter what frequency I choose as the sound becomes quite noisy, and the receiver built-in speakers are preferred. Older nüvi models used an active TMC antenna that was connected to the device’s USB connector. Nüvi 670 has a much better solution – all the electronics is in the GPS device and the antenna is a thin cord that is connected to the holder.
The cut grass is familiar from other Garmin products and is both stylish and easy to navigate. The design is largely unchanged and the new, wide screen had come to the greater benefit of Garmin spent more columns in some views. To enter destinations works well and the large screen makes that each letter has a surface that is easy to hit with your finger. The route calculation is fast and it is easy to foresee the planned route, but it is not easy to see if the device uses traffic information to find the best route. Here, for example Mio clearer. A curious detail is that the Garmin displays the status of the TMC receiver with a LED on the 12-volt socket. It can of course be useful if it sits in a visible location, but some cars are plug hidden in the floor or in the armrest.Garmin was early talsystes, or text-to-speech as it is also called. This feature is of course in the nüvi 670, but also the device from Magellan can read aloud. The speech engine means that the navigator except to mention distance and directions also reads out the name of the roads and towns. The pronunciation is not always the best, but you understand what nüvi says, and it’s good to know what names to look for on road signs without having to take your eyes off the traffic to read on the navigator screen. The map data is the test most comprehensive – both in Europe and North America are included.
There are plenty of extra features of the nüvi 670. It can play audiobooks from Audible, there is a simple mp3 player and even practical application to convert between different currencies and units of measure. The navigator can also be used as a Bluetooth handsfree.
C520T is the top model from the Belgian Mio. The exterior is quite similar to the Garmin nuvi navigators, but the software feels initially very complex. Each screen contains large amounts of information, small icons and a number of buttons that open tabs with even more information. After a few minutes with the manual feel C520T more understandable and you begin to appreciate the many features. For example, you can choose to enter text using a keyboard where the keys are located in the order of a, b, c ?? or q, w, e, r, t, y ?? like a real keyboard. Strange that not all brands have this opportunity.
C520T is quick to work with. Route calculation takes a few seconds, even long journeys through several countries, and the map image flows nicely when you’re driving. Unfortunately there is no speech, but the sound through the speaker in the bracket is very good. TMC receiver is included and it is easy to see what dangers lurk around by pressing the varningsskylts icon. C520T is not just a navigator, but also quite a competent music player and picture viewer. MP3 player playlists, search functions and equalizer. It feels very complete to sit in this type of product. Additionally, you can load it with lyrics and let your passengers sing karaoke. C520T also has Bluetooth and can act as a handsfree. You can also easily copy your contacts from the phone to the navigator to navigate to a contact address or dial numbers via Bluetooth.
Magellan Crossover GPS
Crossover GPS, or RoadMate 2500T as a model, is also called, is the test only water protected product. It is useful if you do not want to use the device in the car, but also on the bike, the boat or in the mushroom forest. Touch screen is not the perfect input tool when the water splashes and it might have been wearing gloves, but Magellan has done well with making icons and menu items large and easily operated.From the main menu has three choices – vehicle navigation, lake AVIGATION or outdoor navigation. Lake Purl tion 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 opportunities to post positions and navigate manually along straight lines. Crossover GPS can show nautical devices and calculate the rate deviation and compass directions. Outdoor Mode works similarly to chart mode, but using topographic maps and displays the distance in kilometers instead of miles. Nautical charts and topographic maps are sold as accessories from about 2000 SEK.
Crossover GPS comes with road maps for Scandinavia. The interface is easy to understand, but Magellan has not put as much work on the appearance as Garmin, Navigon and Mio. Addresses are input in the usual way via the touch screen and the navigator can easily find your right path and give good instructions. After an upgrade of the software may Crossover GPS speech and can read out the names of streets and places.
Among the extra features are an MP3 player and an image viewer software. The music player is good, but will not quite in the same class as Mio.
Navigon 7000T Europe
Navigon 7000T does not play MP3. It does not show images. Navigon other words, the test most pure car navigator. Will the navigator better to avoid crowded with various entertainment features? No such link may not be, but there is no doubt that Navigon has one of the test better software. The interface, all the maps in 3D mode, the test’s neatest features and is both powerful and easy to get started with. Points of Interest such as petrol stations and restaurants are presented on the map with sign, so it is easy to see if the favorite chain is represented along the way. The screens contain much information, but the presentation is smarter than your Mio, so it never gets messy even for an inexperienced user. Text input is not the same class as Mio, but otherwise unremarkable.
Navigon 7000T comes with a TMC antenna, but it is unfortunately not integrated in the bracket so the plug must be pushed into the device itself. Once in place function works well and you can use three different modes – navigator can plan your route so you do not run into traffic jams and roadworks, it can avoid obstacles and let you make the decision about the route should be changed or finally, ignore the information and let you discover the obstacles as you come to them.
Navigon 7000T do not work as quickly as Garmin or Mio, but delays in the translation of the routes are quite acceptable. The graphics flowing fine despite the fancy 3D effects and contributes to a positive impression.
Winner user: Navigon 7000T and Garmin nüvi 670
Winners functions: Magellan Crossover GPS and Garmin nuvi 670
Winner – all-in-one
Garmin nüvi 670 gets the highest score, but the difference in the score is not as great as the difference in price compared with its competitors.About Mio and Navigon successful push in speech synthesis into their devices without the price gets too high, it becomes tougher for Garmin to maintain first place. Garmin’s high score is the result of a good and user-friendly interface, large maps, important features like TMC and synthesizer and a good format for the pocket. Navigon appointed “Good Buy” since it is both good and affordable. While the Packard Bell appoints to the “Good Buy”.
Mobiles with built-in GPS
Built-in GPS is about to sail up as a major trend among handsets. The Nokia N95 and HTC are two current smartphones that comes with navigation functions. What you will find the best?
The built-in GPS antenna in the Nokia N95 is not as sensitive as navigators with SiRFstarIII. It is difficult to make contact with the satellites through the window when I test mobile phone indoors, but if I go a few meters outside the door so it works well. It is no problem to get a good signal through the windscreen of the car, I had access to during the test. There is no connection for external GPS antenna on the N95, so if your car has a heat resistant windshield, it can be difficult to use the N95.
Navigator starts with the menu option “Maps” in the mobile phone and the program is the same as Nokia provides the names of Nokia Maps and smart2go. You can see your location on the map, and browse for different places, but to navigate with voice instructions, you must order a service subscription. The price for the navigation in the Region is 60 for 7 days and then there are a number of steps up to a three-year subscription, which costs 651 SEK. Besides the navigation functions, you can order “city guides” – about the same information, called POIs in other navigators. The instructions sound good and it’s fast to download the votes of the 3G network.
Nokia software works much like Wayfinder – downloading maps for your environment via the mobile internet. It is also possible to download maps to your memory card using a computer. The interface is neat and easy to get started with, but the small screen that lacks touch screen lowers the overall appearance of the Nokia N95 as a navigator. A plus for the opportunity to send your own position as text messages to other mobile phones.
To be a mobile with HTC P3300 PocketPC feels really smooth.However, it is slightly larger than the N95. The touch screen has QVGA resolution – the same number of pixels as that of the Nokia N95 – but the surface is larger. The built-in GPS receiver is a SiRFstarIII and would not be sufficient sensitivity, there is a possibility to connect an external antenna. Software Mobile is TomTom NAVIGATOR 6 and maps for Western Europe included. Unlike the Nokia N95 includes everything needed for navigation when you buy your phone. It requires no additional subscription. However, there are a range of additional services, such as traffic and weather over GPRS.
The joystick feels weak and sensitive, so I prefer to use the touch screen, but the pulley surrounding the joystick works very well to zoom in and out of the maps. The interface is a little “rougher” than Nokia’s mapping software, but the features are more and it’s easy to get started. TomTom application is linked to a specific GPS button on the phone, so you never have to look in the phone’s menus to start the navigator. The HTC P3300 is sold in different packages, so make sure you get it with all the important accessories like car charger and mount.
Winner – mobiles with integrated GPS
HTC win this mini-duel. Premium package contains everything needed for automotive navigation systems, and you do not need to buy a subscription to get driving instructions. TomTom application is almost as fast as an all-in-one navigation and SiRFstarIII receiver has good sensitivity.
Navigator Package for Mobile
TomTom Navigator 6
TomTom Navigator software comes in many guises. Mobile has previously tested the brand’s all-in-one navigation devices and HTC mobile phone here next comes with preinstalled Tomtom. You can also buy Tomtom as accessories to your mobile phone – either in memory or on a DVD that you use to install the application on mobile. Tomtom works on newer phones with Series60, IQ, Windows Mobile or PalmOS and we have tested the application on the Nokia N80.
It is quick to install TomTom. With the memory card in the phone pops up on the navigator program menu and TomTom starts with a tour that shows the main features. TomTom’s own bluetooth gps comes with the package, but you can also use the recipients of other brands if for example you need an external antenna – one you can not connect to the TomTom GPS.
The program is simple, yet powerful. Graphics and animations are not real as fancy as the Garmin or Wayfinder, but in return there are more – and not least – more useful features. A favorite is the ability to enter the desired time of arrival and the program shows how long before or after the schedule I am.
TomTom offers a number of so-called plus features such as traffic information, weather, safety cameras and celebrity voices. It is possible to test the traffic free for a month and then the service will cost about 380 per year.
Most of the functions in Tomtom works well, but there are also shortcomings. The connection to the phone book, for example unbearably slow. If you want to navigate to one of your contacts – look up the address in the phone book first and then enter it manually in Tomtom. Tomtom delivered without holder – a major drawback if you want to quickly get started with navigation in the car.
Garmin Mobile 20
Most accessory kit comes with a small, separate bluetooth gps.Garmin has chosen a different path. Both GPS and bluetooth speaker / handsfree is housed inside the container – which, despite the built-in features are not especially clumsy. The benefits are great sound and everything is gathered. You may also connect the phone with an included power adapter to the cradle and charge the battery during the drive. On the minus side, we note that 20 Mobile-holder lacks both internal battery and socket for external antenna. With TomTom and Wayfinder you can stop bluetooth GPS in your pocket and navigate even on foot, but it is not possible with the Garmin Mobile 20. The program also seems to be locked to the Garmin hardware.
Installation is admirably simple. Just push the memory card in your phone and launch the program. The software called Garmin Mobile XT is very similar to the interface of the nüvi navigators. It takes quite a lot of memory – I had to close all other applications in the phone to start the navigator. Most of it is as I said downloaded directly from the brand’s all-in-one navigation devices, but Garmin has not failed to exploit the opportunities in mobile. There is support for traffic over the mobile internet and via Garmin Online service, you can also get weather forecasts, updated POIs and other information. You can also send your location or tips on interesting places to other Garmin users via SMS – a feature Garmin call PeerPoints.
Wayfinder Navigator 7
Wayfinder software works not only in smartphones but also in java mobiles. Just as in the Nokia N95 is loaded maps down as needed, so you do not need to install any large amounts of data on your phone or use a special card. However, you must pay for the data traffic – up to 300 Kbytes of data per hour of driving is normal according to the Wayfinder website. To reduce costs, you can pre-install maps via the website.
Version 7 of Wayfinder’s pretty fresh, but most of it is the same from version 6. Also new is the ability to night colors, and Wayfinder has also added new POI databases. To navigate with Wayfinder is simple.The mobile number keys have different functions; For example, zoom in and out with 5 to 0 and switch between different views with #. There is no option to add routes with multiple stops, but Wayfinder supports traffic and help you both avoid roadworks and keep track of speed cameras. Search capabilities are good in Wayfinder. You can either mark the beginning and end of your trip graphically on the map or search for locations and addresses. The program’s website MyWayfinder is very good. You can set the program on your mobile, plan trips and study maps. Then pulled out all the settings automatically from your phone via GPRS. The interface is simpler than the Garmin and TomTom, but on a mobile small screen need not be a disadvantage.
Bluetooth GPS that comes with high class and in the box there is also a simple universal mount for mobile.
Winner – accessories package
Garmin Mobile 20 will cost the most, but also the most opportunities with hands, a really good holder and a user-friendly software. Garmin Online service is brand new and it is difficult to predict whether it will be as good as TomTom plus services, as Garmin receives no fewer points in the category of functions.