Convergence seems to be affecting all handheld devices with a touchscreen. From PMPs to gaming consoles and satellite navigation systems, it’s pretty likely that your smartphone – whether ‘Berry, Apple or Gingerbread flavoured – would be able to do a passable impression of gaming, music playback or getting you from A to B. And indeed if you have modest needs, then dedicated systems are not for you. However, there is something to be said for focus, be it the dedicated horsepower of a gaming console (Sony’s NGP looks particularly hard working), the storage capacity of a PMP or the increased functionality of a sat-nav.
Navigon, a leading German brand sent us an Easy 40 to review, to see if we would prefer navigating with it to just winging it with a smartphone (although they also make some pretty full features smartphone software). Out of the box the unit is as expected, small, black and solid feeling plastic. I could accidentally drop it without worrying too much. The Windows CE based 4.3 inch touchscreen is thin and light and pops onto the windscreen with no trouble. But that’s the least I expect. So what’s it like to drive with?
Navigon also have a lovely little sightseeing function built in. Although this only has the sites you’d expect, when you are in an unfamiliar locale it can be reasonably helpful. It also can provide a little historical detail (I’m a born and bred Londoner and even I can’t tell you what half these buildings are). And I can think of countless times when the opening times function would have been a Godsend.
Other useful features included the Last Mile, that takes from where you park to where you actually want to be and will also help you navigate back to the car. You can also customise the places of interest so it will show you museums or service stations along the way – if you are really into service stations that is.
The Navigon Easy 40 is £130 or so from Amazon and is both feature packed enough to interest a serious motorist over the casual user and reliable enough to take on the more established brands (in the UK at least) of Garmin or TomTom.