Novogo 700BT - iGo and Bluetooth
Here's a review of the Novogo S700BT AIO (All in One) by Marvin, a member of GpsPasSion since 2004 and experienced Laptop GPS user (he is an MS Streets and Trips MVP) who has also used the TomTom GO v1 and the Finedrive 400
Semsons.com was kind enough to lend a Novogo S700BT for
a couple of weeks. Here's a review based on my encounter with the unit.
Map & Routing – When I received this unit my main curiosity was about the map & routing quality.
The map data comes from TeleAtlas, a leading map data provider for some major
on-line map services, and for GPS devices the likes of TomTom, Mio, etc. Map
data by TeleAtlas is also being used by United States Department of
Transportation, UPS, and many others. The main competitor of TeleAtlas is Navteq
Corporation. A couple of years ago my personal experience with two different GPS
solutions based on TeleAtlas data was disappointing, but since then many users
of this forum have reported quite an improvement in TeleAtlas data quality.
After having driven with Novogo S700BT for a couple of weeks now, I can only
agree with others. I can no longer reproduce the bizarre routing of few years
ago, which was then attributable in many cases to map data errors.
Software - I was going to write about iGo, the software this unit is based on, but not that
long ago a Beta version was reviewed thoroughly by cgavula. He's familiar with
the software more than I will ever be, so here's the link: www.gpspassion.com/fr/articles.asp?id=209. Since the review there have been a few changes to the software, a few missing
features mentioned in his review have been added. The pictures in the review
depict a PDA in the portrait mode, this Novogo unit works in the landscape mode.
Other than that there are only minor differences in the GUI, so I'd say the
article is a required reading for people considering purchase of this unit :-)
Here are a few of my personal first impressions of the software:
* It lets users adjust quite a lot of settings. People who like to fine-tune
everything will like this. My concern is that not all settings can be accessed
from one central "Settings" button, but rather there are two (or more?) ways to
access "settings", but they bring a user to different options. I got lost in the
various menus on several occasions - being unable to locate an option which I
knew was there hidden someplace. But after one becomes familiar with it, all may
be just fine. But I'm afraid I'd opt for a simpler unit if I were to look for a
gift for an elderly person who may not be as technically inclined as most of us
who are reading these pages are.
* If you don't like the default Novogo color scheme, there are 10 other color
schemes to chose from. You WILL find one you like :-)
* Routing preferences can be set even based on the vehicle you are using: car,
taxi, bus, truck, emergency, pedestrian, or bicycle. You may then select
"Fastest", "Shortest", or "Economical". Each of the above also has a slider
control for fine-tuning settings between "Fast" and "Optimal". And finally,
there you may also specify if you wish to include or exclude unpaved roads,
highways, ferries, u-turns, roads which require permit, and toll roads.
* There are 26 languages and accents to select from.
The included manual in printed form is rather brief, but the unit has a built-in
manual. Most menu pages have a question mark in the top right corner. Tap the
question mark to access contextual help.
POI's - I've never been a big user of POI's. Occasionally I would look up a restaurant, a
nearest gas station, but seldom would I think of a GPS when I needed to know
where something else was. I would instead do a quick Internet search or phone
411 for assistance.
The GPS software that I use on a daily bases at work, and also the all-in-one
GPS navigation unit which my wife currently uses, they contain around one and a
half million of POI's. This NOVOGO unit has over 10 million of POI's. Once in
the past I used a laptop software which advertised to contain millions of POI's
as well, but the search engine implementation was bad and more often than not
the search results were irrelevant.
Novogo, for me personally, brings POI experience to a completely new, much
higher level. It can in many cases serve as a quick Yellow Pages substitute. Tap
"Find", then "POI", and then you may tap one of the presented categories and
subcategories. If you wish to keep it simple (and fast), then avoid navigating
through the levels of categories by selecting the "Search" button instead. Press
"Search" and type in what you are looking for. My daughter just suggested
searching for "Toys R Us". The Novogo S700BT didn't fail her test . The results
were within a fraction of a second on the screen. They are organized from the
geographically closest to our GPS location (but it is possible to search around
the destination point or around any other reference point).
Press the "Dial" button to telephone the business - if your phone supports
Bluetooth. Or press the "OK" button if you wish to drive there.
I've successfully searched for the types of businesses which in the past I
wouldn't even attempt to. The POI's are definitely the strong point of this
unit. Some categories don't have Canadian content, but most which I tried do.
For example I searched for the closest cemetery, but it appears the closest one
is south of the Canada/USA border - better stay healthy Canadians! ;-)
Here is the list of POI menus and sub-menus:
My POI: (this lists your own POI’s)
Transportation: Airport Terminals, Railroad Station,
Parking, Airport, Bus Station, Ferry Terminal, Rest Area
Entertainment: Amusement Park, Movie Theater, Night Life,
ZOO, Casino, Tourist Attraction
Services: Gas Station, Car Repair, Tourist Information, Car
Dealer, Car Rental, Post Office, Pharmacy, Bank, ATM, General
Shopping: Shopping Center, Other stores
Culture: Museum, Library, Convention
Center, Live Theatre, Cultural Center, Place of Warship, College/University,
Concert Hall, School
Sports / Recreation: Golf Course, Swimming Pool,
Fitness/Sport Center, Ice Skating Rink, Tennis Court, Stadium, Yacht Basin,
Beach, Park & Recreation
Food & Drink: Other Restaurant, Winery
Artificial Landmark: Cemetery
Emergency / Government: Hospital/Clinic, Dentist, Police
Station, Emergency Care, Veterinarian, Courthouse, Government Office, Border
Crossing, Fire Department
Lodging: Hotel/Motel, Campground/RV-Park
- In addition to all the functions an average person would expect a GPS device
to have, here are some Novogo S700BT features perhaps not found on some
* The ability to disable automatic off-route recalculation
* Automatic Day/Night colors at sunrise/sunset (or switch it manually)
* Routing optimized for Car, Taxi, Bus, Truck, Emergency, Pedestrian, or Bicycle
* Optimize stops in a multi-stop trip
* Bluetooth Hands-free Calling (didn't work with my wife's older model Bluetooth
is advertised as "3.5 inch super high brightness 300 nits anti-glare touch
screen LCD". The screen is bright, but I personally would rather use a bit more
conservative description because the wording "super high brightness" may
make some potential buyers expect a screen completely unaffected by the sun.
On the left is my wife's Fine Drive 400, which is a unit with a very bright
screen, and on the right is Novogo S700BT - not bad at all in the sunlight :-)
The speaker generates a loud and very clear sound.
The car suction mount is a very good and sturdy German made product.
The battery - I did three tests. I unplugged the car charger and looked
at the clock again when Novogo S700BT quit because of low power. The first time
it took just over 2 hours, the second time only an hour and a half, and the last
time it surprised me with two hours and thirty minutes. The testing was done
while on the road, with a route plotted, and with the brightness and sound
volume both set at maximum level. For me personally 1 1/2 hours of battery
capacity is sufficient time because I would use it always plugged in a car
charger anyway, and only occasionally I would remove the unit from the car to do
some trip planning in a hotel, etc.
To read more specifications, view a few more screenshots, and see the included
accessories, please visit http://www.semsons.com/nos7nasybhac.html
If you have questions or comments, you can use this thread of the AIO forums.