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Reviewed - Navigon 2100 Max
Posté le 15 août 2008 à 12:02:25 par gpspassion.

Article written by Paul, moderator of our forums and experienced user of GPS Assisted Navigation, first on PocketPCs, then on AIOs and smartphones. If you have questions or comments you can use this topic in the forums.
MN|6 Software - TMC - Reality View - Lane Assist - Navteq - Nemerix NX3 Chipset

Note on the photographs: The Navigon has an excellent screen which is bright and easily read in bright sunlight. For some reason whenever I take a picture of the screen an incredible amount of glare shows up, even with the flash turned off. This glare is NOT present when you look at the screen. I don't understand the what is happening here, but rest assured that the Navigon screen is one of the best around.

The Unit: The unit is a thin, attractive, shiny package with a textured back.

The US-only maps are contained on an SD card that fits into the right side of the unit. No backup DVD is included. The only button is on the top, on/off, and a mini USB port is on the bottom.

There is a run-of-the-mill mount with a strong suction cup. Unfortunately power is not supplied through the mount and you have to plug and unplug the USB connector. The speaker is loud, but tinny. You don't want to run it at full volume as it distorts, but full volume isn't necessary in most cases.

The 2100 Max came with traffic enabled and with the Zagat's POI extra and we'll take a look at these in a moment. I don't intend to go through every screen, as all units do pretty much the same thing nowadays, but I'll cover the highlights that distinguish the Navigon from other units - and there are a number of these.

3D View: I have long been of the opinion that Navigon has one of the best, if not the best, 3D views in the business. There is something about the perspective they use that gives you a very clear view of the road ahead and makes it easy to take in the display at a quick glance. The color scheme has also been a favorite of mine. Here's another shot. You can see that Navigon has kept the distractions on the screen to a minimum and, again, it is easy to comprehend all the elements at a glance.

Note, also, the dual bar at the bottom. The top bar tells you the road you are on and the bottom one tells you the next road you will take. Nicely presented.

Finally: I remember sitting with Navigon at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, at CES a few years ago, and telling them that they needed a number of features to make it in the US market. At the time my reception was rather chilly. However, Navigon has now added some important features that they were previously lacking. (By the way, some of these pictures are a bit blurry, but I insist on using only shots taken while moving so I can see what is "really" happening to the unit, and how easy it is to get to the screens in question.)

Navigon was always able to block a road, as you can see above. But, far more important, it lacked the capacity to block and individual road and route around it. This is finally here:

Traffic The unit Navigon sent me has traffic enabled.

First the good news. The 2100 Max is the only traffic-enabled unit that will pick up a signal in my part of rural New Jersey. Every other traffic unit I've used has either no signal, or only a sporadic signal, out here. This is different if I drive closer to New York City, of course, but I was shocked to see how well the receiver worked out here. To make it even more impressive, the Navigon has its antenna in the charging cable, so you don't have any of those ugly wires and suction cups hanging onto your windshield. Good work, Navigon!

You can set traffic to show all traffic incidents, as above, or just ones on route, as shown below.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to get into any traffic jams so I couldn't test out its re-routing capability.

Now the bad news: Since I have a Dash, which uses real time traffic, I thought it would be interesting to compare both units over the 500 or so miles I put onto the Navigon. Here's the result: in both cases the units showed about the same traffic incidents. The Dash was not superior to the Navigon, despite its real time feature. In both cases, however, these reports bore little or no correlation to reality. Both of them were wrong all the time! This doesn't reflect on the units, just on the poor state of traffic reporting at the current time.

Zagats The Zagats POIs worked fine and showed me all the Zagats-rated restaurants in my area. You have the option to display them as POIs on the screen, but you can't click on the icon to get information about it. If you turn on Zagats in a place like New York City, which I did, there are so many of them that they essentially take over the screen! I must admit that I am of two minds about the usefulness of this feature. I'm not sure I would pay for it.

Reality View This is worth the price of admission! I must say that it really blew my mind. Driving from my house into New York City takes you through some of the most complicated intersections I've ever seen. Even though I've been doing it for over 30 years I sometimes make a mistake.

Reality view is so good that it is almost impossible to make a mistake. It is easy to follow and to take in at a glance. I found that it worked at every major intersection on the Interstates in this area. After driving for a while with this feature I feel deprived that my other units don't have it.

Coupled with Reality View is Lane Assist, which worked very well in telling me which lane I should be in. The two working together make driving in complicated situations much, much easier.

Where there was no Reality View, the unit threw up the appropriate exit information, as you can see above. Again, no glare was present when using the machine, only when I took the picture. The text to speech worked just fine and didn't have any glaring mispronunciations.

When routing, the 2100 Max will throw up an overall view of your route, as seen above. Routing and re-routing are fast and you have a couple of options when it comes to finding location, as you can see here:

There has been some criticism of Navigon's routing in the forums, but my testing on my usual routes showed that the 2100 routed just about the same as any of the other units that I have. Routing is tricky, however, and only long term testing can tell if it works well or not.

Conclusion If you get the impression that I really like the 2100 Max, you are correct. I like the display, the 3D view, the presentation and, most of all the Reality View coupled with Lane Assist. The last two make for an really enhanced driving experience. I don't like the menu system. Navigon has always had a confusing set of menus, with some functions only being available by tapping on the map screen. You get used to it after a while, but this really should have been sorted out by now. All menu items should be available in one place.

Navigon has come a long, long way from when they entered the US market via PDA-only and software which was sold by someone else. I'm looking forward to good things for the future.

If you have questions or comments, you can use this topic of the forums.

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