TomTom has turned itself from small fish into the doyen of the sat-nav industry over the past few years. And it has achieved this position through producing solid, easy-to-use products that work impeccably. What's more, every time it launches a new device, it ups the ante. Its next range of devices - the x40 range – is set to raise the bar even higher, by including Google lookup, built-in mobile data connection and a super-accurate traffic avoidance system.
It's a tough act to follow, but one company that seems to be trying harder than most to compete is German company Navigon with a series of new products launched this year. The latest is its 2150 Max – a mid-range product with full European maps and a price that pitches it directly against the TomTom Go 730.
Its vital statistics certainly seem to match the TomTom's, and even better it in some ways. It's a slimmer device for starters: it's just 19mm thick, which means it's easier to stow away in a pocket or bag. And yet it boasts the same large 4.3in, 480 x 272 resolution touch screen.
A quick glance through the specifications reveals an equally impressive line-up of features. As well as full European mapping for 40 countries, you get Bluetooth for making and receiving phone calls hands-free, there are speed camera alerts preinstalled, plus TMC traffic capability. Neatly, the receiver is built into the unit, and the aerial is combined with the car charger cable, cutting down on cabin clutter. This also makes the system much easier to pack away at the end of a journey – a boon for anyone living in an area where leaving evidence of a sat-nav visible in your car overnight is an invitation for a smashed window the next morning.
It's an elegant solution, though it's worth noting that in order to activate traffic alerts in the UK you have to pay an additional £40 (this gets you a lifetime subscription). That's a bit mean, not to mention inconvenient, especially when you consider that TomTom's traffic enabled devices come with that subscription included and ready to go.