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Navigon MobileNavigator 7 review

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Summary

Our Score

8/10

Review Price free/subscription

A personal satellite navigation device is not an expensive proposition these days, with entry-level options available for under £100. But if you already own a capable smartphone with built-in GPS, don't need route guidance that often, or can't be bothered with yet another gadget, adding some software to your phone could make a more cost-effective and convenient alternative. Navigon has a potential contender in the shape of its MobileNavigator 7.

The app is available for Symbian S60 3rd Edition, or Windows Mobile 5, 6 and 6.1. Prices range from £59.99 with maps for a single country to £89.99 for the whole of Europe. These are all available for download from Navigon's website, and you can even try the software for 30 days before purchase. We put the Windows Mobile version with maps for ‘British Isles' through its paces. This includes the UK and Republic of Ireland, although we're not sure residents of the latter would be too pleased to be labelled British.

Installation requires a desktop PC. You can either pop out your smartphone's memory card, or switch the phone from ActiveSync to storage-only mode so it shows up as a removable drive. Loading the Navigon PC software then sets up the application installer on your storage, after which you can copy across the maps. However, the app isn't actually installed on your smartphone yet. For this, you need to pop the memory card back in the phone, or switch it back out of storage-only mode. The app will then be installed automatically after which it will be available for use.

When you first load the MobileNavigator app, you're led through choosing language, time display and distance formats. You will also need to activate the software if you bought it or start your trial. The trial version requires a working Internet connection each time the software is started, to check with Navigon's servers how many of the 30 days you have left. You are then faced with a similar screen to a standalone Navigon sat-nav device. The initial options include browsing the map, typing in a new location, an aggregation of saved addresses called My Destinations, or Services.

When entering an address, Navigon has switched from the tabbed interface of its standalone devices to a list-based approach, but the process is essentially the same. You either enter a full postcode, or drill down from city, to street, to house number. Annoyingly, you can't enter a house number with a postcode, which could be a problem if the latter refers to a long street, particularly if it's one-way.

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Lee Marshall

February 23, 2009, 4:45 pm

Is this compatible with WVGA screens as well or will it leave a black bar at the bottom?

James Morris

February 23, 2009, 4:59 pm

Navigon doesn't say, and I don't have a WVGA smartphone to test this on. The compatibility list is available here:





http://www.navigon.com/site/uk...





But if you have a WVGA smartphone, the free trial means you can check it out with no risk. Let us know if you find out either way!

Keithe6e

February 23, 2009, 6:30 pm

I'd be tempted if they came out with one for the IPhone, but saying that getting along nicely using googlemaps, :), yeah I know it's not turn by turn, but using it's tracking mode works pretty well.

Andy Vandervell

February 23, 2009, 7:10 pm

I used to think likewise, Keith, but these days with proper GPS devices going for less than 𧴜 I'm not sure it's worth it. Were it incorporate Live traffic updates ala the TomTom's, though, my view might be changed. ;)

Martin Daler

February 23, 2009, 7:21 pm

I don't suppose the other applications you mention in your summary is supposed to be an exhaustive list, but I would have thought Copilot7 would be worth a mention (it will do house numbers with postcodes for starters).

James Morris

February 23, 2009, 7:54 pm

Yes, CoPilot 7 is a very good alternative, and we liked it a lot when we reviewed it:





http://www.trustedreviews.com/...





However, there hasn't been a new version in quite a while now. The maps are a bit out of date and it lacks the latest bells and whistles like Lane Assistance, which is really very useful indeed.

Keithe6e

February 23, 2009, 10:24 pm

Like the OP pointed out, I'm one of those who doesn't fancy carrying yet another gadget around with me. And I see no reason why live traffic updates should not be part of it.

Martin Daler

February 24, 2009, 1:15 am

@James - CoPilot are a bit tardy with map updates - my own locale has had a new road shoved through it a in October, but even Navteq don't seem to have updated their data yet, so who knows when CoPilot will. Given that road building is a major civil engineering undertaking with much planning beforehand, I find it hard to understand how it can take longer to plot the road on a database than it does to carve it on the face of the earth.


On a better note, CoPilot does update its speedcamera database about every fortnight, for free (of course, the supporting road needs to be mapped first!).

James Morris

February 24, 2009, 2:31 am

@Keith I full expect live traffic to be integral to mobile phone-based sat-navs in the very near future - this is how HD Traffic gets its information, after all. So keep your eyes peeled!





@Martin Daler Yes, the free speed camera updates from CoPilot are an excellent feature, considering how much most manufacturers charge for this on an annual basis.

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