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Navigon MobileNavigator for Android - Navigon MobileNavigator for Android

By James Morris


Our Score


Review Price free/subscription

In transit, Navigon for Android behaves like Navigon’s standalone devices, offering a decent set of onscreen widgets. Lane Assistant Pro is on hand at multi-lane junctions, showing you which carriageways to be in so you make the right turn. At the most complex motorway junctions you also get Reality View Pro, which displays an even more lifelike depiction of the world around you, including the road signs to look out for as well as a clearer picture of the appropriate lanes to be in.

You don’t get any of the 3D landmark, panorama or city block additions of Navigon’s top-end models, but we’re still not convinced of their value anyway. Safety camera locations are included. These are represented by a pulsating red dot, with an onscreen icon telling you the current limit. You can also be warned whenever you stray above the limit, whether there's a nearby safety camera or not. MobileNavigator for Android includes real-time traffic updates, too. These are delivered over your mobile data connection, so won’t be available when there's no coverage. They also use the same data as RDS-TMC, and therefore only cover major roads. But the subscription is included in the price, so this will be traffic information you can use for the lifetime of your phone without paying any extra.

The display will switch automatically between portrait and landscape as orientation is detected by your accelerometer. However, our G1’s lack of an accelerometer meant that landscape mode was enabled by sliding out the keyboard, which wasn’t so useful. You can't switch to landscape mode manually, either.

MobileNavigator for Android also offers a true pedestrian mode, where the ‘next turning’ icon is replaced by a compass. This helps you get your bearings, but more novel is the Reality Scanner. This is essentially an augmented reality view, which harnesses your phone's built-in camera, and then superimposes a band over the image. This lists nearby POIs in the direction your camera is currently pointing, with an indication of type and distance. If you click on one of these, the full details of this POI will be displayed, so you can set up a route or phone the location.

However, we found enabling this mode could be a hit or miss affair, and if multiple POIs were bunched together, it could be quite hard to click on the right one first time. So whilst the Reality Scanner has plenty of potential, it needs an update or two before it comes into its own.


If you just want an occasional bit of assistance with your journeys, Google Maps Navigation will do the job for free. But if you need a few more features, and particularly if you plan on travelling in Europe, where mobile data roaming charges could be prohibitive, a standalone app with local maps makes a lot more sense. Navigon's MobileNavigator for Android is a little pricey, particularly when you consider the Western Europe version of TomTom for iPhone costs the same as the UK and Ireland version of MobileNavigator. But you can't get TomTom for Android yet, so MobileNavigator is worth considering, although we would recommend running it on a more recent handset than the G1 we used, for a more fluid interface.

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December 8, 2010, 1:11 pm

I used to have Navigon on an old Nokia Navigator - I'd be interested to know how good / otherwise the traffic updates are with Android, because with the Nokia I never seemed to get stuck in a jam at all.

James Morris

December 9, 2010, 2:02 am

@CodeMonkey It's hard to test traffic unless you use something for a few weeks. MobileNavigator certainly downloads the traffic updates pretty quickly and regularly, and I didn't get stuck in any unwanted jams during testing. But that's a pretty unscientific view! The RDS-TMC system can work well, but I've seen it miss some pretty major jams on other devices.


December 10, 2010, 3:02 am

google have just announced that google maps is changing from tile based maps, that you have to have a data connection for, to vector based ones that can be downloaded and used offline.

i think i read that the update is happening in the next few weeks. at which point satnav software from navigon, copilot et al is going to look v.expensive.

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