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With the rise and rise of phone-based GPS navigation, dedicated devices are facing increased competition every day, especially at the lower end of the market. And you can see why: it's a tough ask to squeeze all the hardware necessary plus mapping into a device at a price that looks attractive when your competitors at the bottom end of the market are able to offer just the software and throw in maps of the whole of western Europe for under 100 quid.
Yet despite all that, there are still advantages to going with a dedicated sat-nav PNA (personal navigation assistant) instead of a GPS-equipped phone with software, as Navigon's latest mid-range system, the 5100 proves. One of the key advantages of a dedicated sat-nav is that important hardware is fine-tuned. You invariably get a larger screen, for instance. There aren't many smart phones that have a screen as large as the 3.4in one the 5100 has, a feature that makes road layouts easier to see and on-screen buttons easier to press.
The 5100's screen is not the only advantage to going with a PNA over a phone, however. With a dedicated device such as this, you get a speaker that's been tuned for in-car use, rather than the puny one you often get on a smartphone, and a windscreen mount that's normally a lot more solid than your average phone holder. The long, sweeping arm-like structure that pins the Navigon 5100 to your windscreen is certainly that, and it also has a unique rotating locking mechanism that attaches it to the end of the arm, ensuring it's never going to pop out of its cradle when you hit a big pothole in the road.
But the 5100 doesn't stop there. Another advantage it offers over PDA or phone navigation is an integrated TMC receiver. This receives traffic incident information over FM and it does so pretty successfully too, without the need for extra messy wires dangling all over the dashboard. The fact that the TMC service in the UK isn't great, though, puts a dampener on the overall appeal of this function.
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