- Review Price: £99.99
It’s always nice when the underdog wins. That’s the beauty of watching sport, especially football’s FA Cup – occasionally, just occasionally, a team of part-timers comes a long and bloodies the nose of one of the Premiership’s big boys. Take Liverpool last year: when they came up against a Havant & Waterlooville, everyone said “Havant who?” and expected the Reds to run out easy winners. They did, in the end, but not before being given the fright of their lives. Havant took the lead twice in the first half, going 1-0 up through a Richard Pacquette header, before being pegged back, then edging in front once more through Alfie Potter before eventually losing 5-2.
That’s what Navigon did recently with its 2110 Max. With an excellent mapping engine, simply superb lane assistance tool and all-round excellence, it bloodied the nose of TomTom’s sat-navs to such an extent that we felt it deserved a Recommended award. Can the cheaper 2100 do the same?
The 2100 is essentially the bottom of the Navigon range. The maps are regional – just UK and Ireland included rather than the whole of Europe as with the 2110 Max – and the screen is a much smaller 3.5in compared to the 4.3in of the 2110 Max.
The main thing missing from this cheaper unit, however, is the wonderful Lane Assistant Pro. That means it doesn’t provide minor road lane assistance, which is a shame, but you do still get standard lane assistance, which works well, indicating which lane you should take on motorways and A-roads.
Address entry is fiddlier too. Strangely, when entering addresses, the keyboard occupies just half the small screen, with the different elements of the address you need to fill in displayed on the left-hand side. It’s a rather inefficient use of screen real estate and it makes entering addresses a lot more difficult than it should be. The 2110 Max had a full-screen keyboard and the 2100 would have benefited even more from the same approach.
It’s immediately clear, then, that the Navigon 2100 is not quite the accomplished sat-nav that the 2110 Max is. But start using it and you’ll discover there is more than meets the eye. It looks as good as its bigger brother, though, all clad in glossy black plastic, and it slips into a pocket much easier thanks to the smaller screen. And the Navigon 2100 also retains Navigon’s trademark Reality View, which displays a static ‘realistic’ graphic of major motorway junctions before you arrive at them. I’d sooner turn this off, though, as I already know vaguely what a motorway junction looks like.
Elsewhere, it has a surprisingly comprehensive feature set for its £100 price. Though there’s no Bluetooth for hands-free operation, you do get a TMC receiver built in – it’s an elegant solution, too, with the aerial integrated into the lighter socket power cable so no need to have wires draped in an unsightly manner around the edge of your windscreen. The downside is that in order to access TMC traffic information you have to pay an extra £40, upping the price by a whopping 40%.
More impressively, you get speed camera warnings installed as standard. It took me a while to figure out that you have to delve into the menu settings and read a disclaimer notice before the option becomes available, but it’s still an unusual inclusion in a sat-nav this cheap.
Plus, there’s text-to-speech for numbered roads and motorways, and the 2100 also has the excellent Navigon mapping engine and route-planning tools of its bigger brother. The maps are clean and extremely clear: your route is marked in bright orange over grey, with realistic – rather than simply conceptual – next-turn icons displayed on the left. POIs such as petrol stations and restaurants are indicated with brightly-coloured, occasionally-branded POI icons. Voice instructions are delivered in timely fashion and, with traditional Navigon politeness – a “please” is always inserted before “turn left” or “make a U-turn”.
The next-turn icons are particularly good. Not only do they seem to provide an accurate overhead view of the upcoming junction, but if two turnings are close together, both appear on-screen with the following turning displayed in a slightly smaller graphic just above the first. Plus, when approaching the junction, a small progress meter is displayed that shows how close you’re getting. You can also tap the icon to have the voice instructions repeated.
Another brilliant feature is the map browse and route planning tool. Tap the magnifying glass icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen and you’re taken directly into map browse mode. From here you can zoom in and out quickly, get a quick overview of the whole route, pan about by dragging your finger and add points to your route quickly and easily. It’s fantastically simple – and even better than TomTom’s more round-about way of doing it.
You don’t get PC software as good as TomTom Home with the Navigon, and there’s no Mapshare facility that allows you to share in other users’ map corrections for nothing. However you do get free map updates for a year with a refresh once every three months, which means even where major roadworks alter road layouts dramatically, your sat-nav should be able to keep up.
But it’s not all good news. Despite the fact that the Navigon 2100 has a SiRFstarIII chip on board, which ought to provide quick satellite locking and reliable position display, the Navigon 2100 manages to somehow stuff things up. This device seems quicker to lock onto a position than its the 2110 Max was – I never had to wait too long for it to get up and running – but it did struggle to maintain a solid signal in built-up areas.
On one of my test routes, which traverses London from north east to south west, it became seriously confused around Blackfriars Bridge: it asked me to perform a U-turn when none was possible, the icon representing my current position started to point in random directions, and it repeatedly recalculated the route for no apparent reason until I emerged into more open space.
For all that, the Navigon 2100 is still a very competent sat-nav. It’s not perfect by any means, with fiddly address entry and the occasional satellite signal drop-out, but for £100 it’s a very competent, usable navigation system.
With speed camera information (plus the potential for TMC traffic info), and an excellent mapping engine, some very nice route planning tools and a comprehensive POI database, if you’ve £100 to spend on a sat-nav system, you won’t go far wrong with this.
And though it may occasionally be a little unreliable in very built up areas, for 99 per cent of the time you’ll probably not be driving through forests of skyscrapers.
Score in detail
|Screen Size (inches) (Inch)||3.50 in|
|General Features||Voice Prompt|
|Battery life (Hour)||3.50 Hour - Lithium ion batteryhr|
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