Elsewhere, the Navigon 2150 Max is highly competent. Its maps look better than TomTom’s – one of the few areas where the king of sat-navs is found lacking – with a colourful and wonderfully clear map display. Points of interest are displayed not with basic icons, but with brand logos. Texaco petrol stations are distinguishable from BP ones, for instance, and Burger Kings are distinct from McDonalds. A couple of quick taps on the screen and up pops a handy list of points of interest on your route, displayed in order of their proximity to your current position.
The next turning indication is excellent: it pops up at the bottom left of the map display and displays up to two turnings into the future. And Navigon’s superb lane assistance feature, dubbed Lane Assistant Pro, is also in evidence. On most multi-lane roads, including dual carriageways and non-A roads this displays a translucent overview of the road on the right hand side of the screen with the lane (or lanes) you need to be in overlaid in orange. It’s a very effective system, and represents one area of superiority over TomTom’s Go 730.
It’s augmented by another lane assistance feature – Reality View Pro. At major motorway junctions this replaces the whole screen momentarily with a three-dimensional graphical representation of the upcoming junction, complete with indication arrows to show you which way to go. It’s a bit of a gimmick, to be honest, and doesn’t add an awful lot to the moving map and standard lane assistance view.
Ease of use is second to none. Address entry is swift and simple, with predictive results and full postcode entry. Browsing the map to add interim waypoints is straightforward, and bringing up a quick route overview is as easy to do as it is with a TomTom.
Performance is also good. Route calculation is generally sound, though it did come up with a couple of strange results, directing me around the back streets close to my house, where other sat-navs choose a slightly longer route with fewer sharp corners and tight junctions. Furthermore, the voice instructions are about as clear as you could want. Even in a noisy cabin at motorway speeds, they were easy to hear. The speed-triggered volume adjustment works well here, pumping the volume up when you hit a predefined speed and dropping it back down after.
The instructions are delivered in good time, and there’s also text-to-speech, which helps in situations where you don’t want to take your eyes off the road to glance at the screen.