The Navigon even has voice recognition. You get the ball rolling from the initial screen using your fingers, and then enter a destination by city, street name and number. As long as the background noise is low and continuous (so engine sounds are fine, but not radio), the recognition works fine, if you speak clearly. But it only covers address entry, so isn’t as all encompassing as the systems included in TomTom’s GO x40 LIVE range or the Garmin nuvi 860. It will be useful at most for entering an address whilst you put your seatbelt on, but stops well short of true hands-free operation.
So, overall, the 7210 has the major features you would expect for a device at this price. But, unfortunately, its most significant feature is the interface. This is a little clunky and not as polished as other mainstream sat-nav brands. If you enter a postcode, you can’t then define the house number in the street this refers to – you will just be routed to the mid-point of the road.
The 4.3in, 16:9 touchscreen can be a little reluctant to register finger presses, too, and we also couldn’t find a way to switch the onscreen keyboard from alphabetical to QWERTY. So if you’re more comfortable with the latter you will find yourself hunting around for the right letters.
On the plus side, as you add letters, your choice is narrowed down to the characters which are still available from the possible address choices. It’s bit like predictive text on a mobile phone, except of course you can’t make up addresses. So only destinations which actually exist are included. This does speed entry, making up a little for the lack of QWERTY.
We also had some trouble hooking up the Navigon’s Bluetooth to a Motorola mobile phone. It took a number of attempts to pair them together, after which it proved quirky in operation. Although Bluetooth can be quite quirky in general, dialling numbers didn’t seem to work at all on the 7210. But we could pick up incoming calls and use it as a speakerphone kit.