Address entry is also easier, and assisted by the fact that the layout of the screen is slightly different to the Navigon 5100’s. Instead of occupying half the screen, the Strada’s keyboard stretches across its full width and has large, easy-to-tap letters and numbers. You get a full, seven-digit postcode search, so finding where you want to go is a doddle, although the ‘voice command’ system isn’t very impressive – unlike the TomTom Go 720 it only works if you tag your favourite addresses in advance.
In terms of the rest of its performance, the Strada takes on board the positive features of the Navigon 5100 and improves on them. The roadblock and waypoint features are just as easy to get to – with a simple tap of the screen – but its route management and map browsing features are much improved, making it easier to add stops along the way without knowing the address. There’s lane assistance too, but again it’s implemented with considerably more panache here. Instead of occupying the whole screen, you get a considerably smaller set of arrows appearing just below the ‘car’ icon at the bottom of the screen.
Voice instructions, though a little delayed, also seemed more timely than the 5100’s and the excellent speaker makes it hard to miss instructions. It’s also nice that it’s polite, but there’s a practical advantage here too – somehow, the fact that the Strada says ‘please’ before most instructions makes you sit up and pay more attention.
And there are plenty of extras to play with too. Bluetooth means you can use the Strada as your hands-free speakerphone, and it’ll import all contact info from your phone too. I tried it on my TyTN II and it not only copied across my SIM card contacts, but also all 500+ Outlook contacts as well. Mighty impressive. There’s also a complete speed camera database for the whole of Europe, plus a picture viewer, and also 3D landmarks of famous places. As you drive past major landmarks such as St Paul’s in London or the Champs Elysée in Paris, up pops a 3D representation of it. It’s a nice feature to have, but more eye candy than useful navigational aid and not that comprehensive. The only places in London marked in this way are the aforementioned St Paul’s, Nelson’s column, Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, Big Ben (without the Houses of Parliament attached) the Albert Hall and Southwark Cathedral.