Review: Navigon Mobile Navigator 7
After building some of the best dedicated navigation systems of the last year, the arrival of Navigon’s Mobile Navigator software for smartphones is more than welcome
After building some of the best dedicated navigation systems of the last year, the arrival of Navigon’s Mobile Navigator software for smartphones is more than welcome. Available on S60 and Windows Mobile phones, the software offers an exciting range of features that bring PND-style functionality to a phone.
Navigon have decided to embrace the download revolution with the launch of Mobile Navigator 7 for the Symbian platform. Whilst the downloads themselves range from 280Mb for the UK & Ireland version and 2.1GB for the European software, the speed of modern broadband will soon make short work of the files. Impressively the software is free to try for two weeks, and if you decide not to activate the software after the trial ends the navigation element becomes disabled but you can still see the map view for free.
For testing we used a Nokia N73 alongside a Bluetooth SiRF-Star III receiver, but the software will work on virtually all Symbian S60 phones (3rd edition), including the current ranges with built-in receivers.
Installation was simple thanks to the step-by-step wizard, however once installed to your card/device you will need a data connection to activate the trial version and also to download weather, TMC or camera updates, but other than that operation is stress free.
The main interface is geared up nicely for the Symbian platform with menus that are easy to view and navigate using the phones d-pad and surrounding buttons. Entering destinations also provides a few options, so you can access your phones internal contacts, favourites, browse to destinations sent from other Navigator 7 enabled phones or you can utilise the standard address inputs for entering POI searches, postcodes, street names, that sort of thing.
With the latter you can type parts of a street, postcode or city and the software calculates the closest matches and displays a list of result for you to choose from. This method can certainly speed up the typing process but our only real concern was that the software did not seem to find our full postcode.
Before or during your journey you can bring up an options menu which displays rows of small icons alongside their keypad shortcuts, the latter allows you to quickly change views, adjust your route info (small directional aids), gain traffic info (if you’ve subscribed) or send your current position via SMS, the list goes on.
Whilst driving both the standard 2D and 3D views work really well on the smaller screen and provided enough directional aids without creating a distraction.
So for example you have a bar at the base showing which road you are heading to, an accurate speed warning symbol, POI, real-signpost information and a countdown icon with a small arrow indicating the next turn, the latter can even be used as view on its own (schematic view) making it ideal for those with really small screens.
Initial route calculations were relatively quick, re-calculation of routes nippy, tracking accurate and voice guides, though basic, were pronounced clearly.
However not all features are overflowing as standard, for example you can’t dial POI numbers directly, you will need to pay extra for a safety camera/TMC subscriptions and apart from the route overview/map location view you won’t find dedicated trip planners or route simulators.
But you will be able to activate a true pedestrian profile that can calculate routes along small lanes, narrow paths or pedestrian-only zones, so it’s not just restricted to main roads.
Once a route is plotted your view is set to a zoomable 2D map that contains the surrounding street names, a circle with an arrow showing your current heading, where you need to go to and the distance to your destination. A coloured path will also be drawn highlighting your chosen route, but unlike the car navigation you won’t find spoken voice directions or automated route re-calculations, instead you are free to wander off to do your own thing, with the software marking your progress as you go with a green line.
Anytime you want to go back on route you can simply follow the visual pointers or if you go too far off course a simple press of the re-calculate shortcut key will re-draw you a new route – in use it works really well.
As it stands Mobile Navigator 7 offers a quality navigation experience for both car drivers and pedestrian users alike, with a handy try before you buy option thrown in for good measure.
Operating system: Symbian S60 3rd Edition
Map coverage: UK & Ireland
Overall verdict: 8
Review originally published in Smartphone & PDA Essentials magazine. Words by Brett James.
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