Review: Navigon 70 Premium Live

Published: February 15, 2011 11:00 PM
By Fabien Pionneau
Translated by: Sam McGeever
The Navigon 70 Premium Live sat nav isn't happy with just offering a wide range of basic features—it also sports just the kind of online services that we'd expect from a top-of-the-range product.  Let's see if it can deliver on its promises ...

Hardware: large screen and a bigger stand

It might not slide into your pocket very easily—it's almost six inches long and three across—but that form factor allows Navigon to give the 70 Premium Live a large 5'' display (480 x 272 pixel) whose matte surface makes it easy to read.  The screen is bright enough, though far from exceptional.

The display uses resistive touchscreen technology, meaning you have to press it gently to control the device.  It's sensitive enough to register your input with a simple tap.

Despite Navigon's attempts to bill the 70 Premium Live as a high-end offering, it does exactly have a top-quality finish.  Tough plastic doesn't exactly bring luxury to mind, even if it is well-made.  However good it looks, though, the Navigon 70 Premium Live can't hope to rival TomTom's GPS, which are much better in this regard.

Alongside 4 GB of internal memory, there's a mini-USB port and a microSD card reader, meaning you can use your own cards.

Navigon SupportThe suction cap mount seems to be a step in the wrong direction and is much larger than the current crop from Navigon's rivals.  It's so bulky that we'd be tempted to leave it in the car, even though that means either making a crime more likely or taking up room in the glovebox.  That's reinforced by the fact that it's hard to install—and even harder to remove.

Navigon hasn't bothered to include an active mount, so the power cable connects directly to the 70 Premium Live, rather than its stand.  Other manufacturers have developed more practical solutions for keeping their sat navs in place, so we'll just have to console ourselves with the fact that it's pretty solid.

Design and build: simple but not very welcoming

Despite an ARM processor running at 533 MHz, the Navigon 70 Premium Live still takes almost forty seconds to start up: eight times longer than the TomTom GO LIVE 1000 which uses similar hardware.  Once it's working, it usually manages to pick up a satellite signal relatively quickly and gets a fix in under a minute in most cases.

Fortunately, the interface is much smoother when you get going and we particularly like the fact it puts the device into standby once you reach your destination and leave the vehicle.  It then remembers where you've parked and switches into pedestrian mode.  If you're struggling to find a space, the Clever Parking Live feature provides updates on spaces at nearby car parks, opening times and prices, something that can be very handy if you're heading into town for the sales!

The predictive text works well, and any letters that don't feature in any of the possible place names are greyed out, making the remaining choices easier to spot.  Auto-complete suggestions are visible straight away and allow you to pick your destination without typing the entire place name.

Navigon 70 Premium Live
Main menu
Navigon 70 Premium Live Text input


The Navigon 70 Premium Live also has voice recognition which works pretty well when you're using it to adjust settings in the menu.  On the other hand, it—along with its rivals—struggles with more complicated tasks like street names.

To make sure there are enough Points of Interest to keep you busy, the 70 Premium Live relies both on content from the Michelin Guide and Google Local Search.  You can find lots of businesses without knowing the exact address and look for nearby restaurants, shops and so on.  The only thing that's missing is a Yellow Pages style directory of individuals.

Navigon 70 Premium Live
  Voice recognition interface
Navigon 70 Premium Live Finding an address or POI


The menus are simple and clear, but can sometimes seem unwelcoming.  Although we don't want to suggest Navigon adds useless visual clutter that makes navigating harder, it would have been nice to have a little more colour and a few icons in the text-only menus.  In a similar vein, flipping from one page of options to another is quite time-consuming as you have to rely on two small arrows.  The good news is that, once you've set it up, you're not likely to need to spend much time in the menus, especially as a Home button brings up the main menu and offers direct access to the main features, including the Live services.

Navigon 70 Premium Live
Live Services
Navigon 70 Premium Live Navigation with the shortcuts visible


When you're driving, the route to follow is clearly indicated, and the screen has a proximity sensor which detects your hand as it comes close.  All of the optional icons—nearby POIs, volume and so on—are usually hidden to allow you to focus on the route, but they appear as if by magic as you bring your hand towards the display.  It's very clever!

Route guidance: everything you need

It's hard to think of what's missing on the Navigon 70 Premium Live.  It has automatic lane assistance, a 3D display that's sensitive to height, mock-ups of the signs to look out for, route stage managements, extra itineraries, TMC announcements and speed alerts to name just a few of the great features ...
Navigon 70 Premium Live
  Note: this is a mock-up from another version of the Navigon 70 Premium which doesn't have the Live features but does have a metal trim.  The interface is the same.
 

It also offers several Live features, including real-time traffic updates over and above those offered by TMC.  They're accurate, but not yet as complete as the ones available in TomTom's HD Traffic system.  You can also activate alerts for fixed and mobile speed cameras, as well as create your own alerts.

There's a short pause in between the voice navigation telling you which direction to take and the text-to-speech system reading out the name of the road to follow, making it seem a little stilted.  The speaker often sounds saturated.  We should also point out that the instructions for roundabouts are a little basic: "take the third exit" is usually all you get.  Other GPS explain which direction you will end up facing AND which exit to take, which is much easier: "turn left: take the third exit".

Navigon 70 Premium Live

For some towns, buildings and tourist sights have been modelled in 3D.  We didn't really find it that great: all of the gains realism and recognisable landmarks are cancelled out by a confusing display, despite careful use of transparent effects.

Navigon's custom MyRoutes technology allows users to pick out alternative itineraries for different days of the week and up-to-date traffic information, like TomTom's IQ Routes and HD Traffic.  For any two points, the Navigon 70 Premium Live suggests three different routes shown in different colours.  It's fast and easy and avoids complicated manual operations to tweak routes yourself.

Navigon 70 Premium Live
  Note: this is a mock-up from another version of the Navigon 70 Premium which doesn't have the Live features but does have a metal trim.  The interface is the same.

To make its routing information more reliable, Navigon allows users to submit feedback via MyReport, the equivalent of TomTom's Map Share feature.  You can use it to point out changes and new features.

Extra Features: Bluetooth, petrol prices, wea

As well as its purely navigation-based features, Navigon has included some extras to make the Navigon 70 Premium Live even more useful.  The sat nav can give you information about concerts and events in your destination, more general tourist information and weather information.

Hospitals, police stations and so on are clearly marked, as are petrol prices.  There's also a pedestrian mode.

Navigon 70 Premium Live
Event listing
Navigon 70 Premium Live Making a call


Like any decent high-end sat nav, there's a hands-free Bluetooth kit that can handle two mobiles at once.  Helpful shortcuts make it easy to use, an it's a great way to take a call without taking your eyes off the road.

The only thing that we're left wishing we had is an FM transmitter to be able to send audio from the sat nave to the car's speakers.
4/5 Navigon 70 Premium Live DigitalVersus 2011-02-16 00:00:00

Pros

  • Wide range of features
  • Clear, complete instructions
  • Lots of POIs from Google Local Search and the Michelin Guide
  • Bluetooth supports two separate mobiles
  • Large screen with a matte finish

Cons

  • Screen mount is bulky and doesn't carry power
  • Rather average finish quality
  • Too many on-screen alerts

Conclusion

The Navigon 70 Premium Live doesn't just point you in the right direction, it also gives you plenty of help along the way. The Live services provide more detailed information about real-time conditions and search information, which helps save even more time.

OUR SCORE 4/5
ADVERTISING