Hardware and finish: wide screen, high-end finishOut the box, the Navigon 92 Premium Live impresses with its high-end smartphone feel. The glass plate that covers the screen and extends to the edges is surrounded with a chrome frame, giving this device a resolutely modern line. The plastics are of high quality and the fittings are good. Just four screws are visible on the back of the device.
Overall it looks less imposing than the TomTom GO LIVE 1005, which however is the same size. It weighs 66 grammes less than its competitor.
The suction mount is however much bigger than the one used on the TomTom and will be difficult to carry around. It’s best to leave it fixed to the windscreen. Unfortunately, Navigon hasn’t built a power supply into the mount and you therefore have to link the cigarette lighter socket up to the GPS, which isn’t very practical, or at least a lot less practical than the magnetic solution TomTom uses. Putting the sat nav onto the support and removing it is thankfully pretty easy.
As this is a connected model, a SIM card slots into the left hand side of the device and there’s a Micro SD port on the underside - useful for adding maps for other countries.
While we’re on the subject of maps, we like the fact that you get free map updates for two years, though for the price Navigon are asking, they could have given us updates for life!
The speaker delivers decent sound. Sufficiently audible and powerful, it does however saturate rather fast. The GO LIVE 1000 and 1005 do much better.
To finish up on the hardware, the 5-inch screen is a nice display and comfortable to use thanks to its width. This is a great improvement on a 4.3-inch screen. The maximum brightness is sufficient for use in full sunlight but legibility does suffer as a result of the fact that the screen is glossy and susceptible to reflections.
Design: a nice interface that unfortunately lacks responsiveness
This sat nav takes over 40 seconds to come on. This is long but not as long as a TomTom that has been off for several days (59 seconds). Thankfully, standby mode means you can reduce waiting time to under 5 seconds (TomToms do just as well). Satellite reception takes another minute plus – this depends on where the sat nav is and how the satellites are positioned – as does the GSM network for the Live services.
The Navigon Flow interface has been well designed and is easy to use. It splits into five screens which cover the main features. You move from one screen to the next as you would with a smartphone, by sweeping your finger across the screen. From left to right you’ll find the screen for phone calls, another which groups all the icons for finding a journey, going home or starting the vocal command function, then the main navigation screen with the current itinerary, the settings screen and finally the Live services.
There’s a shortcut bar at the bottom so you can move to the screen you’re looking for simply by pressing the corresponding icon. In practice we prefer using this system as it's actually more practical than scrolling down the screen with your finger (see inset).
Thankfully, the sat nav itself is sufficiently rapid to give decent navigation through the menus. Entering addresses is rapid and there’s a good predictive text system.
Apart from searching for points of interest, the 92 Premium also has Google Local Search, which helps you to find places by name without knowing the exact address. The only thing that's missing is a Yellow Pages style directory of individuals.
As with other high-end sat navs, Navigon also has voice recognition. Unfortunately however, this system, like those of its rivals, struggles to work properly. Address recognition is a bit better but can be annoying when the sat nav doesn’t recognise everything in a single go. The voice commands to activate the different options are thankfully more convincing and we like the journey validation by choice of number (the sat nav calculates several journeys each time). The only thing missing is being able to start the voice recognition system without having to press on a button as Garmin does on its devices.
We’re still some way off an efficient all-round voice recognition system that matches up to what you get on Android smartphones or with Siri from Apple.
Route guidance: Live traffic info in action
The main advantage of having connected services on your sat nav is the traffic information. Navigon understands this and supplies its own Traffic Live service. Comparable to TomTom’s HD Traffic, it also benefits from information transmitted by all Navigon GPS users connected to live services. When drivers find themselves in a jam, their position is sent to the Navigon servers that analyse the information and transmit it to other connected Navigon sat navs.
In practice, our tests showed that the Navigon system isn’t yet as precise as HD Traffic but the difference is coming down. We're continuing to test the different systems with sat navs installed in the same vehicle so that we can monitor the situation over time.
What is more of a problem is the way traffic information is only displayed in the form of a list. This isn’t all that practical and a more detailed display with visualisation on a 2D map would give the user a better idea of the surrounding traffic. When a bottleneck is detected on the journey underway, a small message appears to tell you how long it lasts and how far away it is. Sometimes you’ll be able to avoid the jam by taking an alternative route suggested by the sat nav.
The 2nd screen suggests shortcuts.
In addition to the improved traffic info, you get lane assistance, text-to-speech which announces road names and mock-ups of speed signs with a warning when you exceed the limit. Speed camera alerts have been replaced by alerts for dangerous areas and this works very well. The sat nav even warns you about the approach of pedestrian crossings in towns to improve vigilance.
Navigon has also included 3D mock-ups of buildings in large towns, which as far as we can see is a gadget as much as anything. The 3D display of roads is a good deal more useful. We much prefer the practical features such as the three shortcuts that are displayed when you press on the screen. By default, you get a display of the distance to a car park, service station and a restaurant straight off.
The MyReport technology is based on the same principle as IQ Routes, used by TomTom and Mio. It calculates your journey according to driving preferences, and the time, day and week of your trip. Each time a journey is calculated the MyReport option is displayed among the three possible journeys. It’s up to you to choose which one suits you best.
Just as TomTom has MapShare, so Navigon has MyReport, allowing you to correct any errors in maps yourself. Note, we have found fewer errors with Navteq than TeleAtlas, but it does seem to vary from one area to another.
Finally, the vocal instructions are clear and precise. They’re given by a woman’s voice (no man’s voice available) which does however still sound a bit false. The pronunciation is more synthetic than on the TomTom models.
Extra features: 2 telephones connected via Bluetooth and LiveAs 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. There’s also a fuel price service to help you get the best deals.
There’s a pedestrian mode in addition to the route guidance and this can be very practical for the last few metres between a car park and your final destination.
Like any decent high-end sat nav, there's a hands-free Bluetooth kit that can handle two mobiles at once. In spite of a slight hiss, the quality is fine.