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Navigon - Droid X product review - 1st trip

bevelsport 0 Points
edited November -1 in NAVIGON Forum
This past weekend, my wife and I traveled from Murphy NC to Memphis for a bit of Booze, Blues and BBQ. This was our first trip using the Droid X and its navigation apps. I wanted to compare those apps (Navigon, Google Maps and Navigation) with my Garmin ZUMO 550 as a backup. It was a real learning experience. Here is what we found. All of these comment are focusing on the Navigon app.

It was a mixed review-
Likes –
Graphics –
• They are the best.
• Very easy to decipher with a quick glance, pleasing to the eye, and informative.
• They are really good while negotiating twisties. They give you an accurate representation of the tightness of upcoming turns.
• This really works when running fast on those roads. There are no surprises with unexpected decreasing radius turns etc.

Data Presented –
• The display of posted speed limits on the screen for most roads is a great help.
• The ability to choose a “over the speed limit” warning level (visual and audio if you like) is really cool.
• The boxes that inform you of the configuration of your next course change are spot on and very accurate.
• The course change graphic as you get to within a ½ mile of the change is fantastic. It is almost impossible to **** up. (that language is unacceptable here, -Mod)
• The optional routes presented before the actual execution of the guidance is a great feature. On most of the destinations we programmed in, we had at least two possible routes. In some cases there were three. They were complete with color coded graphic representation, the mileage, and projected time to destination.
• The ability to choose automatic re-routing around real-time traffic delays is very helpful. It recognized that travel into downtown Memphis would be impacted by the St. Jude Marathon running on Saturday. Because of the extent of the course, good detours were not offered in this case. In another instance, it did re-route us around Nashville because of Sunday construction on I40. Way Cool.
• The ability to fine tune route defaults is easy and very flexible.

Dislikes –
Sound –
• Does not integrate with Bluetooth.
• It does allow for voice commands like Google Maps does.
• The volume generated by the program is much weaker than all other apps on the phone.
• In order to hear verbal route instructions all other audio functions in the car have to be turned off.
• Even hard wiring the phone speaker output to the aux port on the car audio system did not help. In order to get usable volume out of the app, the radio volume had to be turned up to level 44. The normal audio settings for all radio functions are between 15 and 25.
• This is clearly unacceptable. If it were not for the great graphics and visual directions, the app would have been barely usable.

On the Road Controls –
• It’s a phone so it can be expected to be a bit more challenging.
• It is, especially for us old guys with weaker eyes, more of a challenge. Driving and programming is almost out of the question. (Unlike the Garmin ZUMO (550).
• The factory (Motorola) dash mount is quite good but it still places the unit (at least in a Pious) too far away for easy “arms length” adjustment.

Data Presented
• The POI’s are decent but a bit restrictive.
• It offers layers of categories. This is cool. Unfortunately, while the full database is decent but actually pretty restrictive. There is very limited ability to search. If it ain’t in the database, you’re out of luck.
• Here is where Google Maps kicks major ass. With the Droid, when the phone is mounted in the dash mount, I can do a verbal search from the main “Auto Mode” menu. It will search the web (using Google Search or my contact list if I want it to). It will then offer to give me directions using Google Maps GPS system or VZ Navigator to the place it finds. We used it to find particular restaurants and shoe stores (yeah, shoe stores) in Memphis and Chattanooga without any real drama.
• My observation is if it is able to access real time traffic data, it certainly can’t be too far from doing web searches and integrating them to the GPS.

All this said, I am very happy with the app and can generally work around the short comings. The low volume and the no Bluetooth are the most frustrating. I think the Garmin will not come along next time. I never had any reason to get it out. Either Navigon or Google Maps got the job done. It would be great if Navigon had the ability to access the net. Google maps is good but after using Navigon, you get spoiled by the good things Navigon does.

I am really looking forward to the next road trip.


  • Thanks for the review. Couple of questions for you.

    1) How are the map updates? Is it similar to freshmaps where you pay x amount for x number of updates over x years?

    2) Can you use the program in both portrait and landscape? Or just portrait?

    I have an EVO and the screen size seems a perfect replacement for my aging 7100.


  • Hey Steve -
    On the Droid X, updates have been automatic. Who knows if that will continue.

    It does work in Landscape mode but I like the portrait mode better. I keep it in 3D mode so your travel direction is always "up". The way they have the data display seems to suit the portrait mode better.

    As I have used it more, the biggest disappointment is the POI database. I have gone Poynt or a Yellow Pages app to find commercial POI's. The Droid X gives you the option to utilize the navigation Apps on your phone to get to the place you find. Navigon usually wins.

  • Thanks George, that's very helpful.

    $60 seems a little high, but I really do like my 7100 so I know how good Navigon can be.

    Keep us posted as you continue to use it. I know I'm interested.

  • Thanks for the review, that was really helpful. Does the Droid version of Navigon offer multiple point routing as their pnd's did? I really liked my Navigon 2100 that I had for two years, but it always locked up during multi-point routes. I just got a Garmin 1490 and I like it, but after seeing Navigon & Google Maps for the android, I think I'll be trading my blackberry for an android when the time comes.
  • I thought $60 was a bit high also for an app. When I originally purchased the app, it was $40. Unfortunately, I was never able to get the first purchase to load. I then cancelled the sale and did a re-buy. The introductory price had expired so I just bit the bullet. Compared to the price of my ZUMO, it still looked like a decent deal.

    It does multiple point routes. It gives you the option to insert new POI's into an active route.

    I have had regular lockups with Magellen (no longer in regular use) but only rarely has my ZUMO done it. I use the ZUMO primarily on motorcycle trips now.

    There are periodic lockups with Navigon. They are a PIA but not really significant. I have not noticed any particular conditions that cause the lockups. The Droid X has an automatic "Force Close" app built in so most times lockups on other apps are pretty much transparent. Navigon seems to be independent of the Droid though.

    I dumped my BB Storm for the Droid X. If you choose to do the same, you will not be disappointed.

    I don't want to get too far off topic but the two machines don't belong in the same room together. The BB was never really a reliable phone. I live in the mountains of NC and the BB was totally useless. The Droid is usable almost anywhere on my 26 acres.

  • George, you talked me into giving it a try for my HTC EVO.

    I purchased the app for $40.20 (including an international transaction fee from my credit card). The program installed just like a normal android app, but it took two tries for the map update to begin downloading.

    There are individual map files for each state, which is different from my Navigon 7100. The graphics are very similar to the 7100. Which is good as I am familar with and very much like them.

    It switched from portrait to landscape quickly and without any problems.

    What I don't like:

    - The volume is non-existant on this thing. It doesn't even rise to the level of a quiet whisper.
    - It does not display surrounding street names. I really miss that from my pns and would like to have the option to turn it on.

    It's unfortunate that the volume is so aweful, it's actually a deal killer for me as I don't have an aux in on my vehicle. And even if I did, there's no way that I'd crank up the volume to 44 just to hear the turn by turn directions. Hopefully this can be fixed as I otherwise really like this app.

  • 10-4 on the volume. My buddy uses an earpeice but I just put up with it.

    Oh well, nothing is perfect. Flying out to LA today, it'll get more work.

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