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Life is wonderful, isn't it? Just think about what we have in our lives nowadays - warm winters, wet summers, 24-Hour Top Gear (courtesy of Dave), hybrid cars and, most importantly in my view, myriad gadgets and gizmos to aid, bemuse, confuse and annoy us in our daily lives.
I do not know where I would be without my Sat-Nav, literally in fact. I first bought one in 2006. It was made by Medion and there is a review for it on this site (apologies for the plug). My circumstances, however, dictated last year that I should seek to purchase something with a bit more, how can I put it, 'oomph'. I had taken a teaching job 200 miles away from my home, and would be living my rural idyll only at weekends.
I perused a number of websites for shops that sell Sat-Navs, but eventually fell upon one that was on sale in my local Halfords or so, at least, their website told me. I went down there (a mere 5 minute hop in the car as, luckily, my rural idyll includes easy access to shops), and could not see it on view! I started to get annoyed, thinking that the Halfords website had fed me erroneous information. In my agitated manner, I enquired of the surly youth behind the counter, who informed me that there were indeed supplies of this gizmo in stock, but they did not have them on display.
Therefore, dear reader, if you want to buy this system after reading my review, you may still be able to get it even if your local store does not appear to acknowledge its existence!
The brand was one of which I had never heard before - Navigon, which I thought was an indication that a building labourer had taken his lunchbreak - geddit?
The Machine itself
The Navigon 2210 boasts a number of features:
Lane Assistant Pro
Now, all these different systems may have baffling names (well, they baffled me), so I will deal with each one in turn. First, however, I will describe the contents of the box.
What you get
The box contains the machine itself. This is a slim system. It is 95mm wide, 72mm high and only 17 mm thick. It comes with a cradle to fix it to your windscreen, a USB lead to connect to your computer, and a power lead to plug in the 12v accessory socket in your car. The first segment of the power lead has two wires - the second one is an antenna for the TMC (there I go again, mentioning it again), and I will cover that in a little while, I promise.
Firing it up
Once installed, you press a button on top of the PNA (Personal Navigation Assistant) and after a few seconds it gives you a fanfare with a number of options. You can input a new destination, access a destination you have been two in the recent past, find a place of interest, or ask it to take you home. Now I am not saying the machine is psychic, but it does have the option of you inputting your home address. As a security measure I would recommend that should you use this option, you take every measure possible to avoid the system being stolen, as if you are away from home, a thief will also know you are away from home, if you know what I mean.
This is done by touching the 3.5 inch touchscreen. You can offer information in one of two ways. You either tap in a postcode, or tap in the name of the town, village or city, followed by the option of a street name, and then an optional house number. This is very simple and quite intuitive, in my view.
You then press navigate and it looks for a satellite, and off you go.
The display and instructions
The display is a clear 3D picture. You also have the option of road names being shown on the map. The voice instructions are also clear and there is little chance to make a mistake.
In addition to the main display, at the bottom left there is an indiaction of the next manoeuvre that is needed, with a distance gauge. Next to this is the name of the next road you will be needing. On the right you get an display of the overall distance that you will have to cover with an ETA (estimated time of arrival), and you can also bring up a window showing your current speed and altitude (!).
Right, on to the features!
This stands for Traffic Message Channel. The antenna that is built-in to the charger cable picks up signals about any traffic problems that occur on your route. If it picks something up, the sexy lady voicing the sat-nav says 'a new traffic notice concerns your route'. A new icon then is displayed on the right hand side of the display. If it is black, it means that there is heavy traffic and it gives you a distance to it. If it is red it means that there is a traffic jam! I always find this useful, particularly when I was driving home from London on a Friday night, as it nearly always told me about problems between junctions 9 and 15 on the M25 in plenty of time for me to find a different route.
Please note that I said I had to find a different route. Even though the machine picks up traffic messages, it does not offer you an alternative route, you have to do that yourself, so you need a reasonable sense of direction.
Reality View Pro
This is a very simple but useful feature. If the machine is approaching a motorway junction, it gives you a representation of how the junction looks. When I am driving on the M4 at Heathrow, it shows me that there is the M4 West, the M25 South, the M25 North and gives me an idea as to where each one is. This is very useful if you are on a motorway you do not know all that well.
Another very useful feature. Instead of just saying 'turn left', it says 'turn left into Acacia Avenue', reading out the names of the roads. It also frequently tells me to turn onto the M50 towards South Wales (reading out what the designated destinations of major roads are). Whoopee!
Lane assistant Pro
This is also very straightforward, and very useful. Basically it shows you which lane you should be in at a junction, which can be easier than looking for a painted arrow on the road surface.
When you instal the map for the first time, it has the locations of fixed speed cameras, and the speed limit that is required for each one. The machine will also warn you if you are exceeding the speed limit at any time (that is speed assistant).
The Navigon 2210 cost me around £100 when I bought it, which is, in my view, exceptional value for money. It does everything that I could ask for, and more. It is efficient, helpful, unobtrusive and reliable.
If you are buying a sat-nav, or thinking of buying one, take a trip down to Halfords to try it out. According to the Halfords website, the cheapest Sat-Nav with TMC is £130 if you do not choose the Navigon, and the brand leader is £220!
Navigon are beginning to create a bit of a repulation for themselves.
The actual box itself seems like pretty standard fare, however it's in the graphics that it really makes up for any lack of excitement in that front.
This model is at the slightly cheaper end of the market, but nevertheless it still represents good value for money compared to some of the more well known brands such as Garmin, Navman and of course Tom Tom.
The information is very well distributed around the sceen with the lettering being quite legible, thanks to the graphics employed.
Also, the road signs are clear and almost mirror those in real life colour wise, thus helping those drivers less at ease with sat nav or less used to using it in a hurry.
Other features like redirect and places of interest are adequate - the only thing missing is a decent brand name, although that will come, with the price hikes no doubt.