The Navigon 20 Plus is the slightly pimped-out and enhanced version of Navigon's entry-level sat-nav, the Navigon 20 Easy. It's aimed at those who are on the road all the time, but don't want to fork out loads for a top-end sat-nav.
The device offers UK or European maps, a motion sensor that activates menus when you wave at it, active lane assistant, text to speech and spoken traffic alerts. It's on sale now for around £100.
The Navigon 20 Plus is a small, relatively attractive device. The nav itself features a curved, glossy black bezel and a small 3.5-inch touchscreen with a 4:3 aspect ratio. This attaches to a relatively large L-shaped mount that's extremely easy to mount to a car's windscreen.
Attaching it is simply a case of pressing the suction mount against the screen and pushing a small lever down until it snaps in place. Once positioned, the mount holds firm until the lever is lifted, with no amount of enthusiastic driving or even yanking able to dislodge it.
Enter the dragon
The Navigon 20 Plus is relatively straightforward to use, though it does have a few user interface foibles. The first thing you encounter when using the device is the main menu, from which you can enter a new destination, show previous destinations, peruse the map, or navigate to the place you've stored as home.
It's possible to enter a destination by tapping in its seven-digit postcode, geographical coordinates, or by browsing for points of interest that are in a particular city or close to your current location (such as the closest petrol station). There are also Navigon Sightseeing and Navigon Sightseeing Tours features -- point of interest add-ons that must be bought separately via the company's Web site.
Jumping through hoops
Sadly, entering a postcode can be fiddly. Once you've entered the first two letters of a UK postcode, you then have to press a dedicated numerical input button before you're taken to the screen that lets you enter numbers. Once you've entered the first set of numbers in the postcode, you then have to switch back to the alphanumeric screen to enter the space, then switch immediately back to numerical inputs to enter the next number in your postcode, before going back to the alphanumeric entry screen to enter the remaining letters.
Entering the postcode SW16 6XX, for example, would require you to flick between numeric and alphanumeric entry screens a total of six times. It's as if the system was designed by someone who'd never been to the UK, or simply wants to punish British residents because of the format of our postcodes.
Once you've eventually set your destination and you're on your way, the Navigon 20 Plus' menu options disappear in order to present your route more clearly on the tiny screen. Summoning the menu options requires a simple gesture -- simply wave your hand in front of the display and a set of four icons pops up from the bottom.
The magnifying glass icon at the far right lets you zoom in or out of the map incrementally or to highlight and zoom in on a particular area by tapping and dragging a rectangle -- just like you would when selecting a group of icons with a mouse. The volume icon allows you to adjust the volume levels, cogs let you change settings and the arrow pointing to the left takes you back to the main menu.
See the sights
Once you're on the move, the Navgon 20 Plus proves very easy to understand and usually got us to our destination without much hassle. The maps are clear and easy to interpret, despite the relatively small screen size, and graphics render relatively smoothly.
The guidance voice, meanwhile, is clear and has text-to-speech technology that allows the device to read aloud street names. Lane assistant comes in handy, too, providing plenty of warning about which lane you need to be driving in -- handy when you've reached a fork in a motorway.
One of the Navigon's biggest selling points is its MyRoutes feature, which aims to select routes for you, based on your driving style, your favourite road types, the day of the week and the time of day. Having taken these things into account, MyRoutes then recommends routes and calculates arrival times based on your driving history.
The feature works by offering three route suggestions, as well as the total travel distance and estimated time of arrival for each. If you've shown a past preference for one type of route over another (fast motorways, A roads or rat-run back alleys) it'll post a MyRoutes icon over the route it believes is best for you.
That's all very good in theory, but we found ourselves ignoring the MyRoutes recommendation completely in favour of choosing the route that got us to our destination at the earliest possible time.
The Navigon 20 Plus is a decent entry-level sat-nav. Its screen is a little small for our liking, and the MyRoutes and motion sensor features are mere gimmicks, but if you're after something slightly more advanced than the free Google Maps navigation on your smart phone, it's definitely worth considering.
Edited by Nick Hide