Hands on: Navigon for iPhone review

Can Navigon really turn Apple's handset into a road-goer?

Navigon mobile navigator on iphone

Yep, so you can easily add a regular street address, like 284 Acacia Avenue, Bristol, but if you're looking for a little campsite in the wilds of Cornwall it's not a lot of good. Especially when the place you're looking for doesn't have a street name.

Navigon mobile navigator on iphone

Some of the mapping also leaves a bit to be desired in terms of street names. The 3D view is difficult to navigate as it actually has no street names (this is coming, says Navigon) and no way to zoom in.

Navigon mobile navigator on iphone

The software does excel in other areas, especially on the motorway or when looking for Points of Interest (POI) – searching for somewhere to eat en route is simple, while when you're in a town you can easily see numerous POI as shown below. All are provided by Microsoft's mapping partner, Navteq, rather than TeleAtlas.

Navigon mobile navigator for iphone

Navigon mobile navigator for iphone

On main roads, Reality View Pro and Lane Assistant Pro help to display motorway interchanges and exits realistically, while it'll also tell you which lane you should be in if there's a second junction coming up you need to prepare for.

We do really like what Navigon has done with Mobile Navigator, while the outlay required is half that of what TomTom will be offering providing you can get hold of some kind of car kit more cheaply. You will need one – or at least a car charger - since the iPhone is pretty thirsty when working as a navigation device.

We certainly found the Navigon app helpful on our week away, but the lack of postcode specificity is a problem, especially if you're going to a rural area. However, if all you need is to find your way around and to urban streets, you should be fine.

Navigon has announced new features for a forthcoming update including route planning with multiple destinations and safety camera information. You'll also be able to add POI information to your contacts. Traffic information will also follow at a later date.




Dan (Twitter, Google+) is TechRadar's Former Deputy Editor and is now in charge at our sister site Lifehacker UK. Covering all things computing, internet and mobile he's a seasoned regular at major tech shows such as CES, IFA and Mobile World Congress. Dan has also been a tech expert for many outlets including BBC Radio 4, 5Live and the World Service, The Sun and ITV News.