Navigon vs Sygic, the definitive poedReview

by on 10/08/09 at 1:59 pm

Navigon vs Sygic, the definitive poedReview

Today, I decided to test out the newest addition to the iPhone turn by turn navigation application arsenal, Navigon. Of course, I already had Sygic installed on my iPhone and I had been using it for a while. I was happy with Sygic, but there were a few features in Navigon that I really wanted, such as proper lane guidance, so I decided to give it a go.

If you’ve ever used Tomtom before, you’ll know the familiar interface, the information all in the blue bar at the bottom with the map in the center. This is the same interface Sygic has, and it works well. However, Navigon has a completely different, and in my opinion, useless interface. The problem is that there really isn’t enough information on the screen at any one time, and this can’t be changed. While it does try to look like any other iPhone application, it does this in a way that is counter-intuitive for a navigation application. Someone who is driving wants the pertinent information on the screen whenever they need to glance over at it, something this app just doesn’t display.

The interface aside, onto the app itself. Sygic offers a boatload of configuration options. Navigon? almost none. I couldn’t even figure out how to enter my home address, the only way I was able to enter it was to tell it to take me home then it asked me to enter it. What happens when I move? Do I need to reinstall the app?

Now onto navigating. Sygic does have some quirks here, such as telling you to go through a carpark instead of staying on the road. However, Navigon has way worse ones. In my testing, the worst one (there were a few) would have to be the voice instructions. The problem is when it notifies you of an upcoming turn. It does this by saying for example “Turn left… in 400 metres.” The main problem with that is the pause in there between the “Turn left” and the “in 400 metres.” Many people will think it is telling them to turn left now, then once they are already in the process, it says “in 400 metres.” Pretty stupid idea if you ask me.

There were also a few errors with the map data itself. In the small time I was testing Navigon, it managed to have 2 errors. The first error, it didn’t allow me to select the number for my house, it allowed me to select next door (either side) and across the road, but not my number. The second error was when I was on a street called “Stoneham St”, Navigon said I was on “Stoneman St”. This was just a short time testing so I hate to see what else is wrong. Sygic has had perfect data accuracy in all tests so far.

My advice is to not buy Navigon if you want a decent iPhone navigation service, Sygic is currently the best one available for Australians. Of course, Tomtom is also on the way so if you want to wait for that, it is highly anticipated to be the best navigation app on the iPhone.

  • mapmaster

    I think it is important to differentiate between the app and the map.
    I have downloaded the navigon app and it works really well.

    Personally I don’t think nav on a phone is the most optimal and certainly none I have seen work as quick, as easily or as fast as a nav system.

    My navigon portable nav is fantastic and I would say easily one of the best on the market. The graphic rendering and quality of guidance is tops.
    The self learning routes and three route options are very cool.

    The app aside, the map coverage on the navigon version is far superior. I ski regularly and the coverage of the Navigon map is heaps better than the whereis where half the roads in Dinner Plain at Mt Hotham are missing. My surf spots are also on the navigon. Good job!.

    I got told to drive down a set of stairs and along a footpath on Llankelly place on my old nav, not the navigon which knew you couldn’t drive there.

    Beyond all this, there is still the issue of the fact that in Australian law, you will be fined if you use a phone for navigation! $225 and 3 points. Whilst I don’t agree with it, be careful as many have been fined.
    It is illegal to drive or ride a vehicle while using a hand-held mobile phone. This means that talking, sending or receiving text messages, playing games or taking photos are illegal when using a hand-held phone. It is also illegal to perform these activities when your vehicle is stopped but not parked, for example when you are waiting at traffic lights.

    Comments for what they are worth have a good week

  • poedgirl

    “Personally I don’t think nav on a phone is the most optimal and certainly none I have seen work as quick, as easily or as fast as a nav system.”

    For me, Sygic works perfectly as a proper nav system. Whenever I need to go anywhere for work, I just put the details in, put it in the holder in my car and go. The directions even come through my car speakers using the bluetooth connection.

    “Beyond all this, there is still the issue of the fact that in Australian law, you will be fined if you use a phone for navigation! $225 and 3 points. Whilst I don’t agree with it, be careful as many have been fined.”

    This is only if you have it in your hand. If you have it on a holder, as I do, it doesn’t apply.

  • mapmaster

    Holder or none if you read the current blogs on this and read the law you cant use it. It is also the subject of a parliamentary inquiry at the moment, lets hope it favours the use of phone nav.

  • poedgirl

    This must be a New South Wales only law then. People use their phones mounted on their dash all the time here (WA), even the cops do it. One thing I don’t understand though, is how do you use a handsfree if you’re not allowed to use the phone at all?

  • mapmaster

    NSW VIC, all. Cops are exempt under the Road Rules so they can use their radios and it covers mobile phones. The Australian Road Rules are national and have been adopted in each state the same. So dont mean to labour a point but ..

    I think that when the speakers and GPS in the iphone improve even beyond the 3GS then they wil be a serious contender to portable GPS’s.

    In the interim the team from Sygic in Bratislava and Navigon in Germany who built the awesome Porsche P`9611 unit will continue to be challenged by the device limitations. Hence Tomtom having to release a cradle. Good to use, yes, but able to improved definately. Check out the Navngo iphone app too. A mate saw a pre release at a show and loves it.

    Great to hear others opinions

  • Goofyfoot73

    Let your iPhone navigate you

    I will summarise to save space – but the basic gist is secure the device in a commercially available mount – don’t touch and you should be able to keep your $226. I think you could also argue that whilst being firstly a phone is is also a navigation device and depending on its application at the time would determine which ruling it should fall under.

    From Australian Road Rules – February 2009 – on BSW RTA website

    299 Television receivers and visual display units in motor vehicles
    (1) A driver must not drive a motor vehicle that has a television receiver or visual display unit in or on the vehicle operating while the vehicle is moving, or is stationary but not parked,

    (2) this rule does not apply to the driver if
    (b)(ii) is secured in a mounting afficed to the vehicle while being used
    (3) for the purposes of subrule (2)(b)(ii), a visual display unit is secured in a mounting afficed to the vehicle if, and only if –
    (a) the mounting is cimmercially designed and manufactured for that purpose; and
    (b) the unit is secured in teh mounting, and the mounting is affixed to the vehicle, in the manner intended by the manufacturer

    examples of drivers aids
    3. navigational or intelligent highway and vehicle systems equipment

    300 use of mobile phones
    (1) driver of a vehicle must not use a mobile phone while the vehicle is moving, or is stationary but not parked unless:
    (a) the phone is being used to make or receive a phone call … and the body of the phone:
    (i) is secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle while being used; or
    (ii)is not secured in a mounting afficed to the vehicle and is note being held by the driver, and the use of the phone does not require the driver, at any time while using it, to press anything on the body of the phone or to otherwise manipulate any part of the body of the phone.

  • shaddsi

    Thanks for the post poedgirl. Great little blog you have here. I thought I should clear up the whole debacle with mapmaster. Being a Victorian I can tell you (and show you) that road rules are governed by state. Hey, if it wasn’t for our stringent road laws I would probably be in less trouble.

    Victorians can use navigation aids freely and use mobile phones to listen to music and as navigation devices as long as the phone isnt touched. This means you set your route, your music and start driving.. I’m sure that WA’s road rules are just as different.