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By Thomas McKinnon 19 February 2010

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Navigon entered the South African market in November 2009 with three GPS units, making it very much the new kid on the block. Their units seem to be feature packed, stylish and most importantly incredibly well priced. The Navigon 6310, for instance, is comparable to the TomTom Go920 in terms of features, but it’s more than R2000 cheaper. So what’s the catch?

Look and feel


The catch certainly isn’t in the design or build quality of the device. It features a 4.3" touch-screen (full specs) that is fairly responsive and is visible in most conditions. The device’s case is a matte black, hardened plastic with a piano black face complete with chrome-like trim. The effect is rather impressive.

Other than a power button, there are no hardware buttons on the device. Hardware volume controls would have been a nice touch though. While we found the on-screen volume controls sufficient, they are a little more trying to adjust when driving. A microSD card slot is located on the right of the screen and a micro USB port, for charging the unit, is placed at the bottom right of the screen.

We were quite impressed by Navigon’s mount. It is the largest we’ve seen, featuring a thick curved body and a sturdy clip for you GPS. The suction cup is incredibly effective as well- operated using a clip at the mount’s base.

Maps

Maps look great on the unit; they’re clear and offer tons of information without cluttering up your view. We did find that zooming into the maps was less intuitive than we would have liked though, as you are taken to a different screen.

The interface is a little dark as well, with orange trim which takes a some getting used to. Entering your destination is a three step process moving from area to street to number. The process is really straight forward and your previous destinations are saved for you. The onscreen keyboard follows an annoying alphabetical layout however, that cannot be changed to QWERTY.

Features

The 6310 is loaded with features, with one of the more impressive being 3D maps. We were really impressed with the unit’s 3D terrain maps which offer a topographical view of your route, highlighting the bends and slopes of terrain.

The unit is a little large for pedestrian use, although the feature is available. It offers Last Mile assist however, which records where you parked your car and can lead you back to it should you lose your way in a parking lot.

Features like text-to-speech, lane assist and MyRoutes (which offers up to three route options based on various factors like distance, time and traffic) are also present and work as expected.

FreshMaps

NAVIGON are offering a rather novel map updates service, FreshMaps. Rather than charging users per update they are offering 24 months of updates for $99. In addition, they have a promotion whereby users who purchase the 6310 receive an 80% discount on FreshMaps.

Performance

For all its good looks and features the Navigon 6310 is a slowpoke when it comes to getting a GPS fix. Getting a fix would often take well over a minute (sometime several minutes) after you selected “Navigate to destination.” This is incredibly frustrating if you’re running late for a meeting or an appointment already.

Beyond getting a GPS fix, the unit never really put a foot wrong. It performed reroutes quickly and it got us where we needed to go.

Conclusion

We were impressed by the Navigon 6310, except for its annoyingly slow satellite fix issues of course. FreshMaps in particular makes it an attractive offer as it really lightens the burden of forking out hundreds of rands for yearly updates- which are essential with all the roadworks we’re experiencing. It retails for a recommended R3299 and is available from select HiFi Corporation and Incredible Connection stores.

PROS
3D maps, reasonably priced map updates and stylish looks.
CONS
It takes an age to get a fix on your location.
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