Latemag went to The Gadget Show Live last week and to make sure we actually got there, we test drove the Navigon 6350 Live, which pleased to say, got us there hunky dory and I was also mightily impressed with the wizzy extras and subtle attention to detail that made the 6350 Live a far superior unit to my old sat nav (no names mentioned).
The Navigon 6350 Live isn’t just your typical satellite navigation to help map-challenged folk get from A-B. It also features Navigon’s Live Services, providing you with real time information from traffic updates to the nearest car parks with available spaces. The Live Services are provided via a separate module which is plugged into the main unit. This makes the Live Services optional which is actually beneficial as the service is free of charge for the first 3 months, after which time it will set you back £56 per year if you renew in the first 30 days of use, or £75 thereafter. Whilst some of the Live features are a bit gimmicky (Weather Live, I can see its raining thanks), the Live Traffic is extremely useful as the unit will suddenly announce that the road you are travelling down has congestion a few miles ahead and will then proceed to calculate another route for you if you wish to avoid the bottleneck – for those even mildly adverse to sitting in traffic jams this feature alone is well worth £56 per year.
Like the majority of sat navs, the Navigon 6350 has a touch screen interface and a large flat screen (4.3" touchscreen in 16 : 9 format) so sausage fingered folk need not worry about any fiddly finger work to operate. When you first type in your chosen destination the unit will calculate a number of different routes for you to choose from. This is a nifty feature as it allows you to not be completely at the whimsical mercy of an orientation device, many of which typically seem to take perverse pleasure in sending you the long way round. Once you have selected your route, next you can choose which view you would like to use. If the traditional “flat map” view doesn’t tickle your fancy, there is the Panorama View 3D which shows you the landscape you are travelling through in 3D i.e. mountains and valleys or the City View 3D which shows you the city scape with all the buildings in their full 3D glory. Or perhaps you would rather use the Landmark 3D view, which points out interesting tourist attractions along route. To be honest I found the 3D views a bit distracting but that may be because I’m not use to them, but besides we actually needed to arrive at the Gadget Show Live in time for the press preview morning so experimenting with 3D views didn’t seem like a good idea.
Once you set off on your journey, a nice polite lady purrs directions, turnings and useful information at you, such as which lane you need to be in before a junction (liked that a lot). However despite being mostly calm and helpful she can be a bit melodramatic at times – forthcoming speed cameras result in sinister warnings of “Beware!” and approaching corners incur shivering exclamations of “Danger!” It got to the point where we were in fits of giggles and wondering whether our sat nav would feel more at home navigating us through a haunted house instead. Though I must not tease too much as the voice capabilities of the Navigon 6350 are really quite impressive. The text-to-speech function means that names of roads/streets are actually vocally announced and all the main functions of the device can be operated through voice commands. Because there is also built in blue-tooth, you can connect your mobile phone to the Navigon 6350 meaning you can conveniently and safely access your address book via the display, and make calls, including by using the voice commands. This really does make the unit’s safety credentials pretty good as it goes a long way to minimising the amount of time you need to take your eyes off the road to follow directions, give commands or make phone calls.
Another great feature is the fact you can use the unit for pedestrian navigation (can see the Landmark 3D view being more useful here, say if you were walking round London looking for the typical tourist traps). There is even the capability to record the location of where you have parked your car so you can easily find it again (I didn’t test this but as someone who regularly looses their automobile I can see this being a God send).
In the box are the unit itself, the Live module, an in car charger, a velvet carry pouch and the windscreen holder. The windscreen holder is a quite a chunky fellow and I was a bit worried about it being able to stay put. However there is the ability to use an allen key to tighten the suction pad really tightly to the windscreen which actually makes it really robust – it didn’t fall off once. The instruction manual that comes with the unit is on the light side but you can find further instructions on Navigon’s website as well as all the map updates.
Overall I was genuinely impressed with the Navigon 6350 Live as although the unit seems slightly on the pricey side at £279.99, I would say it really is packed with useful features that really do make it stand out from the crowd and justify the price tag.