Navigon is yet to become a well-known brand in the UK, but it aims to fix that by coming up with satellite navigation devices that offer something a bit different. The Navigon 7210 is its mid-range, 4.3in widescreen offering and is the smartest-looking unit Navigon offers.
The quality display runs flush to the edges while the reverse side of the Navigon 7210 has concentric ridges like those of a relief maps.
Unfortunately, we didn't feel the Navigon 7210 covered the basics as well as it should. Route calculation was relatively swift, but we just couldn't get the unit to recognise the fact that we were in the UK (it defaulted to Albania) or to recognise when we were typing in a postcode rather than a place name.
We also had to stop and fiddle with the Navigon 7210's menu simply to bring up a map of our current locale when setting off for an unspecified route - it expected us to plot a journey. The fact the device didn't appear to have heard of the Bluewater shopping centre - only Europe's largest - also filled us with dismay.
Once you're underway, however, the Navigon 7210's additional features start to impress. When driving complex routes, there's a lane assistant that spells out where on the road you should be relative to the rest of the traffic. Reality View Pro, meanwhile, means you get a visual representation of everything written on the roadside signs. The device supports text-to-speech synthesis and it can be useful to have the name of the road you need to take spoken aloud as you approach it.
As you'd expect from a satnav as pricey as the Navigon 7210, there's a TMC (traffic message channel) real-time traffic update feature that warns you in advance of particular congestion blackspots and gives alternative route suggestions.
The Navigon 7210 also offers a huge selection of POIs (points of interest). It's got enough local detail such as restaurants and hotels to make it good for exploring unfamiliar towns. It also includes some well-executed 3D details to help you identify the landmarks around you and quickly get a sense of where you are. If you're on a pleasure trip, you can plot a route, edit it to take in some of these landmarks and then import it.
If you've used a satnav in the past, you're probably familiar with the jarring beeps and bleeps when you come within a quarter mile of a speed camera; the Navigon 7210 takes a more soothing approach, instead making a gently warning verbal announcement. We couldn't always see what was being referred to, however - half the time it seemed to be a traffic light we were being warned about.
The other way that the Navigon 7210 tries to distinguish itself is via the ‘Curve Warner'. We understand that treacherous mountain passes and blind hairpin bends could justify such a feature, but it seemed rather unnecessary to receive such insistent red-flagged warnings on a benign and nearly straight dual carriageway.
This smart-looking satnav works well enough if you set it up precisely as you require before you begin, but we’re unconvinced by its extras. Even the gentlest of bends seemed to be flagged up as potentially dangerous both visually and verbally – a cry wolf effect for most UK roads. We also think the Navigon 7210 is on the expensive side.