Navigon 40 Plus
The Navigon 40 Plus is a 4.3-inch, mid-range satnav (the 70 series is the top-end of this range with a slightly larger 5-inch screen) that comes with full European maps. So what makes this device different from the satnav you've currently got stored in your glove compartment? The key selling points for the 40 Plus are its Active Lane Assistant and its one-click menu which gives you an immediate overview of your designated points-of-interest.
The Active Lane Assistant is a very useful feature indeed, especially if you're the type of person that often finds yourself in the wrong lane and having to squeeze in at the last minute; subsequently annoying the scary-looking Eastern European truck driver, who has been on the road for 90 hours solid with only a photo of his Mum back in the old country to keep him company.
It is a dynamic animation that comes up on the right-hand side and the lanes that you should be in are clearly marked. It comes up nice and early too, so you've only really got yourself to blame if you do end up angering Vlad. You also get a nice clear picture of the road overview when a motorway is splitting, giving an incredibly clear instruction of what path it is you should follow.
The one-click overview function lets you push the screen to see details regarding your three favourite points-of-interest categories. You can choose your categories from a list of 72 in total and, for just the UK, there are 214,521 different locations all loaded up. And, if that's not enough for you, then you can add your own using CSV files and the Navigon software. POIs can be clicked whilst you're on route allowing you to take a detour - handy if you need to stop for petrol, or you've got a massive craving for a Filet-o-Fish.
Talking of routes, these are very easy to program into the 40 Plus. The touchscreen is very responsive and the menus are simple and clear. Once you've programmed in your destination (via an address, a POI or coordinates) you are shown an overview map of your location to destination with three different options, all colour coded. You're told the mileage and the estimated time for each route, and so you're not constrained to a set route - you do have choices.
There is a sightseeing feature built-in to the device as well, where an eye icon will pop up en route and, when pushed (by the passenger, of course), you get a little bio of a nearby interesting location, such as a historic house. It's a bit of a novelty - but it can be a nice distraction during a long, boring, journey. Text-to-speech is included, which makes directions much clearer as you're often told locations you should be heading towards and actual road names.
The traffic aspect of the 40 Plus comes by way of the RDS-TMC system using an FM radio connection which is built into the 12v connector. The TMC system is always a bit hit-and-miss (with any device it has to be said) and we didn't find the Navigon 40 Plus to differ from this. The traffic features feel as if they've been squashed in for the sake of it really, they are in no-way comparable to a live premium service, the sort that TomTom will offer you for a fee.
The Navigon 40 Plus has Bluetooth 2.0, which allows you to link two mobile phones up at the same time, which is handy if you've got a work and a personal phone.
The downside of the 40 Plus model (compared to the Premium offering) is that there are no 3D visuals on-board such as buildings or city blocks, although we're a tad dubious as to the usefulness of these features anyway. Sure it might be useful to see what buildings look like if you're lost in a city-centre for example, but as the 40 Plus has a number of business logos included on the route maps, you'd have to go some way to lose your bearings with this device on board.
It's hard to pick an obvious flaw with the 40 Plus, there are a number of little issues such as the one-click menu's phantom appearances at random times, or the fact that the narrator finds it difficult to pronounce any address with the number 30 in it, but if we had to pinpoint its most serious flaw, we'd have to go for the slow start up time. The boot sequence is very drawn out and it does take a while longer than many other comparable models to get a satellite signal. You can still plan your route and so forth whilst it is looking for its satellite hook-up, but it is a bit annoying if you're in a rush.
Overall, the Navigon 40 Plus has to be classified as a very decent mid-range sat-nav. If you're looking for a satnav that offers you a wealth of extra features, and you don't mind paying a bit more than you would for entry level models, then the 40 Plus may well be the device for you.
Its touchscreen is a doddle to use, the menus are clear and precise and the Active Lane Assistant and the POI options are brilliant additions. It also looks pretty swish, and the arm and cradle are very minimal and won't take up much space in your glove compartrment.
Battery life, once fully charged (it got us all the way from London to Nottingham without conking out) is very good and the multi-route option is a very nice touch. We also think the Navigon 40 Plus would make a superb first-time satnav for someone looking to make the transition. The setup options are a walk in the park and even the biggest technophobes would be able to operate it with ease.