Navigon is a relatively new player in the GPS space, and the 2100 max feels like a young effort. Its strengths come from fresh, out-of-the box thinking, yet it has some weak areas where it’ll need to catch up in a hurry.
Design and User Interface
Right away, we were impressed with the large 4.3-inch screen and the slender profile of the 2100 max, but it lost points for the large, awkward window mount. The mount attaches to the unit with a screw, which makes glove compartment storage difficult. The menus also need help; with a slate-gray look and no warmth, they come across as institutional and unwelcoming. On the plus side, Navigon’s clever Reality View and Lane Assistant features are here, making sure you’re always in the right lane.
Entering an address on the 2100 max is easy, and the maps have a smart and crisp look. The spoken directions pronounce street names, although with only one voice option. The map screen should be better organized: Space is wasted, and some icons are too small to tap accurately. Rerouting was pleasantly quick, however, taking just a few seconds. We did get tired of the navigator repeatedly telling us to turn at the “T-Junction” when we were actually approaching a four-way intersection.
POI and DirectHelp
The POI search menu needs a major overhaul. Searching by category is simple, but searching by name is slow because you need to select a category first. Even then, the results are often unfulfilling, thanks to the small 2-million POI database.
Tap anywhere on a map to bring up the DirectHelp feature, which gives your current position as well as the nearest towing facility, police station, hospital, and pharmacy. Note to GPS makers: include the nearest 24-hour veterinary center, as well.
Navigon has a clever way of selling extras: Zagat review ratings are already on the 2100 max, but they’re locked. When you buy the $39.99 Zagat accessory, you’re actually buying an unlock code. We enjoyed having the Zagat information during testing, and surprisingly, it added many restaurants to the POI list that weren’t there before. We also tried Lifetime Traffic (a $99.99 unlockable accessory), which provides TMC traffic. You can tap a small icon on the map screen to see local traffic incidents. It’s helpful but not nearly as good as the Dash Express’ live traffic data.
Navigon 2100 max Verdict
With its attractive maps and helpful optional features, Navigon has the makings to be one the major GPS players. However, the 2100 max is not quite as good as other sub-$300 navigators like the V7 Nav740 and TomTom One 130S.