Motorola MotoNav TN20 Review

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$179

Pros: Lane assistance feature; Quick rerouting

Cons: Street pronunciation often didn't work; Small POI database; Unattractive maps

Verdict: Even by budget standards, this GPS device is lacking.

The MotoNav TN20 from Motorola represents the company's first stab at a GPS device, but it doesn't stand out from the competition. In fact, this budget navigator's inconsistent street name pronunciation and tiny POI database makes it an also-ran in a very crowded market. The TN20 isn't an awful choice, but it's not ideal for daily drives.

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Design and Interface

Like other sub-$200 models, the TN20 has a 3.5-inch touchscreen, which was easy to view. The TN20's display is surrounded by a matte black casing and comes with a compact window mount. The only external control is the Power button, although there's also an SD Card slot.

Getting around the menus is easy. The home screen offers three choices: Go, Map, and Settings. The Settings option lets you view a tutorial or change the time zone, but you can't change the voice. The TN20 provides only one voice for each language (English, Spanish, and French), and while it's supposed to pronounce street names, it rarely did in our testing. When we selected a destination from the POI database, the TN20 would speak the name of the place, but when driving it only occasionally said the name of the next street. It mostly gave "turn left" or "turn right" voice prompts. If you're thinking of buying this for the text-to-speech feature, think again.

The POI interface was easy to use, but we rarely found what we were looking for in the small 1.5 million-POI database. We were surprised, for example, that a ShopRite grocery and a Pier 1 in Jersey City, both of which have been around for years, weren't included. You can enter an address and save favorite destinations, but there's no option for building a multi-stop route.

Maps and Navigation

The TN20's maps are especially basic looking: blocky and sparse. They work fine for navigating, but they're not attractively drawn. Once you've entered a destination, the map view presents essential information well, including the direction, distance remaining, time remaining, time of day, next turn, and distance to next turn. It also lets you know the name of the next street, but not the name of the street you're currently on. You can toggle 2D and 3D views with one touch, which is handy.

In use, the menus felt slightly sluggish, but rerouting was quick enough; take a wrong turn and the TN20 will have an updated route on the screen in 4 or 5 seconds.

Extra Features

One nice surprise on this budget MotoNav is lane assistance; When turning onto or off of a major road, icons on the screen let you know which lane you should be in. They don't have the polished look of Navigon's lane assistance feature, but they do the job.

Verdict

With the MotoNav TN20, Motorola doesn't seem to be trying to compete in the GPS navigation space, but rather attempting to sell to customers familiar with the company's name. Its small POI database, pedestrian maps, and flaky street pronunciation won't do Motorola's reputation any good, however. The $179 TN20 can route you safely wherever you're going, but for the same price you can get a model with more polish and more features, such as the Navigon 2000S.

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Laptop Mag & Tom's Hardware
Wi-Fi No
Bluetooth No
Touch Screen Yes
USB Yes
Serial No
Size 3.8 x 3.2 x 0.7 inches
Weight 5 ounces
Company Website http://www.motorola.com/us