It's priced like a midrange GPS, but the Navigon 5100 has the features of a bargain unit with one notable extra: free lifetime traffic. The 5100 has only a 3.5-inch screen, no Bluetooth or media playback features, and a teensy 1.7-million-POI database. We like the Reality View feature, which gives users a photorealistic view of difficult upcoming turns, and we also like that you can look up Zagat Survey ratings, but this device's menus and touch interface were sluggish.
Navigon 5100 Traffic Data
The 5100 uses the same traffic data as most other traffic-enabled GPS devices--the Traffic Message Channel--so you're not missing out by skipping a subscription service. In metropolitan areas the device can receive data without the included wire antenna, but we got a stronger signal when the antenna was plugged in.
On the map view users see a traffic icon when traffic incidents are nearby. Tap it to view the full list. The 5100 notifies the driver with a voice prompt when it receives new reports that affect the current route. The driver can then choose to ignore that report or navigate around the incident. During our testing rerouting was a quick and simple process.
Navigon 5100 Verdict
Users can also set whether the 5100 reroutes automatically or merely alerts the driver. The menu interface is dull, and one button--for choosing which incidents to view--doesn't look like a button, so users could easily miss it. Free traffic will appeal to people who don't want to bother with subscriptions, but we'd like the designers to overhaul the bland interface. Other than the free traffic, though, this is a bargain unit at a midrange price.