If you own a Windows Mobile device and are thinking of buying a sat nav device for your car, then stop for a second. These days you can get a decent GPS navigation software utility for a fraction of the cost of a completely new unit.
NAVIGON MobileNavigator is one such example. This European Edition of the app allows you to find your way around the continent using your Windows Mobile device. You can choose to purchase maps of specific countries, or get a complete Europe-wide set of maps (the 30-day trial version comes with all maps included).
Installation of NAVIGON MobileNavigator is pretty long-winded so make sure you set plenty of time aside for getting it set up. After running the desktop installer on your PC you need to transfer the data onto an SD memory card via a USB reader, that you'll then insert into your PDA. As well as selecting the maps, the NAVIGON MobileNavigator installer also lets you set the language and the voices you want to read the directions. There's a wide range of these, covering lots of nationalities (although for some reason, they're all women). Once installation is complete and you launch NAVIGON MobileNavigator on your mobile, the program will perform a validity check on the Navigon PDA server to see that your trial hasn't expired. So, you have to have a working Internet connection for this to work.
Once all that's out the way, you can finally start enjoying NAVIGON MobileNavigator. The main menu presents you with options for viewing a map of where you are, entering a new destination, or choosing an existing destination from your favorites. There's also a 'Services' section that includes a handy weather service and HRS Hotel reservation service.
Probably the first thing you'll want to do is to enter a journey destination. This couldn't be easier - you just hit 'New Destination' then you can address using the on-screen keyboard to type in the country, city, street, etc. As you type, NAVIGON MobileNavigator gives you suggestions, so it doesn't take long to get this information in. Alternatively, you can search for a point of interest (POIs), or get direct access to services such as petrol stations, parking and restaurants.
The navigation maps themselves are excellent, and are everything you'd expect from a decent sat nav service. You can view maps in 2D or 3D, and there are a few features available to you while the navigation is in progress. For instance, you can toggle between day and night mode, add an interim destination, insert a block, or list all of the POIs on your route. Other features built into the maps are a speed limit, as well as Navigon's Lane Assistance tool that outlines in details the lane layout of junctions.
I found the interface within NAVIGON MobileNavigator to be very easy to use. The buttons are touch-friendly, map movement is smooth and responsive, and the inclusion of a 'Back' button on the toolbar is a stroke of genius.
It may be a little clunkier to set up than an out-of-the box sat nav solution, but at least NAVIGON MobileNavigator will cut down the number of gadgets you have to carry about with you.