Sunday, March 18, 2012

NAVIGON 2200T review

Navigon 2200T review

NOTE: Navigon has pulled out of the U.S. market and we are no longer recommending their receivers. Check out our auto GPS buyers guide for our current recommendations.

The Navigon 2200T is Navigon’s current entry-level model with lifetime traffic. This 3.5″ touch screen unit features text-to-speech, so you’ll hear “in one mile, turn right onto Maple Street” instead of just “in one mile, turn right.” Other features include Reality ViewTM Pro, Lane Assist Pro, speed limit display, multi-destination trip planning and DirectHelpSM. It includes maps of the 48 contiguous United States. PC Magazine has reported a fairly small number of POIs – 2 million, though I have not been able to verify that; Navigon documentation simply states that the device has “millions of POIs.”

Drop down to Navigon 2000S and you’ll lose the live traffic feature. Going the other direction, the Navigon 7200T adds Bluetooth, voice destination entry, 3–D buildings, Zagat ratings and Exit Guide to the 2200T’s feature set.  Please note that while this unit was thoroughly tested, some portions of the following text are from my review of the 7200T.

Compare prices on the Navigon 2200T

The Navigon 2200T has an impressive feature list for a relatively low cost GPS navigator. Let’s take a look at how they are implemented.

Navigon 2200T interface

The Navigon 2200T interface allows for a good degree of customization. One example is that you can select three POI categories that will be available for quick access upon selecting “New Destination” from the main menu.

Navigon 2200T main menu

The Smart Speller keypad screen speeds entry, allowing you to enter only valid characters, graying out other letters when doing searches. A list icon allows you to see multiple destinations beginning with the same characters. For example, in searching for Hendersonville, I type “Hen” and it shows “Henderson.” By tapping the list icon, I get several choices, including the one I am after, sparing me from entering additional characters.

Navigon 2200T Smart Spell

Upon choosing a destination, a route preview screen opens. You can tap “Start Navigation” or just begin driving and the unit will start navigating and switch back to the map screen.

As with many GPS navigators these days, speed limits are displayed, but here they come with a twist — the Navigon can take into account special speed (e.g., school) zones, though it always drops the speed in these zones rather than just during certain hours. I wonder how long till we get a GPS capable of being time-sensitive about school zones — wouldn’t that be cool?

A speeding warning can be tied to how fast you are going over the speed limit, and can be set separately for highways and urban driving (in 5 MPH increments). When you exceed the setting, the device says “caution” and a triangle with an exclamation mark appears by the speed limit icon. I found this quite helpful, especially in town where I couldn’t use my cruise control.

Also of note, you can access volume controls directly from the map screen.

These are all nice aspects of the interface, which is attractive and relatively intuitive.

While the 7200T’s touch-screen was frequently non-responsive, I had no problems of this sort with the 2200T, which was quite snappy by comparison.

There are a fair number of options and functionality, so it’s worth spending some time with the manual to get to know the details of the interface. 

There are a few areas where the interface is weak. For example, favorite destinations can only be viewed alphabetically and not by proximity. Also, you can’t search for POIs along a route, near an address or near your destination (though you can search near a point on the map or an address). And when you plow through search menus, there is no quick way back to the map or main menu. You just have to keep backing out of menus.

There are symbols in the upper left hand corner of the map screen that show GPS, power, and traffic status, but they are very small and quite difficult to see.

While you can get the 2200T to display your current speed, you have to display your elevation at the same time. And though I like seeing elevation on the screen, I’m not sure how many other people do; it’s really just another thing to clutter up the interface (the current speed/elevation field can be disabled though).


The unit handled this core function well, with fast recalculations as necessary. I liked the fact that a second turn indicator appears on the left side of the map screen when two turns are in close proximity. As you near your destination, the next turn indicator shows a checkered flag and indicates which side of the road your destination is on.

The unit handles multi-destination routing, automatically advancing to the next destination as your trip progresses. There is no route optimization feature associated with multi-destination routing however. The map screen gets fairly cluttered when navigating a multi-destination route. An additional box comes up on the right side of the screen, giving you a total of six data fields there if you have it set to display your current speed. 

Lifetime traffic

There is no FM/TMC traffic where I live, so I was not able to test the Navigon 2200T’s traffic feature. However, in a test of the 7200T in Charlotte, I found it quite helpful in navigating around traffic. It performed much better than the Insignia NS-CNV10 that I tested at the same time.

Reality ViewTM Pro

I was pleased to see Reality ViewTM Pro screens on the Interstates around  Asheville, NC, a city of 70,000 (400,000 in the four county metro area). I have not seen any other GPS units offering such a feature for this small of a city. I was surprised too, that it had relatively minor exits, but missed what is probably the busiest junction in town. I did find road sign imagery to be less true to the real world than those on the Garmin nuvi 755T that I recently tested. The static Reality View screen stays up too long, in my opinion, but a simple tap of the screen dismisses it and returns you to real-time navigation.

Navigon 2200T Reality View

Lane Assist Pro

Lane Assist Pro provides guidance on which lanes to be in for upcoming turns. It also showed up here in our small city. I found it quite helpful on the 7200T during my trip to Charlotte, which has grown a lot since I last spent much time there.


The DirectHelpSM menu offers information about your current location and quick access to key emergency POIs.

Random notes

  • At startup, an annoying loud sound is played, even if you had the device muted before; so if you have car-seat sleeping babies in your family, you might want to think twice about this unit
  • The clip on the mount that holds the device is quite stiff; I actually bloodied my hand the first time I tried to get it to release

Navigon 2200T Tips

  • To save your current position, press Options > GPS Status > Save Position
  • To fully power down and not go into standby mode, hold down the power button for at least eight seconds; this will help preserve battery life


The Navigon 2200T’s best feature for the money is lifetime traffic. If traffic reports are important to you, but your budget is limited, the 2200T could be a good choice. The interface and feature set are fairly powerful, albeit complicated. The Navigon is a better tool for someone who doesn’t mind plowing though menus; it is not appropriate for anyone looking for a simple, drop-dead easy to use navigator.

More Navigon 2200T reviews

I’ll be posting more hands on GPS reviews as they appear, but in the meantime, here are some…

Other Navigon 2200T resources

Compare prices on the Navigon 2200T at these merchants:

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About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.


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