We've reviewed several of Navigon's portable navigation devices, and it always seems to be the same story: great features, affordable price, but always coming up short in performance. The company's latest entry-level model, the Navigon 2000S, is another chapter in that saga, though it comes closer to a happy ending than previous models. The 2000S offers advanced navigation features such as text-to-speech functionality and photo-realistic street views--all for a bargain price of $199.99. We were also encouraged by the general responsiveness of the in-car GPS, as it felt snappier for tasks like searching points of interest and planning trips. Unfortunately, satellite acquisition took a long time, and it was a source of much frustration. Despite its value, we'd be willing to pay a little more to get better performance with a model from the TomTom One family or Garmin Nuvi 200 series..
The Navigon 2000S has a very simple design. The unit measures a petite 3.8 inches wide by 2.9 inches high by 0.7 inch deep and weighs 4.3 ounces. It's compact enough that you could fit it into a pants pocket or use it as a handheld navigator, and there is a pedestrian mode as well as a bicycle routing option. Be careful when transporting the system or using it outside of the car, as the portable navigation device has a plastic casing that feels like it could easily crack if it took a tumble.
On front, there is a 3.5-inch touch screen with a 320x240-pixel resolution. It's vibrant and sharp, and Navigon products have always had some of the better-looking maps we've seen on other PNDs. You can adjust the brightness of the screen and choose between day or night map colors, though we recommend you just set it to automatic mode so you don't have to think about it.
The touch screen is responsive, but we found the onscreen keyboard to be a bit cramped. The Navigon 2000S has a feature called SmartSpeller that will bring up possible search results after you input a couple of letters, but even so, the smaller keyboard can lead to some mistakes. There's also no option to switch it to QWERTY format, only ABC.
The user interface of the Navigon 2000S is similar to the company's other products. The Main Menu page presents four clear choices: New Destination, My Destinations, Take Me Home, and Show Map. There's also an Options menu at the bottom of the screen where you can adjust various settings, such as routing preferences and map displays. While the user experience is not as smooth or streamlined as Garmin or TomTom, it's still intuitive and general performance is snappy.
There's a microSD expansion slot on the left side, a reset hole on the right, and a mini USB port on the bottom. On top, you'll find a power button, but it's slightly wobbly and set deep beneath the device's surface, so it's a bit hard to press.
The Navigon 2000S comes packaged with a car charger, a vehicle mount (dashboard and windshield), and reference material. The car mount requires some assembly, but it's simple and the accessory securely held the unit in place during our road tests.
The Navigon 2000S is a good value, offering a lot of navigation features for the price. The system is equipped with a SiRF GRF3i+ GPS chip with InstantFix II and comes preloaded with Navteq maps of the lower 48 United States. Planning a trip can start in several ways. You can enter a specific address, select a favorite location or recent destination, or search for a certain point of interest. The 2000S supports multidestination planning, so you can have more than one stop along your journey.