The 7200T can calculate routes in one of three ways--fast, optimum, and short--and gives you the option to allow or avoid highways and toll roads. There are also pedestrian and bicycle modes. In addition, the 7200T offers free real-time traffic updates for life, so you can know the road condition before hitting the road or finding alternative routes if you happen to get caught in traffic. If there are any incidents along your route, you'll see a little exclamation point on your map screen (as well as get an audible cue) and by tapping it, it will bring up a list of congested areas. You can select a specific incident and get more details on the problem or choose to ignore it.
The PND supports multidestination routing so you can add multiple stops to your trip or add waypoints on the fly. The points-of-interest database includes all the major categories, including gas stations, lodging, and ATMs. You can search for restaurants by cuisine type, and there are also specialized categories like golf courses, marinas, and museums. In addition, you can search for POI by Zagat Survey ratings and reviews. It's available for hotels, night life, attractions, golf courses, and restaurants, and once you've selected your category, you can refine your search even more by top service, best buy, and so forth. Tapping the information icon on a business listing will then bring up specific ratings and reviews. You can then have it shown on a map or navigate to the POI from your current location.
You can view maps in 2D or 3D mode, and you now get 3D landmark views. The feature is similar to the 3D building renderings found on the HP iPaq 310 Travel Companion, but brings them to major landmarks, such as the Empire State Building and Golden Gate Bridge. The map screen shows the current street, distance to, and street name of your next turn, estimated time of arrival, speed limit, and more. Make sure you check only the POI you want displayed on the map, otherwise the screen can get fairly cluttered with various icons. For complicated intersections, the 7200T offers a couple of aids. First, there's Reality View, which gives you a "photorealistic" view of complicated intersections, such as major highway exchanges, with a 3D image of the road. You also get something called Lane Assistant Pro, which will overlay arrows on the street to show you which lane you should want to be in and which direction you'll eventually be turning.
In addition to the visual aids, of course, you get audible prompts, including text-to-speech functionality so you'll hear street names rather than generic directions. Despite being an entry-level system, the 2000S has text-to-speech functionality so you'll hear street names rather than generic directions. Other GPS features include automatic route recalculation, a turn-by-turn list of text directions, route simulation, speed warnings, and DirectHelp, which provides you with the location and contact information of the nearest police station, hospital, roadside assistance, and other emergency services based on your current location.
Finally, the 7200T has integrated Bluetooth so you can pair it with a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone and use GPS as a hands-free speaker system. Once paired with your handset, you can make calls using the system's onscreen dial pad or if there's a number associated with a POI, you can dial out directly. We're also happy to see that unlike the Navigon 7100, your address book and call history can be wirelessly transferred to the 7200T. We paired the RIM BlackBerry Curve 8310 and successfully transferred our contact list and made calls.
We tested the Navigon 7200T in San Francisco, and from a cold start, it took the unit about 3 minutes to get a fix on our location, while subsequent starts took less than a minute. The 7200T kept up with our movements as we drove around the city and was able to keep a lock on the satellites even as we drove through the Financial District where tall buildings often block a clear view of the sky.
We planned two trips using the 7200T. The first one was from the Marina District to Sonoma, California, and we used the voice entry function to input the address. Unfortunately, we wound up going back to the traditional method of using the onscreen keyboard after the GPS couldn't get the correct address. When we said Sonoma, we got everything but Sonoma, including Simi Valley and San Dimas. It also had difficulties with the street name, which was Zinfandel. Granted, it's a hard word, but still, we never got the right result. On the bright side, the 7200T was able to get us to our destination with no problem, which was a good thing since we weren't familiar with the area. The advanced lane guidance and reality view were particularly helpful while we were traveling along the highway. We also got multiple traffic alerts on our route, which was useful, but the frequency of audible alerts got to be annoying. We'd travel just a couple of miles before getting another notice, and we couldn't find a way to adjust the traffic updates.
The second journey was our standard route from the Marina District to CNET's downtown headquarters. Again, we used the voice address entry, and this time the 7200T was spot on. As we mentioned earlier in the Features section, the system becomes smarter the more you use it. We checked out the list of text-based directions and were satisfied with the route, so we hit the road. Along the way, we missed a couple of turns to test the route recalculation rate, which was quick and able to get us on track with a new route.