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It's been our experience that Navigon's portable navigation devices are a but unpredictable in the performance department. Some are fast, accurate navigators, while others can be frustratingly slow and a little wonky with their directions. However, the one constant is that the company puts out full-featured GPS devices for a very affordable price. Such is the case with the Navigon 2200T. For just $229.99, you get a number of advanced features, including free real-time traffic updates for life, text-to-speech functionality, and photorealistic 3D views for complicated intersections, while some competitors charge double for the same set of features. Unfortunately, when it comes to performance, the 2200T falls under the slower group. It was an accurate navigator, but it took the PND a while to get a fix on our location, and route recalculations could also be a little pokey. Still, for the budget-strapped, the Navigon 2200T is certainly a great value and will get you to your destination.
We don't typically use this word to describe portable navigation devices, but the Navigon 2200T is downright cute. The petite GPS measures just 2.8 inches tall by 3.8 inches wide by 0.7 inch thick and fits nicely in the palm of your hand. Given the ultraportable size, the 2200T could easily be used on foot or on a bicycle with the addition of a handlebar mount.
The one trade-off of the compact size is a smaller screen. The 2200T features a 3.5-inch touch screen rather than the larger 4.3-inch display that's found on a number of PNDs. With a 320x240-pixel resolution, it's fairly clear and bright, but things do get a bit cramped on screen. One way to clear up some valuable screen real estate is to minimize the number of displayed points of interest (POI), which you can do by going to Options > Map Display > Categories Shown (page 2).
Also, as we've mentioned in our reviews of Navigon's other GPS products, the user interface isn't the easiest. It just takes a couple of extra steps to do things like enter addresses or search for POI, compared to a Garmin or TomTom GPS. Also, menu navigation isn't as smooth, and there were a couple of times that the GPS was a little sluggish to respond to our touch commands.
While the UI might not be the simplest, the rest of the Navigon 2200T is straightforward. On the left spine, there's a microSD expansion slot, while the right side has a reset hole. The power button is located on the top of the unit, and finally, there's a Micro-USB port on the bottom for the car charger.
The Navigon 2200T ships with a car charger, a vehicle mount (windshield and dash), and reference material. The car mount requires some minor assembly but it's not very complicated. More importantly, the accessory securely held the GPS in place during our road tests.
The Navigon 2200T's feature list is largely similar to the Navigon 2000S but adds lifetime traffic updates. The traffic receiver is integrated into the device so you don't have to deal with any extra accessories or wires, and you don't have to subscribe to a traffic service--it's all included with the purchase of the GPS. The 2200T will display flow of traffic through color-coded roadways (i.e., green for clear, yellow for slow areas, and so forth). If there is an incident along the way, an icon will appear to alert you to the situation at which point the GPS can provide you with an alternative route.
For more information about the Navigon 2200T's features, please read our full review of the Navigon 2000S.
We tested the Navigon 2200T in San Francisco, and from a cold start, it took the GPS a solid 10 minutes to get a fix on our location under clear skies. We were forgiving since it was the first time we booted up the system, but we weren't as forgiving with the subsequent starts, which took about 5 minutes or longer. It was frustrating to have to sit in the car for that long waiting for the PND to acquire the necessary satellites so we could begin our trip. We've tested other systems with subsequent starts that were almost instantaneous or took just a minute or two. The bright side is that once locked on, the 2200T was able to accurately track our position and hold its fix while driving through the city.
As we do for all GPS devices, we planned a trip from the Marina District to CNET's downtown headquarters. The Navigon 2200T returned with a recommended route in less than a minute and by checking the turn-by-turn list of directions, we found it to be accurate. Once on the road, we were pleased with the voice-guided directions. They were loud and clear, and overall, the device did a satisfactory job with the text-to-speech pronunciation. As we were driving the route, we missed several turns to test the automatic route recalculation route, which we found to be somewhat inconsistent. At times, the 2200T prompted us to get back on track, while other times it took a minute or so for the unit to realize we were no longer on the original route.
The traffic capabilities were OK. It was nice to see an overview of the traffic flow and be alerted to any upcoming incidents, but we're disappointed that the system doesn't factor in traffic during the preplanning stages. It would be nice to have the most optimized route that factors in traffic data before heading out on the road, but we'll also take the current offerings, especially considering it's free.
One other thing we wanted to note is that the Navigon 2200T had a pretty short battery life. After just about an hour of use, we were already getting alerts about a low battery. It's not a big deal if you're in the car and have it hooked up to the car charger, but if you happen to forget the adapter or want to use the GPS on foot, you could find yourself with a dead unit in a short amount of time.