Review: Navigon 8100T

GPS is supposed to get you where you want to go. The Navigon 8100T does deliver on its promise of no wrong turns and the occasional Dairy Queen pit stop. However, at $600, it seems the poor house is a little too high on this unit’s points-of-interest list.

The Navigon 8100T is a dashboard-mounted GPS unit with a flat, sexy, 4.8-inch touchscreen. It’s easy to affix it to your dash via a suction cup. We especially liked the Reality View Pro feature, which gave us a realistic image of all of the streets we never knew existed in our area, complete with their actual road signs.

Also, the unit’s Panorama View is the most whiz-bang feature: It displays pretty 3-D effects not unlike those in Pole Position. Whether or not that is a good thing is between you, the local authorities and your steering wheel. Still, like the game, the graphics are good, but a bit bland. Considering the unit boasts 3-D, both images and the points of interest could pop better — and quicker, so you actually have a chance of checking out something new before you zoom past it at 60 mph. In other words, don’t expect to have the Toon Patrol from Roger Rabbit as your copilot. Still, it’s a nice touch that’s relatively easy on the eyes.

The 3-D view might just be enough to distract you from the 8100T’s many minor annoyances. For instance, if you plan on turning the unit off between trips, you’d better know where you are going — at least for some of the ride. Every time we restarted, it took a good 3 to 10 miles for the GPS to sync up with its respective satellites. You could be halfway to Albuquerque by the time it warms up.

Also, there was a bit of a lag time while having to look up destinations. Want to hit the nearest Taco Bell? While the 8100T will provide directions to those juicy, greasy little nuggets of faux-Meximeat, plan on pulling over to the side of the road while it maps your route. Otherwise, the lag time could leave you missing an important destination. Speaking of which: The included points of interest aren’t totally up to date, making them, well, less interesting. Restaurants in our area that had been closed for over a year were still listed, with newer ones missing. Maybe we didn’t have the latest FreshMaps, a service that runs another 80 bucks for 12 map updates over three years.

The bottom line is that you’ll need some patience, as well as money and rubber to burn. That said, the Navigon 8100T might not take the best route, but it gets you where you want to go.

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