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Friday, December 25, 2009
iPhonetunes review: NAVIGON Design Car Kit [Update: it broke]
iPhonetunes review: NAVIGON Design Car Kit [Update: it broke]

Santa brought me some really cool stuff this year, an aftershave from Polo and the NAVIGON Car Kit. I must have been a nice boy this year, ahum… Especially the latter I was looking forward to since quite some time. Before, I always placed the iPhone in the Radio display console of my car, when I was navigating with the iPhone. Although this worked quite cool and I had some fair GPS satellite reception, it was about time for some improvement.

I requested the Car Kit from Navigon but they had better things to do then to reply to our email apparently. TomTom Iberia was so nice to send us a Car Kit for testing purposes like you have read in Dani’s review before for sure. That’s why I asked Santa to bring me the NAVIGON Design Car Kit this year.

[Update: NAVIGON Iberia has contacted us, with the promise to supply us with future review models.]

iPhone GPS | NAVIGON Car Kit


When I had the box in my hands the first time, it felt small and light. I don’t know why but I was a bit surprised by this, maybe the publicity photos were making me think it was bigger.

Upon un-boxing the Kit I saw immediately that the Car Kit is of extremely high quality and design. It fits Apple quality to be honest, you pay quite some money but you will get something decent and stylish for it in return.

The box contains the Car Kit, a charger cable and the cigarette connector from Belkin, and a small manual, which is almost not necessary.

iPhone car integration | NAVIGON design Car KitiPhone car integration | NAVIGON design Car Kit

iPhone car integration | NAVIGON design Car KitiPhone car integration | NAVIGON design Car Kit

In Car Navigation

Unlike the Car Kit from TomTom and Magellan, this device doesn’t have a built-in GPS Chip nor build-in speakers and microphone for hands-free calling. Like Dani reported before, the built-in GPS chip in the TomTom Car Kit was beneficial for every iPhone. So I was curious to see the GPS apps performance with this kit.

I connected the kit to the front window, the quality of the suction cup is very good and it holds the kit firmly to the windscreen. I wasn’t afraid my iPhone was going to drop on the floor, which happened several times in the past with my poor quality Nokia GPS.

When driving out of my garage I noticed that I had even faster a GPS signal fix with MobileNavigator, even way before the end of my small street. Driving with the kit was also a joy; because it’s relatively small I could connect it really cool in front of me so I can see the street and the iPhone at the same time, without being in my way.

iPhone car integration | NAVIGON design Car KitiPhone car integration | NAVIGON design Car Kit

The much better GPS signal reception made the navigation experience also much nicer while driving the streets of Brussels. Here the average houses/apartments are between 3-6 floors high and taking away quite some GPS reception area. In the mean time I have tried all the GPS apps in combinations with the Car Kit and all perform a bit better than before (Navigon, Sygic, NDrive, CoPilot, iGO My way and TomTom).

Placing in and taking out the iPhone is a peace of cake. It locks securely in the Car Kit. Afterwards you can rotate the iPhone 360 degrees, and tilt it a bit forwards and backwards. The tension of the rotation can be adjusted with a screw in the backside of the kit. Note that when you place the iPhone too low and you have the charging cable connected, you cannot rotate it in portrait, because the connector will hit your dashboard. Anyway I like to navigate in landscape mode.

Because I have the Car Kit in my car all the time now, I notice that I mount the iPhone every time and start-up Navigon in map mode, even for short trips, because of it’s traffic feature and nice visual map with speed limit indication.

iPhone car integration | NAVIGON design Car KitiPhone car integration | NAVIGON design Car Kit


After having paid 39,95 Euro for the kit and 5 Euro for the shipping I was curious to see if it was worth having Santa paying this money, just to connect my iPhone to the windscreen. Update It was money very well spend because of the extremely high German build quality and design, even it lacks the internal speakers, mic and GPS chip. I was glad to see that my iPhone 3G S was performing perfectly in combination with the kit and attaches very secure to the front screen.

NAVIGON delivered “Apple quality” to my daily navigation experience!

I never removed the kit from my screen until a few weeks ago. It was a bit over 20 Degrees celcius outside, and when I turned the iPhone in the kit, it broke out of the suction pad. I bought some instant glue to fix it, but it left a bad taste in my mouth after having paid so much. My advise is to Navigon, fix this weakest part of the Kit and test it good under warm conditions. My advise to the current owners is; remove the kit every time you don’t use it. And for the potential buyers; stay away from buying it until they have fixed this.

Appearance: 5.0
Functionality: 5.0
Usability: 0.0
Value: 0.0
TOTAL: 2.5 out of 5.

iPhone car integration | NAVIGON design Car KitiPhone car integration | NAVIGON design Car Kit

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