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Thursday, July 30, 2009
iPhoneTunes review: Sygic VS Navigon - All features compared [Update5]
iPhoneTunes review: Sygic VS Navigon - All features compared [Update5]

Brussels // R.Bollen // 30.07.2009. For all the iPhone people out there, who do not know on which GPS app to spend their hard earned money, we have made a complete feature per feature review of both applications. We already talked about both apps before with the accent on our experience with Navigon MobileNavigator. Also Navigon has just got an important update already and a new one is waiting for the end of the summer.

I bet you are surprised with the results, at least I was while reviewing them.

iPhone apps

1. Display dimensions and size

• Navigon: Map real estate: 225 px height and 480 px width, map can be displayed in portrait or landscape. Installation size is 1.67 GB.

• Sygic: Map real estate: 240 px height and 480 px width, map can be displayed in portrait or landscape. Installation size is 1.81 GB.

iPhone appsiPhone apps
Note the bigger map screen estate for Sygic (image right).

Winner: Sygic

2. Street name display

• Navigon is putting the street names across the streets, even when they are diagonal displayed. This makes it quite difficult to read from time to time, but you can switch it off, then it only shows the street you are driving in.

• Sygic is displaying the street names horizontal with a little arrow pointing to the street, which is better readable.

iPhone appsiPhone apps
Note the clutter of street names with Navigon (image left)

Winner: Sygic for readability

3. Map zoom (Driving and stand alone)

• Navigon needs pinch with two fingers to zoom in and out, like with regular photos / images on the iPhone. Also when you select: show map, it works like this.

• Sygic has the conventional plus and minus sign on the display which is better to use while driving. When you select: Browse map, there is a slider to the right of the screen, which also works quite pleasant. Since the last version they also support Pinch to zoom.

Winner: Sygic

4. Navigate to

• Navigon opens the screen with the options, Enter an Address, Search POI, Take me Home, Show Map (where you can point a destination). Favorites, Recent and Contacts are in the bottom menu.

• Sygic gives you the ability to select from Address/Postal code, Favorite, History, Contacts, Home, Point on Map, Hotel, Restaurant, POI, enter GPS position, Last Valid Position.

Winner: Sygic

5. 2D map

• Navigon is showing you the 2D map as soon as you tap the screen while navigating in 3D mode.

• Sygic is showing you the main menu whenever you type the screen while navigating in 3D mode, the select settings and then “Set to 2D (flat) view”

Winner: Navigon

6. Night view

• Navigon has the option to switch to night view, you just select More - Options - Night Mode ON/OFF.

• Sygic does this automatic, it changes colors when it gets darker and you even have the option to overrule the settings.

iPhone appsiPhone apps
Note that Sygic adjusted this automatically while with Navigon I had to manually switch (image left).

Winner: Sygic

7. Voice and sound

• Navigon has a slider in the preferences menu to select the volume of the voice. The software selects automatically the language of how your iPhone is configured. This is sometimes annoying for people who prefer the iPhone language to be in English and but want the GPS voice in their native language. In total 19 languages are supported. Check to see if your language is in the list: Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish.

• Sygic has the “Disable sounds” options in the Settings menu and also the “select voice prompts” option with live preview, the voice changes sex per country, UK has Simon while Netherlands has Maria. 18 Languages in total: Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish.

So if you are Croatian, Russian or Turkish, Navigon is for you. And if you are Hungarian or Slovene Sygic is most probably for you.

Winner: Draw, Sygic has voice options, Navigon wins for more language support.

8. Maps of Europe

• Navigon does not have the map of Malta and Moldavia.

• Sygic does not have the map of Greece.

Winner: Draw, depends where you live.

9. Speed control

• Navigon can set the threshold in steps of 5 km/h from 5 to 35 km/h, or disable. This in Build-Up areas and outside Build-Up areas, with acoustic warnings. The current speed is constantly shown in the top center of the screen which is good readable.

• Sygic routes you to the advanced options to switch “enable max speed warning” and “enable warning sound” on or off, after this you can even choose between 10 different sound. The threshold goes from -25 in steps of 5 km/h till 50 both for inside and outside Build-Up areas. The location of the current speed displayed is depending where you put it as a preference.

Winner: Sygic

10. Safety cameras

• Navigon gives the choice to enable them and even un-install them, this probably for legal reasons in some countries.

• Sygic also gives this choice with warning sounds and to show the radars on the map or not ,with a special sound to choose from (10 different ones). The threshold goes from -25 in steps of 5 km/h till 50 both for inside and outside Build-Up areas.

iPhone appsiPhone apps
Note that Navigon shows an animated red circle around the flash pole and a camera in the speed sign to the right (left image), while Sygic shows it with a clear graphic overlay (right image).

Winner: Sygic, it has more configuration options.

11. Planning prefs

• Navigon has Speed profile: Motorbike, Lorry, Bicycle and Pedestrian. Type of route: Fast, Optimum, Short and Scenic. Allow/Avoid/Forbid: Motorways, Toll roads and Ferries. Resident only streets forbid or allow.

Here is the meaning I found in another Navigon user manual;
Motorcycle: Bendy routes are preferred.
Truck: Avoid through streets as much as possible.
Bicycle: One-way streets are often inapplicable to cyclists.
Pedestrian: Traffic regulations that apply only to vehicles are not taken into consideration.

• Sygic offers Fastest, economic, shortest, pedestrian and bicycle route computations. Toll roads: avoid, don’t avoid, ask me every time.

Winner: Navigon

12. Sign Posts

• Navigon shows by default the Real Sign Posts and they are big and very clear on the top of the screen (see image below left).

• Sygic calls this Signpost which has the following settings: All directions, preferred directions and disable info. Show it Full, Simplified of Single line. The sign post is shown on the top of the screen, transparent.

[Update] Some commenters in other forums have claimed that they liked it better when you see a sign and also the road, Navigon stops animating at this point.

Winner: Navigon, it shows the Posts realistic (although Sygic has more configuration options).

iPhone appsiPhone apps
Note the very realistic view for Navigon (left image), Sygic does it different with a red cross through the exit not to take (right image), also lanes to take are shown better with Navigon.

13. Lane assistant

• Navigon has this enabled by default and it shows on the right bottom corner of the screen with a clear graphic and an arrow for the preferred lane, also when there is a Sign Post at the same time it is in full screen (see image below left). It uses Reality View Pro technology from ZENREIN EUROPE Gmbg, Reality View Pro displays important traffic points in photo quality (motorway interchanges and exits).

• Sygic gives the option to enable/disable this feature and it is shown on the lower left part of the screen a bit smaller with green colors for the acceptable lanes to drive, although I do not really get this? See the image below right, where you have to take the exit to the right and this lane is white.

iPhone appsiPhone apps

Winner: Navigon, you see it better.

14. POI

• Navigon gives you on the home screen: Search POI, with the following options: In a city, Nationwide and Nearby. With the following categories: ATM, Automotive Dealers and services,  Bank, Business Facility, Car rental, Government Office, Petrol station, Parking, Post Office, Restaurant, Shopping, Tourist / Nature. They also have a lot of sub categories. In total there are 2 million POIs. By default these are all enabled and can be filtered out in the options menu. You can call them after selecting the phone number. There is a feature called Direct Access for 3 POIs in options, I did not understand this feature, I found this movie on YouTube, but on the iPhone I do not find these 3 items in the “Enter Address” menu. You can also add a POI or add one to your favorites.

• Sygic has in the main menu, Manage POI, with the following options: Add POI, Edit POI name, Delete POI, Delete POI category, Show/hide POIs, warn when near POI. When you want to get details, you have to go to, Navigate to, POI and then select: Near my position, Near address, Near destination, POI in City. It has the following main categories: Airports, Border Crossing, Culture, Emergency, Entertainment, Financials Business, Food, Health / Care, Hospital / Polyclinic, Hotel or Motel, Parking, Petrol Station, Public Services, School / Education, Shopping, Sport, Transport Station, Vehicle Services. These also with many subcategories.

Winner: Draw, Navigon has better sub category choices while Sygic has more options in general with POIs

15. Itinerary

• Navigon calls this Route. You can create a new Route, Last Route or Load Route, after which you have to select Route Points, via Enter an Address, Search for POI, Favorites and Recent destinations. The Address option is the most commonly used I suppose. So, build a list of intermediate Route Points here if you want to be sure that the GPS software takes you along your chosen way. You can delete Route Point like you delete emails. And finally press “Calculate the Route” to see it. Now you get the options to see the details (distance and time intervals) with the totals, change the route profile,  Save the Route and Simulation which is just a demo of this route.

• Sygic does this more sophisticated. You choose Itinerary from the main menu. Here you can select the plus symbol to add your start address and afterwards as many Waypoints you like. Once you select an already chosen Waypoint, you can change it’s property to: Set as visited, Set as finish point, add nearby POI, Delete, Move up and Move down. Especially the last 2 options are useful.

After this you still have the options menu for Optimizing itinerary ( I do not know what it does exactly, I couldn’t find it in the manual on their site either, so I have contacted them and will let you know later when I have feedback), Rename itinerary and delete itinerary. Once all waypoints are entered, press Done to have it calculated. Now you get a detail option to avoid Toll and Motor-ways, and the option to see all the intermediate Waypoint details as well as the totals. Also it is nice to zoom in and out of the map now, to control your route. although when you try touch the screen to pinch like in Navigon you will go to the main menu, where you have to choose Route: Show on map, or Show Route Instructions, Show Route As Images, Show Route Summary, Show Route Demo or Cancel Route.

Winner: Sygic

16. Battery usage [update2+4]

Navigon is draining the battery of my iPhone 3GS very heavily, even while being connected to the power from the cigarette plug in the car, it drains the battery faster than it charges the iPhone. On longer trips this is unacceptable for me. I want to drive somewhere with the GPS and when I arrive use my iPhone to take pictures and videos for example, these are other battery hungry features, so it is a must that the iPhone is charging and not draining. One time in Spain I experienced a shutdown of the iPhone while driving, I started with 8% battery the trip and 30 minutes later it went down. Bad bad bad. This urgently needs to be fixed in a next release.

[Update4] This is fixed in the latest update version 1.2.0.

• Sygic is charging the iPhone while driving, it is very pleasant when you arrive somewhere with a charged iPhone (even iGO drains while connected!).

Winner: Draw

17. Others

• Navigon gives the option to change the bottom menu, change from miles to KM, save your GPS position, show GPS info, delete recent info and add or delete favorites.

• Sygic has an extensive feature called Alternative Route with the following options. Compute Alternative, Avoid Next…, Travel via…, Reset to original, Avoid traffic delays. Also there is much more here like Memorise Position, Set Language, Keyboard settings, Regional settings (KM/Miles, hour, date, coordinates, Quick Guides, warn if railway crossing, enable auto-zoom, avoid U-turns. Back-light settings, Panel display options: Avg speed, current speed, elevation, length of route, distance to destinations, remaining time to destination, time of day, time of arrival, GPS signal indicator.

Also extra apps like: World Clock, Calculator, Unit converter and Country info (very useful when traveling, shows max speeds per country, allowed alcohol percentage and telephone country code prefix.)  It is nice that this info is also shown automatically when you enter a country.

Since version 8.06 they implemented also QWERTY keyboard. Also new is the Police traps and incidents reporting, which is a community thing in which you can participate (just press the bottom of the screen while navigating). I have the impression that the screen updates go even smoother now while driving.

Winner: Sygic

18. Price

• Navigon: 89,99 Euro.

• Sygic : 49,99 Euro.

Winner: Sygic

And the winner is…

Well if we count the points, Sygic is clearly winning this review with 10 points out of 18, while Navigon scores only 4 out of 18. There were 4 draws.

Which one should you buy then? This is more difficult to answer.

It is a bit like Navigon was created by a Mac programmer, better graphics, less options. While Sygic could have been made by a PC programmer, lesser graphics and more options/features.

Finally I found myself using Navigon most on long trips, because of their excellent way of showing Sign Posts and Lane Assistance. I noticed this was important for me because the iPhone screen is rather small, and you see all this info with a quick glimpse. Also I experience when using it by foot, that Navigon gives actual speed while Sygic only showed 0 km/h.

For the small trips in the city I used more Sygic, for better street name reading, better alert of safety cameras, when I do not have the sound on.

Sygic has a lot to offer especially for it’s low price tag, and it uses the excellent maps from TeleAtlas which profits from user updates via Google Maps. Navigon has to keep working hard on the app to add more options and features to keep it’s higher price tag justified.

[update2] Sygic is charging your iPhone while driving, which to me is very important, actually the only serious usable GPS app because of this (I am still testing TomTom and will let you know it’s battery usage later).

Tip: keep your eyes on the road!

Sygic Mobile Maps Europe

iPhonetunes -


Change log:

Aug 20, 2009. Prices have changed and updated in the article.
Aug 21, 2009. Battery consumption and charging has been added.
Aug 25, 2009. Screenshots have been reposted to reflect the same position on the map for better comparability. Sign Post info has been added (freeze of Navigon screen).
Sept 3, 2009. Sygic’s promotion of 74,99 Euro has ended. Navigon’s promotion of 79,99 Euro has also ended.
Sept 6, 2009. Explained the speed profiles of Navigon.
Sept 29, 2009. After testing the new Navigon version 1.2.0 the battery charging issue is fixed.
March 09, 2010. Updated Sygic’s images with version 8.06, map version 7.80


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