There’s a trend at the moment for big, high-design sat-nav, but the Navigon 7310 doesn’t follow it. Other Navigon models do, of course, like the 8110 that we’ve already tested and the upcoming 8410.

The 7310 treads a more conventional path with black plastic finish and 4.3in screen. That’s not to say it’s boring, though. It’s stylishly finished, well built and, crucially, showcases many of Navigon’s high-tech mapping skills.

Neat design

The initial out-of-the-box impressions of the Navigon are a bit of a rollercoaster ride. The device itself is neatly designed and solidly built, with an attractive concentric line design on the rear.

Delving further, we find the windscreen mount, which requires screwing together to become ready for use – slightly annoying when you’re sitting in a hot, stationary car trying to get everything up and running.

Luckily, the 12v power cable has the TMC traffic-report-receiving FM aerial built into it, meaning one less thing to plug in and one less wire to get caught on your indicator stalk during a crucial manoeuvre.

Stylish software

But it’s the Navigon’s software that makes it special. The look of the menus and maps is stylish, with black and orange accents befitting the Navigon logo.

As with all sat-nav, a certain amount of learning is required to discover how the process of entering addresses is done, and how to do cleverer stuff like tell it that you want to stop at a petrol station on the way. It is, in this regard, only marginally more difficult to use than a TomTom, and that is high praise indeed.

The basic 2D and 3D mapping is attractive and clear, but it’s the special mapping that differentiates it. Landmark View 3D we have seen before, displaying a 3D render of significant buildings as you pass them. If you didn’t know you were passing Big Ben, then the Navigon will show you, and just occasionally this apparent gimmick will help you orientate yourself.

City View 3D is a little more advanced, displaying solid, grey 3D buildings – in supported cities and areas – the shape and relative size of actual buildings. If the nexus point for sat-nav is photo-realistic Street View-esque representation of what is outside the car, then this is a positive step towards it.

Panoramic view

But, for us, the piece de resistance is Panorama View 3D, which displays contours, hills and mountains as they really appear, with your chosen route winding over them. It’s really very attractive, and possibly entirely frivolous – but, in terms of having a sat-nav that does clever things you can show off to your friends, we like it.

Another nice feature is My Routes. When you enter a destination, the device suggests three different routes to it, based on your driving history – whether you normally take the motorway, or weave around B-roads, for example. Plus, as you near your destination, a parking icon comes up on screen. Hit it and the 7310 will show you nearby car parks. Nice.

Standard sat-nav functions, like Bluetooth connectivity, voice control and TMC are all present and worked well.

Poor battery life

One major drawback to the 7310 is battery life. Forget or lose your 12v cable, and you aren’t going to get much more than an hour and a bit out of it.

This is disappointing, as is the fact that instead of warning you the battery is close to dead – giving you time to pull over and buy a map, for example – the device just instantly stops working. As we discovered...mid-roundabout.

So, to sum up, the Navigon 7310 is nicely made, with sophisticated and clever mapping. If simplicity is your main prerequisite for sat-nav, then a TomTom GO 740 LIVE might better serve you, but for geeks, this is definitely worth a look.


Stuff says... 

Navigon 7310 review

Stylish and sophisticated, the 7310 shows that Navigon is the sat-nav company to threaten TomTom’s UK dominance