Navigon was a company that made some innovative GPS devices. Their GPS units were sold worldwide until Garmin purchased the company in 2011. Their products stopped being offered in the United States shortly after the purchase. Garmin has released their first motorcycle GPS app with the Navigon Cruiser. So after a lengthy absence in the United States, Navigon is back. It looks like this came out of Navigon in Germany as some of the documentation is still in German. Makes sense since Navigon’s offices are still located in Germany.
The design of Navigon Cruiser seems to be open to user influence as the manufacturer solicits user feedback on current and future features. That’s a nice aspect of the app.
The app was released during May, 2017. The Navigon Cruiser app is available globally. The app can be downloaded from the Apple Store or Google Play. Garmin plans to charge for this app. It’s not supported by advertising like Waze. This is a subscription service. Free to use during the first seven days. After that, you need to pay up.
Subscriptions seem reasonable and can be paid monthly, annually or a one time lifetime fee. The cost of the lifetime subscription is quite a bit less than what you will pay for a Garmin Zumo.
Better Have Space
Fond of free trials, we tried the app out. After downloading the app, you are asked to select a region then which maps to download to the device. Depending upon the maps selected, this can potentially take up several GB of storage. That’s right, we are talking gigabytes. Apparently, the maps sit on your phone. Unlike other GPS apps, the maps aren’t downloaded dynamically using your data plan.
There are pros and cons to this method. If riding in a place without cellular service, you will be very happy the maps already sit on your phone. If short on storage space, you will wish the maps were in the cloud. Best advice is to download only what you need and place it on your phone’s micro SD card. So for example, if you only ride in New Jersey, you probably should not download maps from Florida. Hopefully your phone has a micro SD card feature to save valuable internal storage. Not all do.
This Looks Familiar
The navigation destination is entered on the home screen. The address can be entered from the address tab or online tab. The address tab works somewhat like a Garmin Zumo. Enter the country then state then zip code or city then select the street then number. Somewhat cumbersome. Using the online search tab is faster as it allows entry of the address and zip code from a single screen. It’s worth mentioning you can also setup home, work and favorites for frequent destinations and these addresses are saved within the Navigon Cruiser app.
We must admit, the maps look a lot like Waze. The feel and flow of the maps scroll somewhat similar to the popular competitor. However, and strangely, the app will not support landscape mode. For those Waze users out there, you know the advantage of landscape. The map fills the entire screen better and it’s somewhat easier to interact. There’s probably a good reason for the forced portrait mode, but that’s how Navigon Cruiser functions on Android 7 running a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.
The view seen in the photo that accompanies this article is the map route. As already stated, it looks a lot like Waze. There is a significant emphasis placed on gas stations and restaurants on the way to the destination. Navigon Cuiser identifies a lot of the area restaurants. These types of businesses seem to be fairly up to date and complete.
Old Habits are Hard to Break (Maybe Not)
You might be wondering if the Navigon Cruiser app is better than a dedicated GPS such as the Garmin Zumo 595LM. The Garmin 595LM is a dedicated GPS device that can be used in most weather conditions versus a smartphone that you cannot get wet.
Sure, you can protect your smartphone using a weatherproof case such as the Arkon Weatherproof Case with Handlebar Mount. This holder includes a weatherproof case with a clear lens and cable port to fit GPS units up to 5.5 inches. That will help but it’s not perfect. It’s weatherproof, not waterproof where the Garmin Zumo 595LM is actually rated as waterproof in most conditions.
The Garmin Zumo 595LM also has some unique features such as support of the Tire Pressure Monitor Sensor. Perhaps that will be an add-on accessory for your phone one day, but currently it is not.
So in summary, if you’re comfortable using a smartphone on a motorcycle and like to save money, the Navigon Cruiser app might be worth consideration. Old habits are tough to break. It will be interesting to see how owners of older Garmin Zumo devices handle their upgrades.
Manufacturer Link: Navigon
I’m Mike, the author of all of the articles on this site. MotorcycleGPSHub is written from many years of experience outfitting motorcycles with GPS devices and mounting configurations. I’ve had a chance to use not just the old school Garmin Zumo, but more contemporary GPS apps like Waze and Google Maps. To each their own. There’s a good market for a traditional motorcycle GPS as well as those that want to keep it basic with a smartphone app.