BMW Motorrad Navigator III
3, 2007 ]
I don't know when I bought the BMW Navigator III but I'm sure it was
earlier this year. I used it for the 2007 Death Valley
trip so it must have been in the February time frame. All I can
remember is being absolutely fed up with the TomTom and its power
cycling. When I need the navigation system, it's not available
for use. Instead, it spends its time flickering on and off.
In my case there are two possible factors that can cause this problem:
Unfortunately for me, both cases were correct. I had a grounding
problem on the R12GS and the TomTom Rider design is flawed. I did
eventually get the grounding problem fixed but the TomTom's case is
hopeless. Historical problems aside here is how the BMW Navigator
III stacks up against the TomTom.
- The R12GS is still having electrical problems
- The TomTom Rider design is flawed and can't operate according to
There is a mix blessing when using the Nav III. The navigation
unit has no internal battery and relies completely on an external power
source. This means the motorcycle has to be on in order for you to play
with the navigation system. This also means you can't use the
navigation system in the house unless you have a power source to drive
the unit. The bonuses of not having an internal battery are:
Fortunately, the unit comes with hookups of all kinds. Motorcycle
cabling, car cigarette port cabling (with speaker), and a power
transformer for in home use. There is also a USB cable for route
downloading/uploading and firmware updates. Like the TomTom, the
Nav III uses Bluetooth to communicate to you. Also like the
TomTom, the Nav III can be paired up with a cell phone to allow for
phone dialing, answering, etc. The TomTom has capabilities for
real-time traffic updates. So does the Nav III.
- You don't have to worry about recharging the unit
- There is no need to replace a built in internal Li-on battery
The BMW Navigator III is a much improved unit compared to the
TomTom. This is mostly due to the later generation
software. Garmin has incorporated a text to speech system that
allows the navigation system to read the street names. This is
quite a handy feature as it allows you to know the street you're going
to turn onto. Additionally, the way the screen is organized, all
the necessary information you would ever want to know is right in front
Among the cool features of the Nav III:
The computer software that comes with the unit is pretty cool too
(MapSource). It allows you to plot your course on the computer
and then download the route to the navigation system.
Alternatively, you can also upload the route from the Nav III to your
computer for permanent route storage.
- The Nav III is able to remain visible
in daylight. The TFT display doesn't get washed out like
TomTom. The only time when this becomes a problem is when the sun
shining directly on the unit's display screen. When that happens,
it's just a
matter of tilting the display up or down to deflect the light in
- The unit has a built in light sensor that will inform the
navigation software to put the unit into day or night mode. No
tinkering is need on the owner's part. This was a manual step for
the TomTom Rider.
If there is one complaint about the entire setup, the system is too
flexible. OK, so that is not really a complaint. However,
because the system is so flexible, you can easily get lost and not know
what options are available and what settings needs to be set.
Some off road paths on the map shows up as roads. For the R12GS
this might be good. For the R12R that's not such a hot
idea. However, MapSource allows you to block out regions on the
map that you consider to be impassable. This allows for proper
routing on the computer's part.
Lastly, there is one real complaint about the BMW Navigator III, but
the problem is fixed with the 4.30 version of the firmware. The
initial 4.20 version has issues with Bluetooth and doesn't communicate
very well with Bluetooth devices.
All in all the BMW Navigator III is the same as the TomTom Rider, in
terms of functionality. However, since the Nav III is a
generation later, it has more refinements that make it a much better
navigation unit. The biggest item in favor of the Nav III is its
ability to work properly unlike the design flaw seen with the TomTom
The R12GS BMW Motorrad Nav III re-mounted on the R12R.
There's still enough room to see the dials.
Written on: September 3, 2007
Last modified: September 23, 2007