With its sleek, black-lacquered finish and compact size (4.5-inches wide by 3.5-inches high by 0.7-inch deep; 7 ounces), the LG Portable Navigator LN740 is a good-looking portable navigation system. The GPS receiver is integrated into the device, so there's no added bulk on the back of the unit or need to flip up a patch antenna to get a GPS fix.
On paper, the LN740's touch screen looks like a dream but in reality, it's a bit of a disappointment. It measures a wide 4 inches diagonally and displays 260,000 hues at a 320x240 pixel resolution. With that type of color output and screen quality, you'd expect sharp, vibrant maps, but this is not the case. While readable, the screen appeared grainy and pixelated and colors seemed washed out when viewed in direct sunlight. We adjusted the viewing angle and tweaked the brightness settings, which helped a little, but not enough to compete with TomTom's or Garmin's sharp displays. The touch screen, however, was responsive and the interface user-friendly and intuitive.
While the touch screen handles most of the main controls, you can adjust the volume and return to the device's main menu with dedicated controls that sit to the right of the display. There is a mini-USB port as well as a SD expansion slot on the left spine, while the right houses the power button, traffic antenna jack, and power connector. One notable omission we discovered was a headphone jack. The LN740 does offer music playback capabilities and a "pedestrian" mode; while you probably wouldn't use the device as an MP3 player or handheld navigator, it would have been nice to have the option to plug in a pair of headphones for an improved audio experience.
The LN740 comes with a good assortment of accessories, including an AC adapter, a car charger, a vehicle mount (for the windshield and dash), a traffic antenna, a carrying pouch, a USB cable, a backup map disc, and other reference material. We were impressed by the number of goodies (LG includes more than most), and particularly appreciated the AC charger, carrying case, and traffic antenna, as these can cost upwards of $40 when purchased separately.
The LN740 is easy to install on the vehicle mount. We had some initial concerns about whether the adjustable arm could support the device's weight, but the cradle held the device securely in place even as we drove over bumpy roads. The setup for the traffic antenna is a bit awkward, as it involves running a wire along the windshield and attaching it via suction cups. The result isn't very pretty.
The LG Portable Navigator LN740 is equipped with a 20-channel SiRFstarIII GPS receiver and comes preloaded with Navteq maps covering North America. For everyday trips, you can go straight to the Map page and have the LN740 track your location as you cruise. Otherwise, you can plan a trip by entering a specific address, choosing a recently visited location, or selecting a destination from the My Places list. Entering addresses is easy, as the system quickly returns with possible results as soon as you start entering the first few letters of any city, state, or street. In addition, the LN740 supports multistop trips and offers a comprehensive points-of-interest database that includes some 7 million entries. This database includes major categories as well as more specific items, such as restaurants by cuisine, gas stations, ATMs, wineries, and parks--and will even include a phone number, if available.