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May 26, 2007

LG Portable Navigator LN740 Review

GPSmagazine Rating: 3 of 5
Buy this GPS from Amazon

Verdict: Impressive

LG LN740 Portable Navigator

LG has entered the ultra-competitive GPS market this month with a splash, releasing the Portable Navigator LN730, LN735, and LN740. The LN740 is the most expensive of the three, sporting a larger 4-inch screen, more POIs, more storage, and real-time traffic.

LG's new GPS line looked more promising than most, as the deep-pocketed company spent big bucks developing their own hardware & software rather than outsourcing both to the lowest bidders. Can LG compete with Garmin, Magellan, and TomTom in the already-crowded GPS market? Read on and find out.

Table of Contents

  1. Specifications
  2. Unboxing: What's in the Box
  3. Mounting the LN740 in the Car
  4. Powering on the LN740 for the First Time
  5. LG's Map Screen: Navigating with the LN740
  6. Navigating to a Street Address
  7. Finding a Restaurant
  8. Multi-Stop Routing
  9. Traffic
  10. GPS Signal Strength: SiRF's Mighty StarIII
  11. LG's Excellent Routing Engine Performance
  12. Photo Viewer and MP3 Player
  13. Configuring System Options
  14. Pros
  15. Cons
  16. Conclusion

1. Specifications

  • 4-inch color touchscreen LCD (320x240 pixels)
  • GPS receiver: SiRFstarIII
  • Map data: US, Canada, Puerto Rico (NAVTEQ)
  • 7 million POIs (Points of Interest)
  • Text-to-speech (English, French, Spanish)
  • FM-TMC traffic ready (antenna and 90-day subscription included)
  • MP3 Player
  • Photo viewer
  • Internal memory: 2 GB internal flash memory
  • External memory: SD card slot (up to 2 GB)
  • Battery life: Up to 6 hours (Internal Li-Ion)
  • Dimensions: 4.5 x 3.5 x 0.75 inches (W x H x D)
  • Weight: 7 ounces
  • Suggested Retail Price: $499

2. Unboxing: What's in the Box:

LG LN740 Retail Box
Figure 1: LN740 Retail Box

LG LN740 Retail Box, Opened
Figure 2: LN740 Retail Box, Opened

LG LN740 - What's Included in the Box
Figure 3: LN740 - What's included in the Box

LG's LN740 ships with the following items included in the box:
  • Windshield Mount
  • Dashboard Mount Disc
  • Car Power Adapter
  • Home AC Power Adapter
  • Carrying Case
  • FM Traffic Antenna
  • USB Cable
  • Backup Map CD
  • Backup Installation CD
  • Quickstart Guide
  • User Manual CD

LG's 12v Car Power Adapter
Figure 4: LG's Included Cigarette Lighter Power Adapter

The included 12v cigarette lighter adapter is small an fit easily into my 12v socket.

Included AC Power Adapter
Figure 5: Included AC Power Adapter

All too frequently GPS manufacturers don't include the AC power adapter and charge up to $30 to purchase one separately, so it's nice to see LG including one in the box with the LN740.

LG LN740 Suction Mount
Figure 6: LG's Suction-Cup Windshield Mount

Even the most capable GPS system can be rendered worthless if the mounting hardware is inadequate. Mounting hardware might seem like a minor issue, but with so many companies failing in the area, it deserves special attention in this review.

LG's socket-and-ball style windshield mount is well designed and functioned well during my testing. In may ways, LG's mount is quite similar to Garmin's nuvi mount, which is a good thing since Garmin generally makes outstanding mounts.

LG LN740 Suction Mount, Rear
Figure 7: LG's Suction-Cup Windshield Mount, Rear

Like Garmin's mounting hardware, LG's mounting bracket forms a socket and ball type joint at the cradle, allowing you to articulate the GPS into almost any viewing angle. Unlike Garmin's mount, however, LG's socketed mount cannot be detached from the ball-joint on the mount's arm. Also, unlike Garmin's mount, LG's mount doesn't provide power to the GPS. Instead, you must connect the power cable directly to the GPS unit itself.

I would have preferred to see a powered mount, as it makes connecting/disconnecting the GPS from the car a much quicker procedure.


Figure 8: Locking the Mount into Place

A lever at the base of the mount tightens/loosens the suction cup. Swing the lever to the "Close" position to secure the mount to the glass.

Adhesive Mounting Disc
Figure 9: Adhesive Mounting Disc

If you happen to live in a State or country where it is illegal to mount anything in the windshield of a motor vehicle, you can use the included adhesive mounting disc to mount the LN740 on your dashboard instead.

I'm personally not a huge fan of this method, as it is a much more permanent commitment than a simple suction cup on the windshield glass. Nevertheless, local laws may dictate that you use this method, and LG includes it in case you need it.

USB Data Cable
Figure 10: Adhesive Mounting Disc

LG includes a standard USB data cable for connecting the LN740 to a Windows PC (for firmware updates or to restore the maps from the included backup CD's if ever needed. Sorry Mac lovers - this is a PC-only affaire.

TMC Traffic Antenna
Figure 11: Included RDS/TMC Traffic Receiver Antenna

The LN740 ships with the TMC Traffic receiver included in the box. Personally, I prefer to see the traffic receiver integrated into the 12v adapter or the windshield mount. LG's antenna must be suction-cupped to the glass and is another unsightly wire in the car.