The biggest hitters in the world of in-car navigation were late to market with their iPhone app, but TomTom’s £60 effort was worth the wait, at least in terms of quality. It’s 315MB, so maybe don’t download it over the air...
After some initial wobbles finding a satellite, performance is generally up there with a dedicated satnav, which is pretty amazing for a phone app.
Voice instructions are easily audible and comprehensible and 3D and 2D graphics are clear and classy – the comparatively small, 3.5-inch screen is still plenty big enough. We’re not sure it holds satellite signals as well as a dedicated device but rerouting is so swift it never became an issue during our test drives.
To be honest, rerouting is about the only area that differentiates a really good satnav from a pretty good one – they’re all much of a muchness - and this ’un is like greased lightning when you take a wrong turn.
What’s the downside, then? Simply put, the price is quite mad. For solo driving, you really need to be able to see the screen, which means you need a mount, and TomTom’s official one is 100 quid. You can get a very good dedicated satnav for £160. The mount also charges your iPhone, which is essential as the app murders your battery – a journey of 90 minutes took the battery from full to zero.
It also amps up the voice instructions and lets it serve as a hands-free kit, neither of which is remotely essential but still, you know, nice.
The bottom line
This is about as good as navigation on a non-dedicated device gets, but it feels horribly overpriced if you buy it with the mount. A few deluxe features such as full postcode entry or access to TomTom’s excellent LIVE services would have oiled the deal, but the only thing you get as a bonus feature is lane assistance.
This makes getting on and off motorways pretty much idiot-proof, but it is a visual feature, so you need the mount to use it. If you always have a helpful passenger with you when you drive, or are confident enough to go on voice directions alone, we guess you don’t need the mount, in which case, get stuck in. Otherwise, wait for third-party mounts or for TomTom to have a sale.