Saturday, 22 March 2014

Sat Nav or Mobile Phone App?

There was a time when I thought TomTom was a wonder of modern technology. My first basic unit performed its function without fail for over 3 years and just worked straight out of the box. However, today we have the mobile phone app. Where does that leave the likes of TomTom and Garmin?

My TomTom One still works. I don’t dare to update the map on its teeny SD card but it still navigates well and has not needed any updates. Scroll forward a few years and what do we have? You can now pick up a brand new Garmin or basic TomTom for around £75! But wait – all is not as it seems.

The TomTom of today comes packed with a windscreen sucker that just sucks. There is no alternative way to describe it. The unit drops off the windscreen at random times and bounces around the floor pan of your vehicle as you drive along. Not only is it dangerous but it is extremely frustrating.

Additionally the latest satelites all come with that annoying feature – Lost Satelite Navigation or searching for GPS on start up. Sometimes it can be 20 minutes before my TomTom gets going and finds a signal. Now I know what you are going to say. When was the last update?
Well, I try and keep mine up to date as much as possible but I still get errors and GPS lost issues from both my TomTom and my Garmin. A few months back a friend of mine recommended NAV FREE, an application which works straight off my phone and costs the grand total of nothing. That’s Zilch. Totally Free!

I was sceptical at first but within a couple of days it became obvious that the NAV FREE application was outperforming both my TomTom and the Garmin. I travel a lot with work and believe me I have compared them carefully. I have spent the last 3 months using both traditional Sat Navs and my mobile phone side by side.

Last week my Garmin kept losing its power, turning itself off and on at random intervals. Using my mobile phone I navigated to the nearest Halfords. I purchased a new and basic model Garmin and returned to my car. I powered it up. It came up with a message. Cannot find GPS……………..Searching…………..searching……………searching.

Frustrated I took it back into Halfords only to be told that I would need to connect it up to the PC to obtain its updates. Conveniently the Garmin comes boxed without the necessary lead for a connection. I went home and tried to connect it. No luck. On both my laptop and my PC the device would not connect. Another visit to Halfords and I demanded a refund.

Seriously, I really think that the Sat Nav units are a thing of yesteryear. They won’t last long. With mobile phone apps being updated without hassle and being supplied totally free of charge why on earth would anyone want to pay for a new sat nav unit? 

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