iPhone 3GS: TomTom, Navigon and iGo my way

August 21, 2009

There are 3 major players of turn by turn navitiaon for the iPhone now:

Picture 1Tomtom costs 99.99 euros for the European version.  It has 21 countries.
Everybody was expecting this app. There were rumors about the price. We saw photos of the little gadget to put it in the car… Well now we know, 100 euros just for the software. For this price you can get a stand alone version of tomtom and leave it in the car, honestly.

I have been playing with it for the past couple of days. It is like the one I had on my htc artemis but worse. It has all the good things that tomtom has, but now connectivity. No traffic, no weather, no radars. If they call you it goes back to tomtom, and you can switch the screen off and just listen to the driving directions if you wish. In my case this is handy when I ride my motorbike.
The list of POI is extensive and the graphics are the same as all tomtom versions.
A nice thing it has is that it does not talk too much and you can configure complex routes. This I like.

Picture 2Navigon Europe costs 79.99 euros. That is 20 euros less than Tomtom. It has 39 countries (including Romania, Hungry, etc…).
Navigon has the nicest graphics of the three. It is an app that would be like done by apple. Beautiful in terms of graphics. When on a motorway you have a real graphic of the panels and indications you find which is handy.
The downside is that it is as it is. Little to configure. You can also access the contact database, but no data, radars, traffic, etc. No alternative routes or complex itineraries.
The plus (aside from the graphics) is the POI. Very complete, with nice graphics.
The voice commands are OK.

Picture 3iGo my way costs 89.99 euros and it has 40 countries. There is a Western Europe version for 10 euros less, but the 89.99 has even Turckey.
iGo is by far the best. Don’t stop reading here though. It is also veeery buggy. I would say that you should not buy it at this stage! The voice stops working and you have to reset to factory defaults. It gives far too many vocal instructions (when it works). In the negative part also you cannot plan itineraries and the POI db is the poorest. You cannot access the contacts and has bugs such as you cannot control de volumen unless you edit the language and when you play then you modify it.
Positively I would say that it is great that you click on the screen and navigate in 3d. Like in google earth!. That it has 3d topography. Yes… you can see the mountains. Also it has rendered buildings (depending on the city). Also that you can actually see in 3d, so if you are in a complex motorway you can see if it the road where you are goes under or above the one you are crossing, or if you are entering a tunnel it gets darker. That is smart. In Navigon you know you are in a tunnel because it complains that there is not satelite coverage.
Positevly also that you can choose the arrow you normaly have as vehicle: a car, truck, bicicle etc…  You can choose from alternative routes and the interface is very good. You have also the motorway panels like in navigon. Both are better in that respect compared to tomtom.

What you don’t have is the speed at what you are going. For this TomTom is the best. You can tell it to alert you if you are over the speed limit though, but tomtom is smarter and displays currentspeed/maxspeed and if you are over it turns red.

The down side for all of them is battery consumption. I have a car charger but even with the car charger connected it drains the battery. I will have to buy a 1000 mah minimum if I want to keep using this apps.

Conclusions:

Tomtom is too expensive but it is the benchmark. It does well what it has been doing for the past years. No improvements though.

Navigon is beautiful, but you should like it as it comes. Little configuration is possible but may be this if fine for 90% of the people.

iGo is premature and buggy but the one with more potential.

Not an easy choice.

As a negative point for all of them is that with a regular car charger they will not survive for more than 4 hours….

Also that none connects to the internet to get traffic or whatever. Also that none allow you to add POIs such as speed cameras and so.

May be is too soon.

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