Whilst TomTom is often considered to be the leading brand for standalone Sat Nav systems, the situation on Mobile devices is quite radically different.
TomTom actually missed a beat when it came to mobile devices (specifically the iPhone), because their software wasn’t first-to-market, and in fact the other contenders have produced some pretty good solutions! Case in point: the Mobile Maps application, from Sygic.
More after the jump!
The software from Sygic weighs in at 29.99 GBP, which is actually a few pounds dearer than their main competitor, CoPilot Live (for a review of that, see here). So I was wondering would we get the same level of performance as the CoPilot?
The UI of the software is perfectly acceptable – and to be honest, is pretty much standard – likewise the menu screens are built from large icons, to make it easier to hit the right keys whilst navigating (or rather, just before you navigate, since you shouldn’t be using the application whilst driving). Once you have plumbed in a postcode or address, you then get the obligatory “calculating route” that all Sat Navs perform, and you are ready to go!
Maps render nicely, and are vector-based – I’d say they are pretty accurate, apart from one instance where the spoken directions didn’t match the map (come to that in a minute). A very mild criticism is that sometimes the maps can look a bit sparse.
I tested Mobile Maps out whilst navigating on a real journey – so the use-case was real, and any issues would become apparent. As mentioned before, at one point I was directed for a certain turn, yet the map directions showed ‘straight on’ as the right way to go. But apart from that, both the spoken directions, mapping, and screen updates performed admirably.
I should note that I was running the app on an iPhone 3GS, in a powered dashboard mount – so I can’t speak about the battery usage of the app – in my mind, all Sat Nav apps kill batteries on mobiles, so you might want to think about a cigarette lighter charger to your accessories if you are going to start using Sat Nav apps
One other nice feature I should mention is a nice map zoom feature, that works not unlike many of the most popular web-based services – you have a slider which you can use to push in / pull out from the maps:
The apps that I have used thus far as very much ‘does what it says on the tin’ – you plug in an address, and what you should get back are directions to get there – which is exactly what you get!
I wonder about the extra 4.00 GBP over the CoPilot Live software, because I can’t see anything that justifies it – but then again, both come in well below the price of TomTom, which is up in the 55 GBP range!
In summary, then I’d recommend Sygic Mobile Maps as one of the pieces of Sat Nav software you can get for your iPhone – or in fact Android, Symbian, or Windows Mobile devices too!
You can get Sygic Mobile Maps from iTunes / App store by searching for Sygic.