The seminal satnav provider has been a long time coming to Android - was it worth the wait?
TomTom for Android Review
by on January 10, 2013
It’s been a torrid few years for traditional sat-nav makers. Beset by ever more competent mobiles and bundled turn-by-turn navigation from both Google and Apple as well as a field of independents, it’s an ever-tougher market.
Enter TomTom Android. For a purchase price of £30.99 for UK-only maps, escalating by territory, you can gain a slice of TomToms mapping expertise – but does the cost stack up?
Setup is a simple matter of downloading a 28Mb file, followed by a much heftier (minimum 2.7Gb) map file that swells depending on the number of territories you’d like. Wifi is a necessity here. That said, once downloaded you’ll just be using the stored maps, unlike Google Navigation, so it’s ideal for a European roadtrip, or even a UK one away from major cities where data coverage can be patchy.
We tested the UK maps on a Nexus 4, and for the most part it’s a familiar experience to anyone who’s used a standalone TomTom unit – instructions are clear and well-timed, and even obscure new housing estates were correctly labelled and searchable (four map updates a year are included). Previous issues with postcode search have been solved by an update in December, and the additional traffic (Traffic HD) and Speed Camera services were uncannily accurate.
The update also covers new devices embarrassingly omitted from the original Android release due to a screen resolution restriction that left newer, larger screened devices (such as the S3, HTC One X and Nexus 4).
One gripe comes with the revamped lane indication screen for motorway exits and dual carriageways – it’s super clear, but whether due to the phone’s GPS chip or the TomTom algorithm, an appreciable lag between this screen and the next instruction can make slip roads that lead onto roundabouts or complex junctions a nightmare of last-minute lane changes.
While pre-navigation business search is unsurprisingly a better experience in Google, Tom Tom delivers the slick overall experience you’d expect. TomTom’s Traffic expertise really pays off, delivering realistic routes every time, rather than Google’s often optimistic ‘as-the-crow-flies’ routing schemes. That said, Traffic HD will set you back £26.99 per year, and speed cams £16.99, totalling £43.98 per year.
Overall, if you’re a serious driver this is an excellent choice, but for the casual user £75 is a big ask.
Buy this app: TomTom UK and Ireland