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TomTom GPS navigation App for iPhone Review

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First drafted: 6 March 2010
Last Updated : 02 July 2012

Tomtom released their version of their GPS navigation system for the iPhone as an App last year.  We where tempted to get the initial version but as everyone knows first versions are not the best ones to get. I was right and there where lots of problems not withstanding that the iPhone's GPS hardware is not the most accurate out there based on all the reviews I've read. Regardless I decided to try it for myself since I like this sort of thing.  The Tomtom GPS for iPhone is now at version 1.2 and the version that I am reviewing here. My iPhone is a 3GS running tunning the latest software 3.1.3 (for 2010).

This review is for the Tomtom GPS for iPhone on its own.  For comparison to a regular portable GPS can be seen here:  Garmin Vs Tomtom for iPhone (coming soon)

The good bits.

Quick start up on the iPhone 3GS and when there is mobile coverage.
Superior image quality to regular GPS.
Navigation routes appear are accurate. (but see comparison for real results)
Contact addresses can be navigated to.
Route calculation is accurate.
It does not appear to need data downloads from the network.
The lane guidance worked! (but due to the old map it did not get the lane direction correct in the demonstration route.)
There are a number of voices and languages available for selection.

The must improve bits.

Menu system is odd for very simple things like setting a home location - should be just one click.
I found the saving of POIs and even current position as a favourite confusing due to the use of the same screens - should be one click process. 
Battery life when running GPS is heavy.  Left completely on, in 20 minutes I had used approx 30% which equates to less than 1 hour usable before the battery is completely drained.
Extra power from car USB-iPhone charger definitely required.
No speed indicator when navigating to a route has been selected.
Browsing a map is a jerky experience.
Options are hidden away and appear to be an after thought.
No trip statistics.
Does not take navigation by different modes of transport walking into account. 
Cannot change voices.
Very expensive application considering the expense of the iPhone already!
GPS locator is often misleading (see top image) where your position is not accurate.  However it seemingly settles down after a few minutes.  Often needs to recalculate route as a result of the inaccurate GPS signal.
Map data is still not accurate considering that a 6 month old but new road is not recorded in the database.
Speed indicator is accurate but as said before location on map was off on numerous occasions. The inaccuracy happened so often that I actually captured a screen shot. (See image below)

Overall application summary and ratings.

Accuracy of route calculation 8/10
GPS hardware accuracy 7/10
Relevance of route 6/10 (ie not the quickest)
Ease of use 7/10
Price for features 5/10

Can I recommend the Tomtom GPS for the IPhone?  This is a tricky question... I guess - sort of - for simple navigation or emergencies and only if you don't already have a standalone GPS system. A stand alone GPS is still better for the time being.  I am a little disappointed purely because of the price.  Why didn't they include the same features as their normal lineup - old fashioned marketing and sales ideas I suppose and the inaccurate iPhone GPS hardware.

For a superior GPS experience use Google's version - but requires data plan.  Nokia Maps now called Ovi maps which is now free on Nokia's E and N series phone models is superior in ease of use and functionality.  One other side thought - one device for everything is fantastic but if it breaks you will be in trouble.

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