iPhone GPS showdown! Navigon vs. TomTom 1.2

November 19, 2009 at 6:28 pm Leave a comment

Yesterday, TomTom put out a long-awaited update to version 1.2.  In addition to updated map, POI, and IQ Route data,  it also packed in text-to-speech, lane guidance, and compatibility with the original iPhone and iPod touch.  Previously, they had announced they would also include Live Traffic as a free addition but that feature isn’t in this release.

Navigon put out a new update a week or so adding Live Traffic (as an add-on feature).  There may have been other new features, but they were no where near as dramatic as the list TomTom just released.

I didn’t post a Blog entry about this before, but in my previous tests of TomTom vs. Navigon, TomTom was roundly trounced.  It wasn’t even close.  This new release marks a huge update for TomTom, bringing them almost completely up to date with Navigon’s feature list.

To be honest, I’ve been rooting for TomTom since the initial announcement months ago.  But the cold reality of it was that the previous version of TomTom was no-where near as good as Navigon.  The only feature that TomTom won on was their POI data.  In daily use, while on a trip to DC, I found everything I was looking to find in TomTom’s POI database, while almost every time the Navigon database turned up nothing.

So, how does TomTom stack up now?

1. Text-to-Speech:  TomTom offers many, many more voices to guide you.  Unfortunately, only the ones with (Computer) listed next to their names perform text-to-speech.  There’s only one English speaking voice, and their text-to-speech doesn’t sound as good as Navigon’s.  Sorry, TomTom, but for English speakers, Navigon wins this round.  (If you speak another language though, TomTom may be superior to you).  Oh – I shouldn’t forget this: TomTom’s text to speech sometimes seems a bit late, being spoken just before the turn itself.  On the other hand, Navigon generally told you a good 15-20 seconds before you arrive at the turn, enough time to start looking for the turn.  Perhaps some people prefer directions like this, but I like Navigon’s approach better.

2. Lane Guidance: I like TomTom’s new lane guidance feature.  But, I honestly think I like Navigon’s a little bit better.  Lose the flashing green arrows, TomTom.  They are annoying.

3. Original iPhone & iPod Touch support – This is a great new feature to have.  I’ve not tried it yet, but it’s a very nice addition.

Ok, now about the general usability of each…  I’ve got to hand it to Navigon yet again.  While using TomTom today, it felt as if it were not as accurate as Navigon.  It’s hard to describe what I mean by that, but it’s just the impression I was left with while using it.  After thinking some on it, I think I realized why though.  Navigon, when coupled with the TomTom Car Kit, has very smooth animation as you drive along and go around turns.  By comparison, TomTom has somewhat jerky animation.  I honestly think that’s why Navigon “feels” more accurate.  One more thing about accuracy.  TomTom seems to try extremely hard to place you on a road.  Try going into a parking lot with TomTom (while using the TomTom car kit).  Then try the same thing with Navigon.  After showing you on the road for a few seconds, it pops you off into the parking lot area, where you actually are.

When all is said and done, Navigon is still the champ.  I’ll probably try out TomTom some more in the coming days, but I don’t expect to use it as frequently as I use Navigon.  Perhaps TomTom can clean up some of these things for version 1.3, along with adding the real-time traffic data.  Come on, TomTom, I really want you to pull this one out!

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Entry filed under: iPhone.

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