Is still a thing?
TomTom says it is laying off 10 percent of its global workforce due to advances in automation technology and greater use of digital techniques in its mapmaking process. The planned cuts will equate to about 500 employees at the Netherlands-based geolocation tech specialist, which was hit hard by the pandemic and remains in …
My on-board SatNav just died, so I'm suddenly in the market for an external replacement, but have yet to do any real research. So I'll put the question out there:
Is TomTom worth paying for, or do free Android Apps do the job just as well?
i.e. Does it provide a "better" service?
I use the Apple TomTom app. See my post below. I could write a long whinge about the TomTom app but in the end I'm a subscriber, I use it a lot and I'll keep paying for it. It works well enough with Car Play. It's OK for finding post codes and addresses (ignore hyperbole in post below), but in my experience very bad at finding businesses by name. It does speed cameras and other "safety warnings" The web-based planner does its job but it could be much, much better and the map used for web-planning is shite verging on the unuseable.
You get a free trial of the app, so give it a go.
Waze lets you know where the cops are hiding.
I haven't used anything TomTom in years, not since I had an iPhone 4 and the TomTom GPS cradle for it - and I vaguely remember having to slightly modify the cradle for the 4 when I upgraded from the 3gs.
Given that pretty much nobody uses TomTom anything any more, I can't imagine they'd have better service unless they're grabbing cop locations from Waze and broadcasting them now.
(Directions are secondary. Keeping me away from interacting with the police while driving as fast as I want is far more important. But Waze is good at directions too, it'll route you around traffic jams.)
"Is TomTom worth paying for, or do free Android Apps do the job just as well?"
For simply getting from points A to B in a car I use Google maps on my phone - It works well enough, is fairly well updated, traffic forecast is quite good. It's certainly better than my in-built car one which is at least 3-4 years out of date and with no real possibility of updating.
For my bike, however I do use a TomTom Rider, and this is certainly worth it and far better than a mobile phone + app would be because of
- being properly waterproof for all-weather riding
- screen is easily visible in wide variety of lighting conditions
- touchscreen recognises being touched by gloves, and buttons are also suitably large
- It has route options to find secondary roads that are more bike-fun and less trafficked
- I can also plan complicated multi-day trips / multi-stop routes on the website and load them to the unit, works generally well but the mapping website is rather clunky
So I guess it depends on the complexity of your usage requirements
Dont bother with stand alone gps nav.
Tom Tom on the phone with maps downloaded is ok enough, although is a yearly subscription.
I've been using Sygic nav since the year dot when it was called McGuider, can be had as lifetime sub for not much more than TT yearly and tbh, apart from the not as nice map presentation as TT it's just as good.
My personal fave was garmin-Navigon, had the most entertaining generated pronounciations; Arras in France was Are-Arse, Calais, Carlat Antwerp in Belgium was Arnt wer a pen. I never got to hear how it would have coped with Knnoke-Heist. the nav was ok too. sadly long gone and dead.
I second what Hedley said.
I use the TomTom GO app on Android. It only costs a small annual subscription (or monthly if you prefer) - so small that a standalone unit would be obsolete before you'd paid anything like how much it cost you.
The screen resolution is set by your phone's spec, so is much higher than a standalone. And you can route it through Bluetooth to give audio through your car's system.
Map updates are easier than on a standalone (but they are big, so you don't want to be away from WiFi when you do it). They happen quite frequently. And you have access to ALL world maps/territories.
You basically always have a top-of-the-range (plus a bit) TomTom.
I also like the TomTom MyDrive PC app (also Apple), so I can drag and drop plans of routes in the cloud and have them immediately sync with the TomTom app when it is fired up.
This is from my own personal experience, and I am not saying other providers aren't as good, nor that TomTom is perfect. And also personally, I have never experienced any routing problems other than recently, when a new access road was opened and obviously wasn't on the map yet (still isn't, so you're apparently driving across a field).
The only advantage I've found of the TomTom app on the iPhone is that you can download the maps so it doesn't use your mobile data allowance and means it works when there is no data coverage.
However, that's about it and in no way should anyone take this as a ringing endorsement of TomTom. For some reason the routing and re-routing in response to traffic is shite in the app compared to TomTom's dedicated devices and the TomTom app can struggle to find obscure things like roads, streets, towns and businesses. It doesn't admit this when you search for stuff; it just confidently guides you to somewhere you didn't want to go and tells you that you have reached your destination.
Why use a real GPS?
a) no spying / tracking from either Slurp, Inc., or FruitCowe know better tm
b) leave with vehicle, every other driver in the house can use it and get the same data (example: a recycling center run needs to be performed, anyone else can do it because it is pre-programmed into the GPS)
c) no battery life to worry about with continuous screen time
d) smartphone needs to plugged in and set into a mount to avoid battery issues, GPS is always there
e) for the GPS on my motorcycle, smartphone is a complete fail in comparison as I get full touchscreen functionality, with any glove I choose, to allow rerouting, search for fuel or food, change destinations, look ahead to road path, etc. Add in full weather resistance / waterproofing, much brighter screen that doesn't overheat, a doubt-free handlebar mount, etc.
f) Google / Apple Maps depends upon data connection. If you can trust your data connection...you haven't traveled far enough. Downloading maps an option, as is installed apps w/maps, but just...why??
There was a fuss about stopping lifetime updates, but it was misinformation. My ancient TomTom still gets updates, though I've had to cut Western Europe down to UK because the maps are bloated and won't fit anymore. When on trips with other people it always used to offer the better route than Garmin.
I always used proper SatNav units and not phones because, frankly, the phones were crap at it. But the TomTom has been languishing in a drawer for a few years because I've not had a car without built in SatNav for so long.
I had an early TomTom with "lifetime" updates - then they stopped them as they could no longer fit the map into the 256MB memory. (If they had produced a pruned map with just the road network (no places of interest) then it would still have fitted - but they would not have got their advertising kickbacks.)
Having been bitten once by them and their lies I have moved to Mapfactor Navigator Free which has a nice price tag of £0 !! It is more than good enough for my use. (A professional driver might need something better but for a home user it is better than the TomTom it replaced.)
Icon for TomTom lies about "lifetime map updates" ========>
Mine was sold with "free lifetime updates". When I tried to update it I discovered that meant free "software updates" but "map updates" have to be paid for and are too expensive to be worthwhile.
And then a while later the software updates stopped, because "lifetime" apparently doesn't mean what I thought it did. It's a great device but the way it was marketed was an utter scam.
I still use my seven-year-old TomTom GO. It works pretty well, it still gets map and firmware updates, it has a much better windscreen mount than any phone bracket I've been able to find, and it doesn't constantly report my location to Google or Apple. If it broke, I might even consider buying another.
I drive *a lot* in France, its quite a big place and mobile internet connectivity can be patchy. Google maps dont like Edge mobile connections.It doesnt like 4G->Edge->3G->none in quick succession.
Data allowance; try that with a UK sim in EU, you'll burn fast through that allowance and hit the EU roaming surcharge on a 650 mile journey (thanks Brexit)
I've used Google Maps and was an early Waze user. I dumped Waze shortly after Google took over as it became incapable of spotting holdups and suggesting new routes on my daily S. M'cr->Liverpool->S. M'cr commute. TomTom managed though.
TomTom I have found (Android app) is consistently more accurate with initial predictive and actual arrival times, holdups, rerouting.
The journey planning bit is probably the weakest but (I'm more used to Copilot for that) but at least its predicted journey times are (for my use) are almost to the minute. Copilot, just dont ask, wildly optimistic and just keeps adding 10mins if you've not arrived yet.
Apparently Merecedes (Daimler) and Intel have a stake in it to. Intel should probably stick to making the only thing it used to be good at first - x86 chips - that work - before it tries to kill all of us with it driving techonolgies on the roads.
My in car SatNav uses HERE maps.
Monthly updates (not free, but not too bad with a 3 year subscription) come in at about 33GB because they are not updates, but a complete re-download of Europe + Russia maps.
Cos I'm a simple chap, and easily pleased, I sometimes put in a destination for fun. I have my Route to Hell in there, and it's nice to be told that it'll take me 26 hours to get there, but I don't have enough fuel, so I should be safe from Hades.