Best Sat Nav 2016 Round-up

Looking for a new sat-nav to make your journeys as pain-free as possible? Look no further. We’ve rounded up the top sat-navs available right now. Whether you’re trying to decide between TomTom or Garmin or considering whether it’s worth shelling out for a top-end device, you’re bound to find something here.

Although most people will use their smartphone for navigation these days, the standalone sat nav is still one of the most reliable ways of getting from A to B. Many still prefer having maps pre-installed on their sat-navs, rather than relying on their smartphone’s data connection to ensure map data can be downloaded on the fly. What’s more, dedicated sat-navs will usually feature shine-free screens and you don’t have to worry about interruptions such as phone calls or notifications.

When it comes to buying a standalone sat-nav then, options range from around £50 to around £300. These days, the industry is dominated by TomTom and Garmin, so there’s not as much choice as there once was. But there’s still some great devices available, all of which you can find in our round-up.

Before buying a new sat-nav, however, there are several factors to consider. You’ll want to look for something that’s going to get you to your destination as easily as possible, updating you on traffic changes and alternative routes.

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Maps

Firstly you have to determine whether you’ll be using the device abroad or just in your own country. Most sat-navs will come with European maps, but only some will include world maps, and not all will provide you with lifetime updates, meaning you’ll have to pay for map pack updates in the future.

Most models will come with free updates, but be careful when buying older models, as you may find yourself having to shell out in the future.

Traffic

Secondly, you should consider whether you want your sat-nav to come with traffic updates. These days, most sat-navs will feature some sort of traffic service, alerting you to delays and traffic jams. But it’s still worth checking, if you want to ensure you don’t get caught out, that the model you’re thinking of buying comes with a traffic service and whether that service requires you to pay after a certain time.

Some devices will come with built-in traffic updates while others will require you to pair your smartphone in order to use its data connection for traffic information.

Many sat-navs will also feature speed camera warnings. Again, it’s worth checking whether this feature comes as standard or whether it’s a paid extra.

Size

You should also consider how big a screen you will need. If you want to limit how much the device obstructs your view, there’s a range of sat-navs with 4-inch screens available. If you don’t mind something a little bigger, you can pick up devices featuring screens of up to 7 inches. Bearing in mind, you average smartphone will measure anywhere from 4 to 6-inches, it’s worth considering how big you want your dedicated device to be.

There’s also the resolution. Many entry-level sat-navs will feature a 480 x 272 display, which is adequate for displaying navigation directions and maps, but if you want to use the device to get information on local areas of interest and so on, you may want to consider a model with a slightly higher resolution screen.

Aside from these main considerations, there are other extras to look out for such as voice control and Bluetooth connectivity which will allow you to use the sat nav for hands-free calling. With all this in mind, take a look at our sat-nav round-up and see which model is right for you.

TomTom Go 40

1 of 11

Score

Key features:

  • 4.3-inch widescreen
  • Maps for 45 European countries with lifetime updates
  • Lifetime TomTom Traffic

With the TomTom GO 40 you get the company’s excellent Traffic service for a new low price. If you’re a regular traveller, but baulked at the cost of TomTom’s premium sat-navs, this device finally allows you take advantage of TomTom’s industry-leading service at an affordable price.

The GO 40 definitely shows its non-premium status in other areas, such as the lack of a built-in mobile data connection. That means you’ll need to pair it with your smartphone in order to for it to work. It also uses a resistive, rather than capacitive, 480 x 272 screen which means it’s not as responsive as higher-end products. But with lifetime European maps as well as Traffic, this might just be all the budget sat-nav you need.

Read the full TomTom Go 40 review

TomTom Start 50

2 of 11

Score

Key features:

  • 5-inch widescreen
  • Maps for 45 European countries with lifetime updates
  • Combined address and points of interest search

TomTom’s 5-inch entry-level device comes with a range of new features and updates. These include lifetime map updates, a more streamlined navigation and map screen, and a radically redesigned case compared to the older Start 60 model.

One aspect of the Start 50 which lets you know you’re using a budget device is the 480 x 272 resistive touch screen, which isn’t as responsive or capable as capacitive alternatives. Still, the newly redesigned navigation screen is fairly clutter-free and you will certainly appreciate the effort TomTom has put into making the Start 50 as easy to use as possible.

If you’re looking for a capable entry-level sat-nav, this is a great option.

Read the full TomTom Start 50 review

Score

Key features:

  • 6-inch screen
  • Maps for 45 European countries with lifetime updates
  • Great voice control

The middle member of Garmin’s Advanced Sat-Nav series, the nuvi 2699LMT-D packs a load of features including a more than adequate 6-inch, 800 x 480 screen and maps of 45 European countries with lifetime updates. You also get Garmin’s Digital Traffic which is a lifetime subscription-free service, plus, there’s voice control and Bluetooth for hands-free calling.

Garmin’s Smartphone Link for Android and iOS adds more information to the on-screen display. The built-in Foursquare POIs allow you to see user-generated information, including suggestions for restaurants, shops, and so on. But with the Smartphone Link, you also get user ratings, prices, and hours of service. The voice control is also excellent, and might just be the best voice command system we’ve come across.

If you’re looking for a feature-packed sat-nav for under £200, this is one of the better options on the market.

Read the full Garmin nuvi 2699LMT-D review

TomTom GO 5100

4 of 11

Score

Key features:

  • 5-inch widescreen
  • Lifetime world maps
  • Lifetime safety cameras and TomTom Traffic

Although the GO 5100 comes with a fairly high price tag, it also comes with a great set of features, including MyDrive connectivity which allows you to plan routes on your desktop, tablet, or smartphone and send them to the sat-nav remotely. The 5100 also comes with a 5-inch 480 x 272 screen.

It’s not a huge step up from the previous 5000, but the 5100 is definitely worth picking up if you’re still using anything older than the 5000 series. Not only will you get TomTom’s Live Traffic, which is the best in the business, but you’ll also get a lifetime supply of world maps and safety camera locations. All of which makes this one of, if not the best, 5-inch sat-nav on the market.

 

Read the full TomTom GO 5100 review

TomTom Go 50

5 of 11

Score

Key features:

  • 5-inch widescreen
  • Lifetime European maps and TomTom Traffic
  • Great value

Sitting in the middle of the basic GO x0 range (just above the entry level Start series) is the TomTom Go 50. Since this is part of that basic series, you’ll need to pair your smartphone with the sat-nav in order to share the phone’s data connection and get the Live services. Luckily, the whole process is very easy, with the device guiding you through the set up step by step.

Although the 5-inch, 480 x 272 screen is adequate, it’s resistive rather than capacitive, meaning you won’t be able to pinch to zoom and the whole thing is generally less responsive than a capacative version. Still, it’s a fairly affordable option, which will get you TomTom’s unrivalled traffic service, as well as the very useful weather warnings. If you’re looking for a budget device, this is one of the best options available.

Read the full TomTom Go 50 review

TomTom Go 6000

6 of 11

Score

Key features:

  • 6-inch widescreen
  • Maps for 45 European countries with lifetime updates
  • Unified address and points of interest keyword search

Sitting at the top of the range, the TomTom GO 6000 is a premium sat-nav that’s very hard to fault. Giving the interface a radical new look, the 6-inch widescreen GO 6000 has built-in wireless data, so to you don’t need to partner it with a smartphone. This gives you maps for 45 European countries with lifetime updates and lifetime TomTom Traffic information. It’s ideal for regular commuters and despite missing out on features in previous models, this is a supreme sat-nav for frequent drivers.

Read the full TomTom Go 6000 review

Score

Key features:

  • 6-inch screen
  • UK and Republic of Ireland maps with lifetime updates
  • Safety camera locations

Offering a good basic set of navigation features alongside a sizeable six-inch screen, the Garmin Nuvi 65 LM is a sub-£150 sat nav that offers great value for money. Taken from the new Essential range, it features a menu system that should be familiar to Garmin sat nav users. It comes with free lifetime map updates and includes Lane Assist and Junction View to help out at complex motorway interchanges. Voice commands come out nice and clear and while map refreshes have their sluggish moments it won’t prevent you from getting to your destination.

Despite the lack of support for live traffic or voice activation this is still a great budget sat nav that covers all your basic needs. If you are looking for a similarly priced sat nav with a smaller screen, the TomTom GO 40 is a good alternative.

Read the full Garmin nuvi 65 LM review

TomTom Go 60

8 of 11

Score

Key features:

  • 6-inch resistive touch widescreen
  • Lifetime TomTom Traffic
  • Unified address and points of interest

Part of TomTom’s mid-level range, the GO 60 relies on your smartphone data to deliver traffic updates. Despite that one downside, it does still manage to pack in features from more expensive models. You get the European maps with lifetime updates and lifetime subscription to TomTom’s traffic service plus three months of TomTom’s Speed Camera’s service. It uses the same simplified interface and menu system as other new GOs and among the new features has a Speak & Go voice control to make it a truly hands-free experience.

If you can live with the not so premium hardware, this is a big, feature-packed sat nav that offers good value for money.

Read the full TomTom Go 60 review

Garmin HUD+

9 of 11

Score

Key features:

  • Built-in translucent screen
  • Garmin Hud app for iOS, Android and Windows Phone
  • Car power adapter with secondary USB power connection

Considering it’s the only one of its kind available, this is a bit of a no contest. So if you want to feel like a jet-fighter pilot in you car this is the best way to do it. An upgrade of the Garmin HUD, which launched only six months ago, the HUD+ is still based around a projector that beams directions on your windshield and syncs to your smartphone via Bluetooth. It now comes with a Garmin HUD app that’s free to use for iOS, Android and Windows Phone users.

There’s no built-in battery so you need to plug it into a car power adaptor and when it’s secured in place it’s going to be a permanent fixture. There’s map coverage for Western Europe and Turkey and it only provides directions. If you only want to see next turns and arrival times, then this could be the futuristic navigation setup for you.

Read the full Garmin HUD+ review

TomTom Go 5000

10 of 11

Score

Key features:

  • 5-inch widescreen
  • Maps for 45 European countries with lifetime updates
  • Lifetime TomTom Traffic

Continuing to set the standard for standalone sat navs, the TomTom Go 5000 is a 5-inch effort with the features that matter for most travellers. The little brother of the 6-inch TomTom Go 6000, it features free traffic updates, built-in Live service and has its own mobile data link. There are no subscription charges to pay for the lifetime of the product and you also get a three-month trial of safety camera information.

When you get on the road, its most impressive features include picking out speed cameras well in advance, and the radically redesigned interface which supports pinch and zoom in 3D view. £40 cheaper than the GO 6000, this is a great sat nav for the frequent traveller or indeed anyone wanting to avoid gridlock during their journeys.

Read the full TomTom Go 5000 review

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