The server-based approach also means that traffic updates can be built in relatively easily – and it is here that Telmap has the competition beaten. With almost every other sat-nav system on the market, you have to pay extra for traffic information either over a subscription to a data connection, or by buying a TMC FM aerial. With Telmap packages traffic information comes as standard. And, if you dig deep enough, you’ll also find a feature that allows you to share your favourite locations with the Telmap database, in a similar way to TomTom’s latest offerings.
There are disadvantages of the server-based system, of course. Principally, this involves cost. A few kilobytes every now and then isn’t going to make a difference to you if you’re on one of the new ‘unlimited’ tariffs, and is unlikely to make a dent in your fair usage allowance unless you’ve got it switched on all the time, but once you go abroad the cost of using the system is likely to skyrocket.
You’re also heavily reliant on the mobile phone network and Telmap’s ability to keep its servers running. In the event that you enter a black spot – and yes, they still exist in some places in the UK – or the cell you’re in is particularly busy, you’ll lose the ability to navigate outside of the current route. Likewise, if Telmap’s servers go down, you’ll have to be careful you don’t go off track.
But these aren’t the only negative aspects of Telmap’s Navigator 3. As with Wayfinder Navigator 7, it’s not as powerful as a comparable dedicated device. Telmap does have a pedestrian mode and gives you the choice between the fast and shortest route, but what it can’t do is multi-point routing. So if you want to go to Sheffield via auntie Mabel’s house in Doncaster, you’ll have to first enter her address, then once you’ve arrived enter the address in Sheffield you want to visit. If you know a fast, traffic-free part of the route you want to take in, you can’t tell Navigator 3 to go via that route.
You don’t get a roadblock avoidance tool – which is essential if you hit an unforeseen traffic jam or a flooded road and you want to be routed around it – though the software does recalculate your route automatically when you stray from it. Items from the amazingly detailed POI database can’t be displayed on the map as you navigate (you have to enter map browse mode for this), nor can you assign sounds to specific types – cash points, for instance – so that you’re alerted as you pass by. There is no speed camera warning system included in the standard package either; you have to pay extra for that.