TomTom Navigation Europe for Android - Performance and Verdict

By James Morris

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
TomTom Navigation Europe for Android

Summary

Our Score:

9

TomTom Navigation for Android Performance

During navigation, the map view is as clear as we have come to expect from TomTom. In landscape mode, your current speed is shown on the top right, with your expected arrival time, distance and time to destination beneath. To the left is the traffic bar, if this feature has been enabled (see below), and underneath both of these is an icon showing your next turning with its distance. The map fills the rest of the screen. All standard TomTom fare, and in portrait mode, the traffic bar remains on the right, but everything else moves to the bottom. You can report a speed camera location using an onscreen icon, which is more discreet than on TomTom's standalone sat-navs. If you are in the zone of a camera on the map, you can report that it isn't there as well.

Spoken instructions, which can also be routed through the Android version of the TomTom Hands Free Car Kit, are clear and provided in good time for you to make any turnings or junctions. Also aiding with this is TomTom's Advanced Lane Guidance, which presents a full-screen graphic of a junction as you approach it. This a realistic view, and shows how far to the junction, any road signs to look out for, and most importantly which lanes on a multi-lane motorway turn into the junction, so you can be in one of them in good time.

Where TomTom's Android app surpasses the competition is where the company has been surpassing the competition for some years - live traffic updates. Like the iPhone app, on Android you can get the brilliant TomTom HD Traffic, which has recently been upgraded to its sixth incarnation. This will set you back £3.99 a month, or £26.99 for a whole year, but if you do tend to travel a lot during peak times it's an absolute godsend, providing jam-free routes much more effectively than any other traffic update system we have tested. The live speed camera updates are also extra. These cost £1.49 a month, or £16.99 a year. Even for scrupulously honest drivers, it's a very useful feature for avoiding unnecessary fines, although having both these updates and HD Traffic will set you back almost as much every year as the Europe app itself.

TomTom Navigation for Android Verdict

At least for the launch, TomTom has delivered its Android app at a relatively competitive price, unlike the Garmin StreetPilot for iPhone app. The company has also sweetened the deal by throwing in free lifetime map updates, which seems to be the trend at the moment. TomTom Navigation for Android is essentially the same as the iPhone version in its core features, give or take a few features - no social networking integration is included yet, for example. If you just make the occasional journey, in areas with good 3G connectivity, Google Maps Navigation might still be enough for you. But the TomTom app will turn your Android phone into a navigation device as good as a standalone TomTom model, for a fraction of the cost - assuming you have a model compatible with the screen size limitations.

Overall Score

9

Scores In Detail

  • Design 9
  • Features 9
  • Usability 9
  • Value 9

robjohn

October 31, 2012, 12:01 pm

Re: It is straightforward to download Google map areas to phone memory to use off line - from the Google Maps menu. I also use this feature for travelling in China, where online Google maps is blocked.

piesforyou

November 1, 2012, 3:41 am

Lack of social networking features is a con?

Bugblatter

November 1, 2012, 6:32 am

I thought routing required a connection. Is that not the case?

Bugblatter

November 1, 2012, 6:41 am

I've been using CoPilot for a few months; I wouldn't have minded a comparison.

What I do know is CoPilot's a lot cheaper plus you get free maps for life and a year's free traffic. I've got speed cameras too; I can't remember if that's free for a year or a permanent thing. It also works on the S3.

The app seems pretty good, although the UI seems very similar to the version I used on Windows Mobile years ago.

The routing in CoPilot sometimes beggars belief though, and it sometimes refuses to stick to the alternate route I've picked. Bad combination. Routing is the area they really need to work on and the one thing that tempts me to switch to TomTom.

Also the lane guidance is hopeless for me. The full-screen lane thing hides everything that would tell me how to actually get to where the lanes diverge. It's not a problem on motorways (just keep going forwards) but in other areas it's left me high and dry. I've disabled it.

Martin Daler

November 1, 2012, 11:14 pm

I thought you could download maps - in fact I have done just that. But then when I use Navigation I'm pretty sure it still sucks data - certainly that streetview photo at journey's end came from somewhere. How do you make sure Navigation is forced to use only downloaded maps, and not pull in fresh data?

robjohn

November 2, 2012, 6:18 am

@Bugblatter Yes, navigation in Google maps or Locations requires a data connection. My post was to correct the statement that Google maps is only usable when data connected. Caching of maps is very useful for some of us travelling outside Europe.

cliche

November 2, 2012, 9:35 pm

Wow - I used Copilot about 5 years ago on my ye olde Windows Mobile phone and gave up because of the routing and have been TomTom ever since. I'm shocked that they still have this problem.
I used my TomTom software on a road trip to New Zealand last year over both islands with no data. It was a life saver

Dj K 4 Yahweh

July 22, 2013, 8:07 pm

Nice review!!
loving it...def gonna buy this & subscribe to the live services like tomtom's HD traffic & speedcams.

Mike Goodsell

August 30, 2013, 3:27 pm

Downloaded it today, special offer of £24.99, it's rubbish ! Tried to set my home address by postcode, wasn't listed although it was built 28 years ago ! Tried to input postcode for a hotel I'm staying at this weekend, not there ! Fortunately I had a free £25 voucher, so it didn't really cost me a penny, I colleague has tomtom on his iPhone and its far superior.

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