The mount itself uses TomTom’s EasyPort system, as seen with the ONE and XL standalone sat-navs. The iPhone can be swivelled to any position from portrait to landscape, and slanted both vertically and horizontally for the most comfortable orientation. It’s certainly a very sturdy package, providing a more stable and secure platform than most generic mounts, although you can pick up the latter for less than £30. We also found that with a cable plugged into the 3.5mm jack, the mount had a tendency to drop to an angle when the host vehicle hit a major bump. A firmer ratchet on the hinge would be an improvement.
However, the car kit is not a necessity to use the software. Although TomTom has redesigned the menu system to better suit the iPhone, the range of features is very similar to an entry-level standalone sat-nav from the company. The basic destination options include the usual range of address or Point of Interest (POI), with the ability to save favourites and a home location, plus a handy list of recent destinations. You can enter a full UK postcode, too.
The POI database is divided into over 50 categories, and you can look near your current location, within a city, near home, along a route, and close to an already programmed destination. Whilst you can’t search the entire range of POIs, you can search freely within each of the five aforementioned vicinities. So as long as you have a vague idea where the POI you’re looking for is located, you should be able to find it without hunting through the category system. Results popped up quite quickly on our iPhone 3GS.
One feature you won’t get with a standalone sat-nav is a direct link to your smartphone contacts. Our previous experience with this feature in other software has not been particularly compelling. However, TomTom’s take appears to work reasonably well. Whereas Navigon’s MobileNavigator throws up many spurious results, few of which are the one you’re after, the TomTom software gets things right a lot of the time, unless your contact’s address is malformed. Phone integration also extends to calling the number listed for a POI – very useful for ensuring an attraction is actually open before you set off.
There’s a route planner for setting up multiple waypoints, and the Find Alternative option lets you look for a different route. You can either let the software do this itself, avoid a blocked road for a given distance, add a last minute waypoint or choose to avoid an entire road within your currently calculated route.