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Navigon or TomTom for iPhone?

New Daddy 0 Points
edited November -1 in Smartphone Navigation
I'm looking for a navigation app for iPhone that can be used offline. (I understand Google Maps is back to iOS with turn-by-turn navigation and I do use it. But I'm looking for a back-up plan in case I travel to areas with scant data reception.)

I actually bought CoPilot premium, not least because it was the cheapest and had the best rating in iTunes. I think the rating reflected the relative cost-to-satisfaction ratio, and not necessarily the absolute satisfaction of the users, because I found CoPilot seriously lacking, because: (1) CoPilot was strangely silent at a major fork, (2) on the other hand, it didn't shut up when it needed to, (3) it read remaining distance to next turn wrong, (4) its ETA was erratic, and (5) it rarely displayed the speed of limit (even on interstate highways).

I'm trying to convince my wife that she doesn't need to replace her broken dedicated Garmin Nuvi with another over-$100 dedicated unit, now that there are plenty of offline navigation apps for her iPhone. My first attempt with the cheapest option failed miserably. I'm willing to spend more for a better app, not just because I can save $50 or so by buying an app instead of a dedicated unit, but because I think, theoretically, a well-built navigation app on a powerful iPhone should function better than a dedicated unit in many respects - touch screen, processing power, map update, POI updates, traffic info, etc.

So, could people shed some light on the better navigation apps for iPhone - namely Navigon and TomTom? Do these apps address the problems I faced with CoPilot? Would these apps function just as well as a dedicated Garmin unit?

Comments

  • mvl 191 Points
    Tomtom is generally regarded as giving the most efficient traffic-avoidance directions and most accurate ETAs, especially with the optional HD traffic subscription. In general, you can just "trust Tomtom's route to be the best choice", even in your hometown, which isn't the case with almost any other system.

    That said, Tomtom's interface is much more minimalistic than Navigon, if you are used to a Nuvi you may want the Navigon app, as Navigon is owned by Garmin.
  • Boyd 1737 Points
    Since you are trying to replace a Nuvi, why not use the StreetPilot Onboard app? It has the same appearance and the maps are installed on the phone so a data connection is not needed.

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/garmin-n.-america/id435740864?mt=8

    I also have an iPhone but don't use it as a GPS so no personal experience.
  • Since you are trying to replace a Nuvi, why not use the StreetPilot Onboard app? It has the same appearance and the maps are installed on the phone so a data connection is not needed.

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/garmin-n.-america/id435740864?mt=8

    I also have an iPhone but don't use it as a GPS so no personal experience.
    Yes, Garmin's own StreePilot was the first app that I considered, but its rating on iTunes is the worst of all offline navigation apps. Other review sites don't regard it highly either.
  • patruns 10 Points
    New Daddy, you do realize that you can download map data for offline use with Google Maps.... right? Just commenting as a lot of people are not aware it is now supported. :)
  • New Daddy, you do realize that you can download map data for offline use with Google Maps.... right? Just commenting as a lot of people are not aware it is now supported. :)
    Have you actually tried navigating with offline Google Maps? My understanding is that there is a limit as to how much (or how long) you can keep downloaded maps in cache, which may not be compatible with long-distance driving.
  • patruns 10 Points
    Yes I have, but they were for specific areas. You can check yourself for an area you will be visiting to see how much of it you can download in a single map. Also, you can download up to 6 separate maps so if 1 is not large enough you can add continuous maps until you have what you need. I just mention this as another option. :)
  • caryrae 92 Points
    I don't use the navigation apps very much since I have a Nuvi but I have read lots of complaints for the tomtom app getting rid of Google search if that is something you would use.
  • Yes I have, but they were for specific areas. You can check yourself for an area you will be visiting to see how much of it you can download in a single map. Also, you can download up to 6 separate maps so if 1 is not large enough you can add continuous maps until you have what you need. I just mention this as another option. :)
    Thanks! I'll try it out. I think Google Maps is a really good option.
  • caryrae 92 Points
    New Daddy, you do realize that you can download map data for offline use with Google Maps.... right? Just commenting as a lot of people are not aware it is now supported. :)
    Can you do this on the iPhone app? I have looked but can't find out how to download areas of the map.
  • mvl 191 Points
    I've never tried Google maps much because the Tomtom Android app has much better congestion-avoiding directions.

    But I hear that the offline Google map mode works pretty well if you stay on-route. The big problem is that if you diverge from your planned route (eg: have to get off the highway to get gas, in an area without data connectivity), you can't get relevant maps.

    I would think that Google maps would work in most instances, but I'd never trust it alone on highway drives without an emergency backup. I'd be comfortable with Google Maps only if I had a Rand McNally book in the glove compartment as a backup.
  • patruns 10 Points
    New Daddy, you do realize that you can download map data for offline use with Google Maps.... right? Just commenting as a lot of people are not aware it is now supported. :)


    Can you do this on the iPhone app? I have looked but can't find out how to download areas of the map.
    It is supposed to be the same, though I do not have an iPhone to confirm. On my Android phone I just go to the area I want and tap the little 3 dots which is where I would find settings and other option and I have an option for "Make available offline".

    Note, this would be in the new app for the iPhone, not in the old version that came preloaded with the older O/S. That version was always limited.
  • caryrae 92 Points
    I don't think it's the same on the iPhone app. I have the iPhone 5 and have the new Google maps app but see no way to load maps for offline use. If you can they make it very hard to find. I do see the 3 dots which opens a screen that just lists Traffic, Public transit, Satellite, and Google Earth. There is an icon on top right of screen that you can click and get to settings but there is nothing there either. I think getting maps for offline use is something not included with the new Google maps app right now or who knows if ever.

    Edit

    I did read this, The Android version still has a few features the new iPhone version lacks: maps of the interiors of stores, malls and airports; bicycling directions; the ability to view map segments offline; and special offers that show up for some businesses. Google says it left these out for now because they aren’t heavily used and the company wanted a new Apple version pronto. It says these may be added over time.
  • gatorguy 224 Points
    Caryrae, you're correct that that Google Maps for iOS does not currently allow for off-line use. A number of users hope that's in the next enhancement along with native iPad support.
  • patruns 10 Points
    I guess Google kept a few things for themselves. :)
  • I don't know if the original poster is still following this, but I consider the Navigon app to be the best and most feature rich of the available iPhone apps. I've tried ( and still have some on my phone ) many of the other apps, from the less expensive, simpler ones to the more sophisticated ones and Navigon has been the most reliable and helpful to use. With the last update allowing syncing with iCloud among other features I just find a separate gps device to be irrelevant. I'm gradually eliminating all the other apps except for the native Apple maps which I'm very fond of especially for use in navigating to local destinations. For travel to unfamiliar or non local areas I've found Navigon to be invaluable.

    I'm considering using a prior years iPhone as a pure gps/ipod device. The maps would already be on board but without a cell network I would of course not be getting traffic updates, but launching my current phone would be simple enough for that if needed.
  • dahauss 81 Points
    Not sure who is still following this either... BUT... I have spent a lot of money buying GPS apps for my iphone 4S. I have purchased TOMTOM, GARMIN, NAVIGON, MAGELLAN, SYGIC and also have the FREE Waze app. Ive been playing with all of them trying to find out which app is the best. The Garmin app seems to have the most correct maps om a paid app although it is missing a street where I live and part of another street where I live. the traffic seems to be the same as it was on my actual GARMIN GPS device I used to use. I then tried TOMTOM... I dont like that... very poor looking maps ... then I tried SYGIC.. this seems to be the best looking maps and works great.... BUT the TTS stinks. Doesnt speak a LOT of street names so sometimes you hear the name and sometimes it just tells you to turn. Everyone seems to love the NAVIGON APP but I tried it and all of the map icons and text are way to small so you cant read anything. its like they didnt make it to use while driving. I have since deleted that off my phone (another bunch of money wasted). Now I am trying the latest MAGELLAN app for my 4S. Looks really great BUT it uses NAVTEQ maps and I have reported incorrect map issues but they just say "IN PROGRESS" on the reporter site. honestly, so far, while it doesnt have the best display, or any of the fancy lane guidance or whatever else the other programs have, WAZE seems to be the best. its a little confusing when listening to the voice guidance since there is none of the lane or exit or reality stuff but the maps are correct as far as where I drive, where other programs are not...

    I wish the navigation companies would let us TEST the program and traffic and all the paid features to see if we like the program before spending $50 a pop... I have spend a couple hundred on different navigation apps... Oh and I tried the GOOGLE apps for the iphone.. OK but I much like the maps stored on the phone so if you need to take a call while navigating it will still get you to where you need.. all the apps I have tried with the ONLINE maps, stop navigation when I am on a call, since I have sprint and you cannot do phone and data at the same time (unless its wifi).
  • I agree the Navigon icons are a bit small but with the lane guidance, reality view, and map updates I still find it to be the best for me. For simplicity and an easier to see display I find the native Apple maps to work quite well for me. I've had the others that you mentioned but got rid of them all and use these two exclusively. Waze is quite good for local traffic but was very poor in routing in my experience.
  • dahauss 81 Points
    I agree the Navigon icons are a bit small but with the lane guidance, reality view, and map updates I still find it to be the best for me. For simplicity and an easier to see display I find the native Apple maps to work quite well for me. I've had the others that you mentioned but got rid of them all and use these two exclusively. Waze is quite good for local traffic but was very poor in routing in my experience.
    Right now I am using the GARMIN APP, NMAGELLAN, SYGIC and WAZE .. We'll see which one I like better... I just couldnt take the NAVIGON app's small size. the best display is the SYGIC app since it has a setting to increase FONT size. SYGIC can also add custom POI's which I wish other apps would allow.. just SYGIC's app doe NOT do well with TTS... I just got the MAGELLAN APP so I will see how that compares...
  • Tim 1456 Points
    I too have most of them. There isn't one to me that really stands out. I like the Garmin app for its simplicity. I like the TomTom app because it consistently picks the best route. Lately I've been using more and more of the Apple Maps app as well as Scout. I'd probably use Scout most often except they don't appear to be using TomTom's Speed Profiles database (they do use TomTom's maps) and so the ETA's are terrible. But the app itself is clean, efficient, and you have the option of using installed or over the air maps.
  • If I'm going somewhere that I'm familiar with I always use the Apple maps. It launches and gets my location faster than any of the other apps that I've used. But if I need to get somewhere that I have no knowledge of, the lane guidance that the Navigon app gives has been invaluable, that plus your current speed and speed limit display make this my go to app for unfamiliar locations. The ETAs shown have usually been quite accurate. I consider the lack of the speed/speed limit display to be a major inconvenience in some of the other apps.

    There are many positive reviews of the Scout app which looks like a good choice as well but I did notice one complaint of no speed info which would be a negative for me.
  • Tim 1456 Points
    Scout does have speed limit info... like most apps it isn't 100% coverage. I assume they have it in the same places the TomTom app does cine they are using the TomTom data.
  • I saw a write up of its features on another site and noticed the inclusion of speed info as well as traffic cameras. I've also really appreciated that in the Navigon app. All in all Scout looks like a good alternative to Navigon if needed. How are maps updated? I currently get the Fresh Maps update in Navigon.

    I'm also wondering which of these apps would be most useful if I used an old iPhone as primarily a gps device and an iPod, which I do now. I suppose most of them would allow you to download the maps before starting out, while on wifi. Without a network connection I realize live traffic info would not be available. But I'm assuming you could still be rerouted if you veer off course once the maps are on board.

    I've been using these phones so much and so often for gps guidance that I'm pretty much done with my stand alone devices. I currently have a TomTom 930 but haven't used it in a long time.
  • Tim 1456 Points
    Scout's maps by default come over the air, so they are always updated. But you also have the option to download the maps to your device by region. I'm not exactly sure how that works out with updates, I'd presume it would give you the option to download updates.
  • dahauss 81 Points
    Scout does have speed limit info... like most apps it isn't 100% coverage. I assume they have it in the same places the TomTom app does cine they are using the TomTom data.
    The big thing I didnt like about scout is that since I use my phone in LANDSCAPE mode, you cannot see much of the map.. they put too much info on the screen with covers it up.
  • dahauss 81 Points
    If I'm going somewhere that I'm familiar with I always use the Apple maps. It launches and gets my location faster than any of the other apps that I've used. But if I need to get somewhere that I have no knowledge of, the lane guidance that the Navigon app gives has been invaluable, that plus your current speed and speed limit display make this my go to app for unfamiliar locations. The ETAs shown have usually been quite accurate. I consider the lack of the speed/speed limit display to be a major inconvenience in some of the other apps.

    There are many positive reviews of the Scout app which looks like a good choice as well but I did notice one complaint of no speed info which would be a negative for me.
    Ive been playing with a lot of them for the past few months.. I just purchased and tried ther MAGELLAN APP.. its really good but the map graphics are kind of OLD SCHOOL.. TTS is great and it does show you the road signs on major highways. I always wondered why not to many people talk about this app.

    Right now I have Garmin, Navigon, Magellan and WAZE on my phone. I cannot decide which one is the best. I would really like to have ONLY one on my phone.. the Garmin app alone take of 3G and the others at least 1.2G. the Nacigon app, while great, has the map graphics too small to see. the Maegllan app is nice and large and so is the Garmin app. the WAZE app is pretty good but doesnt do anything fancy. I like the crowd sourced traffic which no one else has....
  • Waze is very good for immediate local traffic info. The graphics on Apple maps are large although minimal. One app that I use occasionally is Motion X GPS. The display is a easier to read than Navigon and with some recent updates has added lane guidance info as well. The app uses minimal memory as maps can be downloaded prior to departure or over the network as you travel.

    Currently Navigon does iCloud, iTunes sync and backup for your destinations. That is a big improvement for me as with each new device I would lose them and have to start over.
  • Tim 1456 Points
    I like the crowd sourced traffic which no one else has....
    I can't think of anyone not using some sort of crowd sourced traffic these days.
  • dahauss 81 Points
    I like the crowd sourced traffic which no one else has....

    I can't think of anyone not using some sort of crowd sourced traffic these days.
    Waze seems to the only one that does crowd source traffic like it does. It will tell me cars stopped on shoulder, Where someone just saw a cop etc. none of the other apps seems to include real time reporting a real time updates....
  • mvl 191 Points
    Most brands crowd-source their traffic info. The real question is how big a crowd does it source from, and how smart is it in filling in gaps in sourced information.

    In terms of "how big a crowd", Tomtom and Google are heads and shoulders above anyone else in realtime probes. Both crowdsource based on a large portion of cellular customers, meaning 10's of millions of passive traffic input probes, at any given time.

    Waze requires active manual reporting by drivers, which gives it nowhere near the number of reports that Tomtom or Google get.

    Tomtom takes it a step further, adding their 6-year historical driving patterns (trillions of datapoints) to create a neural network of statistical algorithms on each road to fill in gaps in probe data. This makes Tomtom traffic data unmatched in accuracy. Tomtom was already the clear leader in traffic accuracy, and with their major probe upgrade in the beginning of 2013, Tomtom jumped so far ahead of the pack that no one else comes even close.

    My experience with the Tomtom Android app (they share the same "Tomtom HD traffic" reporting engine) is that the traffic is pretty much perfect. I drive hours daily through the most complicated city traffic on the smallest of roads, and I'd say Tomtom's traffic estimates are nearly always accurate to within 1-2 minutes of reality - the engine mis-estimates a jam by 3+ minutes fewer than 1-2 times per month.

    Traffic is really the main reason people consider the very expensive Tomtom app over other iOS and Android competition. For those who drive a lot in complicated cities, Tomtom can save hours per week with it's near-perfect traffic engine, despite its minimalistic interface and other shortcomings.
  • dahauss 81 Points
    what I consider Crowd Source is how WAZE shows cars stopped on shoulder etc. Things that people are repoerting in real time.. the other day I was using Waze and driving on a major road. in real time it showed me car stopped on shoulder, that there was a cop ahead and that the speed on the road was slowing down. Neither Garmin, nor Magellan nor Navigon had any data and all just said traffic was normal (no incidents). waze adjusted my time to account for this.. it was actually an accident.... nothing else reported this... I dont know if TOMTOM would have
    Most brands crowd-source their traffic info. The real question is how big a crowd does it source from, and how smart is it in filling in gaps in sourced information.

    In terms of "how big a crowd", Tomtom and Google are heads and shoulders above anyone else in realtime probes. Both crowdsource based on a large portion of cellular customers, meaning 10's of millions of passive traffic input probes, at any given time.

    Waze requires active manual reporting by drivers, which gives it nowhere near the number of reports that Tomtom or Google get.

    Tomtom takes it a step further, adding their 6-year historical driving patterns (trillions of datapoints) to create a neural network of statistical algorithms on each road to fill in gaps in probe data. This makes Tomtom traffic data unmatched in accuracy. Tomtom was already the clear leader in traffic accuracy, and with their major probe upgrade in the beginning of 2013, Tomtom jumped so far ahead of the pack that no one else comes even close.

    My experience with the Tomtom Android app (they share the same "Tomtom HD traffic" reporting engine) is that the traffic is pretty much perfect. I drive hours daily through the most complicated city traffic on the smallest of roads, and I'd say Tomtom's traffic estimates are nearly always accurate to within 1-2 minutes of reality - the engine mis-estimates a jam by 3+ minutes fewer than 1-2 times per month.

    Traffic is really the main reason people consider the very expensive Tomtom app over other iOS and Android competition. For those who drive a lot in complicated cities, Tomtom can save hours per week with it's near-perfect traffic engine, despite its minimalistic interface and other shortcomings.
  • Tim 1456 Points
    what I consider Crowd Source is how WAZE shows cars stopped on shoulder etc. Things that people are repoerting in real time..
    Waze relies on their own users as their source of traffic data. As mvl says that puts them way behind others in terms of reports. While having someone report on Waze that a red car is on the shoulder makes for a more interesting report, that report doesn't reflect the actual change in flow.

    To get the actual change in flow you need probes, and they don't have nearly as many active probes as the other companies who get their flow data from the masses of mobile phone users that have location data flowing back to the carriers in real time.

    Waze has always felt like not much more than an arcade game to me, driving around trying to collect "points". It calculates the worst routes of any navigation system I've ever used. The map database is so bad there are 1/2 mile "gaps" in state highways near me. The data they use also lacks most turn restriction data and until recently didn't include z-axis node data.
  • dahauss 81 Points
    what I consider Crowd Source is how WAZE shows cars stopped on shoulder etc. Things that people are repoerting in real time..

    Waze relies on their own users as their source of traffic data. As mvl says that puts them way behind others in terms of reports. While having someone report on Waze that a red car is on the shoulder makes for a more interesting report, that report doesn't reflect the actual change in flow.

    To get the actual change in flow you need probes, and they don't have nearly as many active probes as the other companies who get their flow data from the masses of mobile phone users that have location data flowing back to the carriers in real time.

    Waze has always felt like not much more than an arcade game to me, driving around trying to collect "points". It calculates the worst routes of any navigation system I've ever used. The map database is so bad there are 1/2 mile "gaps" in state highways near me. The data they use also lacks most turn restriction data and until recently didn't include z-axis node data.
    Yea.. I don't really use it to navigate... Mostly I use waze when not on a route.
  • This is an interesting topic, as I'm considering an app.

    Waze will not be among them, however, due to their Privacy Policy. "...Waze will collect: periodically, all of the phone numbers which are stored on your device's phone book." I guess it's true that if you aren't paying directly for something, then you are the "product," not the "customer."
  • Tim 1456 Points
    Waze works pretty well in places where there are lots of other drivers and if you don't mind the gamification distraction as part of your navigation. In my rural neck of the woods Waze is horrific.
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