Detailed GPS Comparison: Navigon vs TomTom

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by dhy8386, Sep 11, 2009.

  1. dhy8386 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    #1
    So there are lots of threads about these two apps and others and I had done a detailed comparison in one of those threads a few weeks ago. I have seen the chart comparisons but that only tells you so much. Now with Navigon 1.2 out and a few requests to make this a separate thread, I am doing so now. My only interest is providing as detailed a review as I can highlighting my preferences based on the apps to date. I have already updated some opinions as I have used each app more and more. Also note that if the new G-Map update proves a worthy competitor, I will add it to this review.

    Enjoy.

    UPDATED FOR NAVIGON 1.2

    Just a quick FYI. I have a 3GS in a speck soft/hard case. I also have the kensington window mount which is how my phone was mounted for those curious. With either app, my GPS signal has been nothing short of excellent.

    So i have G-Map, Navigon and TT. I have now compared all three.Never owned a GPS before so not partial to any one brand. G-Map, while significantly cheaper does not really compare to the other two. It works fine but the current version is just missing too many features and its clunky interface makes a distant third. Where i see a clear advantage i identify it below. I will also update this review as I use the apps and mark the changes in RED.

    Load Time: Very similar. The new Navigon update has improved load times especially once in route and getting back in. I would now give edge to Navigon.
    Initial GPS Acquisition: Both were pretty good, acquiring a signal very fast. Slight edge to TT here cause once it acquired it never lost the signal. Navigon did briefly once or twice but both are strong
    Interface: Navigon has a simple interface. I found entering an address easy. I found adding favorites to be easier on the Navigon, less clicks. TT has a much more robust interface. Both let you plan future routes and add multiple route points but TT's implementation of this is better. TT also has more menu options from the home screen. Advantage TT.
    Routing Interface: Navigon clearly had a nicer interface with Lane assist and reality view being very cool and helpful. The turn arrows on the Navigon are more helpful. The TT though is more compact having all data in the bottom bar. Its cleaner whereas Navigon's is nice but slightly more chaotic. TT also lets you change the colors for day and night but i do not find this very helpful. The street name displays for Navigon have been improved in 1.2 but they are still not as easy to read as TT, which is just better plain and simple.
    Routing Accuracy (GPS LAG): Well, here is where i saw a difference that i didnt expect to see. Navigon was VERY accurate as far as identifying where I was on the map relative to where i actually was - when i was passing High street it was timed perfectly on the Navigon. When I made a turn, it had me doing so smoothly on the Navigon. However, with TT there is a clear lag. I tried a few different routes, reset the phone, but still same result. While the lag is not terrible its noticeable and really takes away from what otherwise is a great app. Its clear Navigon has adjusted for the crappy GPS in the iPhone and it shows. As an example, i had a wicked traffic circle i was maneuvering and they lag on the TT caused me to miss the proper turn. Even thought the voice prompts were delivered early, it required looking at that map and this is where the TT fell short. This is not an insignificant shortfall in my opinion and may bother a few people. Both apps got me where i needed to go using the same routes. I have now tested IQ routes a bunch and i would say it works better than the "Optimum" feature on Navigon. Most of the time i got similar routes but its a nice differentiator that seems to work well.
    Routing Options: Here TT is the clear winner. TT has a VERY useful feature that allows you to identify a destination or starting point by clicking on it on the map (a magnifying glass pops up so you can get it exact) [UPDATE: I just found Navigon has this too by clicking on the Show Map you can pinpoint a location]. I am in up-State PA and alot of the areas we are visiting do not have addresses. This makes finding them and routing to and form the very easy. Entering addresses is very easy and I liked it better than the Navigon. Both use the apple keyboard so it is well integrated. Both allow you to avoid highways, ferrys, toll roads, HOV lanes, etc. Navigon does have a speed limit feature which can warn you with audible and visual cues. I think TT may have this as well but it works better on Navigon. But TT also has extensive other options like Find Alternative (if your not happy with your route, you can choose Avoid Roadblocks (and then choose which you want to avoid), Avoid Part of Route (very very cool. If you know part of your route before you start or while you've started is problematic, you can choose this option and then pick which part of the directions you want to avoid - it will reroute you from there), Route Demo (both have this but TT's is better), Instructions (This is a detailed list of the route which I am not sure why Navigon does not have but its very useful to see the overview). Hands down the TT routing options are superior.
    POI databases: On Navigon, it is extensive but the search is finicky. Sometimes you have to really narrow down the location for the POI to show. I found TT's more extensive and less finicky but still not great. I really like the icon view for POI's on Navigon. Overall a tie.
    Recalculation: Both do a good job of quickly recalculating you. Navigon's seemed slightly faster.
    TTS: Navigon now has this and it is a WELCOMED addition. The voice is clear and the pronunciations are excellent (although sometimes robotic). This is a must for all devices and until TT updates their app, this is the killer feature that makes Navigon my choice over TT, for now. Note, one side affect of the TTS is that because Navigon alerts you often of an upcoming turn, the length of the alert by adding the street names means sometimes the alerts follow very quickly after each other which some may find annoying. Certainly it could be improved but you would be crazy to turn this off and better to deal with the annoyance.
    Voice: TT gives you many options for the GPS voice. While its cool, they are not that different and Navigons is very pleasant. Both are loud although TT's is easier to adjust - simply by click on the left bottom of the screen while driving. Navigons you have to go into the menu and the adjustment is small. The Navigon voice has been improved an no longer sounds like "kathleen turner on cigarettes". It is clearer and more pleasant although TT still has the edge here.
    Phone integration: Work exactly the same way. Phone call comes in, you can answer and talk. You can then, while still on the call, go back into the app and it picks up from where it left off. Navigon does so more quickly. Both also work while on the ipod. TT's cuts out completely whereas Navigon is more like a fade out so you can hear the directions, which is preferable in my opinion. Also in Navigon 1.2, iPod integration has been added directly into the app so you no longer have to close out when wanting to play or change songs. This is also an absolute must and again Navigon has distanced itself, for now. iPod integration is almost perfect. You cant browse your artists, playlists, etc in landscape mode which makes it a hassle if its mounted in portrait mode on your dash/windshield. However, once its playing you have access to all the ipod functions in landscape mode. One annoyance is that Apples implementation means you have to "Add" songs like a playlist when using this feature. So for example if you want to play a playlist you have to go through the added step of selecting a "Add all songs" button as opposed to just choosing your playlist and then hitting play. May actually be useful in some other circumstances so dont really see it as a problem. Also, one positive side affect of the iPOD integration is that if you are using this feature than than the volume buttons obviously work to control the volume. But by increasing and decreasing the volume of the music you are also able to do so for the navigation volume. I prefer this and its much easier than having to go into the options to change the volume (which you can still do).
    Contact Integration: Both have this feature however TT is sorely lacking. I tried 10 different address types (with apts, normal, 2 street addresses, etc) and TT had issues with 8 of them and would not find them. Navigon found 8 of the 10. Navigon found both the ones TT found. Some more work needs to be done on TT's part. I would say it works well on Navigon, even finding an address without a ZIP (TT had trouble with this).
    Battery: Too hard to tell which was better. But both eat battery.
    Reality View/Lane Assist: As mentioned, Navigon has this and its a real nice feature. TT does not have this.

    Overall, i liked the Navigon interface better but the TT route option planning better. TT has many more useful routing options and features that Navigon just does not have. While the Navigon interface is "prettier" i found the TT interface less chaotic and more of the screen is used for the maps (albeit a small amount). But the lane assist/reality view makes the Navigon overall superior. However, as I said the TTS and iPod integration are killer features that pull the Navigon clearly ahead in my opinion of the TT. But I will note that if TT adds these features, then the GPS lag it has will be offset by the TTS and I would probably find myself using the TT over the Navigon. It will be interesting to see who adds more features more quickly and if there is a cost to either to update the maps. Right now Navigon has already had 2 major updates although it came out a few months before so we will see. Also note that the expected new release of G-Maps (any day now), if it looks anything like the youtube video, may re-enter this race. Once its released I will test and if worthy, I will add it into this comparison.
     
  2. ddrueckhammer macrumors 65816

    ddrueckhammer

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2004
    Location:
    America's Wang
    #2
    Good comparison. I agree with your synopsis. If TomTom would add TTS, and fix a few other quibbles, I would totally use it over Navigon. IQRoutes works pretty well. As it stands though, Navigon is the winner.
     
  3. intrepid00 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2008
    #3
    IQRoutes is just TomTom marketing. Navigon also takes into account time if day and your driving habbits and traffic when they add it.
     
  4. ddrueckhammer macrumors 65816

    ddrueckhammer

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2004
    Location:
    America's Wang
    #4
    Well I have used both for a month now and TomTom almost always gives better routes. If Navigon didn't read street names and have little to no lag, I would use TomTom shearly because it gives me better routing more often, more legible maps, and more routing options.

    Navigon is the clear winner for TTS alone but TomTom actually put out a good v 1.0. The just need to publish a roadmap and hurry up with the updates.
     
  5. dhy8386 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    #5
    Actually TomTom has been collecting user data from all its users regarding traffic patterns and combines this with what most other sat-nav guys do (like navigon) which is rely on publicly available information regarding traffic speeds and patterns based on time of day, day itself, etc. You would think this would make their IQ Routes more advantageous. And in my experience it has given me better routes then Navigon or G-Map - however I have no way of knowing if thats because of the IQ Routes or something else. It has also given me worse routes then Navigon.

    All that said, I am sure for some IQ Routes may actually help in some instances but I have no idea how a user would be able to determine. But it isn't "just marketing" - may or may not keep improving over time....
     
  6. intrepid00 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2008
    #6
    I have a Garmin, TomTom and now Navigon. Where the routing engine appears to matter is city driving where the layout isn't grid out. Like DC and Baltimore.

    Garmin with Navigon and TomTom way behind with actual road testing through Baltimore from one end to another.

    Some other user posted a sight that does a test like that and they got the same results.
     
  7. ddrueckhammer macrumors 65816

    ddrueckhammer

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2004
    Location:
    America's Wang
    #7
    It probably just depends on where you are located. Just like Navteq and TeleAtlas maps are both more accurate in certain areas, historical traffic data is probably more accurate for some areas. Still, if TomTom keeps their own database from hardware that phones home, I see no reason why it wouldn't be more accurate than public data because of a larger sample size and more recent data, although topography and the number and types of roads undoubtedly play a role.

    People had high expectations for TomTom since they are the most expensive and a market leader and were let down but personally, I don't think their v 1.0 is much worse (if at all) than Navigon's was. In a few months, maybe they will have their act together.
     
  8. prominence macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    #8
    The idea of IQRoutes is interesting, but in my opinion there is often a lot of construction going on and improving of highways, which can modify and/or improve traffic conditions on given roads where TomTom would tell you to continue to avoid based on its research over the years.

    I would prefer an application like Navigon with traffic support (which is coming in a future update according to their web site), because traffic support is based on actual information like INRIX where it tells you of slow traffic and car accidents. I have found INRIX to be highly accurate and fast with reporting traffic, and I would rather have that support in my GPS than relying on historical data to send me down alternate routes every day and "hope" that TomTom IQRoutes knows what it's doing.
     
  9. ddrueckhammer macrumors 65816

    ddrueckhammer

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2004
    Location:
    America's Wang
    #9
    Has Navigon confirmed that Traffic is free? On dedicated units it is a subscription many times correct? I figured that IQRoutes is just a nice feature for those that don't want to subscribe to live traffic updates. It works better than Navigon routing in my area but ymmv.
     
  10. mm1250 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    #10
    I'm curious to why no one did any reviews on the AT&T Navigation app?

    I just got that installed yesterday and tried it. It has TTS and it is working getting me around in Tampa. I pay $10/mo but I will cancel it at end of month and only subscribe when I go out of town.
     
  11. prominence macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    #11
    They haven't confirmed anything regarding traffic pricing (or map updates for that matter). I have to agree with you that TomTom is probably better at routing; my only qualm with Navigon is that is routes me through an outerbelt rather than innerbelt when going across town; the outerbelt is about 5 miles more to the trip and 5-10 minutes; I don't understand why it always routes this way; regardless of "Fastest" or "Optimum." So even though I don't own TomTom, I would agree that it probably does route better...

    that being said, I am willing to overlook little issues like that with TTS, iPod integration, and hopefully soon-to-be-released-in-next-update traffic.

    (TMC (traffic) was announced on their web site along-side TTS and iPod integration to be coming "late summer," and they've followed up on their other claims, so hopefully traffic is coming soon!)
     
  12. dhy8386 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    #12
    I am sure apps like that and Gokivo (sp?) can be and are nice but they require an internet connection (and 3G if you do not want map lag) in order to work. I think that should put them in a different class of navigation tool/app as thats a on starter for most serious sat-nav users. Having taken trips to upstate PA and NY I can tell you that the cell service is spotty and you just cannot have a nav app for serious use that relies on cell service similar to google maps.

    Thats not to say the app isnt great or even better than Navigon or TT but I think most users who want a real Nav app discount these types of apps.
     
  13. prominence macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    #13
    I have a somewhat stupid question...

    Since all of our iPhones likely have the same GPS Chip in them, it seems to be that reception would be dependent on geographical location.

    That being said, what are also dependent factors on good reception? Does each GPS company (Navigon, TomTom, Garmin) use different GPS satellites, or do they use the same satellites?

    It is hard to believe TomTom and Navigon having varying reception in the same geographical location and same iPhone unless they use different GPS satellites.
     
  14. Tiffy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2009
    #14
    They all use the same satellites and as you said, the same GPS chip. The difference is in how they manage the position returned by GPS chip.

    The GPS chips return always a wrong position (this is to avoid the use of GPS for military applications). In order to determine a position as accurate as possible, the software needs to wait for the GPS to return a few different positions, and then makes an average of all the positions returned. The more samples you have, the more accurate the position is.

    The problem is that the software must have as many samples as possible to obtain an accurate position, but as less samples as possible to be reactive. So each software has its own balance between these 2 constraints.

    It explains also why some software will have an apparently better GPS reception than others : let's say the software 1 needs 20 samples to determine the position and the software 2 needs 5 samples. If the quality of the GPS reception is not perfect, software 1 will more often "loose" the GPS signal than software 2. But it also means that software 2 will return a less accurate position.

    On top of that, each software apply a set of rules to avoid some errors. For example, it is obvious that Navigon applies a rule which tends to make you stay on the itinerary (try to leave suddenly the itinerary, for a few seconds you will see the arrow continue on the itinerary before Navigon admits that you are no more on the itinerary). It is not stupid because in 99% of the cases, you will stay on the itinerary... A similar situation is if you have 2 parallel roads, very close to each other. If you leave one road (the one of the itinerary) to go to the other, Navigon will consider that you are still on the previous road.

    I don't have TomTom so I won't talk about it, but to compare Navigon & Copilot Live I would say that Navigon has a "conservative" model (needs a lot of samples to determine your position and tends to make you stay on the itinerary) and Copilot Live has a "reactive" model (needs less samples but returns a less accurate position and reacts more quickly to changes of directions). Of course most of the time it is not obvious because of the other rules applied.

    It's all about statistics, not GPS reception quality !
     
  15. Fedorov macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2009
    #15
    I'm finding a HUGE difference in accuracy/signal since the Co-Pilot and Navigon updates came out in the last week. Co-Pilot kept losing the signal and the positions were always out a bit, Navigon seems to be even better since the new v1.2 update, hardly lost a signal and the accuracy is superb.
     

Share This Page