Why buy a GPS app if you already have a GPS unit?

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by dmk1974, Aug 18, 2009.


If you already have a GPS and iPhone, will you:

  1. Keep using existing GPS unit

    34 vote(s)
  2. Buy TomTom app

    9 vote(s)
  3. Buy Navigon app

    23 vote(s)
  4. Buy some other app

    4 vote(s)
  1. dmk1974 macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2008
    I already have a TomTom GO 510 in my car. I love my iPhone and like that it now can do everything with one of the new GPS apps, but what's the real benefit of the app over a standalone unit? I suppose additional portability if I am in someone elses car?
  2. celticpride678

    Feb 15, 2009
    Boston, MA
    Its one device for everything, instead of two or more devices. Eliminating unneeded things.
  3. FearlessFreep macrumors 6502a

    Jul 15, 2008
    Northern Virginia, USA
    +1. I don't have to have a dedicated GPS unit. I will always have one on my phone, no matter where I am. I don't have to worry about getting it stolen from the car because I take my phone with me. Simplicity, and less clutter. It's always getting updated with new features, unlike a dedicated unit. If I buy a better phone, it comes along with me, too.
  4. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2008
    If I didn't have a GPS, I'd be all over one (or both) of the apps for the iPhone. Or if the app had all of the features that the higher-end units have (TTS, traffic, etc.)
  5. optophobia macrumors 6502a


    Oct 26, 2007
    Hudson MA
    NAvigon update is coming with TTS
  6. kwjohns macrumors 6502a


    Jul 4, 2007
    I plan on continuing to use my Garmin. The iPhone may be one device that can do it all but when I'm driving, I don't want to have to worry about someone calling or texting me, etc. and having to exit the GPS app. I also like listening to Slacker radio when I'm on long drives and I can't use both of those at once.
  7. OneMike macrumors 603


    Oct 19, 2005

    My initial purpose of getting an iphone was to to end need of carrying a phone and mp3 player. Now with all the other apps and technology it reduces the items you need to carry.
  8. edmartin macrumors member

    Jul 23, 2007
    If you already have a dedicated GPS device, then you probably don't need an iPhone GPS app - unless you think the iPhone app is better and/or does something the device doesn't. It's like saying "if I already have a 50" LCD TV, why do I need 50" DLP TV?" Um... I don't know, you tell me?

    I'll tell you why I have one... My wife's car has a built-in GPS. My car does not. And I don't want my dashboard looking like the back room at the local Radio Shack. So, I love the single-unit upside of a GPS app on my iPhone even if dedicated GPS devices might have more features. And honestly, the GPS in my wife's car drives me nuts because the politically-correct-safety-police made sure that it was neutered so that you can't input anything while the car is moving. Hello?!!! It's a friggin' Ford Explorer. Anyone think that there might actually be more than one passenger in the car? :confused: The damned car is "smart" enough to let me know if the passenger's seat belt isn't fastened when someone is sitting there so why can't it over-ride the stupid "no GPS input" if someone is sitting in that same seat? Oh, don't get me started! (sorry I already did)!!! :cool:

    Also, thanks to FairPlay, I can put the iPhone GPS app on multiple iPhones (up to 5). I actually have it on 3 now (me, my wife & my daughter) which makes the iPhone app significantly less expensive than multiple dedicated GPS' to satisfy the same audience.
  9. Jeremy1026 macrumors 68020


    Nov 3, 2007
    I have both a stand alone Garmin unit, and I purchased Navigon. I use my phone for music, and used to have my Garmin for navigation. Then I also have my V1 radar detector. That means every time I get in my car I have to connect 3 devices. I have a convertible which I often leave the top down while I am in a store or restaurant, so leaving these devices out will never happen. Now I only need to hook up two devices, and with my set up, my phone connects with just one cord. Easy of use.
  10. bildio macrumors regular

    Sep 13, 2008
    New Jersey
    I have an older Garmin Nuvi. I was thinking that I should purchase a map update, but considering the price I wasn't sure it was justified.

    So, I purchased Navigon, just before TomTom was released, for its newer maps & to try it out. So far, locally, I've really been impressed. Tomorrow I'll be taking a trip using both, but will primarily rely on Navigon.

    In my car, I can mount the iPhone close to me so I can easily see & hear it. I don't think I'd be able to see the map very well with a TomTom windshield mount (too far away & poor eyesight).

    The only thing I'll miss when I give up the Garmin is the estimated time of arrival at destination updates.
  11. SpaceKitty macrumors 68040


    Nov 9, 2008
    Fort Collins Colorado
    We have two Garmin GPS, a Nuvi 680 and a Nuvi 850.

    We still bought six of the GPS apps just for the fun of it. Maybe there would be one that could actually come close to replacing either of the two Garmins that we have. I think the only one that comes close is CoPilot. Hopefully an update fixes the few problems that CoPilot has and this will be the best iPhone GPS app ever.

    Even then so far, there is no traffic like my MSN Direct offers, no built in gas prices like my MSN Direct, no movie times and titles like MSN Direct, no built in news app like my MSN Direct, bigger screen on the Nuvis, TTS is missing on all the apps, and more.

    I guess the only real benefit is to not have to bring a GPS plus the iPhone.
  12. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2008
    This is really good discussion and feedback.

    Also, my wife has a 8GB 3G iPhone and I have a 32GB 3GS iPhone. Will the TomTom and Navigon apps both work equally as well on each phone? A plus with the app purchase of course is that it can be applied to each phone since they are on the same iTunes account. Just wondering if they would have poor performance on hers though.
  13. Pika macrumors 68000


    Oct 5, 2008
    I have both (TomTom & Navigon)... It feels like having 2 different maps (TeleAtlas & Navteq) in one device.

    TomTom = TeleAtlas
    Navigon = Navteq

    Best of both worlds.

    But i prefer Navigon because:

    In general NAVTEQ has more current mapping data in the United States. Want to see for yourself? Google Maps uses NAVTEQ mapping data, but Google's GMap Pedometer site uses TeleAtlas maps (no doubt the result of NAVTEQ's unwillingness to let Google use the open API).

    Now Check out a view of the same area of New Jersey via Gmaps (using TeleAtlas data):

    Then checkout the same map using Google Maps (NAVTEQ):

    Clearly the NAVTEQ map is more up-to-date. Try it out yourself using your own address.

    NAVTEQ is generally considered better, so why does anyone use TeleAtlas? No surprise here, TeleAtlas is cheaper.

    When Google's Pedometer site recently switched to TeleAtlas data, it triggered a lengthy forum discussion about how much better NAVTEQ was. If you read through the postings, you'll see a lot of examples of data missing from TeleAtlas' mapping data in North America.

    I found TeleAtlas mapping data was less accurate than NAVTEQ on several occasions.

    If popularity is any measure, then we can definitely conclude NAVTEQ is the better option: Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, MSN Maps, and MapQuest all use NAVTEQ.

    NAVTEQ is a US based company, while TeleAtlas is based in Europe. So while NAVTEQ is definately the better choice for North America, TeleAtlas is better for Europe.

    I spoke with another expert on mapping data today, and he told me that TeleAtlas is improving their data every day, and it's entirely possible that TeleAtlas will someday be the better option. TomTom is the fastest growing GPS manufacturer in the U.S., and they're using TeleAtlas. Garmin and Magellan are using NAVTEQ, so clearly Magellan and Garmin have made a decision that the extra money for NAVTEQ is worth it. Of course, TomTom is a dutch firm, so for their European customers, TeleAtlas is a better choice.

    NAVTEQ and TeleAtlas will both always have mapping inaccuracies. However, currently NAVTEQ is the better choice (in the USA). I think it speaks well for Magellan and Garmin that they are willing to pay for NAVTEQ mapping data. Frankly, when choosing a navigation app, I can hardly think of anything more important than having current and accurate maps! Until I hear otherwise, I say NAVTEQ is the way to go.

    Vote Navigon.
  14. Jeremy1026 macrumors 68020


    Nov 3, 2007
    Her phone has the same GPS chip, so the lock will be equal. The only time you'll have a difference will be when creating a new route and when recalculating. Depending on the length of the route it will take about 5-15 seconds longer to generate the route on a 3G. Recalculating will take about 1-2 seconds longer, depending how much missing your turn will mess up your route.
  15. chstr macrumors 6502a


    Mar 25, 2009
    yes, because I carry my GPS around rather than just keep it in the glove box of my car
  16. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2008
  17. Tunnelrunner macrumors regular

    May 9, 2009
    Possibly long-term viability as well. There's been more than one article on the "decline" of standalone GPS devices BECAUSE of the growing capability of GPS apps on smartphones. If these techno-"experts" are right, standalone GPS devices will be extinct in ~10 years, since everyone will have GPS on their phones. (Obviously time will tell whether this happens or not)

    I know TomTom understands this. I just hope Garmin does as well.

    For the record: I use AT&T Navigator by Telenav and TomTom as my 2 main GPS apps. I've owned/tried all the rest (excluding IGO and Co-Pilot), and these were the only 2 that I felt were solid enough and well-rounded enough to use on a daily basis. YMMV.
  18. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    I would keep my Garmin for these reasons.
    1. My car is parked in the garage most of the time. When I park outside, I either don't worry about theft or put it somewhere safe.
    2. My GPS comes with free traffic report. Traffic report and rerouting based on traffic load are very important to me. Neither TomTom nor Navigon offer traffic report.
    3. I want to make/receive a phone call or change music without interrupting navigation.
    4. I have tried TomTom in the past and I much prefer Garmin's routing algorithm.
    5. Garmin has larger, anti-glare screen that is much easier to read in the sun.
  19. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2008
    Well, I went and bought the Navigon program. From what I have read, it seemed to currently be the better choice compared to TomTom. $30 cheaper too.

    I only took it out for a 4-5 mile drive to the local Menards and it worked perfectly. The interface was pretty intuitive. Accurate directions. I also like that it integrates with my contacts list. The landscape screen is real nice too.

    One thing I didn't locate (that my TomTom unit has) is the ability to add a favorite by using GPS coordinates. Is that possible? I usually pull from Google Earth. Some addresses are slightly off and I'd like to save a few favorites to exactly where I want them.

    I am really happy so far with this purchase and look forward to the enhancements from the other thread that describes v1.2.
  20. ddrueckhammer macrumors 65816


    Aug 8, 2004
    America's Wang
    Yeah.. All the maps I search in Google Maps say TeleAtlas. Interesting...
  21. iluvgr8tdeals macrumors member

    Apr 22, 2009
    Cost-benefit analysis...

    I have a tomtom unit, and it has both the North American maps and the Europe maps. I believe that the current tomtom app can only download maps that are area specific (eg US and Canada, Europe, Australia, etc) and if you travel to Europe like I do, then you might have to buy the app for UK or Europe, which shall be an extra $99. So, personally, I would keep my stand-alone unit for the reasons listed above. I also believe that the $99 for the tomtom app is on the higher side, since the cost of a basic tomtom one 125 is about that.

    The new tomtom app does not have TTS, so that might be an issue to some who are so used to spoken street names.

    I guess folks who have an iphone are used to the iphone being an all-in-one device, and would like to eliminate the clutter of carrying many devices; but at what cost?

    If the prices of the tomtom app (the navigon app is $69.99 till August 31st) comes down from $99 to some price reasonable, like the stand-alone unit prices once did (from about $500 to about $200 for a decent one, and even less than $100 for a basic one) then I might make the jump, but the app should give me both N. American and Europe maps. (which may never happen)

    Let's wait and see!
  22. iSimon macrumors regular

    Mar 3, 2008
    Well if you use "Show map" in Navigon and zoom out/in to the approximate location you are after then you can add a destination pin and then drag it to the precise location you want and then add it as a favourite. Don't think you can enter the lat/long co-ordinates manually though.
  23. fhall1 macrumors 68040


    Dec 18, 2007
    (Central) NY State of mind
    Same here....no Navteq for either....the maps and pedometer are identical (TeleAtlas)
  24. dagomike macrumors 65816

    Jun 22, 2007
    Honestly, if you're going to use the iPhone for GPS, you need a car charger. Probably a good idea to get a window mount too. That might mean the TomTom kit whenever it comes out, or go shopping at Griffin or something. So, figure your outlay of app of choice then compare to a dedicated unit. Then add in the fact your phone will be available for other things.

    As it stands, it seems silly to spend $200-$250 or whatever for TomTom and its car kit, when you can basically get a better TomTom unit for about the same price.

  25. m3coolpix macrumors 6502a


    Dec 24, 2007
    My $0.03 :D

    $69 for Navigon, $22 for Kensington window mount (eBay), and $32 (eBay) for a Kensington LiquidAUX charger/line out vehicle adapter. Never had a GPS unit before, so this was a good solution for me.

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