'Sat-nav on a mobile: cheap and effective' blog discussion

This is the discussion to link on the back of Martin's 'Sat-nav on a mobile: cheap and effective' blog. Please read the blog first, as this discussion follows it.
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  • x3ja
    x3ja Posts: 41 Forumite
    Although it becomes a bit hard to lend it to the MSF then isn't it?

    I went for a separate sat-nav for that reason, so I can lend it to my wife. Arguably, she needs it more than I do (no, that's not sexist stereo-typing, she just does more driving to obscure places than I do!)
  • MSE_Martin
    MSE_Martin Posts: 8,272 Money Saving Expert
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    Dont worry the MSF - still has the other one :)
    Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
    Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.
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  • PJB
    PJB Posts: 1,365 Forumite
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    Would appreciate opinions on the best/worst sat nav for mobiles?

    Preferably with traffic and speed camera alerts.

  • redux
    redux Posts: 22,976 Forumite
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    I bought a clearance version of one navigation brand for a few pounds, including maps of Benelux, intending to buy a new set of maps separately, to use with a Windows Mobile 5 phone and a clearance Bluetooth GPS. I subscribed to the newsletter for the software, which turned out useful as a couple of months ago they sent notice of a special offer of half-price maps.

    But the maps for my software version were no longer available, despite that they had been there only a couple of months previously (when I'd hesitated because the price had gone up from £42 to £69). I emailed the firm, asking if the offer applied to my product and would they please give me a link for the download that was rather hard to find on their website. After a couple of replies from people who seemed to have not read my specific question, I phoned up; the product was no longer supported, and they no longer had the maps available.

    Well I'd known that the last map update for this version was about a year beforehand, but I find this amazing in a product launched less than 3 years old, and said so; despite people getting new phones all the time I didn't see how this firm could just dump people so soon. Even more surprising, I was then told unofficially that if I looked around on the internet I might be able to find certain places with map copies available to download free

    I haven't got around to that yet, as I seem to have blown up a micro-SD card and am waiting for a replacement, but if or when I do manage to get it going it will have cost me about £8 for the whole software and maps of Europe.

    If I don't manage that, there is a Nokia product available free even for Windows Mobile 5 phones as well as their own. The planning, position display and route simulation functions are free; only the voice-guided navigation and real-time route recalculation needs a subscription, from €6.49 for 1 week up to €70 for 3 years. Given that the map updates are free whereas most brands charge for new maps, it could work out cheaper for some http://www.smart2go.com/en/

    I've read about a totally free product called Nav4All, but not heard any feedback from users http://www.nav4all.com/site2/www.nav4all.com/enguk/index.php
  • PJB
    PJB Posts: 1,365 Forumite
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    Any advice please, other than get a new phone with GPS!
  • ChemicalBrother_2
    Cheap and effective? How's £30?

    Nokia have Nokia Maps for free (additional services are extra) and a bluetooth GPS unit can be bought for £30 (inc delivery) from Orange (see forum post here)

    Most recent (smart) phones from Nokia are compatible and older ones will probably work with Google Maps Mobile or the likes of MGMaps.
  • redux
    redux Posts: 22,976 Forumite
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    Atomised wrote: »
    This is a dumb question but I think my new phone has GPS and maps , do you have to connect the phone to the net to view the maps? It is a Nokia N95
    It's likely to be very expensive in data cost to download the maps you want via the mobile network. Instead, either use the phone in wi-fi access or download to your PC and then transfer.
  • sortedinnit
    I have a Nokia N95 with a built-in GPS, and have downloaded googlemaps to my phone (for free). Having turned on the GPS (see your handbook), I now have satellite navigation! The only cost is the internet connection - I have unlimited for £8 per month from O2.

    I find google maps MUCH easier and more user-friendly than my old NavMan unit - I haven't had to make any complicated changes or alternation - the software has automatically deteced the GPS. I'd really recommend this.
  • vroom_2
    I was wondering if anyone has any experience (good or bad) of using the Nokia N95 for navigation with GPS? It was tested on C5's Gadget Show and they found it often couldn't get a signal.

    I think some windscreens will also block the signal.

    Does anyone have any recommendations of phones that don't have a problem picking up the GPS signals inside a car? How easily does the HTC 3100 get a signal? How long does it take and how often does it lose the signal?
  • almillar
    almillar Posts: 8,621 Forumite
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    Just as some general advice, loads of people will have devices that can be used for sat-nav, maybe with some extra equipment, instead of buying a seperate device to mess the place up.
    As has been mentioned above, lots of smartphones can have software put on. If you know that your phone has Symbian OS, or Series 60 or Series 80 (all sortof based on the same thing) you can get software. You can also then get a GPS (the thing that finds the satellites) device, even a bluetooth one so that it can be wireless, and you'll have a very handy sat nav.
    The same applies for lots of PalmOS devices, and lots of Windows CE, and PocketPC devices, as Martin said, but I just wanted to mention that you don't have to go out and get a new mobile to have it.
    Maybe you've got an old PocketPC or Palm PDA that you don't use any more sincd your new phone is so 'Smart' - you can now use this as a dedicated sat nav device.
    Goto eBay and look for bluetooth gps - I got a unit for about £25, and there's plenty of software packages on there too!
    Good luck!
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