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    • Svein Forkbeard
    • By Svein Forkbeard 3rd Jul 18, 10:55 AM
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    Svein Forkbeard
    Sat Nav or Phone?
    • #1
    • 3rd Jul 18, 10:55 AM
    Sat Nav or Phone? 3rd Jul 18 at 10:55 AM
    What are people using these days?

    My TomTom has died in the heat and interestingly I had to use my android phone yesterday and Google maps. Which saved me 50 minutes by giving me an option to avoid a car on fire on the Edinburgh ringroad. Which I thought was brilliant, but obviously relies on data.

    My problem is, do I want my phone cluttered up with Google Maps when driving?

    What is the best option? I think I would prefer a standalone option unless you guys can persuade me otherwise?
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    • Madbags
    • By Madbags 4th Jul 18, 9:49 AM
    • 220 Posts
    • 134 Thanks
    Madbags
    Personally I just use my iPhone X for my satnav. I am not the kind of person that gets bombarded with calls or texts so it seems fine for me.



    My partner used to navigate while I drove if we were going somewhere different of a weekend for example, but she was useless haha! "Am I still on the blue line?"... "Yes... oh wait a minute... we're not anymore!".. "whaaaaa I asked you if I had to turn you said no!!" Needless to say she's been sacked.



    I bought a half decent holder and that was it, seems to work really well and if you're going down a dual carriageway or on a motor way the screen goes off after some time to save battery and wakes up when you need to know something.



    Haven't had any issues with it at all so far.
    • Rambosmum
    • By Rambosmum 4th Jul 18, 11:08 AM
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    Rambosmum
    To conserve the battery you can get it to turn the screen off between directions.
    • Gloomendoom
    • By Gloomendoom 4th Jul 18, 11:22 AM
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    Gloomendoom
    I prefer the built in sat nav in my car. Occasionally backed up by my wife using Google maps on an ipad and/or paper maps.

    The wife/ipad/atlas combination is particularly effective for dealing with incidents, road closures and whatever in heavy traffic.
    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.” - Mark Twain
    • robatwork
    • By robatwork 4th Jul 18, 11:41 AM
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    robatwork
    I love the people who are happy with Tomtom or Garmin. Keeps them off the diversions that google suggests.

    Over the last 10 years or more I have "live tested" tomtom and garmin devices side by side with google maps/waze, as well as the inbuilt satnavs in a variety of makes of car.

    The simple conclusion is that no car satnav ever matches the live traffic info of google.

    I now have Android Auto, and while it has flaws, and the map screen is nobbled with 1/3 of it covered in the AA logo, I only use google maps and sometimes Waze. The inbuilt just can't match the up to the minute (well, 5 minutes maybe) traffic info. If you're in a quiet part of the world then maybe the satnav prettier map would be better. If you're fighting round the M1/M25 every day like me then google wins. By hours.
    • Arklight
    • By Arklight 4th Jul 18, 1:16 PM
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    Arklight
    I love the people who are happy with Tomtom or Garmin. Keeps them off the diversions that google suggests.

    Over the last 10 years or more I have "live tested" tomtom and garmin devices side by side with google maps/waze, as well as the inbuilt satnavs in a variety of makes of car.

    The simple conclusion is that no car satnav ever matches the live traffic info of google.

    I now have Android Auto, and while it has flaws, and the map screen is nobbled with 1/3 of it covered in the AA logo, I only use google maps and sometimes Waze. The inbuilt just can't match the up to the minute (well, 5 minutes maybe) traffic info. If you're in a quiet part of the world then maybe the satnav prettier map would be better. If you're fighting round the M1/M25 every day like me then google wins. By hours.
    Originally posted by robatwork
    Garmin and Tomtom include live traffic and have done for a very long time. I drive a lot in various countries and prefer a dedicated sat nav with a traffic subscription and my phone free to do other things. Google maps is very good but I would rather have a Garmin for lane guidance and road positioning.

    I wouldn’t bother with Tomtom anymore.
    • robatwork
    • By robatwork 4th Jul 18, 3:57 PM
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    robatwork
    Garmin and Tomtom include live traffic and have done for a very long time.
    Originally posted by Arklight
    Exactly my point - their live traffic isn't as good as google's.

    But I am happy you think it is; the more people who do, the better, as far as I am concerned.
    • Arklight
    • By Arklight 5th Jul 18, 11:06 AM
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    Arklight
    Exactly my point - their live traffic isn't as good as google's.

    But I am happy you think it is; the more people who do, the better, as far as I am concerned.
    Originally posted by robatwork
    I haven't found their live traffic to be much different to Google's. If you are really losing "hours" on the M25 then either you're doing it wrong or your unit isn't working properly.

    The main differences are the UI and positioning information. Dedicated sat-navs also include functions like routing preferences and waypoints which aren't well implemented in Google maps. They also don't need a data connection.

    The downsides are that the're outside of Google's search ecosystem. But not everyone wants to be in that.
    • takman
    • By takman 5th Jul 18, 11:37 AM
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    takman
    I haven't found their live traffic to be much different to Google's. If you are really losing "hours" on the M25 then either you're doing it wrong or your unit isn't working properly.
    Originally posted by Arklight
    There is a massive difference between the traffic information on a stand alone Sat Nav and Google Maps.

    Using TomTom as an example they will use traditional traffic data from traffic cameras which isn't very detailed and only really applies to main roads. They will also use any data from their sat navs signed up to live traffic and any apps being used which won't be that many as they have to be in use at the time.

    Google Maps use GPS data from EVERY android mobile phone with a signal, which number in the millions at any time (excluding the small amount which turn off GPS or location sharing). This means they have a massive amount of data which they can use to make an extremely accurate traffic map. They can use this data to determine the quickest route based on how fast traffic is flowing for every single part of the route.

    If your paying a subscription for Live Traffic then your paying money for data that is far inferior to what you can get at no cost.

    If you wanted to keep a separate unit then you can get a decent android device for less than the standalone Sat Nav to use dedicated to google maps. You could then tether it to your phone for a data connection.
    Even if you had to pay for data for this separate device it would probably cost less than you currently pay for Live Data.
    This not only offers much better traffic data but also offers forever up to date maps without having to do anything.
    • Timberflake1983
    • By Timberflake1983 5th Jul 18, 12:22 PM
    • 33 Posts
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    Timberflake1983
    I ditched my sat nav when I discovered Waze a couple of years back, always finds the quickest route and it still amazes me how accurate it is at telling me when there's been accident, car on the hard shoulder, etc.
    • DoaM
    • By DoaM 5th Jul 18, 12:36 PM
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    DoaM
    If your paying a subscription for Live Traffic then your paying money for data that is far inferior to what you can get at no cost.
    Originally posted by takman
    Is now a suitable time to trot out the line:

    If something costs nothing, then YOU are the product.

    ??
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    • DoaM
    • By DoaM 5th Jul 18, 12:38 PM
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    DoaM
    Waze
    Originally posted by Timberflake1983
    Just tried it again to see if it had improved since the last time I tried it (months ago, and I've done a few phone updates since then) ... nope - still black screens my Infotainment system on Android Auto. Uninstalled and back to Google Maps.
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    • Arklight
    • By Arklight 5th Jul 18, 3:19 PM
    • 1,465 Posts
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    Arklight
    Just tried it again to see if it had improved since the last time I tried it (months ago, and I've done a few phone updates since then) ... nope - still black screens my Infotainment system on Android Auto. Uninstalled and back to Google Maps.
    Originally posted by DoaM
    Google bought Waze to plunder it for google maps, so I doubt it will be getting many more updates.

    Never got on with it myself, the UI is unintuitive at best, especially when planning a journey.
    • Arklight
    • By Arklight 5th Jul 18, 3:43 PM
    • 1,465 Posts
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    Arklight
    There is a massive difference between the traffic information on a stand alone Sat Nav and Google Maps.

    Using TomTom as an example they will use traditional traffic data from traffic cameras which isn't very detailed and only really applies to main roads. They will also use any data from their sat navs signed up to live traffic and any apps being used which won't be that many as they have to be in use at the time.

    Google Maps use GPS data from EVERY android mobile phone with a signal, which number in the millions at any time (excluding the small amount which turn off GPS or location sharing). This means they have a massive amount of data which they can use to make an extremely accurate traffic map. They can use this data to determine the quickest route based on how fast traffic is flowing for every single part of the route.

    If your paying a subscription for Live Traffic then your paying money for data that is far inferior to what you can get at no cost.

    If you wanted to keep a separate unit then you can get a decent android device for less than the standalone Sat Nav to use dedicated to google maps. You could then tether it to your phone for a data connection.
    Even if you had to pay for data for this separate device it would probably cost less than you currently pay for Live Data.
    This not only offers much better traffic data but also offers forever up to date maps without having to do anything.
    Originally posted by takman
    I have a Tomtom with live traffic on it I use in the UK, a Garmin with live traffic on it that I use in the US, an Android phone I use everywhere and occasionally have used Apple Maps.

    Apple Maps is awful.

    I've not noticed a massive difference in either of the other services traffic routing, and neither of them cost anything.

    Although not as pretty to look at Garmin wins overall as it has integrated wireless traffic rather than needing a tethered phone with a data connection. The maps are accurate maps, and unlike Google or Tomtom it's more likely to consider what routes are like to drive, rather then just their length.

    Google does not magically have access to the location of every smartphone in the world. If you have High Accuracy enabled on your device (and not everyone does) it will still not be polling data constantly, nor will GPS work without a view of the sky.

    Tomtom and Garmin use a mix of static monitoring, app GPS services, and polling data from their own devices. They are nothing like as bad, and Google is nothing like as good, as you are making out.
    • takman
    • By takman 5th Jul 18, 4:04 PM
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    takman
    I have a Tomtom with live traffic on it I use in the UK, a Garmin with live traffic on it that I use in the US, an Android phone I use everywhere and occasionally have used Apple Maps.

    Apple Maps is awful.

    I've not noticed a massive difference in either of the other services traffic routing, and neither of them cost anything.

    Although not as pretty to look at Garmin wins overall as it has integrated wireless traffic rather than needing a tethered phone with a data connection. The maps are accurate maps, and unlike Google or Tomtom it's more likely to consider what routes are like to drive, rather then just their length.
    Originally posted by Arklight
    Google maps bases all calculations on the quickest route and not the how long it is. It takes into account the different speeds you can travel on each road to determine the quickest route (which are usually the major roads).
    You can even choose a date and time that you want to leave on a journey and it will give you an estimated travel time based on past data it has built up.


    Google does not magically have access to the location of every smartphone in the world. If you have High Accuracy enabled on your device (and not everyone does) it will still not be polling data constantly, nor will GPS work without a view of the sky.
    Originally posted by Arklight
    It's not magic; google are the company that created the Android operating system so can gather data from all Android Devices. With the standard phone settings google does regularly collect GPS data from these devices, which will usually work with the phone in someones pocket when travelling in a car (obviously in a city with tall buildings it can be disrupted slightly.

    Edit: I should add that you can see google collects regular data from the devices because when you log into a Google account you can access a page showing a map of everywhere your linked Android device has been since it was linked to your account.

    Tomtom and Garmin use a mix of static monitoring, app GPS services, and polling data from their own devices. They are nothing like as bad, and Google is nothing like as good, as you are making out.
    Originally posted by Arklight
    Google have many many more devices they have access too than Garmin and Tomtom and their entire business is based on processing data to give useful output (so they are pretty good at it).
    The fact they have access to so much more data is what makes it so much better. I have been travelling down single track lanes and seen a traffic information showing congestion ahead on Google Maps. This is data that Tomtom or Garmin are much less likely to show.

    But one thing i will agree with you is that Apple Maps is awful (from what i have seen of it).
    Last edited by takman; 05-07-2018 at 5:47 PM. Reason: Additional Information
    • A. Badger
    • By A. Badger 5th Jul 18, 7:04 PM
    • 5,233 Posts
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    A. Badger
    I was sceptical at first, but I have finally abandoned my Garmin in favour of my phone and Google maps.

    Despite regular updates and a relatively new model, Garmin's mapping of the rural area in which I spend most time was atrocious - on one occasion sending me quite literally up a dead-end farm track when the rural commercial estate I was looking for was some three miles distant. The estate had clearly been there for a decade or more, and had abut 20 businesses operating from it. There was no excuse for Garmin not having it mapped.

    To make matters worse, the slightest tree canopy seemed to block the Garmin's reception and as for accuracy, I lost count of the number of times it showed me apparently driving in the middle of a ploughed field, while I was actually safely on the road.

    It's still early days for me with Google Maps but I am starting to get used to knowing I am going to reach my destination without drama and pretty quickly. I can't see myself going back to a Garmin.
    • ididntgetwhereiamtoday
    • By ididntgetwhereiamtoday 5th Jul 18, 7:56 PM
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    ididntgetwhereiamtoday
    I like google maps but it needs to get speeds limits added like on Apple Maps.
    I didn't get where i am today by not reading moneysavingexpert.com
    • Richard53
    • By Richard53 5th Jul 18, 11:25 PM
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    Richard53
    Going a bit against the flow here. I don't drive for a living, and I rarely need to be anywhere in the fastest possible time. I commute to work along a well-known route, and any other mileage is generally not under pressure of time. So I prioritise ease of use above shaving seconds off a route.


    Having said that, I am old-school enough to prefer a separate device. I have used a phone to navigate when I needed directions quickly, and it was OK. But for regular use I much prefer my TomTom. It's clever, consistent and very user-friendly.


    Even a phone is better than the built-in satnavs I have used (Skoda and Mercedes). Both seemed clumsy to use, have some serious inaccuracies in the mapping and, worst of all, the screen is buried somewhere by your left knee.


    I know I am being left behind by technology here, but it's my preference.
    If someone is nice to you but rude to the waiter, they are not a nice person.
    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 6th Jul 18, 1:45 AM
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    Savvy_Sue
    This is very timely: the maps on our built-in Tom Tom are becoming increasingly out of date, and we're too tight to pay for an upgrade, for which we'd apparently need to go to the dealership.

    So after a brief discussion about the logistics of using either phone or tablet in the car, we bought a cheap holder for DH's phone.

    The BIG difference is between the size of the phone screen and the size of the SatNav screen. We zoomed in to make it easier for me to see the map on the phone, but still quite hard to read. Brightness: maybe we needed to adjust that too, didn't think of that.

    And THEN we found that it didn't seem to be updating so well: with the SatNav the arrow that was our position stayed in the middle of the screen, but with the phone we seemed to 'lose' our position quickly.

    Might the fact that by the time we arrived home the battery was quite flat be a factor?

    No doubt we'll try again, but I'm not yet convinced!


    What you tend to find is that a phone will get pretty hot running live maps, maxing out screen brightness, running GPS, polling data between mobile towers in a moving vehicle, playing music via Bluetooth and all the background apps. If you have it in a holder on the dash it can get very very hot.

    If it's plugged in you may well find that the power drain is too much for the USB charger and the phone will need to draw on the battery to make up the difference. It will then be discharging and charging simultaneously, which creates even more heat, directly in the battery.

    All this heat spells death for Li-ion batteries and if you toast your phone in this way regularly you'll be rapidly ageing yours.
    Originally posted by Arklight
    Interesting!

    There is a reason why 2 year old windscreen fitted Sat Navs can barely hold a charge.
    Originally posted by Arklight
    ours hasn't been able to hold a charge since we first drove it home!
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    • Gloomendoom
    • By Gloomendoom 6th Jul 18, 8:23 AM
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    Gloomendoom
    Sue are you using the maps app or viewing in a browser window? I found Google maps laggy and sporadic when viewing in a browser but pretty good when using the dedicated app. Traffic info does have annoying tendency to occasionally disappear completely though. Usuallywhen I need it most.

    I find it a bit too small to be usable on a phone. Better on a tablet.
    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.” - Mark Twain
    • DoaM
    • By DoaM 6th Jul 18, 8:50 AM
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    DoaM
    Check if your car's infotainment system supports Android Auto / Apple CarPlay. If it does then you can integrate Google maps (for example) into the same screen as where the car's satnav resides. The benefits?

    Bigger screen (than the phone)
    Familiar location (for satnav)
    Phone is plugged in and charging

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