Not too long ago, everyone had a stand alone sat nav. Then, of course, the smartphone entered the party and pretty much wiped out the general sale of sat nav hardware. Many are more than happy to use Apple or Google Maps, but I’ve found an app that beats the lot.
TomTom Go Mobile
First and foremost, it’s a sat nav
TomTom Go Mobile does everything you’ll need a sat nav to do. First and foremost, TomTom Go Mobile downloads the maps locally. The benefit here is if you’re going on holiday, you can download the European map, or any other map for that matter, and not pay a stupid rental fee for a sat nav.
One of the key features on the app I love over the likes of Google Maps and Apple Maps is lane assist. A simple little feature that can really make driving in an area you’re unsure about much easier. Lane assist does what you would expect, advising you of which lane would be the best for you to be in when exiting the motorway.
The app does everything you would expect, like letting you remember your favourite places, estimate travel times and find parking near your destination. But then it gets really smart.
The benefits of being on a smartphone
Drawing on several sources of crowd-sourced movement patterns, TomTom Go Mobile is able to let you know how bad traffic is. Better still, it’ll pop up with route improvements, informing you how much time you could save and how to save it.
When I first passed my driving test, my parents bought me a sat nav worth over €100. That little device got me out of a bind on many occasions. Slowly, but surely, that sat nav started to lose the way. Roads were closing or opening, while some streets were pedestrianised or made one-way. Quickly, I lost faith in what was, at the time, quite an expensive piece of kit.
TomTom Go Mobile updates itself through your smartphone’s internet connection, meaning it’s practically future-proof.
Speed camera warnings
Drivers on mainland Europe and the UK would be more familiar with this popular sat nav feature. This is down to many of these countries having fixed speed cameras. Our tricky feckers keep on moving to keep you guessing.
Still, don’t right of this feature in the app. Again, this is crowd-sourced, meaning you’re connected to other app users. If someone else using the TomTom Go Mobile app reports a speed camera, you’ll hear about it.
The best bit? It’s kind of free
If you only drive every now and then, TomTom Go Mobile is a completely free alternative to buying a more traditional sat nav. The “kind of free” tag does come for a good reason. Every month, you are given 75km navigation allowance. That would get you from Galway City to Ennis.
At the very worse, 75km is enough to try out the app and see if you like it. If you like it as much as I do, then you’ll shell out for the premium account. TomTom Go Mobile premium costs €19.99 for one year or €49.99 for a three-year membership. While it isn’t cheap, the app itself converts your phone into a fantastic sat nav.