∞ Hands On: TomTom GPS navigation for the iPhone

I’ll admit, I love GPS navigation units. Strange, I know, but I like to test out the units to see how they differ, what I like and don’t like. Tonight, I tried out TomTom’s navigation app for the iPhone. TomTomTomTom for the iPhone just got released on the App Store tonight, I downloaded it and immediately set everything up. I have other navigation apps and have used plenty of in-car systems, but I was really looking forward to using TomTom.

The iPhone app has a really nice menu system, with some elegant fades. It really shows you that they spent some time designing it. The side scrolling menus behave just the iPod, so everything is familiar right away.

The large icons used in the app made it even easier to navigate your way through, allowing you to easily choose what you wanted to do. The number of ways that you can actually plan a trip is better than any other iPhone app I’ve seen.

For instance, you can choose a Point of Interest (POI) that is near your current position, in a city, near your home, along the route you are taking or near the destination. That’s quite a few options for you to choose from.

TomTomTomTom also keeps track of your recent destinations and allows you to choose a destination from your contacts.

There is an abundance of settings that allow you to personalize how TomTom will take you on your route, down to the voice that gives you directions. Speaking of the voice — it is the most realistic that I’ve heard on any GPS system, in-car or on the iPhone.

TomTom will re-route you if you make a wrong turn, so getting lost or not making it to your destination isn’t an option with this app.

However, there are a couple of important things that I didn’t like.

First, it was slow to pick up when I was driving. This can cause some problems when you are relying on the device to take you somewhere. By the time TomTom told me to turn, I was already past the designated street. By the time it caught up and gave me enough time to turn I was three streets past where I should be.

The app was also off by a couple of hundred yards on my POIs, which isn’t that bad considering the distance you can travel, but I haven’t had that with other systems.

TomTom also lost the connection quite a bit. This is also very frustrating. I was around my town and out on the highway and it lost the GPS signal numerous times — it didn’t seem to matter where I was.


I thought maybe it was the weather (It’s night, but really warm), or perhaps my iPhone.

The only problem with that is that I used Navigon and re-did the route. It didn’t lose the connection at all.

I do like TomTom for the iPhone and I will give it a another try tomorrow to see if it performs better, but I would hate to see all the hard work on the app go to waste because it keeps losing the GPS signal.