Outdated or still useful? Stiftung warentest had navis compete against map apps.
Do you still need a car atlas or a navigation device, or is the right map app enough?? Stiftung warentest has tested navis and apps and judges: it depends.
Anyone who used to go on vacation by car was well advised to have a car atlas or at least a foldable road map in their glove compartment. the first navigation devices with a display quickly outstripped the cumbersome paper plans, but in the age of smartphones, devices from tomtom, garmin and co. Only a niche existence. Many drivers today simply use their smartphone as a navigation system – but is that always the best choice??
After all, a navigation device isn’t exactly cheap: the devices tested by warentest cost between 160 and 380 euros. Navi-apps like google maps or here we go, on the other hand, are available for free. warentest doesn’t have a universal recommendation – it’s more a question of the user type. Are you a frequent or occasional user?? Smartphone-savvy or rather inexperienced in using apps?
Low data consumption, a large screen and independence from mobile communications – at least as long as you don’t call up real-time information – are arguments in favor of having your own device. smartphone apps, on the other hand, often have the advantage of being free, always available on your cell phone, and always ready to go with fast route calculation. In addition, smartphone users can easily try out or alternate between several services.
Tomtom overall winner
In the test, in which seven conventional devices with a suction cup mount compete against seven navigation apps, the tomtom go 6200 emerged as the narrow winner (overall score 1.8 "good"). At a price of 380 euros, however, it is also the most expensive device and is therefore most likely to be worthwhile for frequent drivers. second place goes to the two navigation devices garmin drivesmart 61 for 220 euros (grade 1.9) and the tomtom go essential 6 for 269 euro (note 1,9). Only then is the first smartphone app in third place – also from tomtom. The app go mobile costs 20 euros a year and narrowly outperforms its free competitors in the overall rating with a score of 2.1 ("good").
On the most important point "navigation has the second best app google maps but the nose in front, the service is the only one to achieve the mark 1.7. The free map service that comes preinstalled on every android phone and is also available free of charge for ios users "shines" in this category, according to the verdict of the testers. Crucial disadvantage: the app consumes a lot of data in online mode. There is also no speed camera warning (yet) – but its use is a legal gray area in germany anyway.
Overall, in the navigation category apps and device are on about equal footing, none of the systems offers decisive advantages, all of them can handle route guidance – the app ALK copilot does not provide optimal guidance, however; among other things, it has problems recalculating the route.
Apps pull data, but guide better
If you use an app, you should, if possible, download maps in advance in the WLAN, because otherwise the free applications in particular consume a lot of data. At waze and apple maps always accrues data. Apple’s app, which is the only one in the test not available for android, also has the highest data consumption in the test, 10 megabytes (MB) for a twelve-kilometer city trip. Google maps consumes almost 8 MB in online mode for the same route in the android version; the ios version is somewhat more economical at 6 MB. All purchase apps, on the other hand, remain under 1 MB.
Traffic jams and traffic information are received by the apps and the tomtom go 6200 via mobile radio at lightning speed. The tomtom has a built-in SIM card for this purpose, which does not incur any additional costs for the user, even abroad – a real plus point and a great unique selling point. All other navigation devices must be paired with a cell phone via bluetooth to receive traffic services. exception is the tomtom start 62, relies on the TMC (traffic message channel) traffic service, which receives traffic reports via FM radio stations. Because of the outdated technology and lack of explanations, it gets in the test point "traffic service" but the grade "poor.
When it comes to maps, the apps offer more options than the devices, which, according to warentest, only have european maps available for download – road maps for other parts of the world may have to be purchased as well. The apps from google, tomtom, here and apple offer road maps from all over the world for free downloading.
Pedestrians, cyclists and train riders
A useful finding of the testers: drivers should trust the navigation system’s or app’s recommendations for avoiding traffic jams. The predictions of length and duration are usually correct; if you follow the recommendations, you can save a lot of time. Tomtom and google maps have the best recommendations here. The apps NNG igo, ALK copilot and the android versions of waze and here wego are less accurate.
If you’re a navigation user who sometimes wants to leave the car behind, you’re also better off with a smartphone app than with your own device. The apps google maps and here we go are the only test candidates that, in addition to classic car navigation, also calculate routes for pedestrians, cyclists and for public transportation. Tomtom still offers pedestrian and bicycle navigation, while users of garmin and waze have to do without all three extras. With apple maps, cyclists are left out in the cold.