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Reviewed: TomTom iPhone Car Kit


Article by: Darren Griffin
Date: 11 Feb 2010

pocketgpsworld.comTomTom launched their iPhone Car Kit at Apple's Keynote iPhone 3GS Launch event back in June 2009. There can't be much better publicity than being invited to participate in an Apple Keynote, an event that has a massive audience of world wide viewers watching via the web as well as the event attendees.

Until then, turn-by-turn navigation on the iPhone had been blocked by a clause in Apple's App Developer agreement. So it was with much relief that they changed their policy and finally unleashed turn-by-turn navigation on the iPhone user community.

Whilst the arrival of turn-by-turn navigation software had long been rumoured and was almost a given, TomTom's involvement had not been leaked nor had the launch of a dedicated car kit been anticipated. So it was even more of a surprise to discover that the car kit was not just a simple cradle with charging capabilities but also contained its own dedicated GPS receiver.

So popular has this car kit been that press review samples were very thin on the ground but we have finally managed to get hold of one for a detailed review.

Comments
Posted by SaiYaNwEi on Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:33 pm Reply with quote

Where is the Magellan Premium Car Kit Review? IMHO, it is much better than TomToms. It fits cases and works with both iPod and iPhone. Bluetooth can also be paired wirelessly without it being connected.

You should take a look at that before you even consider buying the TomTom.


 
Posted by Darren on Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:58 pm Reply with quote

SaiYaNwEi Wrote:
Where is the Magellan Premium Car Kit Review? IMHO, it is much better than TomToms. It fits cases and works with both iPod and iPhone. Bluetooth can also be paired wirelessly without it being connected.

You should take a look at that before you even consider buying the TomTom.

We will have a review of the Magellan car kit shortly. It has its merits but it is similarly expensive/overpriced.


Darren Griffin - Editor

 
Posted by Des on Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:40 am Reply with quote

I've been using the TomTom cradle since Christmas (Thanks Santa) Very Happy

I disagree with the comment about not being able to dock the phone with a case on. I have an Incipio Feather case on my iPhone and the cradle just manages to accommodate it. Admittedly it is a snug fit.

With regards price, 100 + 70 for Uk maps = 170. Having done a bit of research, to get IQ routes, Lane assist, bluetooth hands free etc, TomTom PND units start at approx. 240 rrp. So i think it's a bit of a bargain.

Laughing


 
Posted by Darren on Fri Feb 12, 2010 10:10 am Reply with quote

Des Wrote:
I disagree with the comment about not being able to dock the phone with a case on. I have an Incipio Feather case on my iPhone and the cradle just manages to accommodate it. Admittedly it is a snug fit.
I too have a rubber form fitting case and yes, whilst it does fit 'just' it will not accommodate any other types of case.

I prefer thicker plastic shell type cases, the runner case I have is only used with the Owle Bubo camera cradle.

As it is not designed or intended to accommodate a case the comment is fair and so will remain.


Darren Griffin - Editor

 
Posted by mkw on Fri Feb 12, 2010 11:13 am Reply with quote

Have just bought the cradle from Apple (amazing delivery - ordered on Wednesday afternoon - delivered Thursday afternoon) and the TomTom Western Europe maps. Have used it locally and also for a trip from Wiltshire to Hull and back to Birmingham. So far so good - although speed camera data included with the TomTom maps apparently not as up to date as Pocket GPS - but no tickets yet!. I was using TomTom on a Mitac Pocket PC before. The TomTom apps are confusing - why buy the UK one when the Western Europe one is the same price and is apparently as detailed for the UK - unless you are short of space on the device maybe? I would have been upset if I had bought the UK maps and then discovered I got them anyway with the Western Europe ones if I had added that later. Hopefully your speed camera database will be accepted by Apple shortly


 
Posted by Darren on Fri Feb 12, 2010 11:18 am Reply with quote

To clarify, the UK App is normally cheaper but Western Europe is on sale at the moment.

If you don't want/need the full EU map it makes sense not to wast a huge amount of space to it on your device but of course if you do then it is rather expensive to have both!


Darren Griffin - Editor

 
Posted by mikealder on Fri Feb 12, 2010 11:51 am Reply with quote

I am personally not bothered about the case issue, and neither do I need the amplified speaker in the mount as I prefer to use the (better) Bluetooth system I have fitted in the car.

For me the main attraction was/ is the huge improvement in GPS positional accuracy, the GPS receiver within the iPhone receiver is on a par with GPS technology from around 5 years ago. OK so the iPhone can work out where it is using the phone transmitter triangulation but thats woefully inaccurate compared to a decent GPS signal.

I do not accept the view that reception is an issue due to the other radio circuits within the iPhone as HTC and Nokia have both managed to get decent GPS reception from a good proportion of their phones so equipped.

The improvement in accuracy and reduction in TTFF is my major reason for this car kit, if you don't already own a powered iPhone car holder then its only going to work out 40 more than a dedicated Brodit iPhone powered holder, so 40 for improved GPS and far better sound (if you need to use the car kits speaker) is a small price to pay IMHO considering it transforms the use of GPS based navigation applications in the car - Mike


 
Posted by Darren on Fri Feb 12, 2010 12:04 pm Reply with quote

Mike Have to disagree slightly there. My 3GS works pretty well without the extra GPS receiver and in most situations I struggle to spot any difference between with/without the TomTom solution.

Personally, having used the TT car kit I find I prefer my Arkon/Kensington LiquidAux solution. The Kensington kit pipes audio via the Aux-In, charges the iPhone and gives me a wireless steering wheel mounted remote.

Each to their own of course but my setup with my preference for a coffee cup holder mount for the Arkon cradle comes in at about 60. Other mounts are cheaper.


Darren Griffin - Editor

 
Posted by cyberhusky on Fri Feb 12, 2010 5:08 pm Reply with quote

Hello

I use the TT cradle with my iPhone 2G not with TT app but with Navigon Navigator.
TT has a "Car Kit Tool" App that allows the cradle to work with other apps.

Personally Navigons Navi is much better than TT. Better map displays, better voice instructions and it has live traffic infos too.

The only thing I think TT is much better then Navigon is POIs.

The cradle works perfect with Navigon or iNavX (on my boat) or Navionics chart app. The craddel also works with other GPS apps.

It's true the price is expensive, but as a tech freak I already bought so much gadgets, that one more item, isn't really killing my budget :-)


 
Posted by Darren on Fri Feb 12, 2010 5:21 pm Reply with quote

cyberhusky Wrote:
I use the TT cradle with my iPhone 2G not with TT app but with Navigon Navigator.

Indeed, my review mentions that it supports any GPS app and Navigon is my preference too.
Quote:
TT has a "Car Kit Tool" App that allows the cradle to work with other apps.

Again, to clarify, the free 'TomTom car kit tool' app is provided to allow you to verify the car kit works and to disable the pop up nasg screen message that sometimes appears.

It is not required for operation with other navigation apps.

iTunes Link is here.


Darren Griffin - Editor

 
Posted by granite-silver on Fri Feb 12, 2010 6:38 pm Reply with quote

Tried cradle with copilot live but found there was no volume control it was either very loud or muted .I did have the tomtom other software app installed. If you buy from an apple store they'll take it back if it's not compatiable with your chosen sat nav software .


IPhone 6s 128GB, Samsung S7 edge, Apps Tomtom W.europe,Tomtom US +Canada,
Tomtom Go930T Europe + USA
Road Angel Plus

 
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