With such a wide range of sat-navs available on the market, it can be hard to choose the right one. We’ve taken 3 popular devices of different budgets, plus a smart phone app, to see what exactly you can get for your money. Here’s our hassle-free guide to sat-navs:
If you read our dash-cam review, you may be familiar with this brand. We were impressed with the LUJII dash-cam, so had high hopes for their budget sat-nav, and we were not disappointed!
The unusual feature of this device is it’s more than a sat-nav; it also doubles up as a media player! There’s a micro-SD card slot, so you can play your favourite tunes and watch your favourite films (obviously not watching films whilst driving!). If you’re not using the device, just pass it to the kids to keep them entertained for the journey. It even features a few built-in games. Music can be streamed, from the device, through an FM transmitter, so you can listen whilst you navigate.
Admittedly, we didn’t test the media player features much, as we were more interested in the navigation. The motions we found to be very smooth and the directions clear, especially on the motorway; giving clear indication which lane we needed to be in.
The device comes with a USB cable, so you can plug it into your PC and take advantage of free map updates.
The downsides to this device are not too hindering, but they’re what you’d expect for a sat-nav that’s £35 brand new. The device itself feels really cheap and the touch screen isn’t too great with fingers. The device comes with a stylus, which makes using the device a bit easier (there is a calibration option)
This model comes in 3 sizes, with not much of a price difference between them. If you don’t use a sat-nav regularly, this may be the perfect option.
Garmin are a popular choice for sat-navs; offering great value and great quality devices. This particular model has a nice 5-inch screen, which is very clear and very smooth as you drive. The directions are clear and, whilst on the motorway, splits the screen in half for the lane-assist feature.
The device comes with a USB cable to connect to your PC so that you can keep maps and speed camera data up to date. There is a micro-SD memory card slot for additional data, such as overseas maps.
There are a selection of useful apps to choose from; the device can pair up with Garmin’s own reverse parking-aid camera; there’s an app to help you drive more economically and even one to help you find your car in a car park (obviously you’d need to keep the device on you to help you find your car!)
For less than £80, the Garmin is the best overall in terms of quality and price.
TomTom are the giants of sat-nav technology. Their devices have always been easy to use and their software is finding itself in cars (like some Renaults) and the iPhone’s native maps app. This device is of no exception. Very clear display and easy-to-follow directions. To use the traffic features, the device needs to pair up with your smart phone, and uses your phone’s Internet connection to keep you up to date with any potential delays on your route.
If there are any traffic jams on your usual route, the device will automatically show you quicker, alternative routes to avoid the delay. Any delays you may encounter will be shown on the display, including how long you are expected to be delayed for.
This device can be yours for £110, which may seem steep for some, but considering its practicality, we reckon it’s worth it. There is a much cheaper alternative though…
This app, for Android, (not available for iPhone, sorry!) has the same user interface as the sat-nav device. The app is free to download and allows you 50 free miles per month. There are 2 upgrade options; £11.99 for 1 year, or £27.99 for 3 years. Considering the cost of the physical device, this app is a no brainer!
What you need to consider if you intend on using this app, or any other navigation app, is data usage. With the TomTom app, you have to download all the maps before you can use it. We downloaded the UK maps, which measured at just under 1GB. Of course, you would download this using your home wi-fi. Some apps may download maps as you go along, so keep any eye on your data allowance.
Also, such apps may drain your battery in no time, so it may be wise to have your phone plugged into your 12V outlet. You could have your 12V adapter hard-wired through your dashboard, so you don’t have any intrusive wires. Handy if you use a sat-nav often.
We’re impressed with the capabilities of all 3 devices and the app. Which one you’d choose depends entirely on your needs. If you’re looking for one that’s cheap whilst still useful, go for the LUJII. If you’re willing to splash out a bit more, the TomTom is your best bet. If you’d rather use your Android smart phone, we’d recommend the TomTom GO app.
We’d love to know what sat-nav you use. Let us know in the comments below.
By Steven Shields, Social Media Executive & Content Writer for The Car People.