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I’ve been AWOL on vacation, driving cross-country. While the car has OnStar, with the direction package, the OnStar directions are a bit primitive compared to using a program like Navigon or TomTom on my phone, so I set up destinations with OnStar but leave them as an “emergency backup.” (I once used a hand-held GPS/map system on my way to a party and of course, it crapped out half way there. Overconfident me didn’t write down the address, and the GPS lost it in the reboot. With the party in full swing, no one answered the phone, and I was left adrift. So now – backup systems in addition to writing things down!).

I’d pretty much given up on using TomTom – Navigon always seems to be ahead with features like photos of your destination and the ability to select just certain maps to download. But I decided to give it a try since I hadn’t used it in a while to see if it was any better (I know I’ve updated it a few times).

This meant ponying up for a monthly traffic pass though – unlike Navigon, which charges you once for all your iOS devices, TomTom charges you either yearly or monthly, and that sub can only be active on one device (you can either transfer it or buy another sub on the other device).

TomTom did fine work in getting us around on the outbound leg. I decided to use Navigon on the way back as a comparison. Both were selecting the same routes. But Navigon flipped out on me this year. It’s done that in the past, but not like this.

This year, Navigon decided it couldn’t pull up the map while we were driving through heavy construction in downtown Tulsa. I do glance at the maps while driving, so this was quite annoying. (I have the phone on a mount on the dashboard so I can see it while looking at the road.) The overlays for speed/time/distance/etc. were there, but the map was all black. Restarting the program did not help, either. So it was back to TomTom.

TomTom immediately warned me of a major blockage on my route and asked if I wanted to go around. I chose not to (and regretted it – TomTom was right). I’ve also used it around town since I’ve gotten back, and on one route in particular – where both Navigon and TomTom try to send me down a usually-jammed freeway – TomTom figured it out and routed me around. Navigon never has.

So I guess sometimes you do get what you pay for – I’ll be renewing my TomTom traffic for the year.

(warning – some NSFW language near the end of the music)



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