Car Sat Nav

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Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,004
441
Lancashire
Looking for recommendations for a car based sat nav. Has been discussed before I think but not for some time so what is worth getting now?

We have got by quite well with an ancient large scale atlas and our smartphones but were thinking of getting a dedicated car sat nav now.

Since we need to spend a load of Tesco points or lose them we are stuck with Tesco as the shop to get it from but they do some range. Plus with their boost it means £150 is up for grabs (possibly more if I add to it with cash). I could buy sat nav from anywhere and perhaps get a better deal but I can not think of anything else to buy from Tesco that uses the double points scheme so I am limited to their stock. Fortunately they seem to do a good range of the latest satnavs.

Does anyone have any recommendations? I was looking at a few 5 or 6 inch models based on UK, Ireland and Western Europe but just do not know what is needed or is worth the money. Guessing up to £160 or so is the budget.

Any satnav fans out there with suggestsions?
 

ArkAngel

Native
May 16, 2006
1,201
22
46
North Yorkshire
I have a Garmin one with lifetime maps updates (you can update free of charge 3-4 times a year) so it doesn't go out of date. I would certainly recommend that.

I did go faulty and the backup and return policy was excellent. They even returned the unit with apologies and a new power cable that gets traffic updates.
 

Old Bones

Settler
Oct 14, 2009
733
58
East Anglia
We finally bought a new one last year, after using the parents-in-laws castoff for a while. Smart phones can do much the same thing, but I preferred to get something that was designed to do the job.

Having researched them and bought one, I then got put on the section once or twice that deals with them at work, so I've now had some practice talking about them to customers. Which model is newest takes more time than I can justify, but the higher the number, the newer it usually is. We only sell Tom Tom and Garmin, but those are the two biggest brands, and Tesco's sell only those as well. There is a useful guide here: http://www.johnlewis.com/buying-guides/which-buying-guide-sat-navs

Your bascially paying for two things - the features and the size. Get the biggest one you reasonably can - its just makes it a lot easier to see the screen. 4in are going to be cheapest, then 5in and finally 6in. We bought a Garmin Nuvi 2597, with a 5in screen (hence the 5 in the model no.) and that works very well. The 6in screens do look a little big, but if thats what you want, go for it - but the 5in do tend to be a bit cheaper and there are more of them. TomToms model numbers follow the same pattern - You have the 40, 50, the 60 and longer numbers tend to mean more features. The letters at the end often mean what maps they have, etc.

Next, you pay for features. So a basic 4.3in screen is going to be about £70 (the Garmin 42LM), whereas the Garmin 2467 (same size screen) is £119. The difference is the features.
The basic ones should have Lane Guidence, which basically tells you which lane you should be in for coming off the motorway, etc. This is actually very useful (got me round Heathrow with relatively little stress), and they will tend to mark the lanes, as well as tell you (you can often tell whose got a sat nav, because everytone changes lanes at about the same time). Most of them also have free lifetimes maps. This is really useful if you've ever used an old sat nav which hasn't been updated, and driven along a road which doesn't exist on the sat nav (I have). Even if they have been updated there are glitches, such as new roundabouts, etc, but its certainly worth having. They will often also have speed camera/speed limit warnings, which can also be handy.

The mid range ones have more features. Voice activation is on ours (although my wife wasn't aware of it when driving, and told it to be quiet, which made our kids fall about laughing), live traffic updates (which can be useful, although sometimes a bit vague - but it will work out alternative routes, which can be very useful), and Realphoto Junction guides - so the pic you see is actually how it looks (I think this might be on some of the lower models too). It also has Bluetooth, so it will link to your Android phone, so in effect its hands free. the high level ones will search on Google for you, but to be honest, I dont get asked about them very often.

According to the blokes who normally work that section, Garmin seems a little more responsive, but there is not a lot in them, and both companies have very similar features. Best idea is to ask people what they've got at work, etc, and then give them a try. Peronally, I'm very happy with the Garmin I bought - it just works. The only problem we had (and the reason the first one went back) was that in setting it up, I opted for the clock to set up manually, rather than on auto. Fine until it switched off the screen in broad daylight. Thought it was a dodgy screen, but after getting a replacement found ou that its because of the clock setting. After letting it do its own thing, its been fine.

Your best value is a 5in screen, and something like the Garmin 55LM is good value http://www.tesco.com/direct/garmin-nuvi-55-lm-sat-nav-5-lcd-touch-screen-ukireland-lifetime-map-updates/495-0596.prd?pageLevel=&skuId=495-0596 . The Tom TOM Start 50 is £89 for much the same thing. Its a shame that all the mid level Garmins are 4in, apart from the 2519, but thats £149. The Tom Tom Via http://www.tesco.com/direct/tomtom-via-135-5-sat-nav-with-lifetime-western-europe-map-bluetooth-hands-free-calling/177-4695.prd?pageLevel=&skuId=177-4695 might be good value, but the Go 50 http://www.tesco.com/direct/tomtom-go-50-5inch-sat-nav-with-lifetime-western-europe-maps-lifetime-traffic-updates/319-4440.prd?pageLevel=&skuId=319-4440 looks the kind of thing your after - all the features, right size and price.

As for mapping - if your going abroad, you might as well buy one with the whole of Europe, but what you will sometimes find is that the one with the Europe maps will be cheaper than the same kind of thing with just UK. If it costs the same or less, but you get more, why not!

You'll get some bits in the box, including the window sucker but the best thing I found was to get a mount which went on the dash low down, so that I can look at the road at the same time. They all work off a micro USB, so a USB power or lighter socket is fine.

You get what you pay for, people are all different, so everyone will have an opinion on what works for them, but as long as its the right size, your half way there. Good luck.
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,004
441
Lancashire
Excellent post old bones, thanks.

I'm thinking TomTom go 50 looks best option for specs to me. However recommendations seem to say Garmin are best. Nuvi 55 or 67? Is there a 57? Or what about the 4 digit Garmin units? Would you recommend the 55 or another 5 inch model with 4 digit reference? Tesco seem to do Garmin.a a little cheaper than TomTom equivalent.

Just thought, TomTom go 50/60 has lifetime map and traffic updates plus live traffic updates. Does Garmin 55 or 67 nuvi models have the same? All with Bluetooth to smartphone? Tesco site isn't obvious on this.
 

Paulm

Full Member
May 27, 2008
1,043
106
Hants
Didn't realise anyone bought dedicated car units these days ?!

Been using free sat nav apps on my iphone 4s for a few years and now on my samsung s6. The dedicated tom tom hasn't been pressed into action for years now.

Cheers, Paul
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,004
441
Lancashire
We always used an atlas but since getting a new car we never put it back in. Instead we used Google on our phones. I've had some poor experiences with it. Could get Garmin or TomTom app which might be better but the GPS chip isn't great on phones I've read somewhere. Dedicated GPS units have high sensitivity receivers which seem to me to work better. We used a borrowed sat nav last year and the difference was noticeable. We have LG g2 and Samsung s4 mini so both good phones but still not as good as the borrowed sat nav.

Plus we have enough points to use up and they will cover the cost of one so as good as a free sat nav. We've not got anything else that we could get from the company. Well not anything covered by the double up of the points.
 

Old Bones

Settler
Oct 14, 2009
733
58
East Anglia
I like my Garmin, but its up to you. I'm no expert, I'm just looking over what people buy and why.

There is indeed a Garmin 57 sold by Tesco http://www.tesco.com/direct/garmin-nuvi-57lm-uk-roi-maps-with-free-lifetime-map-updates/625-0814.prd?pageLevel=&skuId=625-0814 - £99 with free lifetime maps, and looks a good deal. If you want a six inch sat nav, it is easier to read, but I'd look in store first to see if it suites you - they are pretty big!

The higher level Garmin's do have the bluetooth, but the only one Tesco's do is this one: http://www.tesco.com/direct/garmin-nuvi-2519-lm-sat-nav-ukireland-maps-and-lifetime-map-updates/237-7214.prd?pageLevel=&skuId=237-7214 . You could argue its a little pricey, considering John Lewis will do the 2599 for the same price, but its lacks the Lifetime Traffic and Automatic Voice Control of the 2599, but if you've got Tesco points, what else can you do? If you want to know the difference between the different Garmin models, see here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Garmin-2519LM-Ireland-Lifetime-Bluetooth/dp/B00MHRH4D0

I'd certainly go for a 5in model - they are just easier to read than the 4in ones. The Garmin 2519 is really similar to mine, and I'm happy with it, and the reviews were pretty good for the whole range. The Tom Tom Go 50 does pretty much the same thing (also gets decent reviews), and there is only a tenner in it.

Best thing to do is to go into your local big Tesco's (or even Currys - I dont work for them!), and they should have at least some of the units on demo. That way, you can at least see the difference in size of the 4, 5 or 6in models, and sort of see what the graphics are like, etc. Print out a couple of the ones you fancy, and then look. Buy once, buy right is generally good advice, so one with a better spec is not money wasted. After that, its pure gut.

PaulM - I hear what your saying - a lot of people now use mobiles instead. At the time I didn't have a smart phone, and it was something we needed (I had vouchers as well). I'm all for whatever works, and smartphones apps have really come along way. Horses for courses.
 

dwardo

Maker
Aug 30, 2006
6,161
191
42
Nr Chester
I have had various satnav systems over the years and being a field engineer I use them a lot.
For the past few years though its google maps all the way. The live traffic info is invaluable. It doesn't rely on traffic monitoring stations but other users input so it will even show you when the traffic is a little slow on the smallest roads.
Of course you need a suitable phone and an in car charger is a must, as well as a decent cradle.
I have my phone screen mirrored onto my touch screen head unit and it all ties into the hands free. Very clever and not as expensive as you think. Lot of fiddling to get this mirroring setup working but worth it.
I just can't see how any satnav could come close.
 
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badoosh

Tenderfoot
Mar 22, 2015
79
0
manchester
Navmii on a hudl2 and on my hudl1 free world maps and very accurate.
Wipes the floor with my TomTom.
Only downside for hudl2 is it won't charge in the car due to 700ma charge rate.
That's why I kept my hudl1
Plus I can watch a movie when stuck in a traffic jams.��
 

Insel Affen

Settler
Aug 27, 2014
525
83
York, N Yorks
We bought a Garmin Nuvi (I think it's a 660 euro) in 2006/7 for my wife while we were in Germany and I was back in UK for 8 months. About a 4 inch screen and good resolution with Bluetooth, traffic and easy controls; it also has audio books, currency changer and other stuff I don't use. Still a good unit for about £120.

It was in the days when you usually had to pay for updates, so we have one free. I still haven't used it as it's still pretty good. TOP TIP if you only get one free update, use it first and see how out of date it is, then if it's OK, leave it for as long as possible as you'll get a better update, much later.

Don't for get Which? Do a good review too. http://www.which.co.uk/technology/computing/reviews/sat-navs/product-finder/
 
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techguyone

Full Member
Jan 19, 2015
81
1
W Mids, United Kingdom
I'm guessing OP doesn't have a smartphone? if you do, it's a lot easier to use that, you just need a cradle & charger, I got rid of my Tom Tom a few years ago as my phone had a bigger screen and was superior in every way (not to mention cheaper without all the subscriptions for maps & live data etc)

I'll add further if OP is interested in following this route - note if you really really must have Tom Tom software, they too have seen the writing on the wall and do an app version of what is on their dedicated Sat Nav units for smartphones.
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,004
441
Lancashire
Got a 5.2" screen smartphone, LG g2, used Google maps for last 2 years. Before this phone I had galaxy s2 with the maps. It was ok but TBH the sat nav I've tried just seemed better. Also with the Tesco clubcard points on boost I'll be getting it for free. Personal preference and all that for me means car sat nav, but only because it's free.
Besides, Tesco hasn't got anything that grabs me. There's some things they sell but nothing that would be of benefit for the family (since the points were earnt by family shopping).

I went into currys today, and despite a pathetic level of advice from the staff, I think the go 50 or 60 look good. Garmin look nicer units but the demo on the go 50/60 looked slicker. Seems a bit weird but the 5 inch units look like they're a bigger screen than my 5.2 inch smartphone screen. The LG g2 is a decent screen but I'm impressed by the go 50 screen from TomTom. 6 inches looks huge, perhaps too big. I can't imagine how it would look onon my dashboard. Got a 5 seater MPV with a big windscreen so could get away with a bigger screen. The go 50 or 60 has the Which best buy according to currys so perhaps I'll go for that.

Thanks for advice, including smartphone advocates. Might look at waze or the other apps like the TomTom one as a backup on my phone.
 

Old Bones

Settler
Oct 14, 2009
733
58
East Anglia
Good stuff - once you've seen them in the flesh, its easier to make a choice, if only on the size (the six inch ones do look huge). And if its free, why not get something that works for you. There is no problem having a couple of backups should something go pear-shaped. I still carry an AA map in the car, just in case. Of course my wife would point out that we need the sat nav because I can't read it properly!

I went into currys today, and despite a pathetic level of advice from the staff
Considering my basic level of knowledge, I shouldn't laugh, but.....:)