But one of the real bonuses is the built-in GPS receiver the iPhone benefits from, opening up a whole new world of navigational trickery too. TomTom was one of the first to jump on the bandwagon with a pricey App, but now our favourite route plotters have got in on the action, SmartNav.
This clever set-up has an ace up its sleeve that takes navigation to the next level: When you want to find a destination, simply hit a button and you’re put through to a call centre. Tell the operator where you want to go and they send you the route via the internet to your iPhone.
The advantages to this include the fact you don’t have to mess about with plugging in complicated details on the screen, the maps are held centrally so are always up to date and as SmartNav is part of Trafficmaster, the jam spotting agency, you get warning of any traffic problems on your route too!
Car Dealer was given early access to the App and has been extensively testing it on road tests for the last month. We’ve found it works very well indeed – the routes are easy to follow, the App easy to use and we love the fact you talk to a human to find your destination.
There are a few problems – if you get a call it won’t fire the App back up automatically afterwards, and when it loses a signal it recycles the route out loud to you again. On one occasion this happened three times in the space of five minutes and got a little annoying.
However, that being said, the turn by turn instructions come on screen and are spoken and are very good, and it also shows you your current speed, distance to the destination and an estimated time of arrival which was pretty accurate. Just be careful of battery life – without a car charger it’ll drain your battery very quickly.
You can get a 30-day free trial and after that subscriptions are £3.99 per month, £24.99 annually or £34.9 for the phone’s lifetime (the last is a bargain). Calls to the SmartNav operators are 60p per minute, but shouldn’t take longer than a minute.
There are also versions available for GPS-equipped Nokias and Windows-based mobile phones
SmartNav iPhone App
Contact: 01243 759000, www.trafficmaster.co.uk