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Using the iPhone as a Sat Nav Part II

Posted on 5th Oct 2009 at 10:33 by Antony Leather with 10 comments

Antony Leather
I blogged a few weeks ago about my experience with the TomTom and CoPilot apps for the iPhone. In short they were all but unusable and I was left feeling pretty dissapointed, not to mention thinking that the iPhone simply wasn't up to the task - or even that it was faulty. A lot has changed since then though, I've got a refund on one, and the other has received an update which promissed improved GPS performance.

With no update planned for the unusable TomTom app combined with the fact it cost me close to £60, I decided that a refund was in order. I also decided that if CoPilot failed to work after its update, I would go for a seperate Sat Nav unit and make rude jestures at my iPhone. Luckily the refund wasn't an issue, and a quick email to Apple through iTunes saw the money back in my account a few days later.

The CoPilot update took a few weeks to arrive but during a rainy evening a few weeks ago, I installed it and went out for a drive. Things didn't start off too well with CoPilot's second test. Initially I was about to throw my iPhone out the window then reverse over it a few times. The red location icon failed to lock on to my position and showed me as being half a mile away. Things seemed to have got worse not better!

Using the iPhone as a Sat Nav Part II Using the iPhoe as a Sat Nav Part II

However, the instant I started moving, things kicked in and CoPilot immediately started to follow me. What's more it did so smoothly and without losing the connection once! Complete contrast to how things were before the update when it would lose my position every few seconds.

Last weekend I took it on the motorway and to my great delight it performed just as well there too, with no signal drop outs and a silky smooth polling rate. It updates the screen several times a second and even manages to keep you pin pointed when going round a roundabout.

Using the iPhone as a Sat Nav Part II Using the iPhoe as a Sat Nav Part II

CoPilot really has come up trumps with the latest update and the app has come in to its own, meaning I can finally use my iPhone as a Sat Nav. The best bit is CoPilot cost less than £30, so it saved me money on a dedicated unit too.

It begs the question what have they done to make it so much better? I really did think the GPS in the iPhone just wasn't up to the job the first time I tried these apps out, but I've apologised to my phone since then and we're now best of friends again. What ever has been done to CoPilot though, the TomTom app could certainly benefit from some of the same tweaking.

Going on a road trip? There's (now) an app for that, so let me know where you're heading off to in the comments below.

10 Comments

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licenced 5th October 2009, 11:06 Quote
Would be interesting to see someone with an Android phone compare CoPilot iPhone and Android apps to see if they are similar or one is better/faster/... than the other
sear 5th October 2009, 11:43 Quote
That's right, always under the CIA's watchful eye... er, you didn't see this message.
alpaca 5th October 2009, 12:20 Quote
i find my own way, don't need a iphone for that...
eek 5th October 2009, 12:20 Quote
I guess TomTom is reluctant do much to improve the GPS as they want people to drop £100 or so on their dock! What a rip-off, works out cheaper to buy a stand-alone unit which will almost certainly perform better!
SteveU 5th October 2009, 13:35 Quote
If I didn't already have a standalone unit then I would certainly download Copilot as there are many good things said about it in the App store since the update. I am considering selling it however and putting the money towards this App and a cradle (especially since reading this blog post).
ledbythereaper 5th October 2009, 15:01 Quote
No issues with TomTom7 here, although my phone runs WinMo 6.1 :p
Po|ygon 5th October 2009, 15:36 Quote
Just curious to know where you can purchase the iPhone car holder displayed in the photo?, im sold... :D
Combatus 5th October 2009, 17:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Po|ygon
Just curious to know where you can purchase the iPhone car holder displayed in the photo?, im sold... :D

A little auction site - name beginning with E. ;-)

TomTom has been fine on Windows mobile for me too. Just seems on the iPhone something in the software isn't working properly as CoPilot now works fine. Even if it did work, CoPilot is £40 cheaper so it's a no brainer really, if you just need UK maps that is.
l3v1ck 5th October 2009, 18:00 Quote
That's good to know. I'm planning on getting an iPhone next year and want to use it as a satnav.
BLC 6th October 2009, 06:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ledbythereaper
No issues with TomTom7 here, although my phone runs WinMo 6.1 :p
Quote:
Originally Posted by Combatus
TomTom has been fine on Windows mobile for me too. Just seems on the iPhone something in the software isn't working properly as CoPilot now works fine. Even if it did work, CoPilot is £40 cheaper so it's a no brainer really, if you just need UK maps that is.

+1.

WinMo + TomTom = SatNav Win ;)
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