Western Europe, app version v1.0, app version 8.150 (339085)? Map v830.2305 with Navigon MobileNavigator Europe 1.1.0 build 32420090716172210, both are Turn-By-Turn Voice Guided GPS applications.


Saturday, August 22, 2009
iPhoneTunes review: TomTom VS Navigon - All features compared [update 4]
iPhoneTunes review: TomTom VS Navigon - All features compared [update 4]


TomTom has finally been released without the Car-Kit though, but anyway, many people are eager to know if it can hold up against or even beat other GSP apps like Sygic, iGo My way and of course Navigon.

We have compared it with Navigon to start with, later on we will compare it against the other 2 competitors.

For the people who do not know it yet, we already compared;

Sygic VS Navigon
iGO VS Sygic
Navigon VS iGO

And reviewed; iGO North America

Can the much anticipated TomTom beat Navigon with it’s experience from the past years and the 2.3 billion Euro take-over of TeleAtlas? Keep reading to know more about our hands-on experience with both apps.

1. Display dimensions and size

• TomTom: Map real estate: 240 px height and 480 px width, map can be displayed in portrait or landscape. Installation size is 1.44 GB.

• Navigon: Map real estate: 225 px height and 480 px width, map can be displayed in portrait or landscape. Installation size is 1.67 GB.

iPhone appsiPhone apps
Note the 15 px bigger map screen estate for TomTom (image left).

Winner: TomTom

2. Street name display

• TomTom is putting the street names across the streets, even when they are diagonal displayed. The street names are displayed in the white street background, which makes them better readable than Navigon. In the settings menu you have the options to switch off “Show Current Street” and “Show Current Map”.

• Navigon is putting the street names across the streets also, even when they are diagonal displayed. They are grey and small which makes it quite difficult to read from time to time, but you can switch it off, then it only shows the street you are driving in.

iPhone appsiPhone apps
Note the difficult readable grey street names with Navigon (image right).

Winner: TomTom for much better readability.

3. Map zoom (Driving and stand alone)

• TomTom uses the same principle. You have the “Browse Map” option in the main menu, which can be zoomed at. When you have selected a destination, it shows a route summary, now you click on Options, where it shows “Map of Route”, after selecting this you can zoom along. This is 2 clicks more than Navigon. Also the 2D view cannot be zoomed.

• Navigon needs pinch with two fingers to zoom in and out, like with regular photos / images on the iPhone. When you select: show map, it works like this, also when you plan an advanced route it shows a preview, which can be zoomed. While driving, tapping the main screen goes to 2D view, which also can be zoomed.

Winner: Navigon, it has more and easy zoom capabilities.

4. Navigate to

• TomTom, after selecting Navigate To, it generates the following list to choose form: Home, Favorite, Address, Recent Destination, Point of Interest, Zip Code, Point on Map and Contact.

• Navigon opens the screen with the options, Enter an Address, Search POI, Take me Home, Show Map (where you can point a destination). Favorites, Recent and Contacts are in the bottom menu. Zip Code is not listed default but when entering your city, just type the zip code and then the street.

Winner: Draw although TomTom has a menu option for Zip Code where it is hidden in Navigon.

5. 2D map

• TomTom shows it when you press the main screen and select 2D Map, which is zoom-able with the plus and minus signs on the top of the screen, but only scrollable by getting to another screen with the “Browse Map” option.

• Navigon is showing you the 2D map as soon as you tap the screen while navigating in 3D mode and is instantly zoom-able and movable.

Winner: Navigon, I used it a lot while driving slowly in traffic jam (do not do this), to see other routes on the map.

6. 3D map

• TomTom is starting default in 3D mode, it auto-zooms in when making maneuvers, and zooms out again, resuming the maneuver. Now you can see the sky again. The auto-zoom function cannot be switched off. All this goes not very fluent, even on the 3GS.

Also the map shows a lot of dots and line some roads and big pixeld fills which I do not like.

• Navigon supports 3D view and does it very good. A nice 3D view, where you see the horizon and sky, which gives a superb sensation while driving. Also the map detail showed is very good. It updates the display very fluent.

Winner: Navigon, it has a constant 3D view with nicer map details. [If you like auto-zoom give the points to TomTom here.]

7. Night view

• TomTom has the option to switch to night view, and you can even select the following themes: Africa (Green tones), Antarctica (Blue tones), Astra (Red tones) and the self-explaining Greys.

Navigon has also the option to switch to night view, you just select More - Options - Night Mode ON/OFF.
Navigon has changed this to automatic in version 1.2.0.

iPhone appsiPhone apps
Note that both apps have to be switched manually. Navigon switches automatically the view.

Winner: Navigon, It still looks like a map, not as phsychedelic, but it has 4 themes to choose from and switches now automatically.

8. Voice and sound

• TomTom ships with 75 voices with different gender choices, to name just a few Turkish, Polish, Mandarin, Spanish Catalan and of which are 11 English voices. You can mute the sound in the main menu, which is nice. Also the volume is very easily changeable, just tap the bottom of the screen while driving and a slider appears.

Since version 1.2 TomTom has Text-To-Speech and reads out street names for even safer navigation.

• Navigon has a slider in the preferences menu to select the volume of the voice. The software selects automatically the language of how your iPhone is configured. This is sometimes annoying for people who prefer the iPhone language to be in English and but want the GPS voice in their native language. In total 19 languages are supported. Check to see if your language is in the list: Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish.

Navigon has added Text To Speech and Location sharing in their latest release version 1.2.0. Click here to read about the details.

Winner: TomTom, it supports many and is user selectable. Also the volume change is a bit more logic and easy here.

9. Maps of Europe

• TomTom only 23 countries of Western Europe.

• Navigon has 40 countries but note that it does not have the map of Malta and Moldavia.

Winner: Navigon

10. Speed control

• TomTom only shows a visual warning and nothing is in the preferences to change.

• Navigon can set the threshold in steps of 5 km/h from 5 to 35 km/h, or disable. This in Build-Up areas and outside Build-Up areas, with acoustic warnings. The current speed is constantly shown in the top center of the screen, which is good readable.

Winner: Navigon, it is more clear what it does and configurable plus acoustic warning.

11. Safety cameras

• TomTom adds it’s own name to it (TomTom safe-cams). It makes a pleasant noticeable sound when approaching a safety camera and shows a rather dull 2D pole image. Next to this it displays Max speed sign with your speed under it. The feature can be switched off.

• Navigon gives the choice to enable them and even un-install them, this probably for legal reasons in some countries. It tells you “Watch your speed” when you approaches a camera, it makes an animated red growing circle around the 3D pole, plus in the Max Speed Sign on the right side of the screen it adds a red camera icon.

iPhone appsiPhone apps
Note TomTom uses a small image and 2 beeps (left image) while Navigon shows an animated red circle around the flash pole, and a camera in the speed sign on the right of the display (image right).

Winner: Navigon you can uninstall it, and is displayed in 3D. Both have 3 indicators, the Sign, the Pole and a voice or beep.

12. Planning prefs

• TomTom puts it under the settings menu, where you find “Default Route Type” with the following choices: Fastest, Shortest, Avoid Highways, walking Routes, Bicycle Routes, Limited Speed (type any speed here and it tries to match know speed limits) and always ask me.

Avoid/Don’t Avoid/Always Ask for; Toll Roads, Ferry Crossings, HOV Lanes (also know as Carpool lanes) and unpaved Roads.

Also you have the option to use IQ Routes, what the hell is that? In short, it kind of knows the amount of traffic at a certain point of the day and takes this into account. See full explanation here.


• Navigon has Speed profile: Motorbike, Lorry, Bicycle and Pedestrian. Type of route: Fast, Optimum, Short and Scenic. Allow/Avoid/Forbid: Motorways, Toll roads and Ferries. Resident only streets forbid or allow.

Here is the meaning I found in another Navigon user manual;
Motorcycle: Bendy routes are preferred.
Truck: Avoid through streets as much as possible.
Bicycle: One-way streets are often inapplicable to cyclists.
Pedestrian: Traffic regulations that apply only to vehicles are not taken into consideration.

Winner: TomTom because of the intelligence they have put into it, although some people may also like the Scenic profile of Navigon.

13. Sign Posts

• TomTom has now Lane Road Indication. When you enter a difficult intersection where special attention is needed, you will see a graphic with the real world-view of the situation. Green arrows start blinking in the lanes that you must take.

• Navigon shows by default the Real Sign Posts and they are big and very clear on the top of the screen (see image below right).

iPhone car integrationiPhone apps
Note TomTom has this since version 1.2 (image left), Navigon also displays it very realistic (image right).

Winner: Draw

14. Lane assistant

• TomTom has lane assistance; it only shows the next exit on highways, and now also in combination with Lane Road Indication. Note that it does not assist you on normal streets, see six lane road (wetstraat Brussels) example on pictures below.

• Navigon has this enabled by default and it shows on the right bottom corner of the screen with a clear graphic and an arrow for the preferred lane, also when there is a Sign Post at the same time it is in full screen (see image above right). It uses Reality View Pro technology from ZENREIN EUROPE Gmbg, Reality View Pro displays important traffic points in photo quality (motorway interchanges and exits).

iPhone appsiPhone apps

Winner: Navigon, also has lane assistance on normal roads.

15. POI

• TomTom does it this way. Select Navigate To > POI > Near Me, in City, Near Home, Along Route, Near Destination. Also a special menu is added “Call POI”. This can also be done with the first method.

Default POI are: Gas Station, Restaurant and Parkings. To name a few of the categories: Airport, Amusement Park, Beach, Border Crossing, Campground, Car Dealership, Car Rental Facilty, Car Repair/Garage, Cash Dispenser, Casino, College/University, Company, Concert Hall, Convention Center, Cultural Center, Dentist, Doctor, Embassy, Exhibition Center, Ferry Terminal, Government Office, Hospital/Clinic.

These POI can be switched on and off per category, or totally disabled.

• Navigon gives you on the home screen: Search POI, with the following options: In a city, Nationwide and Nearby. With the following categories: ATM, Automotive Dealers and services,  Bank, Business Facility, Car rental, Government Office, Petrol station, Parking, Post Office, Restaurant, Shopping, Tourist / Nature.

NOTE: it is possible to also to show a POI along your route (with map and all), you must be in the navigation mode and select options.

They also have a lot of sub categories. In total there are 2 million POIs. By default these are all enabled and can be filtered out in the options menu. You can call them after selecting the phone number. There is a feature called Direct Access for 3 POIs in options, I did not understand this feature, I found this movie on YouTube, but on the iPhone I do not find these 3 items in the “Enter Address” menu. You can also add a POI or add one to your favorites.

The nice thing is that it splits up restaurants in type of kitchen, it also shows gas stations with the logos of Shell and Esso and so on. The same for shops.

Winner: Navigon, Navigon displays them better (multi color), and the use of real logos is brilliant, also the restaurant split is favorite for me. Also is the map zoom-able and scrollable in the preview mode!

16. Itinerary

• TomTom does not support this. It has “Travel Via” hidden away in the menu jungle and it cannot travel via 2 places. Do this as follows: Navigate To > “select destination” > Options > Find Alternative > Travel Via.

• Navigon calls this Route. You can create a new Route, Last Route or Load Route, after which you have to select Route Points, via Enter an Address, Search for POI, Favorites and Recent destinations. It is not possible to point the map here unfortunately. You can do this but difficult, first select Show Map > Point a place on the map > Set Destination > click blue arrow > More > Save As Favorite. Do this for all the points you want and now you can add them like described in the beginning.

The Address option is the most commonly used I suppose. So, build a list of intermediate Route Points here if you want to be sure that the GPS software takes you along your chosen way. You can delete Route Points like you delete emails. And finally press “Calculate the Route” to see it. Now you get the options to see the details (distance and time intervals) with the totals, change the route profile,  Save the Route and Simulation which is just a demo of this route.

Winner: Navigon

17. GPS Signal

• TomTom takes sometimes too long to lock to the satellites, I place the iPhone in the red rectangle on the picture below.

I have found some pattern in the GPS lock behavior. When I am in my underground parking and I plan the route and press Start Navigation, then I leave my parking, it takes me almost always 5 minutes before TomTom gets a satellite lock.

However when I am in my underground parking, I choose “Route Option” > “Clear Route”, and leave my parking, when I am out I have immediately a GPS lock.

This behavior is found also in other GPS apps (iGO, Navigon, and a bit less in Sygic), my advice is to always drive into open space and plan your route from there.

• Navigon locks the GPS quite fast on my iPhone 3G S. The title bar shows red when the satellites are not found yet.


Winner: Navigon

18. iPod

• TomTom has put iPod control in the application too now. You have to touch the music icon on the bottom of the screen, and now the iPod control icons pop up. TomTom pauses the music abrupt when it speaks the instructions, it comes back at full volume.

• Navigon mutes the music while talking. Navigon has incorporated iPod control in version 1.2.0, which is very neat done.

iPhone car integrationiPhone car integration

Winner: Draw

19. Speed of Route Calculation

Long Route Profile fast
We calculated Start: Belgium, Brussels, Aakaai. Destination Spain, Isla Canela (Ayamonte), Avenida De La Playa.

• TomTom in 31 seconds (IQ) and sends me over Madrid, total driving time 20:21 hrs and 2176 km.

• Navigon in 7 seconds and does not let met travel over Madrid luckily, total driving time 19:24 and 2179 M.

Long Route Profile short
Navigon could not calculate this so we changed the destination, which is unrealistically far for this type of profile.
We calculated Start: Belgium, Brussels, Aakaai. Destination France, Paris, Allee Adrienne Lecouvreur

• TomTom in 20 seconds (IQ) , total driving time 6:08 hrs and 282 km.

• Navigon in 3 seconds, total driving time 04:30 and 301 km.

Short Route Profile fast
We calculated Start: Belgium, Brussels, Aakaai. Destination Belgium, Gent, Aaigemstraat.

• TomTom in 3 seconds (IQ) total driving time 0:38 hrs and 59.5 km.

• Navigon in 2.5 seconds, total driving time 00:32 and 57 km.

Short Route Profile short
We calculated Start: Belgium, Brussels, Aakaai. Destination Belgium, Gent, Aaigemstraat.

• TomTom in 4 seconds (IQ) total driving time 1:18 hrs and 53.4 km.

• Navigon in 2 seconds, total driving time 00:33 and 55 km.

Winner: Navigon, for the fast calculations.

20. Others

• TomTom has others like a “Car-Kit” menu option in the menu, which works in conjunction with their Car-Kit. You can also change between miles and KM.

A recently added feature is Help Me, this feature can be found in the menu and selecting it gives you 2 options; “Phone for Help” “Drive to Help”. It also displays where you are so you can read it out to the emergency service. Phone for Help brings you to a screen where you can call the emergency number of the country, Touring assistance and important POIs like doctors, dentists and so on.

Other features are: calculate Alternative routes, Avoid Road, Avoid Part of Route. You can make a Route Demo, which goes rather slow. Clear the current Route, see text instructions (who uses this?)

After an incoming phone call navigation is resumed. Also navigation is resumed after quitting and restarting the app.

• Navigon gives the option to change the bottom menu, change from miles to KM, save your GPS position, show GPS info, delete recent info and add or delete favorites. It can make a simulation of the selected route, which is what it proposed by default if no GPS signal is received yet.

After an incoming phone call navigation is resumed. Navigation is not resumed after quitting and restarting the app.

You can block the next 500 meters of your route.

Winner: TomTom it has some important extra features for people who are in daily traffic.

21. Price

• Navigon: 99,99 Euro for the Europe edition

• TomTom: 99,99 Euro for the Western Europe edition.

Winner: Navigon, you get more maps for the same price.

And the winner is…

Well if we count the points, Navigon is clearly winning this review with 14 points out of the total 21, while TomTom is loosing this badly with only 4 points out of 21. There are 3 draws.

Which one should you buy then? This is easier to answer this time.

Very good points for Navigon for me are, lane assistance on normal roads, beautiful iPod integration.  Safety cams and speed warnings are better implemented. I also like the Navigon’s 3D display better. POI favors for me too, I like to know which type of restaurant to go to before selecting.

TomTom maps look a bit old fashion to me. The not so fluent animation of the map and the impression that it is late with map updating has been solved in version 1.2, they have installed a GPS Enhancer technology, it compensates for any delays or inaccuracies in your location. This feature can be switched off.

The interface is done very well, it respects the iPhone interface rules, you do not have to learn new controls.

The good thing of choosing TomTom is that it has proven already many customers right for many years. If you are on the road for many many miles daily, maybe TomTom can do you good with the IQ routes and the options to calculate alternative routes.

For you to decide!

TomTom Western Europe

iPhonetunes - iPhonetunes.com

In our next review of GPS apps series, we most likely will see the newly released TomTom against Sygic.

Change log:

Aug 25, 2009.

* I adjusted the screenshots taken from the same location now, for a better comparability, and this caused TomTom to lose one more point, the Night view from Navigon. The end result has been changed as well.

* GPS lock info changed in point 17.

* TomTom has also 3 indicators when approaching a Safety Camera, in point 11.

Sept 3, 2009.

* GPS lock topic updated, in favor for TomTom.

* Navigon’s promotion of 79,99 Euro has ended

Sept 6, 2009.

* Added explanation of Navigon’s speed profiles

* Corrected typo in Night Mode

Sept 29, 2009.

* [update 1] added auto night mode switch for Navigon because of release 1.2.0.

* [update 2] added iPod control for Navigon

* [update 3] added TTS support for Navigon version 1.2.0 plus Location Sharing.

Nov 23, 2009 * [update 4] added TTS support for TomTom version 1.2 in feature 8, voice and sound. Added Lane Road Indication in feature 13, Sign Posts. Update feature 14, lane assistance. Updated feature 18, iPod integration. Changed conclusion and ratings.


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