We take a closer look at the TomTom GO Mobile app for Android and see how it fares against both traditional sat navs and navigation apps like Google Maps. 

It wasn’t that long ago that we were purchasing a good old-fashioned sat nav to guide us along our way, but with the advent of the smartphone has a better alternative crept out of the woodwork?

If you've ever found yourself in a bit of a bind lost in the middle of nowhere, chances are you’ve reached for your smartphone and booted up either Google Maps or Apple Maps. Both are great free navigation applications that are almost sure to set you right. However, looking to get a piece of the sat nav app pie is TomTom, a traditional – for want of a better term – sat nav manufacturer. TomTom has developed TomTom GO Mobile, which replaces the sat nav hardware with a TomTom GO mobile app on your phone.

But why download and use TomTom GO Mobile over a preinstalled navigation app or a traditional sat nav?

TomTom GO Mobile vs. traditional sat navs 

If you’ve ever owned a sat nav and live in Ireland you’ll have noticed that roads get ripped up and put back in difference places faster than those navigation systems can update.

These updates are carried out through SD cards or plugging the unit into a computer; an inconvenience to say the least, and very inaccurate. TomTom GO Mobile updates itself much quicker, meaning you're far less likely to drive through the middle of a construction site.

Better still, because of the inherent connectivity between the app, your smartphone and the world wide web you can receive live traffic feeds in the premium version of the app (which I’ll come back to), nearby amenities and speed camera notifications.

While we're on the topic of speed, TomTom GO also has live speed limit updates which are remarkably accurate, changing within a few meters of you passing a speed sign. You can even set the app to alert you if you're driving a little bit too fast within a zone.
TomTom GO Mobile features

TomTom GO Mobile vs. Google Maps and Apple Maps

While free navigation apps, like Google Maps and Apple Maps, will feed you the latest map information and rough traffic updates, they're generally a little light on features such as nearby amenities, favourite locations and specific route saving. They can also be a little tricky to work when you have a bad connection or are  offline, which natrually, is always when you need them the most. 

With TomTom GO you download a (rather large) map file, whether it be Ireland and the UK, Western Europe or Europe, increasing in size respectively.

The main benefit here is, should you find yourself lost in a rental car within the UK or mainland Europe, the app will save the day – once you have the map pack downloaded of course – without you having to turn and data and worry about roaming charges. 

My personal favourite feature on TomTom GO is for those who find themselves regularly driving on motorways – lane assist. If you’ve ever negotiated the old Red Cow roundabout or some other spaghetti junction, you’ll appreciate lane assist. This is a special screen that appears once you are about to exit a motorway to ensure you are taking the correct lane with plenty of time to spare.

How much will it set me back?

TomTom GO Mobile pricingNot a penny. Nada. Zilch. Free. Gratis. Kind of ... to say TomTom GO Mobile is 'freemium' isn’t fair.

If you're a short distance city driver, you might never really have to pay for the full app as TomTom GO Mobile will operate for 75 kilometres without you paying a cent. If you do plan to drive more than this, you can sign up for the premium account, giving you unlimited access to the app with at least four map updates per year.

Strangely, there is no monthly rate, instead you have to opt in for a one (€19.99) or three (€44.99) year period respectively.

Off the bat, this seems a little steep for an app, but considering the hardware would normally cost at least €100, TomTom GO Mobile provides a cost effective solution to your navigation problems.

TomTom GO Mobile is currently only available on Android, but there are rumours circulating that an iOS version is in the works. There is however a slightly older version of the app available in the iTunes Store for €39.99.