TomTom app for Android review: TomTom app is a premium, pricey navigator

Of course, no navigation app or hardware that I've tested has 100-percent-accurate maps, but unlike with an app like Waze or even TomTom's own Map Share -enabled PNDs, I was unable to make corrections to these road segments to prevent future route inaccuracies for the rest of the TomTom community and, more importantly, my own future routes. I'd like to see Map Share make an appearance in the next update.

TomTom menu
I was unable to find a way to correct inaccurate map data in the app's menus. Screenshot by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

On my first few attempts to navigate to a contact stored in my address book, the app asked me to double-check every chunk of the address entry, from the state to the street name to the street number, making me wonder why I didn't just key the destination in myself. My next attempt at navigating to a contact happened shortly after hopping off a flight from San Francisco to Atlanta, where a similar issue occurred.

To be fair, I later learned that this issue only popped up when requesting contacts that are out of state or before the app has had a chance to really nail down and lock into your current location. Navigating to contacts in the same state or city (particularly after giving the app a few moments to breathe after the initial installation or after dramatically changing parts of the country) was a seamless process and should be for most users. Tap, confirm, and go.

Finally, I noticed that the app doesn't work on my Google Nexus 7 , possibly because of the tablet's lack of a wireless data connection and phone function -- which would be ironic because the TomTom app's strongest selling point is that it can work without these things -- but the omission also possibly has something to do with the Nexus 7's high-resolution screen. Whatever the reason, incompatibility with one of Google's flagship devices is not a good sign.

Is it worth the money?
At $49.99 for the version of the TomTom app that includes maps of the U.S. and Canada, this is no impulse purchase. No doubt, most of you are already turning your nose up in disgust at being asked to pay that much for an app! However, consider that quarterly map updates are free for life after purchase, and there is some value to this purchase. HD Traffic is an in-app purchase for $2.99 for one month or $19.99 for one year (a $15.89 savings), which will only really be useful to commuters and navigators in areas with heavier-than-average traffic.

TomTom map screen
Users can choose from various app versions with maps of different parts of the world. Screenshot by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

There are other versions of the app, including one for $37.99 with maps of the U.S. only, and one for $59.99 that covers all of North America, including Mexico. Other country-specific apps such as TomTom Brazil, TomTom New Zealand, and TomTom Turkey (which I just enjoy saying aloud) and apps for continents and regions such as Southeast Asia and Australia top out at $74.99 for the most expensive localization: TomTom Europe.

CoPilot Live Premium has been around for longer, is about as fully featured as the TomTom app, and is cheaper. However, it doesn't offer as many local versions and some users have reported finding it to be a bit unstable. CoPilot GPS also offers a pared-down free version with offline maps that is usable for off-the-grid navigation without a big up-front investment. (You can upgrade to the premium level of functionality for a mere $19.99.) Navfree USA is also free and offline, if a bit simplistic.

However, the 800-pound gorilla here is obviously Google Maps, which has a pretty good headlock on the Android navigation market being both free and of an extremely high quality, as well as coming pre-installed on most Android handsets these days.

Judged by itself or against a standalone PND, the TomTom app for Android is definitely worth the $37.99 that TomTom is asking. It's a well-designed navigation app that is great for travelers who can't guarantee that they'll have a data connection for map data, but still want premium turn-by-turn navigation. However, if you're looking to save a few bucks, there are cheaper, freer options available that will also get you there just fine.

What you'll pay

Pricing is currently unavailable.

Don't Miss

 

ARTICLE DISCUSSION

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Where to Buy

TomTom North America (Android)

Part Number: com.tomtom.uscanmex

MSRP: $59.99

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Category Navigation and maps
  • Compatibility Android
About The Author

Antuan Goodwin gained most of his automotive knowledge the old fashioned way, by turning wrenches in a driveway and picking up speeding tickets. From drivetrain tech and performance to car audio installs and cabin tech, if it's on wheels, Antuan is knowledgeable. Email Antuan, follow him on Twitter, or like him on Facebook. Antuan