Sat-nav shootout: Destinator 6 vs AA Navigator

We've nothing better to do with our time on a Monday lunchtime, so we've decided to make two GPS applications have a fight with each other

Rory Reid
3 min read

Roll up, roll up! It's the battle you've all been waiting for -- the GPS software showdown to end all GPS software showdowns: Destinator 6 & TrafficSam (£99) vs AA Navigator UK & Ireland 2007 Edition (£79). YEAH! Come on!

Stifle that yawn, young man, both of these applications let you turn your existing PDA or Windows-based smart phone into a fully fledged global positioning system and route planner, so you need never get lost again.* To judge which is the best, we've decided to assess their suitability in four different categories. Pull up a chair, pop a Pro Plus and prepare for a Monday lunchtime sat-nav extravaganza.

*Unless you're a muppet.

Mapping & Coverage
AA Navigator UK & Ireland covers just that, the UK and Ireland, but for an extra £20 (£99 in total) you can buy the Western Europe edition, which gets you maps of the continent as well. Destinator 6 has maps of Western and Eastern Europe out of the box for £99. Both AA and Destinator use up-to-date Navteq maps and are therefore equally matched. We're going to give this round to AA Navigator, though -- it comes with a 1GB SD card, whereas you have to pay an extra £11 for a 1GB card with Destinator 6.
Winner: AA Navigator UK & Ireland

Traffic avoidances
AA Navigator UK & Ireland features absolutely no traffic-avoidance capabilities. It'll guide you remorselessly into a five-mile tailback where you'll inevitably be late for your meeting, start a brawl with your spouse or go postal like Michael Douglas in Falling Down. Destinator 6 comes with TrafficSam so it can find traffic blackspots, provided it's used with a traffic message channel (TMC)-capable GPS receiver. Okay, such receivers command a hefty premium, but it's nice to have the choice.

Speed demons should note AA Navigator has built-in speed camera alerts, whereas Destinator 6 does not. It is possible, however, to add third-party speed camera alerts to Destinator 6 via a plug-in.
Winner: Destinator 6 & TrafficSam

POI support
AA Navigator UK & Ireland comes with over 50,000 places of interest, including AA-recommended hotels and restaurants. It's also got a list of petrol stations and whatnot, so you can find your nearest pitstop before running out of juice. Destinator 6 has POI capability, too, but this is provided by third parties. Don't blame us if you find yourself in a restaurant recommended by John Q. Whoever and get food poisoning.
Winner: AA Navigator UK & Ireland

Ease of use
Both apps fared strongly here. AA Navigator's menu system is a little less confusing and doesn't patronise you by telling you to 'drive carefully'. But Destinator 6 has a pedestrian mode so you can find your way walking around Soho, and it lets you save addresses for easy access later.
Winner: Destinator 6 & TrafficSam

There's very little between these applications. We love AA due to the fact it comes with a 1GB card and has point of interest data you can trust, but Destinator has its strong points, too. It's the better option if you're truly annoyed by traffic jams or if you want a more flexible user interface, but at the end of the day they're very evenly matched.

CNET.co.uk verdict: They're both good -- but buy a TomTom, you PDA-carrying loser. -RR