Monday, 19 March 2012

Am I too technology dependent?

On Saturday 17th March I drove from St Helens in Merseyside to pick my son up from Newcastle where he is at University. No real issues here as I am familiar with the route into the city as my eldest daughter also went to University there. One part of the route is tricky though, so out came my ageing TomTom ONE sat nav. It was already programmed with the destination and connected into the car's 12v system so just switched it on. It went off in 5 seconds. Checked power was OK then tried again. Went off 20 seconds later. Hit power button again - on then off - just as I was getting to the dodgy junction. Memory did not fail me though as I took the correct exit, but then made a right turn 1 traffic light too early. Sat Nav switched on again and I found that I had joined the road I needed just via an earlier connecting road. Tried the unit a few times after but it just would not stay on.

I had vowed not to get another TomTom device as earlier this year when my device shut down only occasionally I looked at upgrading. 4 years ago I purchased the full USA and Canada maps as I had intended touring and found that they were linked to my old device and could not be transferred. I enquired of TomTom if this was the truly the case and said that I wanted to upgrade as a fault had developed in my unit and was basically told "tough luck". I could not recall seeing any T's and C's stating this when I bought the maps or since.

I therefore decided to look elsewhere for my next sat nav. Garmin have a nice device so I researched it a bit. Their website is very poor as delivered '404' page not found when I went to look for maps, locked me into their FAQ pages after attempting to raise an email with their support people, and I could not find any downloadable information on any PC management software. I subsequently rang their UK support 'team' and got the following responses to my questions.
  • Can it pair up with my IPhone? - No Android OS only
  • Can I add costom POI? - Yes through POI Loader application
  • Can I change colour display? - No
  • What functionality from PC management software is available? - Only the POI.
This non-competitive feature list is a showstopper for me. Navman not attractive, so must shelve my principles and go back to TomTom - probably XXL Classic.

Big question though is do I need a discrete sat nav device ? would my smartphone navigation software be good enough? Answer probably yes as I don't want to risk losing the GPS signal at inopportune times, especially in the USA.

UPDATE 21 March 2012.   Bought a TomTom XXL Classic and USA Maps. Will do the job ; however due to them now combining individual country / regional USA maps into discrete maps (Western Europe and USA) I need to physically replace one with the other when going from UK to USA. The XXL does not have an SD slot which would have made life much easier. Now I need to take my laptop and wait 40 minutes for the exchange to complete. Agent I spoke to did not inform me of this although I did ask if the USA and UK maps could reside on the unit as at that point I did not know that UK was not a separate fileset.

1 comment:

  1. We have a Tom-Tom, but are using it less and less. Both of us are seniors and have observed our cognitive thinking decreasing by constantly using these devices. So, most times, we are back to map reading and exercising our little gray cells this way. I wonder if a medical study might one day be performed on brain function as a result of overuse of calculators, etc. Lack of mental exercise as it were.

    73 F8WBD/N2UGB