This turned out rather long, so to sum it all up:
Don’t buy TomTom Go Mobile app, it really is crap (at least as of mid-2016).
My biggest reasons why it’s crap:
- expensive (compared to free options like Waze or Google maps)
- no way to calculate alternative routes (just basic options like, don’t take ferry)
- no way to add stops to the route
- speed limits in eastern Europe are inaccurate
And really, how can it be that a paid navigation application does not have support for adding stops or doing alternative routes? This is simply mind boggling.
And now, the back story, more details and ranting.
So I decided to go on a small road trip from Latvia to Czech republic. Being the geek that I am, I obviously had to have the best possible navigation software as obviously using plain google maps or paper maps is a no-go.
In the Baltics I usually stick with Waze or Google maps, but the former can sometimes take very weird routing decisions and the latter does not warn about accidents on the road or speed cameras or anything else for that matter. So Waze it is by default.
However, when going out of the home country, it would be beneficial to have offline maps that can also do routing offline. And since this was supposed to be my first roadtrip across Poland, I thought I should be better prepared.
So after some slight Googling I decided to give TomTom Go Mobile a try. I have used their devices before and was reasonably satisfied.
So I installed the app (it allows for 70 km per month free navigation as well), tested it in my local town and it was ok. Clear instructions, route choice looked ok, so I bought the subscription for a year.
On the day of the trip, fun started. I belatedly discovered that there’s no way to add stops on the route and by default, when navigating from West-Latvia to Central Poland it absolutely wants to go via the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad (which requires a visa). And no way to change that. Wow.
I thought, surely this is just me, not knowing how to use the app, googling turned up many complaints like mine and even some references to ways how to do it, however none of them are implemented in the iOS app. So I wrote to TomTom support, just to get back the templated answer about “developers are working on it, it’s taking some time…” yada yada.
So OK, I though I’d give it a try anyways and I set my route manually with destinations being just the intermediary points on my route.
This worked but was cumbersome, also I soon discovered that TomTom reports inaccurate speed limits while driving through Lithuania and Poland. Not a big deal, but still, better not to show them at all rather than showing misleading ones (for example showed 130 in Lithuania where actual limit was 110 and so on).
And also it does not know about all the speed cameras in Lithuania and vice versa sometimes reports on non-existing ones.
So all of that can be tolerated, but then while driving through Poland and headed to Warsaw TomTom directed me off of a highway and onto a small country road. I obeyed, despite the signs but stopped to check the map and it made no sense at all. I entered my destination into TomTom from scratch and it immediately changed the route back to normal. This was the end of me using TomTom.
When driving via foreign country the last thing I need is to be directed off my route and loosing time to get back on track.
So lesson learned. For the remainder of the trip I used Waze and I’m very happy with it. The traffic data seems to be quite accurate, whenever it decides to change the route it informs me about it clearly. Speed limits are shown well. And really, the only downside is that it requires a data connection.
Luckily, the roaming charges are decreasing fast in the EU. I pay 5 EUR per 150 MB a day while roaming which is enough to navigate and do some light browsing and email.