Review: TomTom Navigator 7
TomTom Navigator 7 has been available on a number of selected HTC devices (OEM format) for quite a while now, but TomTom has only now finally bowed to public demand and decided to release the much anticipated version to the masses… well, kind of
TomTom Navigator 7 has been available on a number of selected HTC devices (OEM format) for quite a while now, but TomTom has only now finally bowed to public demand and decided to release the much anticipated version to the masses… well, kind of.
When we say released to the masses TomTom have actually restricted the compatible device list to a number of HTC smartphones and their variants, so Symbian or existing TTN6 owners for that matter, will have to wait until TomTom make an announcement later in the summer as to the possibility of an upgrade.
No doubt the decision to launch the software on the Windows platform first was an attempt to keep the partnership with HTC going, and it’s not to say it won’t work on your beloved device, it just simply hasn’t been tested or is officially supported (yet).
Mind you we took the decision to try the software on an Orange HTC Touch HD which we assumed would work without a glitch, as it’s technically the same as the unbranded Touch HD, and installation was not as smooth sailing as we would have liked.
For a start the supplied memory card was not recognised by the phone, so we had to manually copy the contents over to another card and the software was having issues contacting the TomTom servers – for authentication/services – without a proper data contract in place (PAYG was not up to the task).
Once we finally got the software up and running we have to admit to being slightly disappointed with the results at first, as to all intents and purposes not a great deal seems to have changed since Navigator 6 (TTN6).
Yes the interface is still a joy to use, being fast and user friendly, but we would have expected a complete makeover with the newer style icons found on TomTom’s more recent range of dedicated devices.
The subtle improvements are mainly skin deep, for example you get better call management so when you receive/accept an incoming call (with your headset plugged in), the on-screen routing instructions remain visible on the screen and the inclusion of its Map Share feature, which allows you to make corrections to the maps/POI on the device or receive updates via TomTom Home (alongside other free goodies), is a real bonus and worked like a charm.
POI have also been slightly tweaked so you can now call them from the interface and we especially liked the ability to add our own custom POI with an icon of our choosing appearing on the map (alongside audible warnings).
However the mainstream services, such as traffic (which has had a few tweaks to the options) and safety camera updates will still require a subscription, though a one-month trial for traffic is available and the default camera database managed to do an able job.
Its intelligence could do with beefing up though, since it had a tendency to warn about every speed camera on both sides of the road.
During driving the initial route calculations were devoid of TomTom’s new IQ Routes technology which takes into account real life driving speeds and time of day when choosing routes and you could tell to a certain degree as the route efficiency was not quite as sharp as its Live PND brothers.
That’s not to say it was terrible as we still got from A-to-B comfortably, but it would have been a nice feature to include none the less. As for the map view this remains fairly basic to look at, so once again graphical splendour has been sacrificed for ease of viewing (though in fairness on a WVGA display everything was a lot sharper).
But once we got over our initial disappointments we found the navigation on the whole an enjoyable experience, voice directions were basic but were loud and clear, route-re-calculations were respectable and the viewing aids at the bottom, including a handy road speed warning system, were spot on. It’s just a pity that advanced motorway lane guidance was not to be seen.
Overall TTN7 is not a bad system but it just doesn’t feel like much of a major step up from its predecessor, especially as it is still quite pricey, and existing users and those on other platforms will have to wait in earnest until TomTom announce future upgrade plans.
However with the latest maps, tweaks and its Map Share feature in place there is still just about enough quality on offer to make it worthy of consideration.
Price (as reviewed): £89.99 (microSD card version)
Map coverage: Europe
Popularity: 1% [?]