Getting from A to B has never been easier. Here are some of the best sat navs you can buy today.
If you’ve not got a built-in sat-nav in your car and need to know where you’re going, you’ll need an aftermarket sat-nav.
You could just opt to use your phone as a sat-nav, but there are downsides to this, such as the amount of data and battery any service may chew through. And what if you need to take a hands-free call or use your device to listen to music?
The answer is a dedicated sat-nav, but with so many on the market, which is best?
In reality, this depends on your needs. There’s no one sat-nav that’s best for everyone, even if there are things that everyone wants from their sat-nav, such as accuracy.
Most of us like our tech to be simple, but this may limit the number of functions. Other things to consider are live updates versus off-line sat-navs. Traffic information can be great, but if you often travel in a rural area with no data signal, this can be pointless.
Here we take look at a range of sat-navs, each of which could be described as ‘best’, depending on your needs and your budget.
Garmin Drive Assist 51LMT–D
The DriveAssist 51 LMT-D is the most feature-laden sat-nav you can buy from the renowned Garmin. In fact, to call it simply a sat-nav, does it an injustice.
This device has it all. The Drive Assist 51 LMT-D comes with a 5” touch screen that allows pinch-to-zoom. The maps which are updateable for life and, using DAB, they incorporate live traffic information for reliable journey times. Performing the map updates couldn’t be simpler either. Thanks to built in wifi, just park within range of your home wifi and the update can be carried out over the air.
Don’t like typing in a destination? This sat-nav has voice recognition and will let you simply speak to it.
On top of the first-rate navigation, the device is also a dashcam, so you can record incidents which could be useful with any insurance claims. And because there’s a camera built-in, Garmin has been able to include collision warning and also a notification that, if you’re stopped in traffic, the car in front has started moving again.
If all that isn’t enough, the Drive Assist 51 LMT-D has the ability to recommend locations and businesses using TripAdvisor information.
At £309.99, it’s not the least expensive Garmin device, but it is the firm’s most feature-filled.
Garmin Drive 51 LMT-S
At the other end of the Garmin range is the super-simple and straight forward Drive 51 LMT-S. If you just want Garmin’s excellent navigation and don’t need all the additional features that are available on much more expensive sat-navs, then this is the device for you.
The device features a clear 5” screen, life-time map updates, live traffic information and a lifetime updates for speed cameras too.
It’s a no nonsense product at a no nonsense price; £109.99.
Tomtom Go 6200
From the other big name in navigation comes the Go 6200 – Tomtom’s range-topping in-car device.
The Go 6200 comes with a 6” colour screen (although you can buy it with a 5” screen too under the Go 5200 name) and a built-in sim card which allows connected services such as live traffic updates – for which Tomtom is famous. Alongside this, the Go 6200 will also carry out over-the-air updates using wifi.
Bluetooth connectivity means you can have hands-free calling from your smartphone and the device will also display phone messages too. It’s also compatible with Apple’s Siri and Google Now.
Tomtom’s MyDrive app means you can plan routes on your phone and send them direct to the sat-nav.
Tomtom has also developed a particularly easy to use magnetic mount so the gadget can be easily removed and stored safely when you reach your destination.
The Tomtom Go 6200 costs £339.99.
TomTom Go Basic
Despite the name, this isn’t Tomtom’s cheapest or most basic sat-nav, however, it is the firm’s newest device (it’s only available to pre-order so far) and possibly their best value for money offering.
The Go Basic can be bought with either a 5” or 6” screen, and comes with lifetime updates for both maps and traffic information. Using Bluetooth the device will display smartphone messages. If you download the MyDrive app to your phone you can also use this to plan routes before you get in your car and check the latest traffic information.
When entering a new destination, the Go Basic will also start displaying suggestions as you type.
The price for all these features is £149.99 for the smaller 5” version and £179.99 for the 6” version.
If you’re looking for a very low cost sat-nav for the UK and Ireland, or perhaps just a third brand in the market, the Binatone A505 is one of the best options.
The A505 has a 5” anti-glare, touchscreen and comes with lifetime map updates as well as speed camera location warnings.
At £69.99 it’s a basic option, but it does have full postcode destination entry, lane guidance and points of interest listed.
Sat nav alternatives
If you want to stick with your phone as a sat-nav, then here’s a couple of downloadable apps that will do the job too and one is free.
CoPilot Premium UK & Ireland
CoPilot is a downloadable sat-nav for your phone. It’s available on both Andriod and iOS operating systems and costs just £13.99 for UK and Ireland mapping or £23.99 for the whole of Europe.
Because it’s an app it can make use of your mobile’s other facilities, for instance it will allow you to search for your destination using Google or Wikipedia as well as it’s own internal listings.
CoPilot also offers the ability for users to drag routes if you want to edit they way you’re travelling to either add in a stop or avoid an area and has an off-line mode.
If £13.99 is still too much to pay for sat-nav, then Waze is the best free app. Owned by Google it is a community-based system which means it uses information from others with the Waze app to provide exceedingly accurate traffic information even at a local level.
Available for iOS and Android phones, Waze also has some clever features such as allowing drivers to send their location to other people, so if colleagues or family want to know if you’re going to arrive on time you can give them access to your location.
Being a proper sat-nav app, also means it has one-over on the Google Maps app and allows the easy setting of favourites, home and other locations for future use.