Navigation device test (2022): leaderboard – AUTO BILD
Test winner of the AUTO BILD navigation device test: DriveSmart 86
Price-performance winner: TomTom Go Essential
All-round talent at a low price The Go Essential is one of Tomtom’s cheaper navigation devices. Nevertheless, it offers a decent range of functions. For a comparatively low price, there is a branded navigation device that already offers many of the functions of a premium navigation device. The Tomtom Go Essential scores in the test with its high-quality workmanship and a wide range of functions. For example, the Bluetooth hands-free system and the display and reading of notifications on the smartphone are a real plus beyond navigation. Small deficits in the voice control and the speed limits are easy to cope with in view of the low price of this navigation device.
The TomTom Go Essential also scores 70 points and the grade “good”
Test 2022: These are the best navigation devices (best list)
Navigation device test
This is how AUTO BILD tests navigation devices
Navis out of the packaging and brought up to date with the latest software. The evaluation starts here: How complex is the update process? Are map updates included? After that, the focus is on operation, which of course should work as intuitively as possible. The touchscreen and input must also run smoothly, otherwise there is a risk of deductions. Then it’s several hours in the car on the road. Routes are selected here that have a roadblock or construction sites on the actually most traffic-efficient route, so that the devices have to search for alternative routes. The quality of the navigation respected: Are all announcements clear and early enough? Is there help with lane guidance? Will the route be quickly recalculated when there are changes? The navigation system must not distract the driver, all information should be visible at first glance. Likewise, the bracket should be tight and that GPS be properly visible. In addition, the devices have to compete against Google Maps and show that they reach their destination as quickly as the market leader in navigation apps. The reliability of the assistance systems, any additional functions as well as the workmanship and last but not least the price are also included in the result.
Garmin vs TomTom – who does it better?
The market for navigation devices has changed significantly in recent years: with the bankruptcy of United navigation brands like Falk and Becker have disappeared. The smartphone is increasingly competing with the aftermarket navigation system, in contrast to the navigation system that is permanently installed in the car. If you are now looking for a suitable navigation device, you will find two brands in particular in addition to many Chinese products: TomTom and Garmin. The two providers have firmly established themselves on the market. AUTO BILD compared two products from each brand.
At Garmin, the Drive 52 & Traffic were chosen as the entry-level navigation device, as well as the high-end DriveSmart 86 device. Here the difference in price ranges is far greater: The base model focuses on that navigation. There is an app that supplies the device with data and thus provides live traffic information. However, the Drive 52 does not offer any smartphone integration. The DriveSmart 86 is different: the smartphone functions are fully integrated here. There is also good built-in voice control and the ability to work with Amazon’s Alexa. In addition, there is the significantly higher quality processing of the premium product.
By the way: In matters navigation the two brands are in no way inferior to each other. All four candidates managed to avoid road closures and construction sites on the test route thanks to real-time traffic data. In all cases we arrived at the desired time at the destination – sometimes even before the time predicted by Google Maps. All Navis make clear announcements and sometimes include concise landmarks from the area, which make orientation even easier for the driver. With the premium devices Garmin DriveSmart 86 and TomTom Go Premium you have another advantage: They offer detailed lane guidance so that you always choose the right lane.
FAQ about navigation devices
Advantage of permanently installed navigation devices?
A permanently installed navigation device often has a larger display than mobile devices and more extensive map material, but is often associated with a hefty surcharge when buying a car.
Advantage of mobile navigation devices?
Mobile navigation devices are not only useful in the car, but can also be helpful on bike tours or hiking. They are often cheaper than permanently installed navigation systems. Free map material is also available for many devices.
What does PNA mean?
If a navigation device is marked with the abbreviation PNA, it is simply a mobile device. PNA stands for Portable Navigation Systems.
Many manufacturers, such as Garmin with its DriveSmart app, offer the option of connecting their navigation devices to a smartphone. Not only does this give you real-time traffic information, you can also call up weather data, for example, or use your own playlist as a music fan. With many car manufacturers and their permanently installed navigation devices, this also works via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
Conclusion by Lena Trautermann: And? Now who is better? If you just look at the points, Garmin gets the crown. TomTom gets third place and the price/performance win. Ultimately, however, the navigation system has to fit the user. That’s why you should first think about which functions you value and if in doubt: try them out. They all lead to the goal!