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TomTom iPhone Car Kit

TomTom iPhone Car Kit

Worth its Jobsian price tag?

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Review Yes, the iPhone incarnation of TomTom's GPS navigation system is a bit on the pricey side. But if you're a fan, you're used to paying a pretty penny for flashy tech. And this TomTom actually gets the job done.

TomTom car kit for iPhone

The TomTom car kit for iPhone mounts firmly and easily to your car's windshield - or windscreen

TomTom released a major upgrade to its iPhone app last week, so we installed all 1.3GB of it onto our iPhone 3GS, hooked it up to the market-leading GPS maker's brand new iPhone car kit, and took it for test drive around San Francisco.

We were impressed. The car kit for iPhone provides what the company refers to as "enhanced GPS performance". It's based on a SiRF Star III GPS chip - the de facto standard for standalone satnav gadgets - which helped the iPhone flawlessly find its way around downtown San Francisco, dense with signal-limiting high-rise buildings.

Along with a host of new features, the new version of the software, release 1.2, adds support for the iPod Touch and first-generation iPhones, as long as they're running iPhone OS 3.0 or higher. A TomTom car kit for the Touch (£80/$100) with a built-in GPS receiver is also now available.

The price differential is undoubtedly due to the iPhone car kit's ability to also function as a hands-free phone using its built-in microphone and speaker. The phone function worked fine in our testing, although - like any hands-free unit - call quality was degraded by road noise and, in our rainy-day testing, blower noise from our Mini Cooper's defroster.

TomTom iPhone Car Kit

The necessary power cable will dictate where you can place the cradle

The TomTom app for iPhone is available in editions (App Store links) for the UK and Ireland (£60/$100), US and Canada (£60/$100), Australia (£45/$80), and 16 other locations at prices ranging from £30/$50 for Hong Kong to £80/$140 for Western Europe.

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