The cradle’s back panel has built-in call answer/decline buttons. These can used even if your phone is not in the cradle, while the dock’s volume controls consist of an easily accessible rocker on the left hand side. There is volume on the dock as aplenty. If you need to turn it up to the maximum you are either driving with the roof down or need a hearing test.
The dock has uses beyond the car
My only concern is the extendable bracket arm which has a push-to-release ratchet on it. I managed to shear the locking lip off by being a ham-fisted twit who doesn’t read instructions, but this part of the unit could still do with being more robust. Connecting phone to dock using Bluetooth was simplicity itself and every time the two linked a “phone connected/disconnected” message was broadcast to let me know all was well. Incidentally, the dock has no battery, so unplug it and it’s off.
So much for the hardware, now to the soft. First though I’ll deal with the elephant in the room. Until a promised update arrives at the end of the year, the app will only work on devices with a screen resolution of 800 (or 854) x 480. In my tests it wouldn't instal at all on higher resolution devices, so you don't even get a small screen version to use. There’s no way to be polite about this: TomTom has dropped a huge clanger by releasing an app that won’t run on either a Samsung Galaxy S3 or a Google Nexus 7 or any of the other latest generation 1280 x 720 Android phones.
Looks the part in landscape view
It’s not cheap either. The UK maps package will set you back £31 but this is an ‘introductory price’ so presumably it will go up at some point. That’s £11 more than CoPilot Live Premium – also on offer at the time of writing and works a treat on the Nexus 7 – and a whole £31 more than Google Navigation which of course comes free with your phone.
I can’t help but think that TomTom could have been rather more aggressive on the pricing front – how about £80 for the screen mount and the app together?
Next page: Pay and display
Re: Why Bother?
Two key selling points - it works even without a phone (data) signal and it has speed camera warnings. But at £50 pa for the latter (including UK maps), I'm not convinced.
@ Lee Dowling
Re: Why Bother?
TomTom's IQ routes is actually quite clever. It stores on the device statistics about certain roads on certain days / times of day, so it knows not to try road X on a Tuesday (even if the device isn't online!) because there's always traffic there on a Tuesday, lets you avoid rush-hour queues only during rush hour etc.
Google hasn't quite got the same traffic integration and basically relies on TDS-RMC, which is what old TomTom's used to use (the FM-radio add-on is the same TDS one that finds traffic announcements on your radio, that's no subscription) and was subverted by HD Traffic (online, pay-per-month service).
So if you're offline, IQ Routes does a better job on average. And if you're online and only pulling in TDS announcements, IQ Routes (so long as it pulls the latest updates regularly) or HD Traffic (which is basically an advanced TDS) will do better.
The re-routing is a function of any satnav and they're all pretty much the same with that regard (it's basically A* routing, which is pretty common CS theory, but with several factors for each "edge" - like known traffic time, distance from previous edge, "infinite" distance for roads you want to deliberately avoid etc.). All that really matters is the data, and though Google can probe lots of data (including TDS, no doubt, given that it's free to do so), there's a lot to be said for better traffic updates online and for having averaged traffic knowledge when offline. That's what HD Traffic and IQ Routes are. But IQ Routes is at least free.