Stiftung Warentest – Navigation devices versus smartphone apps

Portable navigation devices not only have to contend with the ever-increasing competition from permanently installed navigation systems in new vehicles. Smartphones with the right app, such as Google Maps, are also suitable for navigating in cars. But which is better?

Classic navigation devices from manufacturers such as Garmin and Tomtom were once standard equipment in many cars. Even in 2021, they are still superior to sophisticated smartphones in terms of navigation. This is the conclusion reached by Stiftung Warentest in its study of navigation devices and smartphone apps.

Portable navigation devices tied at the top

The portable navigation devices, which many (including atechbook) have declared dead, can still convince Stiftung Warentest. Especially for frequent drivers without a fixed navigation device, they deliver the best results. The categories navigation, handling, processing, battery life, data consumption via mobile radio and data transmission behavior were taken into account. The main emphasis is on navigation and handling with a total of 85 percent.

The DriveSmart 65 & Digital Traffic from Garmin emerges as one of the winners (overall grade 1.8). The device, which costs just under 250 euros, has map material for Europe, navigates online and offline, and warns of speed cameras, speeding and dangerous spots. It is designed purely for in-car navigation.

Alongside Garmin at the top of the Stiftung Warentest test of navigation devices is the Tomtom Go Discover 7 (overall rating 1.8) for 299 euros. This even comes with worldwide map material, but otherwise has a similar range of functions to the test winner. Tomtom’s Go Discover 7 is also designed purely for navigation in cars.

Navigation app after Android and iPhone

Stiftung Warentest placed apps just behind navigation devices. The test distinguished between Android and iOS applications. Tomtom’s smartphone app “Go Navigation” was the winner for Android. Tomtom seems to know how navigation works. At 13 euros per year, the app is also quite affordable. Behind it is the Google Maps app. Its big advantages: Navigation outside the car is also possible and it is free of charge.

Also interesting: Do you already know the hidden functions of Google Maps?

There is a small unpleasant surprise for Apple on the iPhone. The company’s own map service, Apple Maps, comes in just behind Google Maps. The Apple company will have to improve this as soon as possible.