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Thread: Comparison of Android, iOS and PNA on a Very Long Journey

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011

    Comparison of Android, iOS and PNA on a Very Long Journey

    Hi all,

    Many of you are enthusiasts and I hope you would be keen to know my findings after driving from the UK to central Poland with all three types of navigator mounted on my dash.
    I legally own Tom Tom iOS 1.12 with it's Europe 895.4439 maps and the latest 900.???? Western Europe maps from a Tom Tom Classic XXL I just bought (free map update that I never got to check the version).
    I wanted to test the Android version so I downloaded Tom Tom 1.1 build 1129488 and it's maps 895.4453 from this sites links.
    I know downloading the apk and maps is bad but I wanted to evaluate moving from iOS to Android since the latest hardware is really exciting and I love the idea of building a 7 inch tab into my dash as a permanent replacement to my radio. I hope Tom Tom can forgive me but hey, I have spend many hundreds of pounds with them since the days of the Go 700 until now (550 pounds alone!)

    So I wanted to share my experience with you guys knowing that you hope that your device and maps are the best and most detailed you can get.

    First of all I'd start with the GPS lock.
    The iPhone managed what seemed to be immediately though I suspect this is the assisted location services helping.
    The Android was second, very close to the iPhone but a couple of seconds later. I have to say though that my Android is positioned in the centre of the car behind a heated windscreen so it would take longer to lock on to satellites.
    The PNA unfortunately was last taking almost a minute to lock on. No wifi or radio to help.

    Driving through the UK and then France seemed almost identical in all 3 devices. The UK maps are very detailed and much of the information is identical. We were driving through France for less than an hour so didn't get much time to analyse the results.
    Once we got to Belgium, things started to change and this is what surprised me the most.
    The Android had much greater detail in both it's road systems and it's vector graphics (fields, water, populated areas etc)
    I had not noticed before but the iPhone version had most of the information missing from fields, populated areas and water where as the Android had multiple greens representing fields and forests, every pond possible and so many more side roads.
    I'll give you an example.
    Outside of the UK, on just about every motorway service, the Android displayed the complete motorway service road and car park traces etc.
    On the iPhone those services were simply missing with all but a petrol station sign representing the services.
    Also, the iPhone seemed to just render the fields and forests completely green with very little detail and water that was present on the Android was missing on the iPhone.
    And finally the Android displayed all the roads that were near to the motorway but not connected where as the iPhone only showed the road we was on and very few connecting roads. I put this down to some adaptive setting in the Tom Tom binary that perhaps is only showing us roads connected with ours rather than ones that are there that we are passing but could not reach. Perhaps those roads are simply missing from the iOS maps too.

    The PNA sat somewhere in the middle of the two. It's vector graphics were detailed like the Android but some of the service roads were missing like the iPhone. However, the PNA got the map colouring perfect whilst the other two seemed to border draw some graphics with obscure white lines for the road edges etc. Nothing to complain about though.

    All in all if I had to choose a device, it would now be the Android.
    The PNA comes in as a close second but considering it's just a PNA, it's pretty much useless for anything else.
    The Android was the winner because it's map rendering was superior, it's high resolution great and the road detail far superior.
    Unfortunately, the iPhone was the looser since it looks like it's maps are compromised with the fact the iOS app can't be bigger than 2GB so much of the information is deleted from the map and the POI's. And it's really noticeable when you compare side by side.

    The PNA being a classic XXL has the same 2GB limit but since it was Western Europe only, it had more detail than the iPhone and it rendered the graphics much better.

    I'm about to travel back from Poland to the UK tomorrow morning so if there is anything you would like me to watch for, I'd be happy to report back to you.

    Happy New Year,

    - tonymac

  2. #2

    Re: Comparison of Android, iOS and PNA on a Very Long Journey

    Interesting comparison. Thanks for your report. Another thing I didn't know until now was that the IOS app had a 2GB limit just like Garmin XT & some older Garmin PNA's. I look forward to your return journey report.

    I too have compared the many Android SatNav applications available here, but individually unlike your test.

    Keep up the good work.

    Regards, Waldorf.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Melbourne, Australia

    Re: Comparison of Android, iOS and PNA on a Very Long Journey

    Thank you for the comparison. I think I will keep my Samsung android phone for a while now

    I would have thought the variation in detail of the maps would be more to do with the size of each map, rather than the operating system. What is the size of each of the maps you are using: Europe 895.4439 & Europe 895.4453?

    And of course you're more than welcome to download the latest free maps from this forum. That's why this forum exists, so you don't have to feel guilty or anything

    Looking forward to more tests... I'm especially interested in the speed of calculating or re-calculating a route for each device.

    All the best and drive safely.
    TomTom Tutorials & FAQ
    TomTom GO 730, Navcore 9.051c, 64Mb RAM, Australia 910.4892, Bootloader: 5.5250
    TomTom ONE v1, Navcore 9.170SE, 32Mb RAM, Australia 910.4892, Bootloader: 5.5244

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010

    Re: Comparison of Android, iOS and PNA on a Very Long Journey

    Thanks very much for your interesting comparison that shows Tomtom on Android gives the best performance. I have compared Garmin to Tomtom on my PNA in some Asian countries which show Garmin provide much better details than Tomtom in respect of minor roads and paths. I would like to see if you can do a comparison of Garmin to Tomtom on Android, if ever possible, thanks.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010

    Re: Comparison of Android, iOS and PNA on a Very Long Journey

    Thank you for your interesting information. I would like to know the behavior of these three devices in urban tunnels. I've only been able to test my PNA in Madrid and the experience is very negative, as the signal is lost and not know where to go. Is it the same on Android or IOS?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2011

    Re: Comparison of Android, iOS and PNA on a Very Long Journey

    Hi all,

    I'm back in the UK with another 19 hours of testing complete for all 3 types of devices.
    I have some new and updated information for you so hopefully I can help with future choices.

    For starters a small correction on my part.
    The PNA was the device that was drawing some graphics with white borders, usually in day colour mode only.
    I thought the others had been drawing the graphics this way but on checking the reverse was true.
    So, the Android and iPhone drew road borders in a dark grey and the PNA drew them with a white colouring.
    On comparing the two methods, it was clear the white lines showed up the lower resolution more so I'm guessing iPhone and Android have got it correct as their graphics virtually hide the pixels.

    Speed cameras was a bit of a no, no since I was unable to activate them on the Android.
    The device ID advertised on this site for the Europe APK didn't work so I was unable to make DCT's for my speed camera's.
    However, I did have cameras on the iPhone and on the PNA. The PNA had December 6th's release and the iOS version dated back to the end of November so they were more or less identical in date.
    However, the disappointing aspect again with the iPhone was that there were speed cameras missing and I'm not talking about the premium / mobile cameras.
    That made me loose all confidence in the iPhone because if you know some are missing then the whole point is ruined.
    As I was driving past Berlin, a camera clicked me doing 65km/h in a 50km/h zone as I was merging from one motorway to another.
    The PNA bleeped me but on trying to check which device, I didn't actually slow down enough to the speed they were reporting for the junction. It really was significantly slower than the motorway speed.
    So I'm hoping they won't bother for 15km/h over but you never know.
    The iPhone had a few cameras missing on route. Basically most of Germany. Camera's were present in Poland as I drove down the A1 to meet the new A2.
    Also, a couple of the tolls on the A2 have camera's just prior and they too were on both the iPhone and PNA.
    But in Germany, I didn't hear a single bleep from the iPhone and the PNA was doing all the work.
    The next camera I heard from the iPhone was in Belgium going through Antwerp. I know those camera's well and was expecting them so hearing both the iPhone and PNA was comforting.

    Going through tunnels and gaining lock was much faster than initial lock on the all the devices.
    The Android and iPhone seemed to gain lock before a tunnel exit and the PNA about a second later.
    I do think that the iPhone and Android fake or interpret their position more than the PNA as they have cellular towers and Wifi to assist. The PNA has none of that so is limited purely to satellites.
    As a result the iPhone and Andriod give you lock but it may not be as accurate as the true position and speed.

    Speeds for recalculating the routes.
    1st place iPhone.
    2nd place Android.
    3rd place PNA.
    I think this was a pure CPU issue. The iPhone's 4's A4 is approximately 50% quicker than my Viewpad 7 Android.
    And the PNA was half the speed of the Android. Add to this that iOS is much lighter of an O/S than Andriod.

    In summary I'd still have the Android as the device to use in the future.
    More detailed maps due to the size of the map. Fast and accurate plus the ability to replace your car CD player with an inexpensive Android is just too much of an attraction.
    I would not want to spend 500 on a cellular iPad just to turn it into a navigator but seeing Androids clocking in at 70-80 pounds with 7 inch screens and GPS means it's a winner all round.

    Thanks for the kind feedback and happy New Year.

    - tonymac

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