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Portable vs Smartphone Sat Navs: Which are Best?

Posted on October 12, 2021

Satellite navigation has become an integrated system in modern driving and when used right, it can become your best driving companion that helps you reach safely any destination. 

According to the findings by car hire firm Europcar, 28% of those surveyed revealed they would be lost when driving if they didn’t have a GPS navigation device of some kind at their disposal. Sat Navs have given many people the confidence to tackle more difficult roads or drive longer journeys in their car. 

Love it or hate it, satellite navigation holds many benefits, including decreased journey times, digital maps that help you to never get lost and advanced technology to pinpoint your exact location. Additionally, a Sat Nav can calculate the exact distance and your estimated time of arrival within minutes, making it a useful tool to have when you’re setting off on long or unfamiliar journeys.  

However, you might be wondering: which Sat Nav is best for your car? A portable satellite navigation or a Sat Nav device such as the Smartphone navigation app? We’re here to make your choice easier, so buckle up – here’s what you need to consider: 

  1. Battery life 

Built-in or portable Sat Navs hold a longer battery lifespan compared to smartphones. While you can still plug your smartphone into a car to charge your battery, it’s important to remember that the GPS on your phone can consume and drain your battery quite fast, which will still leave you with a low battery by the end of your journey. If you were to opt for a portable navigation system, you’d be able to leave your phone with a full battery and not have to worry about it throughout your journey.  

  1. The level of accuracy  

While Sat Navs are made entirely for the purpose of offering directions, smartphones are complex devices with a wider range of functions. If you’re the kind of person who has many apps installed on your phone and who has a busy lifestyle, getting calls or email notifications can often interrupt your navigation app and consequently, affect your journey. 

 In addition, dedicated Sat Nav devices provide a greater level of accuracy as the maps are stored on the device itself, so you won’t have to worry about getting lost if you don’t have mobile data. On the other hand, smartphone apps require good Internet data and a secure signal to load the maps or update the drive with any road closures or speed limit changes. Using your mobile data for long periods of time can lead to higher phone bills which will become an inconvenience in the long-term.  

  1. Screen dimensions  

Smartphones feature high-resolution screens and a variety of controls that can be accessed either through voice or touch commands. However, in terms of the screen size, the portable navigation system is a winner as it is equipped with a generous display that help prevent any sunlight glares.  

In addition, when using your smartphone navigation app, you have to invest in a suitable mount that will fit on your window. For every change in your journey, you will have to load your phone into and out of the mount which can distract your attention from the road and affect your concentration while driving. Portable Sat Navs have a more rigid and long-lasting build which allow for plenty of use without you having to worry if it’s going to break.  

On the other hand, having a portable Sat Nav device allows you to share the device with someone else from your household or swap it if you have more than one vehicle.  

Overall, a dedicated Sat Nav device can bring you peace of mind and can provide you with accurate alerts of any traffic warnings or speed cameras, great GPS connectivity, along with a hands-free system that is easy to navigate.  

Our Hyde Park Corner engineers are fully trained in all areas of navigation installations so get in touch with us today and let us help you install the perfect navigation system that suits your needs.  

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