Why the iPad is becoming my Favorite GPS Navigation Device

Once Apple updated iOS to allow Apps to run in the background I gave up on dedicated Turn-byTurn GPS units. I've been using the Navigon App on my iPhone ever since.  Navigon updated their Apps to be Universal Apps so that they would be native on the iPad too. I remember thinking at the time, "when would I ever want to use a big iPad for GPS navigation?" The first time I used Navigon on the iPad was actually the Europe version in Denmark. The advantage for me then was that i didn't have a car charger with me and the iPad battery would last much longer than the one on my iPhone 4. On that trip I was the passenger, so I could hold the iPad while Scott Kelby drove. I realized something during that drive. It was really nice having a big screen navigation system. While I love the Navigon App, I've always said that the text was a tad bit too small. However, on iPad that's it's big, beautiful and easy to read. Another advantage is that the iPad has a louder speaker that's easier to hear the directions. 

I decided to give it a try solo. During my last trip to LA I used the iPad as my GPS navigation. I just set the iPad on the seat as I didn't really need to look at it once I started driving. The voice directions were good enough. If you wanted to mount an iPad in your car permanently you could use something like this Arkon mount. However, I only use these devices/Apps in rental cars. Therefore, I don't need a permanent mounting solution.


The Bottom Line

The iPhone is always with me and I have no plans to delete the Navigon App from it. However, if I have both devices with me and I'm in a rental car, I'm going to use the iPad for navigation over the iPhone. If you want to use an iPad for navigation, you're going to want the WiFi+3G model as it has a GPS chip in it and the WiFi model does not. Also here's a car charger that will charge both your iPad and phone.

You can get the  Navigon North America App here from the NAVIGON MobileNavigator North America - NAVIGON AG

10 Replies to “Why the iPad is becoming my Favorite GPS Navigation Device”

  1. Just a quick note. According to California state law, an iPad or any other video device may only be mounted so that the driver is unable to see the screen during the course of driving.

    Also in California drivers are not allowed to attach any gps, radar detector, etc to the windshield.

  2. this may seem like a silly question, but doesn’t one need to subscribe to the data plan to use the navigon or any navigation ap on the IPad? If so, how much data does it eat on a trip?

    1. Peter, that’s a common misconception about the various flavors of GPS navigation Apps. There are basically two kind: Ones with Maps built in and ones without. The ones without rely on your device to pull the map data in as you drive, therefore eating into your data plan. Those have the advantage of not taking up much storage space on your device and always having the latest maps. However, they suck when you drive in area that doesn’t have any data coverage or you’re on a limited plan. The Navigon Apps have the maps built-in and don’t require any data usage. They “can” use data for things like the Google POI search or showing you the weather/parking at your destination, but don’t require any data usage for navigation since the maps are built-in and they use the GPS chip in your iPhone or iPad (WiFi+3G). Also since Navigon has the Maps built-in if you drive through areas with no cell service at all it will keep right on working.

  3. We recently used our iPad Navigon system for a road trip from Durango, CO to Tucson, AZ. Worked beautifully. Only thing missing was the iPad mount- it’s on my list!!

  4. I’ve used the Navigon system on my iPhone for about 2 years now. I absolutely love it. A bit expensive for the software (I think I paid $75 originally), but it has saved my butt enough to pay for itself many times now.

    My iPad 2 is the WiFi version, so it stays at home 🙂

  5. Get this, u don’t need no wifi/3G to use navigation on navigon for ipad2..since the map is built in on navigon, it doesn’t require u to be connected to any data plan or wifi, i use it for my daily commute n it works!

Comments are closed.