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Integrated satnav vs stand-alone

Discussion in 'New A3/S3 (8V Chassis)' started by Vertigo1, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. Vertigo1
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    Vertigo1 Active Member

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    Just been reading an interesting article in the latest edition of PC Pro magazine.

    They tested four different stand-alone satnav solutions across a variety of destinations. Featured were Google Maps, Apple Maps, Tomtom and Nokia Drive+. Google Maps, probably predictably, came out top, closely followed by Tomtom. Drive+ and Apple Maps fought it out at the bottom.

    What struck me reading it, however, was how few of the problems they experienced with these solutions I've had with my Audi system. There were numerous cases of inadequate directions, with motorway sliproads and junctions not being explained well enough, directions being given far too late, multiple roundabouts close together producing confusing directions, insufficient info being displayed and other problems which I can't remember off the top of my head.

    Whilst no system is perfect and the Audi nav certainly has its foibles, as I read the article I kept thinking to myself "never had that problem". In light of this I'm struck by what a well thought-out system and interface the Audi nav has and how it's superior to the stand-alone alternatives in many ways. Yes it's hideously expensive compared to a stand-alone solution, especially when, in the case of things like Apple Maps or Google Maps, it's effectively free if you already have the phone, but I've sampled many different solutions over the years, both stand-alone and integrated from various manufacturers and the Audi system beats them all IMO. When you add in the inherent benefits of an integrated solution - always "just there" when you need it, no cables or mounts required, integrated into the dash display, turns music volume down when giving directions etc, I personally think it's worth every penny :)
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  2. XXXCorps
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    XXXCorps Member

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    I couldn't agree more with that; there have been many situations where my Audi Navigation Plus has been invaluable in my current A3 absolutely without question.
    However...
    Last weekend when I borrowed the 8V A3 S line from the dealer it had no Sat Nav installed and came upon a particularly nasty traffic pile up on the M62. My iPhone 5 came out I sat it in the cup holder of the car and fired up the Apple Maps app. This was the first time I have used it for this purpose and can honestly say I have not stopped singing it's praises since to anyone who'll listen.
    The mapping is excellent and got me straight back home through unfamiliar roads in the dark.
    (Still ordering the Audi solution in my new car though for all the reasons Vertigo1 has mentioned)
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  3. h5djr
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    h5djr Active Member

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    I've never used an Audi built-in Sat Nav but I have used a TomTom ONE unit for many years. I've also tried one or two other system on PDAs etc in the past. The TomTom unit is the best one I've used to date, especially if you add your own collection of POIs.

    I have it mounted on the right-hand end of the screen where I can see it with just a slight sideways glance. Being right-handed it means I can do all the set with my right-hand as well. It also means I can route the cable from the fuse box up behind the door rubber and only have the last couple of inches visable.

    I have used it for routes in the UK and also in Europe and it has never given me any problems apart from if I have decided to go a slightly different way because I prefer a one praticular route to another, but it soon adjusts accordingly. Generally if I have been somewhere before I can remember the route without problems, even driving to Germany and Austria.

    One of the main reasons I like this unit is it's one of the 'older' three inch screen jobs so it does not block the view and it so easy to load the very up to date speed camera database updates from PGPSW. This is the main reason I have it in the car.

    How easy is it to load up to date camera locations on the Audi system?
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  4. @udi A3
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    @udi A3 Active Member Site Sponsor

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    I have possible fault / hindrance with your system, and ive never even owned one!
    When leaving the car to run into the house for a pen you forgot, or into the fuel station, or corner shop etc, you return to your car and drive off to the destination you was already heading to, how long does it take to pick up that journey, and how many button pushes are needed to continue?

    I have tried using several head-units like kenwood/pioneer and found they all take too long to boot up again and need button presses.

    My Garmin (notice you didnt mention this), is on all the time, continues immediately. If im worried about the area i visit i put it in my pocket when i get out, dont switch it off, and return it to the mount as i stitch the ignition back on.
    My job involves visiting 30-100 addresses a day, I dont want to be waiting for directions and pressing buttons while navigating through rush hour traffic or main roadways.

    Also garmin has a two tier route function, i can add waypoints for it to automatically reroute in shortest route order, and i can preload the route from MS autoroute or similar in a minute or two before leaving home.

    If the OEM units offered this route function, and was able to stay in a suspended state when jumping out for 10-15 mins ready to navigate again on ignition, id defo consider going through the pain of a retrofit.

    If my garmin gets stolen, its £90 lost plus a call to auto-glass, if my oem gets stolen its a whole lot more! In four years ive never had my car broken into while doing my job, touches wood... (dont tell coatesy!!)
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  5. XXXCorps
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    XXXCorps Member

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    With mine there are no button presses; the car will just revert back to the map and continue to direct me until I physically press 'Stop Route Guidance'.
    It does not show speed camera locations but that doesn't really worry me as I tend not to speed anyhow so all good here.
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  6. Vertigo1
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    Vertigo1 Active Member

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    Yeah it just carries on with no delay or interruption or button pressing required at all. I'm surprised a stand-alone solution wouldn't do this to be honest. Whilst a smartphone app or stand-alone unit would probably turn off the GPS receiver immediately when powered off as it's a huge battery drain, it still shouldn't take too long to get a lock again once turned on, although it all depends on how long it's been off. If off for hours then all the satellites are in a different location and it can take a while to find them again and get a fix. This is actually what A-GPS is for, as fitted to most smartphones now, where it uses the Internet connection to find out where the satellites are rather than just searching for them, so gets a fix faster.

    With an integrated system, it can afford to keep the GPS powered for a while when the ignition is switched off as there's no shortage of power. It obviously has to turn it off completely after a prolonged period and will then need to get a fix again but I've never found it takes much time to work out where it is. The system is also powered and starts initialising from the moment you unlock the car, rather than start the ignition, which gives it a bit of a head-start.

    I'll happily conceded that stand-alone systems have advantages, chief amongst which would probably be the ability to update maps more easily and add your own POIs, plus their traffic can be more accurate on minor roads as it's often crowd-sourced rather than relying on one of the public systems like Trafficmaster which only covers major roads. One other advantage of something like Tomtom over the free smartphone apps like Google Maps or Apple Maps, and one they share with integrated systems, is that no Internet connection is required to access the map data of course. With Google Maps or Apple Maps, you need a live Internet connection to download mapping data all the time.
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  7. noidea
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    noidea Member

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    I don't think that's true with google maps. I think you can download your route and surrounding area before you leave so its cached. Otherwise you'd run up huge data roaming costs
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  8. h5djr
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    h5djr Active Member

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    My standalone TomTom is wired into my cars ignition circuit which recharges it's internal battery. If I switch off the ignition and don't turn of the TomTom it just stays on a shows it's current position and holds any route data but puts no drain on the car's battery. If it's been off, say over night, it only takes about a minute to get the current position. If it's left for a week or so and it's own internal battery goes flat it's takes about 4-5 minutes to get sufficient change to operate.

    If I need more detail that a Sat/Nav can provide I tend to use OS Maps on my Nexus 7 tablet which also has GPS. I am going on a River Cruise in Holland in April and I have 1:25,000 maps of the whole of Holland on the Nexus and will be able to follow the ships route on that. Much easier to carry around that even a laptop.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2013
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  9. selar
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    selar Member

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    Yeah that's right. I'm also opting out of the Audi navigation because Google Maps is so good. With the latest version of Android you get something called Google Now. I used the normal Google search engine on my computer to find a restaurant for Mother's Day, and minutes later I had an alert on my phone warning me that the traffic from my current location was unusually heavy and that it'd take an extra 7 or 8 minutes to get there, and would I like to start up turn-by-turn Navigation? If I frequently visit somewhere it starts to show up on my Google Now cards, asking if I care about travel time to that place so it can keep an eye out and let me know if it gets congested again in future. Warns me in the morning before I go to work, too.
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  10. deci
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    deci Member

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    Apart from a few recently built Irish roads that still unknown to my nav, I'm very impressed with the tech pack in the A3. I even love how it gets the lanes right. I haven't used a garmin or tomtom in years so I'm sure they've come on a bit since then, but its a huge improvement over my 8p's nav.
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  11. squiretolley
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    squiretolley Member

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    Does anyone have any experience of the SD based nav in the new A3?

    I seriously considered the tech pack, but couldn't justify it for the few occasions I'd use it.
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  12. bobwilson
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    bobwilson Member

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    We tried the sat nav at the audi dealer, and he was embarrassed because the voice control input just would not work reliably. Plus, when you type in any UK postcode, it gives an error ''no road names listed for this location''
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  13. number3
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    number3 Member

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    i have the standard sat nav , and think it works flawlessly worth every penny! , doesn't look as sexy as vertigo's but still worth it !!
    I have it on most of the time now as the traffic updates over the DAB seem better than my tomtom live I had! Oh and no problems here with postcodes or voice control :)

    Mark
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  14. squiretolley
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    squiretolley Member

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    Thats interesting, for some reason I didn't think the sd nav received traffic updates? Do you get directional arrows etc in the DIS?
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  15. XXXCorps
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    XXXCorps Member

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    The voice recognition will not just work out of the box... You need to run the MMI and get it to 'Learn' your voice by repeating a number of preset words...
    If I had been the salesman I'd have been more embarrassed not informing you of that first.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2013
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  16. Vertigo1
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    Vertigo1 Active Member

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    As XXXCorps mentioned, there is an option to train the voice system to your own voice but I can't say I had any problems before running through this. Then again I don't have an accent really, which could make the difference.

    Regards postcodes, there seems to be an odd glitch with this. Every time you enter one, it says there are no roads associated with it and asks if you want to navigate to the centre of town. If you just answer yes, it takes you to the exact postcode location anyway and works every time. Just seems that the message is erroneous or misleading.

    Will be interesting to see if this changes with the new software update in a couple of days. The other thing I'm wondering is whether they've fixed the BST problem I had with the DAB radio, whereby the programme information still shows the times in GMT even when BST is active, so they're all out by an hour. Obviously stopped being a problem when the clocks went back the week after I got the car but, if it returns in a few weeks time when they go forward, and with the latest software in place, then I'll be raising it as an issue with the dealer.
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  17. number3
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    number3 Member

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    it picks them up through the TMC, which seems more "live" over DAB than standard FM.

    and yes the centre dis shows the turns plus countdown to turns. On the s-line you get this in lovely high-res colour!!

    mark
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  18. squiretolley
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    squiretolley Member

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    Thanks. Does it re-route to avoid traffic jams etc?
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  19. Vertigo1
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    Vertigo1 Active Member

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    Yes it does automatically re-route if it can find a faster way around. Even if it can't it'll still warn you of the traffic but say it can't find an alternative route. The voice warnings play even if you have the standard navigation voice instructions turned off.
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  20. number3
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    number3 Member

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    ill be honest...... I've turned her off !!! Lol
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  21. squiretolley
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    squiretolley Member

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    Thanks, but is that on the sd based nav as well as I know you have the tech pack.
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  22. number3
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    number3 Member

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    yes re-routes on the standard system same as vertigo describes , routes you to petrol station when low on fuel!

    also vertigo, you said further up you couldn't add POI , but adding favourites acts the same way really!

    mark
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  23. Vertigo1
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    Vertigo1 Active Member

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    What I meant is you can't import a database of POIs, such as speed camera locations :)

    Oh and the petrol station thing looked cool the first time I saw it, until I realised it was going to ask me that every time I started the ignition until I refuelled, at which point I promptly turned it off :)
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  24. number3
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    number3 Member

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    oooooooohh!! :)

    And yes the car starts to nag you like the wife lol!
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
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  25. bobwilson
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    bobwilson Member

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    No. You've misunderstood. The voice control RECOGNISED our voices and input the correct postcode; it showed up on the screen. It then searched for the correct postcode, but gave an error ''No road names found for this City'' - incredible considering the city was London and every postcode we tried in the UK did not work either, whether it be via voice or manual input.

    Oh- and don't worry about the salesman, he knew diddly squat, as is our experience of all car dealer salesmen so far... it makes you wonder how they got the job, and what they do with their days in the company if they all know nothing other than how to arrange finances. They seem to know nothing but the bare basics about any car (i.e. turn the key like this, it moves...)
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  26. Chester Draws
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    Chester Draws Member

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    Bob , refer to post 16 on this thread as it might help next time you try to operate it at a dealers
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  27. Vertigo1
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    Vertigo1 Active Member

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    As Chester said, see my post above. Basically it's a glitch with the feedback from the unit - if you just ignore it and answer yes when it asks if you want to navigate to the centre, it takes to to the postcode anyway. Oddly, it only seems to happen if you use voice input to enter the postcode - if you enter it manually there are no such complaints.
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  28. Trebuchet
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    I used to highly praise my standalone Garmin jobbie, but now use the Waze app on my iPhone/iPadMini

    It's reached critical mass now, which makes the crowd sourced traffic / incident avoidance solution very good. More so than camera based systems because there can never be enough cameras, but if two waze enabled cars get stuck in a jam on a tiny road which you may have thought was a good alternative to a jammed A road, then it will route you around both jams.
    #28

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