If GPS units allow you to find out how to go anywhere, why must you always have to go there in a car? It's a question that should be obvious, but until recently never really been answered.
Most GPS units that we test here at Pocket-lint.co.uk, including the recent TomTom Go 700 need to be connected to a car to work, so when TomTom announced the TomTom Mobile 5 you can understand why we got quite excited. Why? Because it's a GPS module that allows you to use the excellent TomTom software on your phone, leaving the car behind.
You get three items in the box; a GPS receiver the size of a box of matches (87.8 x 43 x 15.1mm and weighting 68grams), mini SD card, and a mini SD card to SD card adapter to fit in your phone. On the mini SD card is the TomTom software with a complete map of the UK pre-installed and ready to go out of the box.
Connecting your phone to the box of tricks is simple and as long as you have Bluetooth on your Smartphone you're in business. We tested it on the i-mate SP3 that runs Microsoft's mobile edition OS. The phone is virtually identical to the Orange SPV series of phones, however TomTom says that it will also work with Motorola's MPX 220, Nokia's 3230, 6260, 6600, 6630, 6670, 6680, 6681, 7610, 7710, 9300, 9500 phones, Orange's SPV C500, SPV E200, Qtek's 8010, 8020, 8060, 8080 models, T-Mobile's SDA and Sony Ericsson's P910i.
Rather than offering a pared-down version for mobile users, all the features found on the standard version of TomTom are here. Running the software is as easy as clicking on the map icon and there is no setup required. The company has even programmed in a series of shortcuts for you to use with a number pad.
For those not aware of what these are, they include 3D or 2D map options, points of interest locations, city, street and postcode finding abilities and traffic updates beamed directly to your phone to update the maps to name but a few.
When we reviewed the TomTom Classic we were very disappointed, then came the TomTom 700, which we loathed, having to send it back. The same is with the TomTom Mobile 5. We love it. Mainly because you don't have to be in a car to use it.
You'll be amazed how much it helps you find your way around, even if you are walking or cycling around a city trying to find a street or more importantly a pub for a drink. As long as the box has a direct line of sight to the sky you're in business. We found the best place was strapped to a rucksack.
What's the catch? Well the list of phones currently supported isn't that long and you've got to be prepared to opt for a Smartphone for it to be of any benefit.
For some that might mean the hard decision of opting for a phone that they might not want to use only to get a killer application that they use some of the time.