What are the sat nav features you just don’t need?

by , Technology Researcher Sat Navs 04/04/2012
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Sat navs have undoubtedly changed the way we get from place to place, for the most part making our journeys easier. But while they’re for getting you from A to B, many are packed with features that are just superfluous fluff.

4. Automatic Twitter updates

If you think concentrating on driving gives you a well-deserved rest from the ever present world of social networking site updates, think again.

Devices like the TomTom Go series can access Twitter, and let the world know what you’re doing in the car (although one would presume driving). If you’re running late for a business meeting, or a spot of tea with your aunt, your sat nav can Tweet the world and let them know you’re going to be another five minutes.

It should be noted that this is all done automatically, so there’s no fear of having to Tweet the AA to come and collect you from a ditch, but in a world where even toasters have Twitter, a little sanctuary from its ever-present reach would be appreciated.

Do people really need to know where you are all the time?

3. Built-in TV receivers

If you’re worried about missing out on the latest episode of Eastenders, what better way to catch up than from the comfort of your own car?

Yes, sat navs with built-in digital TV tuners do exist. We first came across these models in 2009, and they continue to be released, with more models coming later in the year.

Sat navs with a TV feature come with a host of on-screen warnings about not watching the TV when driving, but it is still possible. Do we really need to make our navigation devices all-in-one entertainment centres too?

How long before the first 3D TV sat nav?

2. Celebrity voices

Ever wondered what it would be like to hear Darth Vader guiding you down the M1? The answer, surely, must be ‘no’.

However, it seems barely a week goes by without a new celebrity voice being announced, and it’s hard to see what they can offer outside those first five minutes of novelty value.

Speaking as a technology writer, it is especially frustrating to receive a press release about an ‘exciting new sat nav product’, only to discover that Christopher Biggins has been recorded to help you navigate the B roads of Britain. Sorry Chris.

1. Adverts for dating websites

Advertising in the car is nothing new, especially if you listen to commercial radio. However, adverts via a sat nav are a fairly recent innovation.

Thanks to your mobile phone, it is now possible to download a free sat nav app to get you from A to B. Like most free apps, some of these are ad-supported, and although it seems churlish to complain about getting something for nothing, they can be slightly invasive.

When testing out the Andnav2 app for a route to Milton Keynes, we were presented with an advert for a popular brand of stock cubes. While I’m sure they were delicious, I can’t say it added anything to our journey planning. Later on we got an advert for a dating site to meet Russian women.

With ad-supported free apps proving to be popular,  how long will it be before our sat navs automatically divert us to the nearest supermarket, to pick up the advertised crisps?

A special mention should also go to a budget sat nav we reviewed a few years ago, which promised a Blu-ray player, among its many features. It even had the Blu-ray logo appear on-screen when it was first turned on. Sadly, it couldn’t deliver on this promise as the Blu-ray feature was just a remnant of the original operating system the sat nav had been built on.

Got an axe to grind about useless features on your sat nav? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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