Sat-Nav VS Phone Sat Nav: Which Is Better?

Car Sat-Nav VS Phone Sat Nav Which Is Better

Many vehicles are now offering built-in sat-navs, and a lot of them provide smartphone connectivity. Because of that, would you need to set up a standalone sat-nav / use the in-built satnav, or is it better to use your smartphone with GPS features connected within it?

Since smartphones are now becoming more useful in many areas, people now find it difficult to survive without them. Smartphones enable anyone to take pictures, which challenge the camera, manage different calendars, games, maps, phone books, and search for information on Google. And they have the ability to provide directions in popular apps like Google maps or Apple maps depending on the device.

Because of smartphones, most people opt to reach for their mobile device whenever they drive their car to know about directions and check the maps. If you have ordered an uber, you should know that all of the drivers use their mobile phones as a satnav (most likely using Google Maps) so they can drive you to your desired destination instead of relying on the car’s in-built navigation.

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Phones Connecting With Built-In Car Sat Navs

If your vehicle has Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, it can be incredibly convenient and easier to connect to the map directly. You will see the map appear on the central screen unit. Only a few car makers have stopped to include navigation, especially in their top-spec models.

However, they allowed connectivity to Android and Apple as they know that car drivers are starting to choose their phones instead. And from a safety point of view, this means also the amount of interaction with the phone is limited, thus, creating a safer journey without the phone distracting them.

Smart Phone Map Applications

Since the majority of people own a smartphone, anyone can get their hands on top-notch mapping applications to help them get to their destination. Smartphones are even pre-installed with mapping apps depending on the operating system.

For those who use an Apple phone, you have “Apple Maps” preinstalled on your phone. Apple even allows you to install Google Maps off the App store so you are not bound or restricted by your phone brand. And for Android operated phones, google maps is usually the default app installed on your phone. Android is used with a lot of brands like Samsung, HTC, and other phone brands.

It can be great to use maps on your smartphone because they can generally be more accurate than a standard car sat-nav. That is because the car’s sat nav is based on a pre-loaded map most of the time. Since that is the case, you don’t get live traffic updates and the most up to date of map/surroundings around you.

Map Accuracy

The smartphone uses GPS signals for mapping, including the phone reception towers for better accuracy. New cars are now offering live traffic on their built-in sat-navs, and the feature is generally included in the purchase of the vehicle.

Some car brands may offer this as an additional option when purchasing a car. Because of that, it may be worth not including it to try to save money by not getting this addition added to the car.

If your car does not have ‘live’ mapping, you don’t own the vehicle, or you haven’t loaded in the most up to date map, your sat-nav may not be the most pleasurable experience going forward. Because it would be best to use your smartphone as your sat nav for long journey’s. It is also important that if you’re hiring a vehicle, you may find it more convenient to just use your smartphone instead.

Live Traffic Updates & Rerouting

What if your car has live traffic updates included in its navigation? If this is the case, it would depend on how comfortable you find to use it.

Yet, some of the dedicated navigation systems may not be as good. When choosing the best route or rerouting by comparing BMW’s navigation system and Google Maps, I discovered that the alternate route given by Google Maps was faster with fewer turns. Even if I took wrong turns on purpose, the time it takes to rewrite my journey is a lot quicker.


Because of all these, in the end, it will come down to what you are most comfortable with.

Many built-in navigation systems have live traffic updates that can be great but are incapable of matching the constant evolution and sophistication of your smartphone’s app. Aside from that, people are more familiar with using their smartphones instead of utilising a mapping app. If you connect your car to your phone through Android or Apple connectivity, you will likely use your phone’s mapping app as your first choice when setting off on a journey!

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