For most people, the common way to look for directions is Google maps. So when they buy a car, they pay minimal attention to the installation of satnav. Interestingly most of the mid-level and premium cars have pre-installed satnav. Still, many drivers tend to skip using it for their mobile-based apps.

In this article, we will explore the various facets of satnav in cars. We will explore why it is the most reasonable and safest way to use it. We will also highlight the shortcomings of using Google maps.

  • Legal implications: According to the Highway Code and vehicle rules in the UK, it is illegal to hold a mobile phone in hand while driving. Even if you mount it on a stand, it should not disrupt the direct view of the road or traffic. You should not appear distracted by the mobile phone.

This means even if you are trying to figure out the direction, you are flouting the rules. It can attract you 6 penalty points. Also, you may need to pay a fine of £200- £1,000. Your driving license might get revoked.

You need to have a sound yet legally safe navigation device. Built-in satnav devices are the perfect option here. They are voice-controlled and do not need to be hand-held. You can ask for directions without attracting any fine. If you are confused which satnav device best fits your requirements, you can take a cue from Satnavdebate.co.uk.

  • Better connectivity: As the name suggests, satnav devices use satellite data to guide you. You are not dependent on cell networks. The Google maps may work fine in urban areas with multiple cell towers; it loses its relevance in remote areas.

When you ask for direction, the app downloads portions of the map at intervals. It uses a 3G or 4G signal to do so. So, if you are driving and suddenly run out of your mobile internet, there is no way out. The complete map will not be downloaded. This can turn dangerous if you are driving through lonely highways.

The satnav is extremely helpful here. As it uses the satellite data, it never loses track of the directions. It will guide you through the route, suggest alternative roads, and will help you keep track of yourself. Most of the newer models have come up with advanced satnav. They suggest alternative routes with graphics and automated voice assistance.

They also provide live traffic updates. With so many pros, it seems that satnav is a better option for navigation.

  1. Storage issues: Google maps need to be installed on your smartphone. Now, most of the mobile phone users know the persistent storage issues on the phone. Let us walk you through the GB that having google maps consumes on your phone.

Google maps take 510MB space. Add your daily or monthly download of maps, this shoots higher. And, if you suddenly run out of phone storage on the way, you need to clear the phone memory first. Let us remind you here, using a mobile phone while driving is illegal. So you need to pull up on the road-side, clear your phone memory and let the map download. If there is no cell signal, it is going to be a disaster.

On the other hand, a dedicated satnav device is free of such issues. It will not run out of storage space because some other app is consuming more space. Most satnav devices come with an additional slot for memory cards. So, if you run out of the device memory, you can use it for storing maps.

  • Power source: You can use google maps only when your smartphone is charged. Unlike a mobile phone, a satnav does not need to be charged separately. It draws power from the car socket. So, as long as the car engine is running, it is working. However, mobile phones need to be charged continuously.

Of course, you can charge your phone back using the car cable or the power bank. But what if you miss taking any of these? You will be deprived of any GPS device. If you have a satnav in your car, you do not need to worry about this issue. A satnav uses around 143-150 mW of power while an idle phone consumes around 300mW. You opting for a satnav can be a power-saving option also.

  • Features: A car satnav is a dedicated device. It has limited functions. But all these functions are enough to guide you when you hit the roads. On the other hand, google maps is just an app on the smartphone. While driving, you will be disturbed by numerous notifications from other apps, calls, and SMSs. Aggravating is the situation when the app suddenly stops responding. A satnav is free from all these technical issues. You do not receive distracting messages.

Along with this, most satnav devices have a wider display, user-friendly interface, and advanced lane guidance. Satnav devices also show 2D and 3D maps for better visualization. Most of the newer models have a whole lot of features that make them better than google maps.


Google Maps is an app that heavily relies on cell signals. You can use it for short routes. But if you are looking for a dedicated GPS for your car, the satnav device takes the lead. The user-friendly features, the inclusion of several new features, and the legal aspect make it a better choice.

Also, it is easier to operate than smartphones. Many people who do not use smartphones, especially older people, who rely on satnav devices. The basic difference lies in the purpose of the device. A mobile phone incorporates several apps. Google maps are one of them. A satnav device is solely for navigation. It is projected that 2021 Sat Nav’s features and usability are going to improve further. It needs to be seen if it succeeds in increasing its popularity.


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