Thursday, February 04, 2010

Review? I don't think so...

I like PC pro magazine. Sometimes it's a bit too petrol headed for me a mere end user, but I've been a long time reader and for much of that time a subscriber (in fact my sub has run out and I must renew). The columnists generally are level headed and offer balanced opinions, even if some of the content is way over my level of understanding as a mere mortal and "end user".

Their "Labs" reviews are trustworthy and I think I've said before that I've made many hardware purchases on the back of their reviews and "A-List" and have literally never been disappointed.

Inevitably, amongst all that glowing praise there has to be a "but". The latest is this "review"/road test between the Tom Tom's top of the range 940T unit, and Tom Tom running on an iPhone.

Jon Honeyball is the writer. Now Mr Honeyball is a fount of all things technical and shiny, and his writing often leaves me wishing I could work for him. He's one of a limited number of people i the world who can get seriously excited by a service pack, and he's got the ear of many a Microsoft executive. His knowledge is almost second to none - who knows, it may be first to none, and when he's not writing articles where I can only understand only every fortieth word, I really find his writing interesting.

This article though is bizarre. It's billed as Tom Tom 940T vs iPhone Tom Tom: a real road test.

For a start the article is only 433 words long. Short by anyone's standards. And, as far as I can see, the only real "testing" between the two, where the statements:

"Comparing the maps and routing of the two units was fascinating. The 940T was head and shoulders better than the iPhone, simply by virtue of the live traffic updates"
and "quitting the app on the iPhone to do anything else was a pain in the posterior".

The latter statement is odd because he doesn't say the 940T is a PITA because it can only do one job. Balanced? Not very.

The rest of the article is mostly Mr Honeyball saying how he had trouble getting the iPhone into it's mount, then out of it's mount, only to find the mount had "broken" the iPhone because it was designed for an iPod Touch not an iPhone. D'uh?

He concludes that "I'd take the 940T every time". Well who wouldn't if all you wanted was a top of the range sat nav unit - that's assuming you could afford the £300 plus retail price (you can get it cheaper if you shop around), and Mr Honeyball's never short of a bob or two - he's frequently telling readers how he's bought (an expensive) bit of kit, from several terabytes of memory to a top of the range digital SLR on a whim.

Don't get me wrong, I'm really not having a pop at Jon Honeyball. I genuinely respect his work for PC Pro, but this isn't an article that road tests the 940T v the iPhone Tom Tom app, its an article that slags off the iPhone because he fitted in the wrong mount and doesn't do live updates.

By the way, I use CoPilot live on my iPhone :-)

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