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The best sat navs for Christmas driving

Don't get lost on your way home for Christmas. A Best Buy sat nav will keep you right.

With Christmas rearing its tinseled head, many of us are contemplating long drives to see friends and family. With the possibility of icy conditions and the certainty of dark nights, it’s important to have an excellent sat nav to keep you on track.

Sat nav reviews – take a look at every sat nav we’ve reviewed

We test dozens of sat nav apps, as well as dedicated sat navs that you stick on your windshield. Our independent testing means we aren’t swayed by big brands on name alone, such as TomTom and Garmin. We test every sat nav impartially, so you can trust our reviews to help you find the perfect model to guide you home for Christmas.

Standalone sat navs

TomTom Via 135 M Europe 

This sat nav is one of cheapest. You can get one for around £120, and one of the reasons it’s so cheap is that it’s fairly old having released in 2013.

It comes with free Europe and UK maps for life, and you can set the destination with your voice. Most importantly, maps are easy to read on the 5-inch screen and the voice commands are crisp and clear, so you can hear them even in the noisiest cars.

Does the lack of traffic updates hold this sat nav back? Find out in our TomTom Via 135 M Europe review.

Garmin DriveLuxe 50LMT-D 

If money is no object, you could go for the Garmin DriveLuxe. It will cost you around £240 – for that you’ll get a crystal-clear 5-inch touchscreen wrapped up in a metal shell.

It looks more like a smartphone than a sat nav. That sharp screen is clever, too. It displays the speed limit clearly, and it turns bright red if you exceed it. Pair it with your phone and it will safely alert you to incoming calls and texts.

There’s a traffic receiver built in, so you’ll know well in advance if there’s trouble on your journey. If you do need to adjust your route, you can tap the touchscreen for alternate roads. Or you can let the sat nav take control and recalculate the route for you, something it does in a heartbeat.

Is £240 too much to spend on a sat nav or is it worth every penny? Read our Garmin DriveLuxe 50LMT-D review to find out.

Sat nav apps

NNG Software iGO Navigation for Android and iOS

This app may not be made by Garmin or TomTom, but that doesn’t mean you should write it off. It’s made by NNG software, and we were impressed with both the iOS and Android versions.

Both versions are similar, but the Android version is inexplicably £7 more expensive. The iOS version costs £23 a year.

The app makes good of use of high-res smartphone screens. Maps are clear with good contrast, making it easy to see your route at a glance. Audio commands are equally clear, and you get plenty of warning before an upcoming turn or roundabout.

You can try the app for free, too. You get seven days of full use before it will ask for any money.

Does the NNG app beat the TomTom and Garmin sat nav apps? Check out the iGO Navigation app review on iOS and Android for out full verdict.

TomTom GPS Navigation Traffic for Android

If you’d prefer to go with a trusted brand, you could try TomTom’s best sat nav app. The app is free, but only up to 50 miles a month. After that you’ll need to pay an annual fee of £14, or you can save a little by paying £34 for three years.

The maps are uncluttered and easy to see on HD smartphone screens and the voice navigation is clear and detailed.

There are some other niggles, such as it cutting off long street names rather than shortening them to fit the screen, does that mean the NNG app is better? Head to our TomTom GPS Navigation Traffic app review to find out.

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