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Using Desire as a Sat Nav

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by mobily, Feb 9, 2011.

  1. mobily

    mobily Newbie
    Thread Starter

    Hi all :)

    My at Sat Nav has recently packed up and somebody has recommended that I use the Desire as my Sat Nav as it is far superior.

    In order to use this I would need to purchase a holder for it and also a a car charger as the GPS will kill the battery!

    Does anyone know where I could get these items on the cheap and also any experiences of using the Desire to get from A to B without going to C?


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  2. RedBob62

    RedBob62 Member


    I have been using my Desire as a sat nav for about 6 months now and think it works really well. The various app upgrades have improved the user experience, especially the way the map resolves itself on the screen. It is quick, accurate and remarkably easy to use (that said I'd never had a sat nav before so don't know what to compare it with). I was initially worried that it would use a lot of data but in truth its not that much (e.g. couple of mb for a 120 mile trip).

    As you say, the holder and charger are must haves as it eats battery life. The other thing I have noticed is the whole unit gets quite hot, probably because the screen is on full time, but a simple solution for this is to position the holder where an air vent can blow on it. Finally I don't think you can change the voice as I believe you can do on some commercial sat navs.

    The other day I was up in London and tried the walking nav for the first time. Seems to work well once you've got the hang of not walking in to things!

    Hope that helps,

  3. 1500cc

    1500cc Member

    I got a holder on eBay for about $4 shipped, and a real HTC charger (at least it has the HTC logo on it) for about $2-3 shipped. Very happy with both, the charger can more than keep up, even when playing music too. The holder is surprisingly high quality for something so cheap. (Sorry I don't have links to the auction, they were many months ago, but it's probably the same stuff being sold now if you search.)

    The satnav itself is amazing. In my area they have Google traffic, so it gives you real-time traffic conditions, showing red/orange/green depending on the flow. Other 'layers' can give you the satellite images of where you're going, which is really neat to see what your immediate vicinity looks like from the sky as you're driving.
  4. RedBob62

    RedBob62 Member

    Yeah, I forgot to mention that it is also be linked up to street view so when you arrive at your destination you get a little image on the screen of the view.

    This can be a little spooky as I found out the other day while driving up in London. I got to my destination, parked and looked out the passenger side window where I could see a parking meter and a tree with a shop just beyond them. I then looked down at the Desire only to find exactly the same image showing on its screen. For a second I wondered how the hell it was doing it, then realised I just happended to be in the same location as the Google Street View car must have been when it took the image. :)
  5. coos lick

    coos lick Android Enthusiast

    You do need a screen mount and charger - and then it is very good. You can speak into it for destinations which is pretty cool. If your contacts on the phone have an address, you can also use the navigate function to get there. You can use the browser to find something, say the nearest McDonald's, then use the navigation function to get there. Also places is good for finding local attractions. Found the walking directions a bit of a struggle though - once didn't get gps for some reason and ended up walking in circles in the rain! Has worked other times though.
  6. partridge

    partridge Android Enthusiast

    If you are on a long stretch of road, try turning the screen off (tap the power button). That helped to keep mine cooler. The audio instructions continue so you shouldn't get lost!

    It's a fantastic app, not as feature rich as a commercial TomTom, etc, but it does the job really well.
  7. Uridium

    Uridium Well-Known Member

    Personally I've always use Brodit car mounts now..Got tired of naff windscreen mounts and have never looked back.

    Not cheap i know but worth every penny.

    Use the Brodit mount with a Brodit proclip that's tailor made for your car and it will mount solidly onto your dashboard with no screws or anything
  8. Griff_LI

    Griff_LI Android Enthusiast

    +1 for Brodit

    I've never owned a dedicated SatNav - I just don;t do enough driving of new trips to warrant it. I did pay for Nokia Maps a few years ago so I had something but the 4 digit postcode search is really, really naff (instructions, routes and the rest is fine but you have to find the correct address on google maps and then manually scroll to that position to get anything useful).

    Maps on the Desire, however is fantastic! A complete SatNav without having to buy and carry a separate unit. You need an in-car mount with power (it does slurp electrons when navigating) and a reasonable data tariff (I reckon it's about 1MB per journey - YMMV)
  9. Casanunda

    Casanunda Well-Known Member

    I have the PDair leather book type case for my Desire, which has a steel threaded plate in the back. You screw a little insert into the threaded section and the whole lot clips onto the windscreen mount. Works a treat, and the case has lasted incredibly well.
  10. Jason71

    Jason71 Well-Known Member


    When used as a sat nav desire will use 30% of the battery per hour.
    a usb charger will only charge at 20% 500ma a mains charger at 40% 1000ma

    So unless you have a charger that the desire recognises as a mains charger the battery will go flat even when on charge. it does not matter if the charger is actually a 1000ma charger or not. if the Desire mistakes it for a usb port it will still charge too slowley. There are other threads that go into this but the bottom line is get the genuine htc CC c200 charger it can be had for less than
  11. OFI

    OFI Android Enthusiast

    This is what I do now tbh. I realised that I hardly ever look at the screen anyway and it's just a distraction.

    Type in address.
    Switch off screen
    Sling it on the passenger seat on full volume and off I go..

    But otherwise I have the small Belkin 1A charger so modified a cable to get a better current draw from it.
  12. paulos1990

    paulos1990 Newbie

    I have been using it for about 1 year now and I have gave the Tom Tom away to my brother, I really think it's the best satnav I have ever used and I love the idea of not having to carry a Tom Tom around with me.

    Just thought I would give my usage on it lol (sorry for talking to much but I love my desire and I can't wait to see the desire 2 cuz I know its going to be brilliant).
  13. dingdong3000

    dingdong3000 Newbie

  14. togger161

    togger161 Android Enthusiast

    I got some Belkin 1 amp USB ports that were for the cigarette lighter from Amazon. Drilled some holes and fitted 4 of them in to the car and hard wired them. Now I just plug my usb cable straight in and it charges fine. Kids use them in the back for their NDS's and wife uses the other one in the front for her Android too.

    Can post some links and pics if anyone is interested.
  15. Vicdude

    Vicdude Android Enthusiast

  16. rowlers

    rowlers Android Enthusiast

    do you cache/downlaod your maps before a trip, I've had a little play eith it, but the data usage is astronomical!
  17. mobily

    mobily Newbie
    Thread Starter

    Bit of an update for you all. I purchased a cheap windscreen suction holder on ebay and a USB charger from Maplins. I travelled from Plymouth to Bristol yesterday which takes about 2 hours.

    I stuck the holder on the windscreen and twisted the arm so the phone was in front of an air vent. However the phone is a bit far away to see clearly so may purchase the air vent one recommended by Jason.

    The charger issue highlighted by Jason was a problem. When I left Bristol to come back to Plymouth the phone wss on 50%. When I arrived it was on 35% whilst on full charge! Think I'll buy the official one so that charge isn't lost.

    On the whole it worked well but found it frustrating on the map it shows time to destination and not miles. But I got there ok and got back ok so I guess it worked!
  18. RedBob62

    RedBob62 Member

    Mobily. Did you happen to notice how much data you used for that trip. I don't think the sato nav uses that much but others on the board suggest it is quite data hungry.
  19. Jason71

    Jason71 Well-Known Member

    I thought I was offering useful information in the form of known problems and the easiest way to avoid them in a concise way. and answered the original questions at the same time. Isn't that the point of a forum like this?

    I didn't say that any chargers were rubbish I simply said that you need one that is not only 1a capable but that the phone will recognise as 1a capable. The most reliable way to do that is buy the HTC one. It would be a shame to buy a charger and find it did not do the job.

    as for the "permanent fail" comment people on this forum have reported this. There is also the infamous Desire overheating/shut-down issue that has affected a significant number of handsets and requires a new motherboard to fix. It has been suggested that it is, aptly, overheating that catalyses the issue to start happening in the first place so avoiding unnecessary overheating is probably generally a good thing.
  20. spile

    spile Android Enthusiast

    I'd recommend a Krussel magentic mount which is very discreet.
    For the charger I just use a 12v cigar adapter and usb lead bought off ebay.
    Would also recommend a dedicated sat nav app, see:
    Android Sat Nav Apps

HTC Desire Forum

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