The £59 Sat Nav with a 4.5″ colour screen

The Nokia 1 smartphone Sat Nav

Having spent a ridiculous amount of money over the years on several incarnations of the Apple iPhone, I finally decided enough was enough. I had purchased an iPad, which has a great screen and plenty of processing power, and I now decided that duplicating so much of its functionality – by buying another iPhone – was just plain stupid.

Therefore, when my 24-month contract for my last iPhone finished, I switched to a SIM-only 15GB/month phone contract, and opted for a bargain basement smartphone, buying a SIM-free Nokia 1. This cheap marvel is now my bargain basement cycling sat nav (and a serviceable enough phone on the side).

Here was my reasoning for doing so:

  • I rarely use my phone for calls, mainly using its apps;
  • These apps are almost all available for my iPad, which is a much nicer device to use;
  • I can use the phone as a mobile hotspot, enjoying the extensive screen real estate offered by my iPad instead, without relying on a relatively small iPhone screen;
  • The iPad has a significant amount of processing power and, with a separate keyboard (Logitech’s Keys-To-Go) is almost a laptop (aside from a lack of mouse);
  • The Nokia 1’s processing power is dire, but it behaves brilliantly as a mobile hotspot despite this shortcoming (perhaps the difference between having to run apps and simply forwarding data packets to another device?);
  • I rarely go anywhere without both devices (or I take neither, in which case I’ve obviously got better things to do with my time than being sidetracked by technology);
  • Because the Nokia 1 is not renowned for it’s processing power, it’s not a very good smartphone, with significant processor lag frustrating the user experience (except for simple apps and, thankfully, the Komoot sat nav app I introduce below);
  • The phone only costs £59 SIM-free (about US$75, or €65), which is an absolute bargain for a sat nav with a 4.5″ colour screen, as I will now explain.

The Nokia 1 Sat Nav (forget that it’s also a phone)

Komoot: list of planned tours

I have signed up for Komoot, buying lifetime access to worldwide offline maps for £27/US$34/€30. I have also just bought a discounted Topeak Ridecase Omni DX for £20 (US$25/€22), which means that I have a bought a worldwide-enabled, bike-mounted sat nav, with a decent 4.5″ colour screen, for just £106 (US$134/€117).

Komoot offers turn-by-turn navigation (with voice and screen notifications), a route planning tool, the ability to import .gpx files, and a whole social network for those who want to share their routes with others. It is a lean-enough app that it doesn’t seem to unduly trouble the Nokia 1’s low-end processor, although time will tell on that front.

Komoot: map for navigation

Once I’ve lived with Komoot for a while, I’ll post a more thorough review of its functionality. However, in the meantime, I’m delighted with my decisions to (a) not buy yet another iPhone, and (b) not buy a dedicated sat nav (I don’t need a heart rate monitor or a cadence sensor … if I’m going up a hill I know my heart is going to be working harder, and if I pedal slower I know it’s probably because of that same damned hill).

Footnote

Komoot: recommended routes

Think about it … £59 is less than the excess charged by some insurance companies, when you claim for a broken iPhone screen … so why not strap a cheap and cheerful Nokia 1 to your handlebars, instead of risking that chunk of tech that has cost you hundreds and hundreds of pounds/dollars/euros?

Even the Nokia 2.1 is only a little more expensive, and the Nokia 3.1 is less than double the price of the Nokia 1 if you hunt around for a cheap deal … and that has a 5.2″ screen.

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