20 August 2014

GPS road navigation - Route 66 Navigate

Previous year I already tested Route 66 Navigate. It left me with a good feelings. Now I decided to test it again and I wasn't disappointed. Even more, my rating for it is very high. Do not hesitate to test it, maybe Route 66 Navigate can become your travel friend.

+ Uses excellent TomTom maps and consider different road categories when preparing a route. Different roads categories are also visually separated.
+ Fast and smooth using of map viewer.
+ Context menu when you click on map (Drive to, What's nearby, Show weather...).
+ Excellent route planning. I was really surprised with offered routes in many cases.
+ When entering an address, cities are marked with a sign which tells you how important (big) it is.
- POI searching works different on different part of application.
- Very clumsy and non-intuitive switch from 2D to 3D (or vice versa). Hint - use two-finger swipe down or up. Beside this, 3D is just a low angle of view with some buildings.
- Graphical signposts, actions and numbers bellow aren't state of the art. It looks like it was prepared on elementary school tender.
- Small fields for typing and small buttons. It isn't consistent with latest designer's guideline.
- I really don't like navigation which shows too much actions while driving. Some of them shows action for almost every curve. Route 66 Navigate is on the other side and it wouldn't be wrong, if developers integrate a setting for this, because someone might have wish to rise a number of shown actions.
- It would be nice to show second/next action on route while navigating.
- At higher speed is accurate, but it is a little late sometimes when driving in a city.
- A higher number of setting would be welcome. For example, applications don't has a setting for avoid unpaved roads.
- I miss a route editor where user can simply add a waypoints, change start point... This is one of the most cumbersome part of Route 66 Navigate.
- After route simulation is stopped, the route somehow disappears.
- Navigation is so trustworthy (that's good) that is boring sometimes. Application can show some information while navigating, uses trip computer... all that just to become even better.

Route 66 Navigate beats the competition in it's main thing - navigating. Application is fast and it is the first application which don't crash or get sticked even for a moment. To be honest, there are some things to improve and if developers/designers will work on more graphically pleasant environment, this will be a "hands down" application.
Rating: 8/10

18 August 2014

GPS road navigation - GPS Navigation & Maps light by Skobbler

GPS Navigation & Maps by Skobbler is another navigation based on OpenStreetMap. Application name is too general and this isn't good for market positioning. Application works online or offline. It isn't well known, but it has their own circle of users. I was impressed with its nice and simple user interface.

+ Nice and simple user interface.
+ Fast drawing and the best OpenStreetMap application I have seen.
+ Interesting route assessment when you arrive on your destination. This will helps developers to optimize their route algorithms.
- Bad business model. After 14 days of using, you are set to make a decision: pay for continuation or use application only with maps (without navigation).
- Unusual POI searching via Foursquare.
- Car position is quite a bit late.
- Very bad time estimation. For example: for only 6 kilometers application estimates at least 24 minutes of driving.
- Bad navigation. It also looks that application don't use unpaved roads. Roads are on the map, but it don't use them. There is no settings for using unpaved roads. Unpaved roads are very important for me.
- If U-turn is necessary, it can take a very long to suggest it (even 2 kilometers I saw and there was some crossroads there, so it can be announced to U-turn).
- For smaller villages application display a nearby city. But in some cases it isn't the nearest city, but some part of bigger city far away. This is strange and can be a map problem.
- Voice guidance talks to much. It is also annoying that every instruction includes a word "please". Unnecessary.

First impression for GPS Navigation & Maps by Skobbler is very good. It looks really nice, works quicker then competition and user expects a lot. But the main point of GPS navigation is navigation itself. And here application doesn't offer what I expected.
Rating: 4/10

GPS road navigation - OsmAnd Maps & Navigation

It is time for another free road navigation. This time I checked OsmAnd Navigation. It is a map and navigation application with access to the free OpenStreetMap data. Almost all functionalities can work online or offline.

+ Free OpenStreetMap maps. OpenStreetMap is a project to create free editable map of the whole world. Using OpenStreetMaps means free, simple accessible and quite good maps. But it also means ugly design and missing 3D view - what has big impact on navigation application.
+ Plugins management (Location monitoring, Parking reminder...).
+ A lot of settings which are usually not available. Just for example, you can choose within five navigation services.
+ Fast and comfortable search engine for POI and addresses. It works real compelling.
- User interface is far from simple and transparent.
- Very slow route recalculation.
- Unnecessary accuracy when showing distance to action (in meters!).
- Route selections looks good at the beginning, but between navigation it is somehow strange and with some unexpected suggestion.
I have a feeling that OsmAnd can become a big player in navigation with some changes. It has a long learning curve, user interface isn't clear, (night) maps display can be very very ugly, missing 3D view... But on the other hand it offers a lot of interesting features.
Rating: 6/10

17 August 2014

GPS Android road navigation - Navigon

Let's go forward with road navigation. I have picked Navigon for today's trip. It looks very promising on paper, but how did it turn out?
+ Very good user interface where destination or POI is selected.
+ Nice summary of destination/weather/traffic before navigation starts.
+ Smooth activity.
- Non intuitive switching off voice guidance.
- Sticking icons (Enter an address, My destination, Search for POI...) on home screen.
- Roads on map don't use different colors to distinguishing category.
- Car position on screen is usually a little late.
- The biggest disadvantages is the same as with Garmin StreetPilot - very bad route selection. Navigon uses Here maps - the same as Garmin StreetPilot. If I use IGO, TomTom maps are my first selection. Today I replace TomTom maps with Hero maps on IGO. And I saw almost the same routes as with Navigon and Garmin StreetPilot. This is proof that maps are very important. IGO has a big advantage here, because we can use maps from different providers. Hero maps (or Navteq before) aren't my first selection if I can choose. I simply have problems with them almost every trip.
Rating: 5/10