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Turn by Turn Navigation: A Comprehensive Look at what the App Store has to offer

Over the past year we’ve spent a lot of time discovering just how powerful the iPhone (and 3G iPad) is as a device to help you get where you’re going. If it hasn’t yet, it would seem that the wealth of navigation tools in the App Store would negate the need to ever own a standalone GPS unit… So, yes, there are plenty of options out there, but at prices that take a lot more serious consideration than most apps, you want to first evaluate your navigational needs and make sure that you know what you’re getting. Today we discuss our findings on a meta level, presenting the pros and cons of the iPhone apps offered by all the major players in the navigation world.

Magellan Roadmate USA – $39.99

Pros: If you’re willing to drop a sizable chunk of change to get the most out of your iPhone as a navigational tool, Magellan Roadmate gets the nod due to one big factor: Reliability. It seems that all of these companies are interested in packing in novelty features, when really you just want your navigator to blend in to the driving experience. Magellan does that by offering guidance that is not obtrusive and an interface that explains itself.

Cons: You probably haven’t heard of the developer—MiTAC Digital Corporation, and the company didn’t go out of its way to appear as a serious contender. By that, I mean that Magellan doesn’t get any style points. The color scheme is basic and the menus—while pleasantly functional—don’t impress.

Read the full review here

NAVIGON MobileNavigator USA – $49.99

Pros: “Competent” is perhaps the best word to describe the GPS service offered by NAVIGON. While the guidance and interface are nothing to write home about, the biggest appeal of going with NAVIGON would have to be its pairing with Navigon Now —an app that works with NAVIGON to make address input less of a pain.

Cons: As one of the more expensive options out there, one would have hoped that NAVIGON sets itself apart more than it does.

Read the full review here

CoPilot Live USA — $4.99

Pros: The rock-bottom price of this navigator is an immediate attention-getter. Set at just a fraction of the price of the high-end options, CoPilot aims to undercut the competition while still ushering you safely to your destination. If you’re on a strict budget, you can feel good about dropping five bucks to expand your iPhone’s navigation capabilities.

Cons: It’s cheap for a reason. CoPilot offers a valuable service, but it pales when held up against what you’ll get from a NAVIGON, Magellan, TomTom, or Garmin. From menu design to map scrolling, there’s just less polish to be found in CoPilot.

Read the full review here

TomTom USA — $49.99

Pros: TomTom International fulfills its reputation by offering an iPhone app that doesn’t differ from their standalone units in any detectable ways. This means that those who pay fifty bucks will get the same great guidance complemented by a clean interface and slick visuals… TomTom even does the others one better by offering some humorous variety in the way of voice guidance. Homer Simpson, anyone?

Cons: So chock full of features that some don’t feel fully fleshed out. Specifically, finding points of interest doesn’t seem to take into consideration your current trajectory. There were also frequent instances of lost signal.

Read the full review here

Garmin StreetPilot Onboard USA — $39.99


Pros: Closely replicates the experience of using a Garmin standalone unit. Users who have experienced Garmin products can expect to jump right in with no learning curve.

Cons: No standout features. Garmin relies on the typical address input system (which is a pain), and doesn’t make up for it with some other special feature in a different sector of the app.

Read the full review here

Leave a Comment

2 comments on “Turn by Turn Navigation: A Comprehensive Look at what the App Store has to offer

  1. What about the actual Sygic version 11.2 for Northamerica (including US, Canada and Mexico). For me the best navigator comparing price and benefit. It has 3D terrain maps including 3d buildings and a lot of features and the with clean good looking graphics. I personally have compared in practice a lot of different mobile navigation solutions and for me it’s the best.

  2. i would recommend WAZE. this is a free!! app that is community based. it relies on people commenting and seeing how people move to give you the best route to where you’re headed (traffic included).
    i don’t know how used it is in the USA, but with enough users it is amazing.
    in israel where it has all the maps and lots of users, everyone use it.

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