Gone are the days of flicking through maps and arguing over who should ask for directions. Technology is constantly advancing (making our lives easier in the process), and navigation apps are a particularly handy example.
A number of apps are available. They all purport to carry out the same basic service – directing you to your destination via the fastest possible route. But, with so many almost indistinguishable offerings out there, how do you know which one to choose?
We’ve made the process a little bit simpler for you. Just read through our top 5 favourites and decide which is right for you.
Top 5 navigation apps:
This navigation app is the best at dodging traffic, with an intuitive interface that alerts you to potential hazards and delays on your planned route.
These updates are provided by fellow ‘Wazers’ in real-time. Some even upload pictures and notes to explain exactly what’s going on. The updates tell you about accidents, hazards, road closures, speed cameras and even hidden police officers. The search function is comprehensive, the app can sync with your phone and Facebook calendars, and you can send your ETA to contacts in your address book.
A red line shows how far traffic jams extend and the likely average speed, while the timer will be updated to reflect the amount of time added to your journey. It will also redirect you onto any potentially faster routes. ‘Planned drives’ is another handy feature. Enter the time, date and destination of a future drive, and the app will notify you at the time you should leave (adjusted for traffic).
This online app is free for Android, iOS and Windows Phone users.
Paying for a navigation app might not be for everyone. But, the offline abilities of CoPilot make this app stand out. It comes into its own when used overseas, as most people don’t want to use roaming data.
CoPilot uses turn-by-turn voice directions, plans new routes and utilises Google-powered search to save new places and addresses for when you’re offline. The interface is clear and provides lane guidance for motorway driving. It also logs your speed and warns you if you’re close to the limit.
Though the initial £7.99 price tag might seem a tad excessive, you do get 12 months of ActiveTraffic (a feature that finds the quickest routes based on live traffic information) completely free of charge.
CoPilot is available for Android, iOS and Windows Phone.
3. Google maps
Friendly and familiar, Google maps is the ultimate all-rounder. So much so, it makes its main rival (Apple Maps) look clumsy and slow.
A key function of Google Maps is the ‘Explore Nearby’ button. This allows you to find the best user-rated restaurants, bars and entertainment options in your area. It also lets you search your route for nearby service stations, coffee shops, restaurants or anything you may need along the way. You can also save maps for offline use, complete with voice commands. It even includes cycling, walking and public transport routes.
Google Maps is free of charge and available for all mobile device types.
If you’re planning a multi-stop, non-direct trip, this is the best app out there.
The free version allows you to plot a route with up to five stops. Simply drop pins on where you want to go. The $11.99 upgrade lets you plan up to 25 stops in advance and choose the amount of time you want to stay at each destination. The app also reorders your stops to create the fastest, most fuel-efficient route plans.
There’s no turn-by-turn feature. But, with the paid version, you can export your route to Google Maps or CoPilot.
This app is only available for iOS devices.
5. Here Maps
Nokia are the developers behind Here Maps, a powerful new navigation app that’s yet to hit the mainstream.
With Here Maps, you can download maps and use turn-by-turn directions offline. The journey planner function allows you to plan your route on your desktop, then load it onto your phone. This app also gives you navigational options for walking, driving or public transport.
Here Maps is automatically installed on most Windows phones, but has now been released on Android and iOS – all absolutely free of charge.
The technology gods will undoubtedly deliver us new and improved navigation apps in future. But, for now, stick with our top 5 and you can’t go too far wrong.
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