So you just bought a new iPhone and you want to know – where is the GPS app??!! After all, most of the Blackberrys come standard with GPS right? Well-bad news. iPhone does not come with free navigation software, only the cut down Google Maps software which does not give you actual voice directions.
Luckily you do have choices – you do not have to buy the expensive versions of software that mimics the traditional big brand GPS’s. Recently I got the opportunity to review the recently released Navv GPS software which is a quite remarkable product at the price. At $25 it is at least half the price of equivalent GPS apps.
For the past week I have used Navv GPS in my normal driving routine, but also for actual navigation duties to areas I do not know. The software points of interest were bang up to date, and frankly included a few waypoints that my Garmin GPS did not have (which has the latest mapset). Route calculation is quick, and without problems. Things like turn offs with instant lane switching was without hiccups at all. Text and route info is easy to read with clear contrast – the icons and info can easily be switched between things like speed, ETA etc just by touching the relevant info.
So this app is considerably cheaper than other offerings – so what do you lose? Well, not much. First off you fire this up and notice the lack of Retina graphics – icons, text and graphics have a slight pixelation to them, which might bother some people. But the way I think about it – a GPS app is anyway placed a bit further away from your face, so you probably wont need Retina graphics. One other missing feature is multitasking support – clicking the home button while running the app actually closes it, which can be a bit disconcerting, especially if you are navigating some complicated turnoffs. But there is hope – on the iPhone 4 it starts up in about 2.5 seconds – so its pretty quick. Other part I do not really like is the lack of a iPhone keyboard – instead NAVV uses large alphabetic letters.
Small things to appreciate is the South African language support – it also supports Afrikaans (called “Annetjie”) and Zulu (called “Bongani”). Here is a rundown of the features you can expect from NAVV:
“¢ Turn-by-turn navigation for driving
“¢ Voice instructions for accuracy
“¢ Speeding alerts for safety
“¢ 3D landmarks for making maps more realistic
“¢ Cafes, gas stations, etc. ““ built-in
“¢ Favorites with categories ““ customizable
“¢ Google for more POIs ““ embedded
MAPS AND LANGUAGES
“¢ You can NAVV in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, and Danish, Zulu and Afrikaans
“¢ Geo coordinates
“¢ Multiple waypoints
All in all I reckon this is a pretty great app for $25. While it does not have the sophistication of the high priced apps, it is a great deal if you only want an app for the occasional navigation duties.