We explore the features you should look for in a navigation app for your Android device and see how the leading apps on the market stack up.
One of the most wonderful benefits of owning a Smartphone is utilizing its GPS features. Knowing where you are, especially when you are lost, can take a lot of guesswork out of trying to figure out how to get to where you need to be. On all smartphones, with Android being no exception, there are several app options out there to help you navigate. Yet, because there are so many apps, it can be difficult to determine on first glance which navigation app has the features you need to navigate with your Android device.
What navigation app out there is devoid of maps? Hopefully none. The quality of the maps, however, varies from app to app. Google Maps has been a leader in the world of virtual maps, creating easily readable and reliable maps for us to follow. Waze is also rated as one of the best navigation apps, with one of the reasons being their easy-to-use maps. If we are going to eliminate the need for paper maps, we had better hope the digital version is going to be reliable and these apps are extremely reliable.
Voice navigation is one of the biggest perks of map technology, since the device can speak to you while you are driving, keeping your attention on the road where it needs to be instead of worrying about whether the device is working. Before we all had smartphones and devices to rely on to get us around, there were still navigation tools on hand to help us get around. For this reason, it is no surprise that TomTom is one of the best navigation apps out there, keeping pace with their previous market dominance before the release of the smartphone. Copilot also provides excellent voice navigation, ensuring that you can just listen to your virtual navigator and make it to your destination safely.
Google Maps may have started the concept of street views, but they are not the only app out there that has this ability. Street views is where you can look at an image in the map to help you figure out a landmark or if you are in the right spot. Navmii offers the option of street view, but the technology is going beyond that and working toward real-time maps, showing you what is currently around you as well, which is a step toward autonomous driving. Sometimes it can be challenging to know that you have found the destination you are looking for if you cannot tell what it was supposed to look like to begin with. A street view can take out the guesswork.
When it comes to a search bar on a navigation app, you are going to want one that can help you find the destination you need. The most thorough search menu is in the Maps.me app, which can actually filter your search into specific categories. It also is broad enough to be useful while traveling, being capable of searching for destinations by country, province, and city. MapFactor also offers a reliable search menu that can help you find specific destinations, including points of interest, water supplies, or even a local beach if that is where you are headed.
Even if you have been there once or twice, it still can be easy to turn yourself around while heading to a destination. Keeping a list of your favorite places to go in your app will let you find your favorite spots no matter where you are starting from. Google Maps and MapFactor both offer the opportunity for you to mark your favorite spots, helping you reach your frequent destinations from different locations. Having a favorite list is a time-saver, keeping you from having to manually add in your home or work address each time you need them. They also can keep the addresses that you do not have memorized on hand, like friends’ and families, so you can find them even on the go, without having to track down their addresses.
The technology of GPS is incredibly helpful, but most of us have inevitably hit a dead spot at some point, where we cannot get cell reception and our navigation cannot work correctly. Navigon works around that. Even with a dead spot or poor connection, the navigation works regardless. Here WeGo, TomTom, and Sygic also offer offline GPS functionality, keeping you on track, even without your cell signal working correctly.
List of Directions
Most Android navigation apps are going to offer a list of directions, beyond the navigation feature. Looking at the list of directions before the navigation starts can help you be prepared for turns and stops ahead of time. One of the clearest apps with regard to directions is Here WeGo, which offers easy-to-read directions for not only cars, but bicycles and pedestrians as well.
Real-time Traffic Updates
At some point, all of us are going to run into traffic trouble on the road. Apps like Scout and Waze fortunately offer real-time traffic updates, letting you know that the route that you are going to take has had an accident or whether there is construction. This will cut down on your driving time if you can avoid hitting traffic problems before you even get there.
Beyond the use of navigation and maps, there are some Android navigation apps that offer something a little extra. Scout has an added perk of being able to connect with your friends to let them know that you are on your way to a destination as well as what your ETA is. Sygic also offers bonus features, like where the cheapest gas station is near you and parking suggestions nearby. Having some extra features is not necessary in order to get a navigation app and usually cost more, but if you would like to have some added perks in your app, they are definitely useful. Waze, however, is a community-based app that does offer some of the same extras you get with other apps, including new dead-ends, construction, and accidents in real-time.