I drive a lot for work. To work and from work. The most handy thing I have on my drive is my phone running my GPS to let me know the fastest way there. There are a lot of apps out there though and I can’t stand it knowing there might be a better one out there. The only way to find out the best one, is to try them all.
I will be comparing all the apps based on my own experiences here in Sydney, Australia. I chose apps that were popular on the Play Store and available in Australia. Going even further I made sure the app was made to work in Australia which some didn’t like Michelin’s.
The most important features to me (and others) are the following:
- Offline Maps: Some apps prefer to download an offline copy of Australia instead of browsing it online. This is meant to save mobile data. This doesn’t matter to me as much as other people but it is a handy feature.
- Live Traffic: During busy peak hours or if an incident happens, the app can present an alternative route which gets to the destination faster. Very important for me.
- Speed Cameras: There are too many fixed speed cameras around Sydney. Good to know when one is coming up to watch my speed carefully.
- Speed Limit: The speed limit can vary from turn to turn so this is helpful when there isn’t a sign around.
- Police/Mobile Cameras: Apps can show common places police officers and mobile speed cameras sit. Some apps also allow users to enter it in so it appears for other users as well.
- Lane Assist: When in the city or on a highway, knowing which lane to take is important to not get lost!
- Voice: Believe it or not, some apps do not have voice navigation to warn you of oncoming turns in a couple of meters or how long to follow a particular road for. I find voice very important for this reason especially on long straights.
- User Interface: I am rating this from a scale from 1 to 4. Lowest being 1 where the app is just a pain to use and doesn’t make any sense. 2 is when it makes little sense or uses 2.0 UI buttons and colours. 3 is when it’s almost perfect but there are niggly things that are inconvenient. 4 is when the UI makes sense, easy to use when driving and hopefully using material design.
✔ - Available.
X - Not available.
○ - Free version provided, premium option available.
● - Paid option.
|App||Offline Maps||Live Traffic||Speed Cameras||Speed Limit||Police/Cameras||Lane Assist||Voice||UI||Notes|
|Google Maps||✔||✔||X||X||X||✔||✔||4/4||Lane Guidance not available in Australia|
|Waze||X||✔||✔||✔||✔||X||✔||4/4||Took me the long way home a few times.|
|TomTom||●||●||●||●||●||●||●||3/4||Free for 75km. Handy fuel stations on the side|
|Sygic||✔||●||○||✔||✔||●||✔||4/4||Crashes if Xposed is installed|
|CoPilot||✔||●||●||●||X||●||●||3/4||Free version is limited. Premium version much better.|
|NAVIGON ($29.95)||●||●||●||●||●||●||●||1/4||The design is so old and very outdated.|
|Offline maps & Navigation||✔||X||○||●||X||●||✔||3/4||Also known as GPS Navigation BE-ON-ROAD|
|Route 66 Navigate||●||●||●||●||X||●||●||3/4||Installs on a one month trial basis|
|HERE||✔||✔||X||✔||X||X||✔||4/4||Has some social features|
|Scout||●||○||✔||●||●||●||✔||3/4||Entering destination is clunky|
|MAPS.ME||✔||X||X||X||X||X||X||4/4||Could not find common locations like schools|
|OsmAnd||○||X||X||X||X||X||✔||2/4||Entering destination is clunky|
|Wisepilot||X||✔||X||✔||X||X||✔||3/4||Could not find schools, speed limit only on major roads|
I personally would not use an app if it did not have live traffic data. Waze is also a strong contender and I find myself using it a lot of the time just for its simplicity and trust in traffic data. Sometimes that’s all that matters. Waze has voice search, uses Google when searching locations and takes traffic data from multiple places including Waze. It only lacks in Lane Assistance. Waze is therefore my choice of GPS app.