Navigation is one of the most commonly used functions of our phones today. Mapping apps have revolutionized the way we travel and all but done away with bulky, overpriced GPS systems (sorry TomTom).
In this week’s blog post, I’ll review the top three navigation apps: Waze, Google Maps, and Apple Maps.
Waze is the most used navigation app here at Tepia for a variety of reasons. It makes use of side streets whereas Google and Apple usually don’t. Waze also offers some unique features, foremost, a reporting system. Users have the ability to mark the map with locations of accidents or police taking radar readings, making other drives aware of such problems. Messages can be posted to the map in addition to warning reports or directly messaged to other users, giving Waze a social network feel, complete with rankings and achievements. When I tested Waze, I found the warnings to be somewhat helpful but I was unimpressed by the lagging turn by turn directions. In fact, I missed an exit because of the lag time, even while in LTE. I sent a few DMs to random people asking them what they thought could be a use for the feature and never received a response so the question remains. Waze is a good choice for Android users or speed demons who’d like to avoid tickets.
Google does most things right but as far as navigation goes, they’ve missed the mark. Google maps was our least popular choice. When asking opinions around the office, I heard several complaints about the UI which was described as “terrible” with “pointless animations”. Another criticism is that it takes too many clicks to get a route to home. Commonly used addresses like work or home should only be a tap or two away and can cause frustration if not easily accessible. When I used google maps, I was told to make three seperate U-turns, obviously leading me in a never ending circle. After pulling over to switch to Apple Maps, I discovered I was seven miles away from my destination. Needless to say, I wasn’t a fan. More than likely, Google will eventually improve this service but for now, I wouldn’t bother.
My personal favorite. Apple Maps has never pointed me in the wrong direction or lagged, even in 3G. I find the turn by turn directions to be given at appropriate times and have noticed that they seem to adjust to my speed. If I’m on surface streets, I get a warning about a mile in advance and two miles on the freeway for the next turn. The interface is clean and gives routing to your home in an instant. The only minor complaint I have is that ending navigation isn’t as easy as it should be; it takes a tap for it to appear in the upper left corner of the screen and another to end. It would seem more logical for “End” to be where the “List steps” button is in the center controls below the map.
What do you use for navigation and why? Reply below!