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Top 5 GPS Apps For The iPhone

Find your way around town or across country with one of these navigation applications for your iPhone.

Skobbler GPS Navigation 2

For a 99-cent app, Skobbler GPS Navigation 2 has some nice features. For one, it's the first navigation app I've seen that uses both storage- and connectivity-based navigation. This hybrid approach ensures you have both the app responsiveness you get from having maps on your device, and the up-to-date data that you get from connectivity-based navigation. You'll still need a reliable 3G/4G cellular connection, though, for the app to work.

Although the navigation screens are rather plain--downright ugly compared with TomTom or iGo primo--the menus are visually stunning. Moreover, they should be a breeze to use for both U.S. and European drivers. After nearly 10 years of reviewing navigation apps, I've noticed that Europeans use navigation apps differently than U.S. drivers do; for example, few Europeans make extremely long road trips--they tend to use public transportation such as rail instead. But Skobbler seems to have cracked the menu navigation nut and has pulled together an application that should work well for both major markets.

Unfortunately, the app has some navigation problems. For instance, even though the app indicated that it had a good GPS signal lock, its position of my vehicle vs. the actual location was inaccurate, off by what seemed like 30 to 60 feet. If I could not follow the documented route, it took the app about 20 seconds to acknowledge that fact and recalculate its route to match the new starting point or location. Even then it seemed as though the app was determined to route me through its originally calculated path. It led to a lot of unnecessary route recalculations and illegal U turns.

In addition to accuracy problems, the app suffered from a great deal of jitter. The screen never seemed to orient itself correctly based on my direction of travel. If and when it did, the screen turned and bounced. I'm not sure if my problems were caused by the app's use of OpenStreetMap or programming issues, but the whole experience was disappointing.

Navigation used to be online only and subscription based ($3/month, $30/year). Now you can opt for online, offline via downloadable maps, or both. You can buy off-line maps by country for $3.99 each, continent for $5.99 each, or global for $9.99.

Skobbler GPS Navigation 2
$0.99 (hybrid: maps included, but also requires cellular connection)
iTunes – US/Can


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