Apple Maps just doesn't cut it for everyone, so there is a rich market of GPS alternatives for the iPhone. Many are good. In this review we test Google Maps for iOS, Navigon USA, Gokivo, MapQuest, Scout, Nokia HERE Maps, Waze and even Apple Maps.
Navigon USA is a Garmin powered GPS app, and Garmin's experience and influence shines through here. The app is visually pleasing and provides a lot of information. Street names are clearly labeled throughout the display, and update at an appropriate interval once you approach their location.
As with the other apps in this year's roundup, Navigon handles local search well. Items of interest – restaurants, shopping centers, public parking, ATMS, etc. show up as you approach them. Their location is clearly shown but unfortunately, next to all of the local street names, visual directional cues as well as accurate lane visuals and speed limit signs, the display can become quite cluttered. You can control this to some degree in Preferences, but shutting some of the information off can decrease the visual value the app provides. Unfortunately, the screen clutters in both portrait and landscape orientation.
However, once you're on the road, the app really shines. Maps are detailed. The animation is smooth. During navigation, the app displays your current speed, ETA, remaining trip distance, distance to your next navigational change and the upcoming street or exit name.
When you use Navigon's Cockpit, one of its more interesting plug-ins, you also get three very interesting views: G-Force, Elevation and Direction and Speed over Trip Duration. The information is pretty cool and informative. The Elevation and Direction screen probably provides the best overall information when you're on a pretty straight or long interval section of a particularly long trip.
Navigon USA is probably the most expensive GPS app I've ever used; but it's also one of the best Maps-on-Board apps you're going to come across. If Google Maps isn't your app of choice, or if you're going to be in an area where you know mobile broadband coverage is going to be weak, this is one of the best apps to get.
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