Which app to choose?
If you are planning a trip around Europe, find out which satnav apps perform the best.
Remember the days before satnav-assisted driving? It may have involved leafing through a well used road atlas, or exercising shaky language skills trying to keep up with the directions from a helpful local through the car window.
Thankfully, such navigation niggles, whether on the continent or in Britain, are a thing of the past. Today, satnavs are a popular alternative. But why invest in one if your smartphone is up to the task? While parked up, motorists can key in where they want to go; the software then gives turn by turn directions and users can search for landmarks such as cafes and hotels.
There are dozens of satnav apps available – and they could prove a suitable travel companion, along with other essentials such as insurance for driving in Europe, a list of the foreign rules of the road for your chosen destinations and any additional requirements such as a roadside triangle and a GB sticker, of course.
Here are a few apps to consider:
1. Google Maps
Simple yet sensible. The majority of smartphones are pre-configured to use Google Maps Navigation. This app is great for searching for landmarks and is generally well-rated with little to complain about, especially as it’s free.
2. TomTom Hands Free Navigation Cradle iPhone and iOS App
The TomTom app provides navigation for western Europe to your iPhone. Worthy of praise, the app has great reviews, especially for calculating routes and identifying traffic jams. It also allows you to hear calls and directions clearly via a hands-free cradle which can be mounted on the windscreen or dashboard. Cost of the cradle and app is around £103.99.
3. Garmin StreetPilot
A handy aspect of the Garmin StreetPilot is that it can store maps on the handset for offline access. The app has a functional interface complete with estimated times of arrival and it can be integrated with Foursquare and an in-car Bluetooth audio system. Price-wise, a Western Europe system is about £59.
4. HERE Drive+ Beta
This app is available to users of Nokia Lumia 620, 810, 820, 822, and 920 phones worldwide and to all devices using Windows Phone 8 in France, Italy, Spain and Germany. It provides voice-guided, turn-by-turn navigation and no online connection is necessary: preload maps before travelling and use the app offline to save data costs. User reviews are generally good and the app is free.
5. Navmii's app for iPhones
Maps for France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands were available at the time of writing for this app, which can be downloaded through iTunes. It's useful features include audio prompts, an intelligent night mode and a choice of audio guidance in different celebrity voices! This app is regarded well in the reviews and costs a mere £2.99.
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