Many people claim that Google Maps is a must-have on all phones, but for more reasons than just one. Along with its real-time navigation, Google Maps features valuable pit stops like gas stations and coffee spots along the route to your destination.
Do you take a train, bus or ride-share to work? Google Maps provides real-time updates for transit schedules and stops.
Additionally, the app is available in 220 territories and countries, which is perfect for international travelers and commuters alike.
Pros: Google’s maps can be downloaded for offline use and drivers can send real-time ETA texts to family and friends. The free app offers voice navigation and is available to be downloaded on any platform, Android or Apple. It is also available on Apple Watch.
Cons: While this app is agreeably better than Apple Maps, the display boasts many buttons and often feels cluttered. Watch out – the app may reroute without informing the driver and will drain the battery if used during long periods of time. It’s a good idea to keep plugged into a charger if used for prolonged periods.
Sygic: GPS Navigation, Maps, Traffic, Gas prices
This app has TomTom GPS maps stored on your device from other countries of the world – an ideal feature for international travel. It also provides navigation specifically for pedestrians regarding the best routes for popular tourist attractions. Sygic also provides parking suggestions with information about availability and price.
Similar to CoPilot, Sygic provides speed camera and radar warnings to the driver. The app also assists the driver in avoiding toll roads, even in other countries.
If you have a dashboard mount for your phone, Sygic also has a dashcam feature that records while driving. The app’s Head-up Display is one of the biggest perks of all. If your phone is laid on the car’s dashboard, it can project the GPS navigation onto your windshield.
Pros: The app’s colors and fonts make the map easy to read. Maps can be downloaded for offline use and it is available on Android and iOS, including Apple Watch.
Cons: All maps require a one-time purchase.
CoPilot is for anyone who frequently finds themselves needing directions in areas without an internet/cellular connection. With CoPilot, you’ll only need to download maps once – preferably over Wi-Fi before you leave, as the maps are data-heavy. According to Techlicious.com, the app is considered one of the “best offline maps app” for those looking to save on their data usage.
Once your map has been downloaded, the app offers turn-by-turn voice navigation, as well as Google-powered search options to save addresses and new locations. CoPilot also logs speed and notifies the driver of nearby speed cameras and if they are nearing the speed limit.
Pros: The app is a great fit for drivers of larger vehicles like RVs and semi-trucks, as the display is large and easy to read. It also offers routes for bicyclists and walkers with minimal battery drainage, as the maps can be used offline.
Cons: The app is $8.99 for Android, Windows Phones, and iOS. Traffic reports are free for the first 12 months, but require a subscription afterwards. Some users have reported misnamed streets and roads on the maps.
This free, community-based app (backed by Google) utilizes real-time data from fellow on-the-road drivers to alert Waze users of live traffic conditions, accidents, hazards, police traps, and road closures, with the ultimate goal of providing you the fastest route to your destination. This app is ideal for commuters on those days when running late, or when you are less familiar with the neighborhood. Users can also chat and contribute photos of locations to other drivers.
Pros: Wazers can add Facebook friends and sync calendar events and contacts to chat and send photos of locations. The “planned drives” feature allows users to set an alarm that notifies them when to leave in order to arrive at a destination on time. Drivers can send real-time ETA texts to family and friends.
Cons: Maps cannot be downloaded for offline use. If the app is left running in the background, it will dramatically decrease battery life of your phone. However, Waze will close the app if you have not driven over an extended period. Additionally, the app’s rerouting feature can sometimes provide alternative routes that are unclear and require more turns.
Scout GPS Navigation
Scout combines the social side of Waze with the pit stop amenities of Google Maps. The app allows you to add friends from your contact list and create meetup locations, as well as locating the cheapest gas and restaurants, all while avoiding police traps, accidents, and traffic jams. According to Android Authority, “Scout GPS focuses more on people rather than navigation, which gives it a unique flavor.”
One feature that distinguishes it from other navigation apps is its Voice Chat – a one-touch voice or text feature that sends messages to friends in your Meetup group. The ETA texts that drivers can send to family and friends are also followed up with notifications regarding traffic conditions.
Pros: The free app allows users to save their favorite locations, as well as customized map views and commutes. The display is easy on the eyes, and it is available on Android and iOS, including Apple Watch.
Cons: Long-term use of the GPS running in the phone’s background decreases battery life and requires data or Wi-Fi to function. Scout’s map and search coverage is only available in the United States.