Today we are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing GPS units and sometimes the sheer number of choices can even be confusing. Not to mention that when it then comes to updating your maps it a whole other matter too, because let’s face it, there is nothing worse than having maps which are out of date and potentially directing you straight to the middle of nowhere.
So with this in mind, my Editor’s Pick is the Nokia Lumia 800 and the app Nokia Drive. The Lumia 800 was just launched recently in Australia and is the first real take for Nokia at trying their hand at making a premium smart phone.
It packs a 3.7 inch screen and a brilliant 3.7 inch AMOLED screen (amazing colours) which is wrapped up in a sleek polycarbonate body. The phone runs Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 operating system, which is a dream to use and the whole package is certainly worth checking out if you are getting tired of your Android or iPhone.
Usability of the phone itself aside, the reason why it makes my pick this week is actually because of one of the exclusively made apps; Nokia Drive. Nokia, in the past, have offered free maps and turn by turn navigation and that has made a return in the free app.
When first launching the app you are able to choose which country and its maps you would like to download, as well as the voice style you want giving you the voice directions. The application operates fully offline, meaning you download the maps via a Wi-Fi connection, so no need to worry about dropping in and out of 3G coverage.
After downloading the maps, you’ll be taken to your location and at the bottom of the screen you will see distance travelled, current speed and the options menu. The most useful of the three is the current speed, which also contains a speed limit alert which when tested was pretty accurate to current speed limits including road work zones.
You have an additional range of voices which you can download; with male and female voices in almost all major languages. I am partial to the Female German voice because every time I jump on the highway she tells me to enter the autobahn and I get flashbacks to when I was in Germany and driving on the glorious autobahns.
The app is fast and contains a vast number of points of interests which you can search through to explore on your trip. Overall however, the best advantage of Nokia Drive is having the ability to take your phone overseas and easily download the maps for that country…for free.
There are a couple things which I don’t like, firstly is that the app can take a long time to realise you might not want to take the route it is suggesting. This could be simply because you know the initial part of the route or a more efficient way. Nokia Drive will always try to get you back to the route it wants you to follow rather than recalculating the most efficient. It does eventually pick up that you want a different route, but sometimes it just takes too long. The second thing I dislike and really hope comes in a later update is the ability to select whether or not if you want to travel on toll roads.
There isn’t support for fixed speed cameras or red light cameras, however you should be following the road rules and if you are they shouldn’t be an issue.
Overall I really love the app, and when in a car which doesn’t have a GPS system, I would certainly opt to use this in preference to a standalone GPS unit purely because of it is conveniently already built into the phone therefore there’s no need for an extra gadgets.
So head into your phone store, or online and check out the Nokia Lumia phones and see what you think for yourself!
The version we tested is 184.108.40.2068 on a Nokia Lumia 800 running Windows Phone 7.5.