If you need a GPS app for driving, there are options that range all across the price scale, and many of them are more than adequate. But if you want a serious GPS app, the best GPS app for iPhone, you’re looking at two options: NAVIGON and TomTom.
A strong argument could be made for either, and they both offer very similar feature sets. But NAVIGON ekes out a lead in our experience. The core functionality is strong, the interface is easy to use and there are plenty of of small additions that make it great.
When it comes to getting you from point A to point B, NAVIGON does a great job. Its turn-by-turn instructions are precise, and its computer generated text-to-speech does a great job presenting street names in an understandable way. Entering destinations is a snap. NAVIGON can also pull addresses out of your contacts, or you can search for them through a Points of Interest search or through built-in Google support when you’re connected to wi-fi or cellular data. TomTom does have a leg up in this category, however: its latest update lets you pull addresses from social networks as well.
Should you happen to wander off-route, NAVIGON is quite adaptive; it can steer you back on track to your destination with hardly a pause. Similarly, it offers live traffic adjustments, so you won’t find yourself navigating into the nearest traffic jam. It supports multi-stop routes and can, of course, calculate routes offline.
If you’ve taken a look at NAVIGON in the past and found yourself unhappy with certain aspects, look again. Late last year the app updated with a list of huge changes. The biggest chance is that the app now allows you to download only the maps you need. You can still use them offline, but you don’t need to store, say, every state and province in North America if you only plan to travel on the East Coast. This cuts the size of the app down to a minimum of around 46 MB from nearly 1.7 GB, making a big difference for those of us with little available space on our devices.
The update also brought in a new, much improved interface. It’s easier to use than ever before, and it focuses on giving you only the information you need when you need it, without any extra clutter.
Of course, these things are only the highlights of a laundry list of features. NAVIGON also features a speed assistant, day and night modes for its maps, and SOS Emergency Help. It also has integrated music controls, so you won’t need to bother managing multiple apps on the go. If you’re looking for even more, there are optional additions through in-app purchases, including quarterly map updates, speedcams, ZAGAT integration and more.
NAVIGON is bringing another new feature in with an upcoming update: Google Street View. Accurate directions are great, but it’s even better when you can recognize your destination by sight. Street View gives you a ground-level image so you know exactly what to look for when you arrive.
There are many navigation apps out there, and most aren’t cheap. Despite its premium price, NAVIGON is our pick for best GPS app. It offers reliability far beyond any of the free or low-cost options, and features that set it ahead of the pack. At the end of the day, this is the app we would trust to get us home.
Navigon USA retails for $49.99. There are lower cost options based upon your location, in addition to international versions.