Navigating the crowded satnav app market is getting tougher by the year, with a host of paid and free options now available. Here we pick five of our favourite apps for iOS and Android.
10 years ago, standalone satnav units were riding high, with firms like TomTom enjoying record sales and profits. But the financial crisis, allied with the advent of the smartphone and Google Maps, saw trailblazing satnav devices – including the TomTom – begin to fade. After all, why would you pay for in-car navigation services when you can get them from Google for free?
But as fantastic as Google Maps is, it's not a dedicated in-car satnav program. On that score, there are a host of other driving navigation apps to consider as well, all promising to get you from A to B as smoothly as possible.
Here we list five of the best satnav apps on the market – some are free, others come with a fee.
Starting with the app that every Android user has pre-installed, Google Maps is a solid navigation program with a clear and detailed map layout and well-timed instructions. It offers alternate routes in heavy traffic and provides trip timings for walking, cycling and public transport.
On the downside, Google Maps does not announce street names when delivering instructions and is less able to spot roadworks.
Waze is community-operated, which means drivers can warn other Waze users about delays, accidents and roadworks, enabling them to find alternative routes ahead of time. No wonder, then, that Uber drivers love this app. Waze also lets you know about upcoming speed cameras (but be sure to switch off this feature if driving in France, as you could – technically – be handed a hefty fine if you don’t.)
Waze's traffic alerts are adept at navigating busy areas during rush hour, but instructions are less clear than on some other apps. It's also less effective at warning about speed limit changes.
First 50 miles per month is free/£14.99 per year
A fast postcode search function, user-friendly menus and clear, crisp graphics make GO a real contender. Its voice commands are also excellent. For those used to old standalone TomTom's these plus-points will be familiar.
Featuring a right-hand side information bar, users are warned about upcoming congestion issues. Nearby fuel stations are also highlighted.
However, GO is not as effective at spotting roadworks as some apps.
HERE WeGo's maps are crisp and well-designed, although not quite as refined as TomTom's. User-friendly menus, a swift postcode search and multiple routes places this app towards the top of the pile.
Good at clocking roadworks, this offering also tells you if you've edged over the speed limit.
One of the few downsides is that is doesn’t announce street names.
Free seven-day trial, full EU maps £34.99
CoPilot has enjoyed rave reviews for its user-friendly interface and rapid routing. It's also excellent at spotting traffic congestion.
Well-timed instructions, repetition of street names and the ability to offer alternative routes quickly are all to CoPilot's credit. Delays and distance-to-destination are displayed clearly on the right-hand info bar.
The only downside is the price – but if you want the slickest, most intelligent satnav app on the market, this is probably it.