Sat Nav Apps
Thanks to the rise of technology and GPS, sat nav apps have taken off in recent years, and the amount of options on the market has skyrocketed. With hundreds of sat-nav apps to choose from, it can be a difficult task to find the best fit that's worth taking up space on your phone.
While some cars come with satellite navigation integration as standard, plenty of vehicles don't have this option, and many drivers may not have the budget to fork out on a brand-new sat nav. The variety of sat nav apps on offer come with a host of benefits and additional features, so whatever you're looking for, you'll likely find one that suits your needs.
Read on to discover the best free and paid navigation apps, available on both IOS and Android.
Free sat nap apps
Not having to fork out for these apps means you can test them out to see if they're the right fit for you, which means it'll be easy to part with if it's not a good fit.
There are hundreds of free sat nav apps on the market. Most of these include basic features to get you from A to B, but a few of the free apps on the market stand out from the crowd.
Starting off with the most popular and seemingly obvious option, Google Maps. It comes as no surprise that Google Maps is one of the most used navigation app in the UK. It's straightforward, user-friendly, and packed with impressive additional features.
Integrating the power of the Google search engine, Google Maps is able to find locations and businesses with ease, even providing additional information such as opening hours, images, and phone numbers.
Google uses map data to add the speed limit to your sat nav app, but keep in mind, this may not always be 100% up-to-date, so always look out for road signs too.
You don't have to worry about the app using your monthly data as Google Maps features offline mode, a useful tool if you have a mobile data shortage.
Another handy function of Google Maps are Road Alerts. These feed real-time reports regarding the likes of traffic, lane closures, and mobile speed cameras, making journeys more relaxing and straightforward.
A popular one amongst the busy city drivers, Waze is another free app with a few additional features to make it a unique choice. It’s based exclusively on data submitted by other drivers, alerting users to road incidents and traffic conditions to help with the decision on the most appropriate routes.
Brilliantly, the Waze app can alert users to the cheapest gas locations on the chosen route, adding a welcome touch of convenience. Because the app is constantly collecting data, it can adapt quickly to ensure it's providing the fastest route possible.
The app relies heavily on user input, though, so it can only produce reliable information about a location when there has been enough data submitted by users. Having said that, Waze is extremely popular in the UK, so lack of reliable information shouldn't be a problem in most areas.
Unlike most of its other competitors, Waze doesn't include bicycle or walking routes, so you'll have to switch to another app if you need directions once you've parked up.
The default navigation app which replaced Google Maps on all Apple devices, Apple Maps is simple, easy to use, and allows users to find their route no matter what mode of transport they're using.
Apple Maps' no-nonsense design and simplicity makes it easy to use, even for those who are less experienced with technology. After searching for your destination, Apple Maps displays the location's opening hours, reviews, telephone numbers, websites, and more. During your drive, you can expect clear and concise instructions from the voice-controlled personal assistant, until you reach your destination.
If you're running low on data, Apple Maps may not be the best choice as it doesn't have an offline setting, unlike many of its competitors.
Paid sat nav apps
You might be asking: with such efficient free navigation apps, is it really worth spending money on alternative apps? Well, paid apps are often home to more premium feeling features that many free apps lack, and it's up to each individual to decide which app is right for them.
A smartphone version of the popular sat nav device for a fraction of the price, TomTom GO is an ideal app for those travelling long distance. The clear, user-friendly app allows users to find their route with ease and save time with early traffic warnings.
Safety is a main priority of the TomTom GO app, which supplies audio to ensure you're keeping to the speed limits. The app's offline mode means it works well even in areas with poor reception, so you won't be distracted by slow performance while driving.
TomTom GO attracts its users with a free download, but you'll need to sign up to a paid subscription once you enter the app. If you're unsure whether to commit to a subscription or not, there's a free 30-day trial available, so you can see for yourself if TomTom GO is really worth the price.
Sygic GPS Navigation
Another popular sat nav app for smartphones is Sygic GPS navigation, even being dubbed as 'the world's most advanced navigation app'. But does it really live up to this reputation?
Sygic is packed with more features than you could think of, including:
- Live traffic alerts
- Speed camera warnings
- Lane assist
- Dash cam mode
- Driving lane assist
- Sign recognition
- 3D maps
- Live navigation instructions from your phone camera
Some of these flashy add-ons will cost you extra on top of the initial payment for the app, so bear this in mind if you're considering making Sygic your number one sat nav app.
Technically a free app, CoPilot allows users to experience its unique features with a 14-day free trial. It's great for drivers of caravans and trucks as it allows users to select their vehicle upon entering the app for a fully optimised experience.
Once the free trial is up, you have the choice to continue using the app for an annual fee of around £13.99, so users can weigh up the pros and cons before making their choice. Some of the features that might sway you to opt for CoPilot are:
- Real-time traffic conditions and delays
- Powerful route planning options
- Choice of three alternative routes
- Voice directions with text to speech for spoken street names
- Smart re-routing
Currently, the mobile and smartphone driving laws make it clear that drivers are banned from making phone calls, texting, taking photos and videos, and scrolling through their phones while driving. This law is no different when it comes to using your phone for navigation.
When using sat nav apps, you must have hands-free access, such as:
- A Bluetooth headset
- Voice command
- A dashboard holder or mat
- A windscreen mount
- A built-in sat nav
Your phone mustn't restrict your view of the road and traffic ahead, so make sure the device is placed safely in your car for a clear view of the road.
Travel With Ease
With a range of navigation apps available, it's never been easier to find your way about. Each app is home to efficient additional features to suit every individual's needs, helping you travel safely and smoothly.