iOS6 Navigation: First Thoughts
I was never a fan of the maps app in the first place. The place I needed it the most is when I’m in a car. Doesn’t matter if I was driving or riding shotgun, the information was too slow in coming and the screen too small for me to read accurately. And it didn’t do turn-by-turn navigation.
I’ve been using MotionX GPS Drive for almost the last year and it’s pretty great. It’s not as good as a standalone navigation unit, but it is pretty close. Close enough that I was using it during MTTS to find my way across the US when the built-in MINI Navigation wasn’t good enough. After the iOS6 update last week, I thought I should give the new turn-by-turn navigation a shot, which I did on the return leg of a roadtrip that took me out to Bullhead City, AZ, to visit my parents. My return trip was going a direction I was unfamiliar with, taking roads I have never driven before. And, since you are reading this, I managed to get home successfully.
It does work pretty ok for turn-by-turn. It’s not as good as MotionX, but it’s functional and should get you where you need to be, plus or minus a few feet. The voice does have an odd syntax that takes a little getting used to, and it’s less than smooth sounding, being powered by the voice of Siri.
I would appreciate some features during navigation however. As it stands right now, there are zero configuration options for navigation. There aren’t any other features on the screen either, other than the map and the information in the box located at the top of the screen.
For example, the voice uses compass directions often. North, south, east and west, but does not display any type of compass on the screen. Some kind of music controls would be nice, as would some kind of driving data like current speed and speed limit of the road. All of these are features of motionX and sorely needed. Some configuration options like having the ability to navigate without using toll roads, non-paved roads and traffic would be nice as well.
I’ve been using this for the week just to get around town to get a good feel for it. Another thing that I notice is that Siri is quite the chatty Cathy! She is constantly giving directions. Sometimes it gets fairly annoying, but if I was going someplace new, I’m sure those directions would be more welcome.
For free, it’s not horrible. It’s not as good as the standard Android Nav (that I last used over a year ago), or anything available in the app store for free to cheap. It is useable and should get you to your destination, mostly.
Have you used it yet? What do you think? Comments are open!