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Smartphone GPS app reviews

Last updated: 20 March 2015

Smartphone GPS apps go beyond Google Maps to also bring you safety camera warnings, trip planning and advanced lane guidance. We test and review the latest apps to help you find the best one for you. Our GPS buying guide explains their features, and how we test explains how we bring you the results.

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Our test covers GPS navigation apps for Apple iPhones, Android smartphones and Windows Phones.

Our expert testers give every GPS app a thorough workout to help find the ones that are:

  • the easiest to set up
  • the easiest to use
  • top performers in rural and regional areas.

See our interactive comparison tool to help you find out which apps have advance lane guidance and announce school zones, and which have cycling mode for when riding. Our Recommmended list will help you see quickly which models come out on top.

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List of brands we tested in this review.

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As of March 2015.

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Traffic information included
Current speed
Cycling mode
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Cycle mode delivers a route that best suits a rider, with paths and roads with less traffic included in the calculation.

Combined regional score
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The city test mainly involves bench tests carried out in Sydney, as past results in various cities showed very little difference between models in built-up areas in terms of distances and arrival times. However, assessments of speed of recovery when coming out of tunnels and recalculations after a missed turn are carried out in the field. Our tester also selects various regional locations, and performs two sets of distance calculations for each location. The total of the predicted distances is calculated; the more accurate the predicted distance, the better the score.

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Features

Advanced lane guidance
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This is a very handy feature if you happen to be travelling in an unfamiliar city as you will be shown when to start moving over to a better lane before doing that mad dash once you realise you are in the wrong lane for a turn off.

Auto orientation
Can announce school zones
Landmarks
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Instead of telling you to turn right at the next intersection, or even turn right into George Street, landmark guidance will tell you to turn right at the large yellow building, or just before the shopping centre. This can be much more effective (until, of course, they paint that building).

Test results

Ease of use score
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Our tester assesses how easy it is to install and use the menu structure on the touchscreen. He also looks at the quality of the display data such as distance to next turn and street name and turn direction symbols.

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Included in this review

Members-only access
  • Overall score
  • Recommended
  • Ease of use score
  • Verbal instructions score
  • Combined regional score
  • Map refresh score
  • Offline base maps
  • Maximum route alternatives
  • Searchable POI offline
  • Fixed speed camera warning
  • Drag to edit route
  • Traffic information available as an option
  • Public transport information
  • Good points
  • Bad points
  • Price
  • Brand
  • Model
  • Operating system
  • No tolls option
  • No unsealed roads option
  • No highways option
  • Auto orientation
  • Full route display
  • Spoken street names
  • Advanced lane guidance
  • Landmarks
  • Walking mode
  • Cycling mode
  • Safety camera warning
  • Red light cameras
  • Current speed
  • Speed limit warning
  • Can announce school zones
  • Remote trip planning
  • Itinerary planning
  • Trip log
  • Traffic information included
  • Map provider
  • Contact
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