For the past couple of years the top two Navigation Apps on iOS have been from Navigon and TomTom. Sure you may have your favorite and it may not be either of those two, but the reality is those two have been the most full featured Apps in this category, offering built-in Maps, updates on a regular basis and several options for the serious turn-by-turn navigator. In this latest update Magellan has come back strong with the kinds of features that I LOVE. First off Version 2.0 provides LIFETIME Map Updates. That's right, you pay for the App ONCE and never have to pay for a Map update again, no subscription fees, no other costs of any kind. If that's not enough, you also get LIFETIME Traffic Updates (something that the competition either offers as separate in-app purchase or not at all).
Going beyond the basics
Let's skip past the basics that they all have. With any decent App in this category you can enter an address and have voice turn-by-turn GPS based directions to that address. Also if the App has built-in Maps like Magellan, TomTom and Navigon then you are NOT required to have an internet connection and use up a data plan just to navigate from point A to B. Any decent App is going to have a good selection of POIs (Points of Interests). All of the Apps I use have these things and I wouldn't use an App that didn't. So how do you distinguish yourself from the competition? USER INTERFACE and MORE OPTIONS! That's exactly what Magellan concentrated on in 2.0. I like to use known POIs whenever possible. The reason is that it simply saves time in the drudgery of manually entering an address. However, I don't want to have to download a weekly or monthly update of the App just to get NEW or updated POIs. Therefore Magellan integrated both Google and Yelp searching. Of course in order to use these two services you do need a data connection at that time. However, once you find the address you want it's just a tap away to start navigating to it and then you won't need the data connection anymore. As a matter of fact you could do all of your searching/route planing even before you leave the house/office while you're on WiFi. While having these two rock, I also noticed that they seemed to have nailed general POI searching via their built-in Map. I tapped Airport and it used my current location and simply found all of the Airports around me. Same goes for Coffee shops, etc. Where possible it uses the branded logo of the business and of course the name, address and distance away. You can not only do nearby, but also at your destination or along your route. Lastly the App is FAST! Very responsive on my iPhone 4.
The Bottom Line
While no Navigation App is perfect and there is always room for improvement, Magellan has proven with RoadMate 2.0 that they are serious about this category and will continue to apply pressure to competitors. I would now happily recommend this App as a choice when it comes to turn-by-turn navigation on iPhone or iPod touch. I already use their Car Kit exclusively as it is the best designed one out there. Lastly, Magellan can we now get some iPad love? 😉 As much as I never batted an eye when I 1st saw native iPad navigation Apps, I realized the benefits of using one while in Europe as I could use my iPad for navigation without sucking down the battery of my iPhone since I didn't have a charger with me in the rental car. Having the big screen was also a joy.
Well done Magallan!