Review: Gokivo Navigator
Gokivo Navigator, by Networks in Motion
$9.99 (see below), ****
Text to speech
Pay as you go
In app song control
Uses Yahoo for POI
Pay as you go
Buttons for in car use not intuitive
Need to have data connection (maps no on device)
Gokivo is the next GPS application in the increasingly long list of iPhone GPS turn-by-turn apps. First off, when I started the app, I got a little confused because it looks almost exactly like Google Maps (in fact, it may literally be the same). But the interface expands beyond Google Maps. When you put in a term for searching, you get an expanded list of options - including using local Yahoo lists, categories, your contact list, etc.
To use the app, you simply choose your destination (either as an address, contact book entry, local business, etc). From there you can choose to "Bo Navigate" (which is the Gokivo app). Warning - don't choose "directions" - this is the Google map directions. I had a slight problem once where I went into "directions" and actually got into Google Maps, and I couldn't get back to the Gokivo app. There are no settings initially to choose route types or preferences - those can be adjusted later.
The directions provided seems pretty straightforward. It didn't have some of the features that the other apps has (like speeding warning) but it did have traffic warnings. You can also view standard options like ETA, distance to arrival, etc. The POI database appears to be based on local Yahoo data, so it is pretty robust. I put in some obscure locations and it was still able to find them with relative ease. The choice of routes was pretty standard, no real problems or anything, although as with all the apps the ETA was slightly longer than I have seen in reality.
You can review your directions before you take the trip, either in a list form or in a simulated trip form. It does have text to speech, so it reads the road names for you (a feature that I think is great). Because the maps are (seemingly) based on Google maps, there is little footprint on your iPhone. So you do need to have a phone (or internet?) connection to use the app - the maps aren't stored on the device. You can also play your music while in the app.
The app use is very nice - the voice is clear, the directions are announced in plenty of time before the actual turn, and the map itself is easy to read. There wasn't any option I could find to add an interim destination, but all destinations are saved in recents, so you can easily reroute yourself if you change your plans. The maps are very clean - not a lot of clutter making them very easy to read while using the app.
So let's discuss the pricing plan, which has it's plusses and minuses. The price is only $9.99, and this gives you 30 days of access. However, unlike the AT&T Navigator, you don't automatically get rebilled for a new month. You can choose to purchase a new month, or you can wait until you need it again, then purchase a new month. Each month that is purchased is $9.99. This is, IMO, better than the automatic billing of AT&T Navigator, but ultimately I still prefer to have an upfront cost and not be billed every month. But if you would be using a GPS app sporadically, this may be an ideal solution for you - provided you will have phone coverage where you are going.
All in all, I think Gokivo is a strong competitor in the GPS turn-by-turn market, giving it's variation on the monthly pricing scheme. I still don't like the fact you need to have a data connection, and I found the menus to be a little difficult to use while in the car (unlike the apps that have very large, easy to hit "buttons"). But for people who will only sporadically use a GPS app, this might be a top solution. Combined with their use of Yahoo for a POI database, it holds its own in the market. For a $9.99 initial price (for one month, too bad they don't give you two months or something to start!), I give it four out of five stars.
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating.