Review: MapQuest Navigator
MapQuest Navigator, by Digital Cyclone
• Subscription data rate
• Clean, simply interface
• Cannot download routes!
• No bells and whistles of other GPS apps
[Comment: The past couple of months have been extremely hectic and busy, thus I haven't really been able to write any reviews. While things are still busier than I would like, it looks like things are slowing down a bit, and I hope to catch up on some of the reviews. I know that there are some people who have given me promo codes and I owe a review - you have not been forgotten!]
Note: There is another app, Mapquest 4 Mobile, that is free. This version has more features, so you can think of the free version as a “lite” version of this Mapquest Navigator.
MapQuest Navigator seems to have one goal in mind – simplicity. Unlike many of the other turn by turn apps, MapQuest Navigator is not cluttered with information, with updates, or with buttons. In fact, in some ways it is almost TOO simple. You won’t find any buttons for settings or options. At the bottom of the screen, you have a series of icons for key stops – gas, food, lodging, shopping, movies, ice cream, etc. There are 15 all together, including one for traffic.
MapQuest Navigator works on a subscription model. When you download the app, you pay $.99, and this gives you one month of free service. After that, you have to pay for service - $3.99 for a month, $9.99 for three months, and $29.99 for a year. The prices aren’t bad at all, but as with most of the subscription apps, you do not have the maps on your device. As such, if you are in an area with poor coverage, no wifi, or some other hindrance to downloading maps, you are out of luck.
The map itself is reminiscent of Google Maps – the same look and feel. If you like Google Maps, this is a good thing. If you don’t – well, you are out of luck. At the top of the screen you can input a destination (city, zip code, contact name, etc) to figure out a route. Now here is where I had some problems.
Once you put in a location, you download directions and the route from MapQuest (after all, the model is that you download the information rather than have it on your phone). I tried this multiple times, over a 3 day period. I tried it from home, at school, using 3, I tried multiple locations – just about everything I could think of. Each time I got to about 99% downloaded…and then it froze. I let it sit overnight to try to finish downloading directions – no go. One time in my office, with full wifi signal, I got a message about “low network connectivity”. Seeing as I have had no other problems with any other apps (internet based or not), I have to think the problem here is with the app, or with the MapQuest website.
Long story short, I can’t review the actual maps, or options while driving.
From reading the description, it seems like it comes with the standard fare – TBT directions, text to speech (reading street names), 3D driving maps. You can reroute while in route, although rather than do it automatically you need to hit a button. In addition, when re-routing, you need to download new maps. There are few “frills” associated with this app – the low price means it is no nonsense, only the basics kind of routing. No options for “find alternative route”, different travel methods, avoid certain roads, etc.
All in all, this is a slick, simple GPS app, but you need to be aware of what you are getting...if you can download the data. The low price is nice, but I generally prefer to have the maps on the phone itself in case I can’t get a data connection. There is an apparent inability to download finished route (case for having maps on the phone!). Assuming this is not a continual problems, I could rate the app a little higher. I like the clean interface, and if you don’t want bells and whistles, if you just want a simple TBT app with a cheap subscription model, this might do the trick. One out of five stars (if you can’t download maps), Three and a half out of five stars (based on the interface and design…assuming you can download maps).
* = 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.