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  1. Thread AuthorThread Author   #1  
    tlo07's Avatar
    iMore Intermediate

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    Default GPS Apps-- are they worth it?

    Are the GPS apps available from Garmin and TomTom worth the money? The reviews for them are so mixed I'm not sure what to believe. Do they even use real GPS or do they use cell tower triangulation? Am I better off just getting a stand-alone device? I hate to spend the money on a stand-alone device when I will probably only use the GPS once a month. However, I don't want to spend the money on an app that is worthless either. I only need basic turn-by-turn directions, nothing fancy. What is your experience with the accuracy of these apps? I frequentlly stream Pandora while driving so do they work at the same time? I have an iPhone 4.
  2. #2  
    JasonG's Avatar
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    I can't answer your question about the apps, but I had a problem yesterday where I was driving a semi and I had a garmin gps that was intended for trucking and it wanted me to go down a residential road where commercial vehicles were prohibited and no matter what it would just take me back to the same location. Wouldn't find any other way. Ended up using the stock maps app on my iPhone and discovered that I passed the road I could of took to get there like 3 times! Point here being is the maps app is awesome lol. I would try using that before anything else if your plan is only to use gps once a month or so
  3. #3  
    takeshi's Avatar
    iPhone Intermediate

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    No matter what the topic is, worth is always highly subjective.

    GPS is GPS. GPS is not tower triangulation. If you're not determining your location using the GPS satellites then it isn't GPS. These apps do use GPS.

    I consider TomTom to be worth it. Can't answer whether a standalone is a better option for you. Again, highly subjective matter. I can't stand having a lot of different devices, their accessories, etc. Convergence was one major reason I started using smartphones years ago. YMMV, of course.

    Quote Originally Posted by tlo07 View Post
    The reviews for them are so mixed I'm not sure what to believe.
    There's an art to reading reviews. You really have to be able to read between the lines to determine which reviews are worth considering and which are not. It's tricky to do that with the short App Store reviews but it's certainly still possible. Also consider trends rather than just individual reviews. Trending helps to get past the anomalous data points.

    Quote Originally Posted by tlo07 View Post
    What is your experience with the accuracy of these apps?
    Accuracy is determined by the GPS network -- not the app. Every GPS app I've tried on multiple smartphone platforms can easily attain more than enough accuracy for navigation purposes with a good GPS fix. That said, the iPhone's GPS receiver seems to have the worst performance I've experienced. I've never experienced so many losses of GPS fix on a device.
    Last edited by briareus; 05-05-2011 at 06:25 PM.
  4. #4  
    Thegreatone3's Avatar
    iMore Beginner

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    I bought one of the Navigon regional apps when they were on sale and I love it. Very accurate, updated maps, plenty of options, POIs, and more. Has gotten me around my hometown as well as new areas with ease. Until Apple creates their own navigation/maps service (which I hear they're working on), I'm very happy with this 3rd party app.
  5. #5  
    imwjl's Avatar
    iMore Intermediate

    209 Posts


    You might want to look at waze if you're not wanting to spend money and happy with the free MapQuest. I like it more than MapQuest but I do miss the navigation I had with my Droid X (software and screen size).

    None are going to be perfect and trip weighted by speed or shortest distance will influence the route. Sometimes waze shows multiple routes and the near real time local traffic warnings can be nice. Latter can also create junk data.

    Some I know swear by the expensive apps that have local database. They also seem to be more popular with AT&T than Verizon owners. I wonder if that's because AT&T data coverage can be spotty or low speed.

    So far I've deleted MapQuest not felt the need to buy a commercial app for this.

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