Top 10: Sat nav apps

A standalone sat nav is not without its merits but, these days they’re increasingly being left in the dust by mobile apps. Consequently, if you’ve got a GPS-equipped phone, using an app can be one of the quickest and most effective ways to get reliable, accurate route guidance. Many of the apps are also free – so you’ve no reason not to try them out. Here are ten of the best sat nav apps on the market, for both Android and iOS phones. Just remember, though, not to fiddle with them while you’re driving...
1

Google Maps – Free, Android/iOS

This is rightly one of the most popular apps because it’s straightforward, accurate and packed with useful features – including traffic alerts and automatic re-routing. Simply enter your destination’s postcode, or search for what you’re looking for, choose a route and go. The on-screen and spoken directions are clear, while offline map support means you don’t have to rely on a decent mobile signal. Neat touches like an automatic ‘night mode’ display add to its ease of use.

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2

Waze Navigation & Live Traffic – Free, Android/iOS

If you’re regularly hammering up and down busy motorways, or around crowded cities, then you will want to take a close look at Waze. It places far more emphasis on what’s going on along your planned route, highlighting incidents, jams and potential police cameras; if it thinks there’s a better route available then it can redirect you – saving time and minimising hassle. It also has a speed alert, helping you avoid creeping over the posted limit, and useful planning tools.

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3

HERE WeGo – Free, Android/iOS

This app’s a good choice if you’re regularly travelling around towns or cities, as once you’re done driving it can serve up a whole host of public transport information – including departure times and how to get to the relevant station on foot. You can download maps before you travel, to cut down on data usage, and speed limit information is also offered. The interface and display isn’t quite as slick as Waze’s, though.  

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4

CoPilot GPS – £Various, Android/iOS

This long-running app is highly praised for its reliability and quality but it’s not a cheap solution. For example, a version with European mapping will set you back £34.99 – but at least a free trial is offered. You do get lots of features, though, including offline mapping, 3D views, speed limit indicators, camera warnings and a point of interest database. Caravan and truck-specific versions are also available, along with maps for other countries, but these cost more.

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5

TomTom Go Mobile – £14.99/year, Android/iOS

If you’re looking to travel far and wide, this worldwide-map equipped app from TomTom is a sound choice. It has a clear, easily interpreted display and features traffic alerts and speed camera warnings. There are no annoying in-app adverts, either. You only get 50 free miles a month, though. After those miles are up, you’ve got to buy monthly or one-year access packages – racking up costs – but these packages do again include speed camera and traffic alerts.

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6

Sygic GPS Navigation & Maps – £Various, Android/iOS

You might not recognise the name but this is touted as ‘the world’s most advanced navigation app’.  It uses maps and traffic data from TomTom, all wrapped up in a sleek, feature-filled package. Myriad versions are available; for example, lifetime traffic alerts, speed camera warnings and offline European mapping for an Android device costs £14.99. It’s very flexible, too, as you can also buy add-on features – including a head-up display and dash cam mode.

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7

Navmii – Free, Android/iOS

This free sat nav app focuses on ‘community-based’ navigation, in a similar fashion to Waze – with drivers reporting jams and incidents to allow for easy rerouting. It can be a little clunky but it features offline mapping and a points of interest database. The free version has in-app adverts but it’s only £1.99 to remove them. Upgrades are available, too, including maps of Spain and France, a head-up display mode and a safety camera database.

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8

Maps.Me - Free, Android/iOS

If you travel to other countries regularly then this free navigation app could be just the ticket – as it has worldwide mapping. You can use it on foot, too, and it has a substantial points of interest database. It also supports offline maps and there are no in-add purchases or upgrades, either, so you don’t have to worry about suddenly having to cough up for something. You can share your location, too, letting friends or family know where you are.

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9

MapFactor - £Various, Android/iOS

This popular app offers free offline maps for over 200 countries, along with speed camera warnings, local speed limit info and 3D display modes. You have to put up with ads in the free version, though, but removing them will only set you back a few pounds on any device. The Android version offers some upgrades, too, including live traffic, maps from TomTom and a head-up display mode. Again, this could be ideal if you’re looking regularly drive abroad.

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10

Navigon – £Various, Android/iOS

This navigation app isn’t the cheapest, with yearly subscriptions costing upwards of £22.99. You do, for your money, get European mapping and offline support. A range of optional maps are also offered but you’ll have to pay for those, too. Fortunately, one-month access is available if you’re only visiting the country once. Some users have found the mapping to be outdated in some areas, however, and a few issues have been reported, A seven-day trial is offered, though.

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