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Group Test: smartphone satnav apps

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Navigon Mobile Navigator

Navigon offers a free 30-day trial of its system, but don't download the demo from the Android Market or it will try to suck down all 1.8GB worth of European Maps not just the 131MB of UK mappage you're probably after.

Navigon Mobile NavigatorNavigon Mobile Navigator

Mobile Navigator is a more feature-laden system than CoPilot Live - I particularly like the at-a-glance colour-coded route options you can chose from, the A-one-two-three-four text to voice system and the ability to select address destinations from your phone book but within the app. It's not quite as easy to use on a small screen as CoPilot due to some rather small buttons and it's also nearly twice the price - the current iPhone special offer notwithstanding - making it less than spectacular value for money.

The maps are excellent, though, and quite the equal of any of the others on test. The Reality Pro junction views are handy for those so dim they arguably shouldn't be behind the wheel of a car to begin with. Confusingly for a major name system, features vary from platform to platform: for instance, live traffic is an iPhone-only option.

Navigon Mobile NavigatorReg Rating 80%
Price £20 iPhone (limited time), €50 (£42) Android, €69 (£58)                           Symbian, Windows Mobile
Platforms iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile, Symbian
More Info Navigon

Ovi Maps

Neck and neck with Google Maps as the best known free navigation app, Ovi Maps currently covers 180 countries, with voice guidance available for 74 of them. With its local services information sourced from Expedia, Time Out and Qype, as well as Michelin and Lonely Planet guides, Ovi Maps has all the POI bases covered and because it loads maps onto your phone's internal storage you don't have to worry about roaming charges as you do with Google Navigation and Wisepilot.

Ovi MapsOvi Maps
RH Recommended Medal

3D landmarks, multiple route points, Facebook integration and free traffic information all call into question the non-existent price tag. In fact, the only downside is with the hardware, with Nokia not currently punting a smartphone OS to match iOS4 or Android, though the arrival of MeeGo handsets will hopefully change that.

With map data from Navteq, which Nokia owns, accuracy is seldom an issue and the Own Voice feature, which lets you record your own voice guidance prompts, is the cherry on the cake. Several Nokia handsets now come with bundled screen mounts and if you don't like smartphones you can even get Ovi Maps on the C5 candybar.

Ovi MapsReg Rating 85%
Price Free with the majority of Nokia handsets
Platforms Symbian, Maemo
More Info Ovi

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