Third-party premium navigation apps for Android faces stiff competing from Google Maps on Google’s Android Platform. Since, almost all Android devices comes bundled with free Google Maps plus Navigation app. Though Google Maps Navigation is not available everywhere. This stiff competition is good for end users as it brings in some good and innovative features for them. To compete with free Google Maps, premium GPS navigation apps comes up with innovative features. We started evaluating Sygic: GPS Navigation app for Android, a premium navigation app to find out if people will pay for something which they have grown accustomed to getting free?
Sygic lists its premium app for free (actually a 7 day trial version) in the Android Market. The app is around 6 MB download and after installing it, users must download the maps. You don’t need to download all maps available through Sygic to your Android phone as it will take up precious space on their device. Using the Sygic Downloader, you have the choice to download each map. Sygic recommends using WiFi for downloading maps data as some maps are very big in size. After the 7-day trial expires, the app prompts the user to buy an activation key from the official webpage. Read on for more in-depth review of the app.
Visit our Sygic GPS Navigation Giveaway page here.. :)
After downloading the maps, we fired up the Sygic app on our Samsung Galaxy S II (running the most recent firmware). Within a few seconds the GPS locked our position on the map and we were pleased to see beautifully rendered map with 3D buildings. POI are displayed nicely without distracting readability. If you don’t to see POI, you can simply disable it from Settings. Using Settings, you can further customize the program to its fullest.
When you choose a destination, Sygic starts the voice turn-by-turn directions and displays the map of your surrounding area with the calculated route highlighted in blue.
Even though, in Settings we found Text to Speech but the options were grayed out. So, we weren’t able to test the Text to Speech function. We got TTS working (Thanks to Simona for the tip). You just need to select special TTS enabled voice from Settings – Regional (See the screenshot below). This feature is available in English for all the maps, in Dutch for the map of Netherlands, in German for the map of Germany and in Italian for the map of Italy.
The navigation app comes with a lot of voice options in different languages. The latest version comes with Dynamic Lane Guidance set to appear 500 meters in advance, so you can prepare your turn beforehand.
We did some tests in the highway with multiple lanes and we were notified beforehand about which lane to take to reach our destination. This option is very useful when you are traveling and you don’t know exactly which lane you should take to reach to your destination. Sygic also warns with a chime beforehand to slow down your speed if you exceed your speed limit or any speed cams are near. If you encounter any traffic incidents or police traps you can tell other Sygic users with one touch though the app.
Through Sygic’s own social network, you can add friends with whom you can share your location, status update, messages, and events. If you don’t want to use Sygic’s social network, the app also lets you share your location with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, through Email or your Phone contacts. It also allows you to attach a photo that will be visible on your Facebook wall. Sygic integrates with your Phone contacts thus allowing you to browse for your friends stored address. Another nice feature of Sygic is Demonstrate Route. Using demonstration, you can get an overview of your route before even traveling it actually.
Sygic also lets you use your custom keyboard installed on your Android phone or the default keyboard provided by it. The handy Travel Book feature keeps track of all your trips thus providing a good insight of your trip histories. Another handy addition is the Weather tool that provides you weather updates of your area. You can always take informed decision before going out for that long drive. If you are going to visit a new country, the Country Info feature will offer you some quick basic information about the country.
With all these goodness offered by this application, we were almost forgetting to mention some of the user-interface annoyances. Since, the app runs full-screen you will not be able to get access to Android Notification bar when you are navigating. Thus, you will not be able to your phone’s battery status. Though when you are in the menu of the application, it provides a status bar showing battery status, GPS signal status, Community login status and time. But, if they would have made the same info accessible when navigating, it would be a nice addition.
Overall, Sygic: GPS Navigation is a very good premium turn-by-turn navigation app for Android users. So, should you go for it?
Well, it greatly depends on what type of user you are? Having offline maps access is a blessing for those users who are out of their carrier’s coverage area since Google Maps will not work without a data plan. Offline maps also lets users who are roaming in a foreign land and either don’t have any data plan or unlimited data plan. Though the recent updates of Google Maps app lets users pre-cache map area but it has some serious limitations. Also, if your country in not in the list of supported country for Google Map Navigation, Sygic: GPS Navigation is a great alternative, well worth the price you pay for it.
Visit our Sygic GPS Navigation Giveaway page here.. :)