Archive Reviews

Review: iGo My Way 2009 - iPhone GPS Navigation

The GPS feature in the iPhone is one of the most exciting features. When you are lost you can pull up Google Maps and figure out where you are. You can use some of the cool 'around me' apps to find POI (points of interest) such as coffee shops, parking, banks, etc. It's really quite wonderful. Due to a licensing issue, you can't use the built-in Google Maps for turn-by-turn, so you have to look at third party solutions. 

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The GPS feature in the iPhone is one of the most exciting features. When you are lost you can pull up Google Maps and figure out where you are. You can use some of the cool 'around me' apps to find POI (points of interest) such as coffee shops, parking, banks, etc. It's really quite wonderful. Due to a licensing issue, you can't use the built-in Google Maps for turn-by-turn, so you have to look at third party solutions. 

iGo My way 2009 is one of the latest turn-by-turn offerings available on the App store. 

It uses the Navteq maps that offer detailed streets and up to date points of interest. With it's friendly interface and detailed maps, this puts it into a comparable field on par with stand alone GPS units, such as the TomTom or Garmin units. 

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Features:

  • 3D Maps and visualization features.
  • Smart history; it learns your behavior and offers a ranked position with likely destinations.
  • Where Am I? Emergency locations info
  • POI - Millions
  • Smart Keyboard Entry
  • Lane Assistance
  • Horizontal and Vertical views

Use:

I like many things about this software. The maps are the best looking of any that I have tested. Upcoming roads pop up with a 'bubble' type of display that makes them easy to read with minimal distractions. I love the ease of use of entering your destinations. The smart keyboard really does work. You start typing a town and it eliminates all of the non-matching choices, so you can quickly find the town that you want without having to scroll through a sea of unnecessary names. 

You can configure your own 3D avatar for pedestrians, cars, etc. You can have everything from a car to a tank to a flying carpet. This gave the app a fun feel and adds that element of customization some people like.

Maps were very legible, so there is no need to be squinting at the GPS the whole time. When it's time to take a turn, the audio cues tell you to turn right, u-turn, etc.  The speech is very clear, but it doesn't offer text-to-speech to announce road names. All that it offers is 'in 0.2 miles turn right'. It's still effective, but text-to-speech would an added value, and I certainly prefer it. 

Points of interest are easily found. You can search for items near your current position, near your destination, in a city, or along your route. iGo offers more than 1 million POIs. A couple caveats though. You can pull up the address and phone number, but you can't click on the phone number and call it from your iPhone. You can't even use the copy/paste function built into the iPhone. You have to actually write the number down and then call it.

Also, it does separate the POIs into categories, but I would like them to be more granular, like on other software such as the Navigon. For example, if you press 'Gas station', it then offers 'BP', 'Chevron', 'Exxon', etc. Not a big deal, but it would be nice. 

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Lane Assist:

I really like this feature, as it shows exit sign representations right on the screen. This is something you usually only see in higher priced GPS units. It's definitely a nice feature and I was pleased to see it, and it worked as advertised. Once again, everything is nice and large and easy to read. I wasn't able to snap a shot while I was driving (I was busy exiting when these appeared), but I was able to show the lane assist from an image on the App store.

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The Bad

This app would be the clear winner to me if it wasn't missing some basic features.  I stopped at a friends house on the way home and I tried to add the current location as a favorite so that I could return to this spot without having to know the address. There is no way to do this. I even read the user manual. Most every GPS I've used has a favorite list that you can add the current GPS position to. This REALLY frustrated me, as I use that feature all of the time on my TomTom. You can only add favorites if they are setup on the route (which you need to add an address to), then I can add the destination as a favorite. 

Text to Speech. It's common now for stand alone GPS units and even iPhone GPS software to offer this as standard. iGo My Way 2009 doesn't.  As an aside, it does offer many many languages and they all sound very good, with the basic instructions it provides. 

Detour Mode. If you come upon a closed road or bad traffic, there is no way to click an 'Avoid this for the next xx miles'. This feature just isn't currently available, and unfortunately it's another standard feature people have come to expect. It offers 'route alternatives', which I thought was going to be the detour button, but that simply asked me if I wanted to go 'Fast, Short, Economical, or the default, Easy'. 

It crashes. Once it's up and running, it's provides a very pleasant navigation experience. I really do like it. However, I can't count the number of times that I had the app running, I exited to change the music on the iPod, returned to the app, and it hung on the startup screen. Usually if you left it for several minutes, it would finally come alive. However, this is simply unacceptable when you are depending on this software to get you from point A to B. 

Conclusion:

Presentation wise, iGo My way 2009 has a lot going for it. The maps are easy to read, it includes quarterly map updates for free until the end of 2010, and maps are available for North America, Europe, and Western Europe. iGo is definitely my GPS favorite app to use while I'm just driving down the road watching the map, but the lack of the missing features noted above and the crashing make me shy away from depending on it for long drives.  

 

iGo My Way 2009
North America Edition $79.99

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