Android Navigator Apps Comparison

Compare Google Maps Driving, HereweGo, Maps.me.

(as at August 2017; these are the best navigators I have found out of many on Play after extensive testing. Requirements: FREE, OFFLINE MAPS, GOOD FUNCTIONALITY)
I also tried Mapfactor which is listed at end.

Google Maps Driving.

Pros Functionally its roundabout entry and exit are clear and easy to understand.  Reroute when online was best of all 3 maps here; fast reroute with no errant path.
Artwork of the GUI is outstanding. GUI is reasonably logical, however see Cons.

Cons TTS/voice is flakey and has been this way for years; changes from UK English to US English at random. Offline map method worst uses region downloads which will be removed after about 30 days. GUI user can get lost eg trying to find out how to save an area and other functions is sometimes not so intuitive.  Reroute in offline mode seemed non-existent as at August 2017, as when I missed a turn navigation ceased to work or catch up on predefined route. Offline search is least effective.

HereweGo

Pros Functionally is the easiest app to use. The devs have done a great job of making this an easy, reliable offline mode free navigator. Searching results in a list of all streets of that name, and the suburb/district, making it easy to select the correct street out of several same name.  Reroute attempt when offline is fast. Voice is clear and reliable, but intermittent. Has all modes of travel includes bus and taxi (see Cons).

Cons Traffic conditions did not seem to work well. Reroute was a tad aggressive insofar as wanting to keep you on original path even if you have deliberately altered course. Eventually it will reroute to consider the new path you have taken. Navigating screen is the least 'arty' of these maps. Route is shortest, not necessarily fastest.
When searching offline some destinations not found so you have to either zoom the area or switch online, which is not a problem, but there seems no switch in nav screen to turn offline again. EG seems you have to exit nav to switch offline? Missing zoom on turns eg roundabouts etc. Missing waypoints. Missing Bus itinerary (in New Zealand). Only way to save favourites is to set up a free account with herewego and then you can save a non-editable range of favourites. Voice buggy; sometimes audio at start the route, then it stops working. GPS buggy; loses GPS even though alternative navigator has no problem on same device same location.

 

     Map shows region which makes correct Seaview selection easy.                                          

Above search shows region Remuera (maps.me doesnt)

Maps.me

Pros GUI is beautiful, good use of colours and nice detail; visually better than HereweGo and as good as Googles. 2nd easiest to use. Clear voice. Speed warning very useful. Traffic works (but see Cons). History and adding a place/favourite to map is best of all three apps. Categories is a great way to find local amenities. You can add a stop, and the app will reroute, which is possibly another way of adjusting for bad traffic re-routes (see Cons). Transport = car, bike, walk, taxi (no bus). They use OSM maps as data source and it's an open project that can be edited by everyone interested in. If a user knows details which are not specified on the map yet, he can add or edit information. These edits will become available for others in the next update of maps in the app.

Cons Search is limited. EG in NZ search for 'Seaview' gets about 10 results in Auckland, with no area region displayed. I needed to show Seaview road in Remuera.  This can be overcome by searching for Remuera, zoom map, then search again but thats convoluted. Otherwise, you can zoom the map area and search which is similar to HereweGo.
The app should have more intuitive search the problem relates to OSM maps sometimes not being consistent with street description. EG South Island NZ shows area result same as HereWeGo.
If using traffic the engine can route you to a invalid route sometimes doubling the distance. By switching off traffic gives correct routing. Rerouting is flakey and Ive noticed sometimes it wont work at all. 6th September 2017 maps.me really dropped the ball. Destination 'ballantyne way, kaikati' which it found, but when we got 1km near destination, voice told me to turn left, then left again when no left turn (straight road) its map was correct but voice prompt wrong! and following map route it took me on random path and got lost. Switch to HereWeGo immediately found my location and routed me to the correct place. 16th September 2017 (after September app update) rerouting has vastly improved, but it still remains sticky eg if driver takes different route it keeps trying to revert back to original whereas the algorithm needs to be less aggressive and reroute sooner. There seems no further issues with GPS signal at least in 2 drive tests. But I got some weird voice directions eg there was a roundabout with destination turn about 200m further in 50km zone. Voice was 'enter roundabout take second exit, then turn right'. 'turn right' instruction should have been 30 seconds later to lead into turn correctly. summary: At this stage with the update I am feeling its as good as HereweGo, but more tests and another update to fix the reroute is required for me to make a final call.

 

Search results can confuse                              Original path without traffic                   (Edited) erroneous path doubled distance                 Beautiful maps.me nav screen

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mapfactor

Functionally more complex than other apps but what ruined this app for me was its TSR (Terminate and Stay Resident kernel) unable to remove apart from uninstall.
While Mapfactor was installed both Maps.me and HereweGo voice/audio ceased to function. Removal of the app removed the kernel and voice worked again. This possibly is an issue unique to my Samsung Note 3 but I could not recommend app that installs a TSR anyway. Its map/navigator view is visually rudimentary, with jerky vehicle movement and low resolution.

SUMMARY

I would have preferred maps.me as my offline navigator due to its lovely interface and general feature set is great. Support is fast, and in their September update they seem to have addressed most main issues when this review was made, apart from reroute and flakey voice prompts.  I will continue to use, hoping that devs will sort outstanding issues asap, and if so, modify this report accordingly. Google Play feedbacks for maps.me confirms my own findings, but their latest update changes what was prior to September a flakey navigator into a strong competitor to HereweGo.

HereweGo just works, and mostly works well, its just that visually its not so nice. If you need totally offline maps HereweGo could be your first choice, but if you can afford a little data use then Google Maps is the way to go (pun). Download Google Maps area maps over wifi before departing which keeps data use minimal. Google Maps running on data is best due to search and map functions, but if in patchy data areas, can make guidance unreliable.

 

If you have used any of these Android Navigators please leave a comment below as to your own experience thanks kindly.

 

 

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