Android Navigator Compare Google Maps Driving, HereweGo, Maps.me, Offline Maps.

Requirements: FREE, OFFLINE MAPS, GOOD FUNCTIONALITY

Google Maps Driving.

Pros Functionally its roundabout entry and exit are clear and easy to understand.  Reroute when online was best of all 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. 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 (in theory).

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. A trick Ive found which is not consistent but if you search for area,road seems to work even if it says 'results not found' eg 'remuera,seaview road' then press Search. There is also a LIST button which gives points you can zoom to so they almost have it sorted.
There is NO overspeed warning. If using traffic the engine can route you to a invalid route sometimes doubling the distance. By switching off traffic gives correct routing.
Unlike HereWeGo, in which you can avoid toll road, unpaved roads and various filters, maps.me has none such. This is the single most wanted missing feature IMHO.

 

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.

Offline Maps

Supplied by Sygic, who have been in GPS for a long time. This is the latest (December 2017) reviewed, and so far the best offline. You can tell quickly that the intuitive design, features, menus and so on have been created by a professional developers who have taken the time to listen to what drivers want, and need.
My personal views may differ from others but after using this for only 2 days here's what Ive found. So far only one error/bug in that it has option of bluetooth as a phone call, or as audio (menu/bluetooth). Mine was set on audio, but initially it output as a phone call. This was fixed when I toggled the setting eg to phone call, then back to audio.
Its made one minor routing anomaly where it wanted me to take a short diversion via a road with speed humps, whereas the direct path would have been better.
The map GUI is better than HereWeGo but not so nice as Maps.me. Compare to HereweGo its just as fast, better in finding destination street, reroutes and routing are lightning fast. Voice commands are not only clear, but very polite as well! Its almost as if the navigator is your mate.
Its ad supported but they are non-intrusive but in any case I would be happy to pay to have them removed just to support the app if it were a small donation.
Menu/Settings have almost everything covered, so that you can either switch on/off most functions eg there was an annoying 'Sharp Curve' warning which gave far too many notices. This can be either adjusted in settings for corner speeds, or disabled. I chose the latter. If to be used, I would prefer a single slider which let user determine rate of warning eg 0-50% overspeed 0 being disabled, and 50% being 50% over corner recommended speed. But whatever, its a useful addition for some drivers who are careless eg Foreigners to our country who have the most accidents!!
Every time I started my car Offline Maps started too. This can be disabled in settings: go to Settings/Bluetooth Start When: near paired device. Change to Near paired device while close to Home. (Should be this by default.)
It is the only one of these GPS that features a HUD projector eg the display is reversed and projects onto your windscreen (suits nighttime only).
Speed warning works best (least intrusive) of any app Ive used and there is a speed approaching bubble which is brilliant; as you drive towards a new speed zone the bubble approaches you. As Im in a rural area I havent been able to test out the Camera Warning yet.
There is a route path box which pops up when its possibly confusing path to follow (it works in parallel with the navigator path). Once you get used to it, I imagine it would be useful. Initially, its a little distracting and personally, I would prefer the path box to be a path bubble; it would make the GUI just that bit better.
Phone screen real estate is limited, so I would like the top destination/banner to be minimized in size, or just a Font rather than a banner.
These are very minor issues, its very rare I get any app that impresses me as much as this one, in its complete overview. Very impressive.
Maps are a little out of date. A 6 month old roundabout at Te Puna was not showing.
Alas, on my 3rd day of use, after running faultlessly for 35 minutes it started suggesting 'We have found a faster path" then the vehicle cursor stopped, and the app locked. After pulling over I had to revert to HereWeGo which completed the path without further ado. I suspect that due to patchy 3g reception, Offline Maps hung, as I have experienced this with 3g reliant Google Maps in the past, and this app uses 3g for traffic data etc. If this situation continues, then HereWeGo is clearly superior, as it never lets me down in this fashion. UPDATE December 27th update and an extensive drive gave no problems whatsoever.

  Search finds Seaview in Remuera                              Path overview                                     Navigation started                              HUD (escape by BACK)

 

SUMMARY

HereweGo just works, and mostly works well, its just that visually its not so nice. If you need totally offline maps HereweGo is a good 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.


Maps.me could be my preferred choice as we dont have too many toll roads in New Zealand and its interface/GUI is lovely. Unfortunately the voice has always been unreliable, sometimes giving conflicting information to the view, sometimes giving an instruction which should be either earlier or later which makes it totally confusing AND DANGEROUS. On the motorway in Auckland this weekend the voice insisted go straight, whereas the map was showing an exit to take, causing me to miss the exit. From there, navigation was totally erratic. I reverted to HereweGo which saved my bacon.  Navigators must have reliable and clear instructions; if they confuse, they can cause accidents. I have now uninstalled Maps.me due to this continued issue which does not exist in any other navigator.


Offline Maps, a navigator that crashes is not in the race as far as I am concerned, and going through Google Play ratings I am not the only one to experience this issue. Also, what would destroy it, after using it for a while, a sales popup and limitation of features occurs. I sincerely hope this is not the case as that would destroy Offline Maps.
Until the crash is fixed, I have amended my Google Play rating to 2 instead of 5, but if it were reliable, it would be my navigator of choice. UPDATE December 27th update and an extensive drive gave no problems whatsoever. Hoping this update has fixed earlier issues; will give it several more days and if so, will recommend this as my preferred navigator.

 

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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