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The best navigation apps: Our essential satellites, smartphones, and tablets can become assistants during travel and trips thanks to special navigation programs. Which navigation apps for Android are best and, moreover, free?
Those days had sunk into oblivion when the map was a necessary attribute of any trip, and along the way, you still had to ask for directions. Today, to navigate in an unfamiliar place anywhere in the world will help a smartphone or tablet. To do this, you just need to find the navigation program and install it.
The Play Store today offers users of the Android operating system dozens of navigation applications, but how do you choose the one that will be most convenient and useful for you? We offer you to get acquainted with several of the best and, most importantly, free navigation applications for Android.
The Best Navigation Apps
If we look for a GPS navigator for Android, we will find dozens of alternatives in Google Play, but not all are equally good and complete. Very few options are the best navigation apps.
Although practically all the devices sold come with Google Maps from the factory, some users are looking for an alternative or would like to know if the Google option is the best. That is why we are going to review the best GPS navigators, see their pros and cons, and know which is the best of all.
What Do We Ask of a GPS Navigator?
What we ask of a GPS navigator is that it be simple to use and that it take us to our destination the first time, with clear and simple directions. The most important characteristics to take into account when choosing a GPS navigator are the following:
- Maps: The most important thing about a GPS navigator is that your maps are up-to-date so that there are all the new streets, new roundabouts, and changes in the road.
- Offline: That allows us to download your maps to operate without a data connection, to continue using the application without coverage.
- Traffic: That the GPS navigator informs us about traffic jams, accidents to avoid the dreaded retentions.
- Speed alerts: That alerts us with changes when we have exceeded the speed limit of the road.
- Radars: To inform us about the presence of fixed or mobile radars.
- Alternative routes: That we can decide which route to choose to reach our destination.
- Stops: Being able to make several stops in different directions before reaching the destination of our journey.
- Modes: Different ways to move to our destination: car, motorcycle, public transport, walking, bicycle, etc.
- Route options: To avoid tolls, highways, unpaved roads, etc.
Our Selection of Candidates
In our comparison, we have selected the seven most popular GPS navigators on Google Play, the ones with the most downloads and positive ratings, and which have also recently updated their application. Our candidates are:
Of course, we begin our comparison with Google Maps, the most widely used GPS navigator on Android, and the best alternative for various reasons. It has a very minimalist interface, it is very easy to use, and it has voice commands to use it without having to touch the screen.
Its maps are updated daily, as is information from millions of business cards. It allows us to download regions, share our location in real-time, add stops, see alternative routes while driving Google, avoid being late to our destination thanks to real-time traffic information, and much more. The only downside is that currently in Spain speed alerts and speed camera warnings are not available.
Google Maps has been and remains the leader in the field of free navigation applications. The program can offer you up-to-date maps of more than 220 countries of the world, quick paving of the route, and its exact following for both motorists and pedestrians.
Also, there is voice navigation to simplify the process of orienting in new terrain to drivers of cars and bicycles. Also, it is possible to monitor the traffic situation, to know about traffic jams and incidents in order to build an alternative route in time.
The application also offers a description of more than 100 million different places: recreation, education, medicine, etc. Also, Google Maps can calculate how long it takes to overcome a given route and taking into account traffic jams.
You can quickly get information about any objects, see a map from a satellite, and also use 3D models, and the Street View function will help you quickly navigate in an unfamiliar place and find out the final destination of the route.
We continued our comparison with Here WeGo, which a few years ago was the Windows Phone mapping application until Nokia sold its mapping service to a consortium of Audi, BMW, and Daimler.
Here WeGo is also a totally free best navigation apps and the best alternative to Google Maps. It has a very careful interface. It allows us to download your maps by continents, countries, or indigenous communities, and it has traffic information and speed alerts. What it does not allow is to add stops, share our location in real-time, or see speed cameras. Of course, its maps are updated four times a year.
Sygic: GPS Navigation & Maps
A fairly popular best navigation apps that have collected many positive reviews. You can use it for free, although there are some paid features that expand the capabilities of the service.
The program works on the basis of TomTom cards, and they can be saved in the gadget’s memory or on an SD card, thereby solving the navigation problem in the absence of the Internet. The program has data for 160 countries and cities, information on attractions, the function of laying a route, and there are three alternative options to choose from. Also, the user is informed about traffic jams, about toll roads.
Developers offer a more advanced version of the application, which includes additional features. So, the user will have the opportunity to use 3D-maps, receive prompts for rebuilding at complex intersections, voice commands during navigation, prompts about the presence of cameras, and the need to reduce speed.
Sygic is the most downloaded alternative to Google Maps in the Play Store. It is a free download GPS navigator, but there are some paid features, such as traffic information, voice directions, or some of its maps. They allow us to test all its functions for 7 days.
After Sygic, Maps.Me is the second most downloaded alternative GPS navigator, free, with five navigation modes and using OpenStreetMap maps, which are updated every day.
Maps.Me allows us to download your maps by country and by indigenous communities. It does not have speed alerts, but it does have speed camera warnings. It also does not offer alternative routes, and its points of interest are few.
One of the best navigation apps that do not require an Internet connection at work, which means that you can not only save money. But also use the program freely even in areas where there is no Internet connection at all, or it is very expensive (for example, roaming).
The application offers maps of the whole world, but the user can only download those that will be used in order not to overload the device’s memory. The program contains not only accurate maps of all corners of the world but also the most current photographs of many places and attractions because users add them themselves.
The application runs fast enough, as developers use sophisticated data compression technology. There is a search for objects, as well as the ability to find a point with the given geographical coordinates. Maps and all information can be updated when there is access to the Internet.
The application helps to build a route for both the car and the pedestrian. It searches for the desired object from 120 different categories: food, medicine, entertainment, museums, etc. Also, developers are constantly improving and updating the application, adding to it more and more new features. The interface deserves special praise: it is thoughtful and very convenient. The application is a real find for any traveler.
CoPilot is another paid GPS navigator that we can try for free, and it currently offers a 14-day trial. If we don’t pay, we will lose voice-guided navigation, map downloads, and real-time traffic.
This browser is the one that least updates its maps, between one and two times a year, the download of maps is by continents and countries and allows us to calculate the fastest route or the shortest route.
A popular free application, in which, however, there is the possibility of internal purchases in the application, but you can fully use it without paying a dime. The design of the application is specific and does not always cause meritorious reviews, but otherwise, everything is fine. It is possible to download maps for free and use them offline – ideal when traveling abroad.
The application with high accuracy determines the user’s location, paves the way for motorists, pedestrians, and public transport, there is also a line of heights to determine the distance accurately. Routing on medium distances is carried out without access to the Internet. Also, there are additional layer maps that can be superimposed on the main map.
There is a function to search for addresses and necessary objects, and this is without the need for Internet access. Voice commands are also available. When driving on a route, there are warnings about exceeding the permissible speed, etc.
Users of the free version can download no more than 10 maps, and they will not be able to read descriptions about the sights if there is no access to the Internet, but these are not such strong restrictions. Developers are actively developing their products, so in the future, the appearance of other functions is not excluded.
Finally, we finish our selection with MapFactor, another highly downloaded and highly rated GPS browser in Google Play, but which among our chosen ones has the worst interface.
MapFactor is free but has several payment options, such as real-time traffic information and alternative payment routes. Its free OpenStreetMap maps are updated every day, and its maps are downloaded by country. It also allows you to buy TomTom maps. It has speed radars, speed warnings, and block certain streets. It is the only GPS with truck mode.
Another free application for Android devices, which is very popular and positive reviews. Developers position their product as a social navigator. In addition to standard maps and navigation, there is an opportunity to unite in a single network with the drivers of your region, to provide and receive up-to-date information about the state of the road: traffic jams, accidents, police, prices at a particular gas station, etc.
Waze, also from Google, is a GPS navigator that stands out in its large ** community of drivers ** that share traffic and road information in real-time. It is unrivaled in traffic alert information.
Its maps are the same as those of Google Maps, so they are always up to date, but with the advantage that we will see more information about traffic incidents. Here we will have speed alerts and speed camera warnings. We can also share our journeys with our friends. The only downside is that it cannot be used offline. Like Google Maps, Waze is completely free.
The route of movement is selected so that the driver does not get into a traffic jam. Also, along the route, you will be able to receive alerts about the situation on the road in addition to the basic navigation tips.
Many social functions are also supported, for example, informing friends about the place and time of arrival, the ability to add friends from Facebook, increasing the rating for adding information about traffic incidents. The application suggests the cheapest refueling on the route. Developers constantly update maps and introduce new advanced features.
Which Apps do I choose?
Below we leave you with a comparative table with the most important characteristics of the analyzed GPS navigators so that you can see the pros and cons so that you can decide which GPS best suits your needs.
Our winning options are Google Maps and Waze, and they are the ones that offer the most up-to-date maps, the best information on points of interest, and the best traffic information in real-time. Above all, they are completely free. Plus, there’s no need to download your maps to use their apps, just like Here WeGo. In the rest of the alternatives, you have to download their maps to work.
When choosing a navigation program for your smartphone or tablet, be guided by the conditions under which it will usually be used: trips around the country or abroad, over large cities, or to remote areas. Depending on this, you should give preference to an application that works with or without the Internet. Additional functions should also not be ignored, as they are often very useful.