MapQuest 4 Mobile (iPhone)

The announcement of AOL Map Quest division’s announcement that they add voice navigation to their free iPhone app, stole the attention of people.  Map Quest does this on iphone, what was done by Google and Nokia Maps divisions already.  This is not competing either iphone GPS apps or free apps available on Android and Nokia phones.  Using this is not advisable while driving.

Features, Interface Layout, and POI Search

Google Maps iphone built-in program compares with Map Quest in GPS application.  Hotels, Gas stations, Post offices and some other locations of importance indicated in six icons below the map in the main screen.  Four icons along the same line indicate directions, favorite places, configure settings and the map view.  ‘You are here’ icon indicates the place of your location.

The voice guidance is an edge over Google Maps though gives sufficient information does not give the confidence to press forward as it seldom indicates the distance but informs only, “prepare to turn right/left” zooming the location.

Finding addresses in POI searches are problem free.  Searches are confusing compared to Google Maps.  Inputting a street address worked all right, in spite of the poor search algorithms.

Map View and Navigation Performance

Sporadic voice prompts lack on-screen guidance and the direction for turn given in a tiny font in the map is a distraction from driving.  No 2D or 3D lane assistance, night mode or speed monitors or trip ETA, or even rotation of the map is available.  No guiding prominent icon for next turn indication is given.  For use of Pedestrians, it does not score over Google Maps.

If not familiar with the roads already decision making will be inaccurate except in some local routes that worked correctly.  Those fine prints on the screen should be read to figure out any route as the app does not indicate the intermediate steps and make no announcements.

Route Recalculations and Conclusions

A constant source of irritation was a “re-route” pop up once you got off route as the app fails to recalculate to regain the lost route.  The navigation resumes only when you retreat to the original track.  Manual programmed route is to be forced while moving to get the next strip.  The observation has to be close enough time looking the display as to what is coming up next, which is not prudent while driving.

When diverted off route, Map Quest advices to retrace and get on route.  It is an unsafe process while driving tapping those little buttons on screen.  On smart phone, Google and Nokia successfully demonstrated that a free full-featured navigation is precise and user-friendly.  Whereas, Map Quest’s navigation becomes usable only in the hands of a passenger and not while driving.

The expensive model of Map Quest Navigation with 3D maps that costs nearly 30 dollars per year sees a poor appeal in view of a number of other options.  The US-only version of Tom Tom iphones are for those budget-minded purchasers.  For in-car navigation even, the basic discounted worked fine in tests.  However, it is not safe to drive with Map Quest Mobile, to conclude.

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