March 27, 2015

App Review: TeleNav GPS Navigator

Title: TeleNav GPS Navigator
Developer: TeleNav
Available: Soon, TeleNav & Android Market
Cost: 30 Day Trial, $9.99/mo

Lasting Impression: If you don’t already own a GPS device then you need to grab this for your Android handset.  It’s everything you expect from a stand alone unit in a convenient size. One of the most fully realized apps I’ve had a chance to play with.

Nitty Gritty: I’ll get this out of the way before going any further – I don’t have a GPS unit for my car.  Having said that, TeleNav GPS Navigator gives me everything I was expecting it to be, plus more.  There’s a lot of hype around a coming Garmin/Asus phone and rightfully so.  If it ends up anything like this experience, there will be plenty of happy folks out there.

When you first open TeleNav GPS Navigator, you’re given four options: Drive To, Maps & Traffic, Search, and Tools & More.  Most of usage so far was with Drive To.  It’s here that you can pick from My Favorites, Recent Places, Address, Intersection, City, Business, Airport, or Contact.  I’d like to spend more time trying out the Intersections and Airports.  Unfortunately, I’m not the well-traveled entrepreneur I aspire to be.

I really liked the way the app kept my addresses and recent searches handy.  In the short time I’ve played with this, I have not had a chance to go online and do much of the pre-planning stuff.  Based on what I’ve gathered elsewhere, it will a great feature (PC crashed a week ago and I’ve been living in the cloud until data is recovered).

I ran through the business search function a few times a day to see how accurate it was.  I’m happy to say that it found everything I looked for, even the local mom & pop stores.  Using voice was not quite as accurate as by typing, bu I hear that it’s not fully up and running yet.  This is where pre-planning might come in handy.

I found the gas search much more convenient than the weather function.  I’ve got WeatherBug on my G1 and it works better for me.  It is a stand alone weather app after all.  If you are new to Android and don’t have a dedicated weather app, this should suffice.  You get forecasts at the push of a button as well as weather for destinations too.

WARNING: You will need a car charger if you plan to use this app often.  There’s just no way around it.  It stays on and runs in the background even if you go to the home screen on your phone.  I found this out on accident.  I didn’t realize I still had it running when I went into other apps on the phone.  My robotic female travel assistant reminded me that I had a left turn coming up.

I was concerned whether or not the G1 was a good size screen for GPS functions.  It’s safe to say that this need not be a worry for you as it works good in portrait mode and superb in landscape.  The app uses every bit of the screen possible and nothing seems too small.

If you’re at all like me, you drive with music on.  Whereas the G1 does have a great sound for a phone, it’s not going to be louder than your CD’s.  TeleNav has a cool feature where your next turn is shown at the top in black.  Once you get close enough to the street or exit, the margin turns green.

I was curious to see how it handled the names of some local street names.  Where I live you’ll find roads like Tuscarawas, Stuhldreher, and Applegrove.  TeleNav didn’t quite butcher the names, but it like most apps like this, there is still work to do.  Either way, it was nice to hear names instead of things like “Turn right at next exit”.  It takes a little stress off when you are traveling, not having to worry about whether that dirt road is counted or not.

While most of my driving is done in the same circles with just a bit of highway usage, I could still find this app handy to have.  Using TeleNav, I could adapt my daily commute using the traffic feature.  I can check to see whether or not I need to leave earlier for work.  I’d imagine that the bigger the city, the more convenient this would be.

Overall, I am very impressed with TeleNav GPS Navigator.  I am more than content to spend $10 a month for the service until the Garmin phone arrives, maybe beyond.  It’s apps like these that help show off Android and the G1’s capabilities.  The cool thing is you don’t have to take my word for it.  You can download a trial version and kick it around for a month.

Accessories that I’d reccomend for this program are the Arkon Dash Mount and a car charger.

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89 Comments

  1. jon
    Reply

    I wish there was a one time fee like $49.95 or even $99 for the app…. $10/month in 1 year alone is $120 bucks… you could just go buy a real GPS nav for that price.

  2. Jason
    Reply

    Agree!…no way am i paying $10 a month when after a years time I can have a pretty nice dedicated GPS unit.
    Flat fee maybe but not $$ a month….thanks but no thanks Telenav!

  3. oli484
    Reply

    This per month charge is actually nearly equivalent to what conventional navigation providers charge for software/map updates every year. It would be ok if the software would be enhanced regularly with additional festures and would have updated maps.

    What I am more worrying about is whether the navigator works also without having network access or only slow GPRS. In the US this is usually the case on the country-side.

    Also what is the map coverage. Just the USA?! I don’t see any specification about that.

  4. Wooha
    Reply

    I’d rather not throw $120 at a device right now. It’s discretionary spending and in today’s times, I’d feel safer with bite-sized $10 monthly charges. If you used the app on a regular basis, it’s probably well worth the money. From what I can tell, among subscription apps, this looks to be among the better apps.

    BTW, there is supposedly a $99 per year option and $249 for 4 years option.

  5. TheDude
    Reply

    Regarding map updates, actually, Garmin now sells a lifetime map option for $120, four updates a year for the life of your gps.

  6. BigHeat
    Reply

    Here are my questions / comments …

    – Does it work offline? When I need GPS, it’s often in some odd place with unreliable or no data coverage.

    – How did you justify with your budget not owning a GPS device and now spending $120 / year on one? We have had two TomTom devices for years and haven’t felt the need to keep paying for new stuff.

    :-?

  7. Starbucks Fiend
    Reply

    @BigHeat – I think he justifies it by saying he doesn’t own one. Until something else comes along, it sounds like this is the best option for people who don’t already have a GPS unit.

    I would like to know more about the offline stuff too, especially for places where T-Mobile doesn’t work so well. Does the route stay in the phone somehow?

  8. ZenDaddy
    Reply

    Not sure how a review ignores the thing that the first dozen people comment on. A subscription fee – does it include real time traffic/ accident / weather alerts? How does this compare to a mature (US) product like TomTom. Feels like Aguys is just around to promote Android apps without taking them to task.

    This notion that Sat Nav options on a phone, where I bring the hardware, should be priced higher than actually buying a stand alone product is annoying.

  9. Scott Webster
    Reply

    Take a look at the last paragraph. It talks about the $10 fee. Also, in keeping with all other reviews we do around here, it’s mentioned at the very top under cost.

    I make no money off these app reviews so you can take them or leave them. I just want to help spread the word about apps I like and think others might be interested in.

  10. Michael
    Reply

    I just came back from a trip where I used TeleNav and I wasn’t impressed.

    First thing – it requires a connection. Slow connection was (sort-of) fine, as it does not download a lot of data from the server, but I was in many places where there was no coverage at all and couldn’t get thing thing to even turn on, as it checks your login upon start-up.

    The second thing is street naming. Yes, it does display the name of the next street, but why on Earth it comes up with names for streets instead of route numbers? And I am talking major routes. Only highways are displayed with numbers, but every other route is displayed as a name. In many cases, the road number is displayed everywhere and name is not even known by locals :) Trust me, been there done that.

    Overall – a positive step in the right direction, but still needs work. The most important thing – make the offline version. US, unfortunately, does not have the same coverage as Europe.

  11. Sat Nav Vance
    Reply

    Im not sure paying monthly for updates is the answer as the layout of towns in the uk is changing constantly and I dont trust the accuracy of the system of sat nav like telenav…

    Cheers Vance

  12. James
    Reply

    I'm amazed and happy to say that garmin products is of high quality albeit the price is also a bit high but it's worth paying.

  13. GPS Handy
    Reply

    Great product. After long research, it seems as Garmin is best gps product over all.
    Signal is always good, fast re-route calculation, easy to use and more user friendly.
    The product is little bit high but it's worth every penny.

  14. Pom
    Reply

    I dont see the point of having a GPS anymore. Most smart phones have some form of nav built in or at least offer an app. I think the days of the stand alone GPS are behind us. Rotoshave

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