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NDrive brings a low cost nav solution to the iPhone

Gee, I thought we had seen all the nav apps, but new ones keep popping up. NDrive, a new U.S. $32.99 app [iTunes link] is actually pretty good for the money, and has a reasonably complete feature set. I don't put it in the class of the TomTom, Navigon or Magellan apps, but they cost twice as much.

Here's what you get for your 32 bucks plus change:
  • The maps are built into the app. No cell connection needed
  • Auto day/night switching
  • Alarms for speeding
  • Portrait, landscape mode
  • Alphabetical or QWERTY keyboard option
  • POIs with favorites, descriptions, phone and website links
The app features voice instructions, but no text-to-speech until a Mid-December update. While driving around town it worked pretty well. The POI database was not better or worse than some of the more expensive apps, as I think most are drawing on the same sources. I found it to be reasonably complete. An added feature is some limited 3D landmarks in the larger cities.

The app has a strange syntax when announcing a turn, saying something like "in miles .3 turn right." The developer says that will be fixed in a couple of weeks.

IPod support is weak with no control of the music, it just keeps playing what you are already had on. That's going to be fixed too.

I thought the GUI was actually quite nice. Zooming is and out is done by pinching and squeezing, but if you zoom out too much you won't see many details.

The app was quick to get a GPS fix, but I found turn instructions came just a bit late. It needs to anticipate the upcoming turn in enough time that I can get in the correct lane.

Bottom line: A pretty good app for a reasonable price. If you are on the fence about a GPS app, and want to get something for holiday travel but don't want to sink $80 or more into some of the other offerings, NDrive is a pretty good app. With the update scheduled for a couple of weeks out, the app will get even better.




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iPhone App Review

Gee, I thought we had seen all the nav apps, but new ones keep popping up. NDrive, a new U.S. $32.99 app [iTunes link] is actually pretty...