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ALK CoPilot Live Premium - Navigation and Verdict

By James Morris



Our Score:


CoPilot Live Premium can also allegedly list petrol pumps by price, but this feature is clearly not set up for the UK yet, since we were only offered locations in France when we searched from North London - unless ALK is deliberately protecting us from the horror story which petrol prices in this country have become. There's a five-day weather forecast, although this is less useful on a smartphone than a standalone sat-nav, as you can look up the weather independently with an app or website, which will probably offer more detail, too. It will be most handy for checking the forecast for a destination, so you can pack your mack if rain is likely, or not go at all if a snowstorm is brewing.

ALK has taken a particularly novel approach to finding destinations online, eschewing the ubiquitous Google Local Search and opting for Bing Local Search instead. Even more unique is the ability to search for nearby places of interest that happen to have a Wikipedia entry. You get a picture and a description, with entries ranging from nearby landmarks to roads with medieval backgrounds and disused railway stations. Essentially, this acts as a slightly oddball user-generated tourist guide, which is potentially quite fun if you're visiting an area for leisure purposes. When acccessed via the More menu, Wikipedia can only search the current vicinity, not an area of your choice. For the latter you need to use the POI destination menu option.

ALK CoPilot Live Premium

The navigational experience is not significantly different from CoPilot 8. Next turnings are announced verbally, but not the actual road. Text-to-speech is allegedly a feature of CoPilot Premium, but it didn't appear to function during our UK-based testing. Perhaps it will be enabled in a future update. Full-screen graphics appear at complex motorway interchanges, which ALK calls ClearTurn, offering guidance as to which lanes you should be in, as well as the signposts you should be looking out for. However, ALK doesn't have a technology such as TomTom's IQ Routes, so doesn't use historical traffic data to estimate real average road speeds. The result is that you tend to be sent via the nominally faster A roads rather than back streets. This has been the traditional sat-nav strategy, but non-A roads may actually be clearer of traffic and quicker in some circumstances, as taxi drivers will attest.


CoPilot Live has consistently given you a lot for your money, and the new Premium version is no different. Coming in at £29.99 for the UK and Ireland version, and £59.99 for the iteration equipped with European maps, it's £20 less than TomTom's iPhone app and £10 less than Navigon's. The interface is much more streamlined than before and CoPilot is now easier to use. Despite the improved traffic system, it's still using TMC information, so can't compete with TomTom's HD Traffic for serious jam avoidance. But this is still an immensely good value smartphone sat-nav app, and now even better than before, making it well worth considering if you're not an everyday commuter.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Design 9
  • Features 9
  • Performance 8
  • Value 10


July 27, 2011, 6:09 pm

This review cannot have been properly and thoroughly undertaken! More likely a quick rehash of a v8 review. Just look at all the problems at:


including APPALLING routing, estimated journey times being massively understated, no traffic updates. It is a duff update, and almost certainly not properly tested before release. Beta at very best.


July 27, 2011, 7:29 pm

Sadly, henryg is right - the product is a long way from being ready for release.


July 28, 2011, 5:36 am

I cannot comment on the premium edition reviewed here but I have tried to use Co-Pilot Live in two different cities, York and Leeds, and in each case found its directions so bad they were positively dangerous as it was determined to send me the wrong way down one way streets, through restricted areas, or along roads that had been closed off. In each case I just gave up and wound down my window to ask the way. Literally, worse than useless.

James Morris

July 28, 2011, 4:47 pm

I wouldn't say CoPilot Live was worse than useless at routing. I would also suggest, henryg, that your implication that my review is a quick rehash of a v8 review is close to libellous. Did you read it and watch the video? You will see, in the video, an actual traffic update appears. So there is clear evidence there that traffic updates work. I actually tested CoPilot Live Premium MORE than I usually do, as I had a lot of extra journeys during the testing period. I even managed to test it against a TomTom device, so was able to ascertain that the traffic updates are inferior to the TomTom HD service. I would also say that, whilst routing isn't perfect - it still gets the "postcode inside an industrial estate" issue wrong, for example - it does get you from A to B. As I said in the review, there's nothing like IQ Routes here. So it will be using nominal road speeds for calculation, not a real reflection of traffic speed. So ETAs will be off, as they are with all sat-navs not using this kind of technology. Go into the full menu, then Route, then Vehicle Preferences, then Custom Routing and you will see the speeds CoPilot uses for various types of roads. They're rather off by default, with 55 used for motorways, for example. Tweak these to more realistic settings and the routing will be considerably more effective, although still not as good as with IQ Routes-equipped devices.

Jon Williamson

July 28, 2011, 5:29 pm

I think these comments are a bit over-negative. I have been using CoPilot v8 on an iPhone 3GS for 18 months and upgraded to v9 a week or two ago. v8 replaced my TomTom Go 720 which I finally sold last week.

Whe I got CoPilot I was driving 20,000 miles a year. It is perfectly adequate - mapping and graphically as good as the Tom Tom, with the occasional issue around updating the car's poistion. It got me all over England and Wales without a hitch... The only real issue is that the arrival times are woefully pessimistic, and v8 sticks to arterial routes - this seems to be fixed in Premium - or at least you are presented with three options. The only issue with Premium at the moment is that the traffic subscription does not work - but a fix is being developed.

So I agree with the review - a bargain compared with a dedicated unit and other apps.


October 21, 2011, 7:50 am

I was a fan of copilot so long, then you let you signature product go to crap (slow, bad routing, inaccurate voice command, crash), causing your customers so much inconvenience. And instead of improving the product we already bought and charging us incrementally for map upgrades or features, you are trying to swindle us into a new product whose reviews are just as crappy.

Shame on you. You have lost a family of long time customers permanently.


October 21, 2011, 7:53 am

You obviously took one trip and submitted the article. Though it might have been close to the end of the month, just because your rent is due does not mean you get to rave about such an obvious horrible product - have you read the app stores and web user reviews?


January 6, 2012, 5:02 pm

Hi James Morris, "I would also suggest, henryg, that your implication that my review is a quick rehash of a v8 review is close to libellous" Wow, is this how you take criticism by using threats? I would suggest you either turn the comments if you cannot take the occational bad comment. I would expect a more constructive response from a professional, if you are one?

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