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Features, Navigation and Verdict
Aside from the hugely impressive map coverage, however, Nokia Drive is a fairly limited sat-nav app, but it is quite pleasant to use. Central to this positive experience is the way you search for a destination. The address, postcode and points of interest database are all rolled into one, which you can search by keyword. Suggestions pop up as you type. This is a very quick and simple way to find a destination, and Nokia's implementation is arguably even slicker than that provided by Mio and Navman's Spirit interface. But it does have a couple of drawbacks.
The biggest of these is that, whilst the maps can be kept locally, you can't search for a destination without a data connection. Once your route has been set up, no data connection will be required, and the data roaming charges will be considerably less than downloading a whole map. But this is still annoying if you don't intend to turn on data roaming at all when abroad, or find yourself in an area with no mobile data service. It's also not possible to navigate to a specific house number, although full UK postcodes are supported. Your last search terms are kept in a list, ready for reuse, but you can't store favourites or a home location, either. So you can't get round the data connectivity requirement that way either, and there's no multi-waypoint journey planner available.
The map view is fairly clear, although it doesn't pack the screen with information. When navigating, you get a readout of the distance left to your destination and your current speed, plus the distance and direction of your next turning, and that's it. There's no estimation of how much time remains in your journey at all. You can choose between 2D or 3D modes, and there are 3D models shown of key landmarks, which Ovi Maps had already, although you can turn this feature off if you want. Extra features only go so far as the option to switch between day and night colour modes for the onscreen map. No live traffic updates are available, unlike Google Maps Navigation.
Despite its comprehensive map coverage, Nokia Drive doesn't have the features to replace a discrete sat-nav device, or even a premium sat-nav app running on another phone platform, such as TomTom for iPhone or ALK CoPilot. In particular, the lack of traffic updates will make it less than preferable for regular commuters hoping to avoid the jams on their way to and from work. But it's fine for the occasional journey, or holiday use, and the keyword search system makes it extremely easy to operate, and it's a little slicker than Google Maps Navigation, although the latter has a few more features, including traffic updates. Still, as a free inclusion for Nokia Lumia 800 users, Nokia Drive is impressive, and you may well find yourself not bothering with a separate device.
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