Best free Google Maps alternative
- 3D and top-down driving directions
- Google integration, including search and Street View
- In-app purchases for parking, speed cameras and individual European country maps
With integrated Google Search functionality, Navfree GPS UK & ROI Street View is one of the most popular free navigation apps currently available for smartphones and tablets.
Unlike Google Maps, Navfree won’t struggle to find a destination when you don’t have 3G signal or a connection to the internet, as UK maps are included in the download. That does make it take up a rather large amount of space on your device (600MB on our iPhone), which is worth bearing in mind if you have a smartphone with limited memory.
It also takes a while to input your destination, as you have to pick exactly what type of place you’re looking for before you can search for it. With plenty of options to choose from (the address, FourSquare, Google search, Navfree’s POI database, your favourites, recent destinations and contacts), this can be somewhat frustrating.
Navfree also provides you with options for the longest, shortest or fastest route to get to your destination, and you can choose to avoid motorways as well. However, the only two routing directions are for walking or driving – you’re not given the option to see how long a journey would take using public transport or cycling.
One of the slightly annoying features of Navfree is the in-app adverts which pop up and move around on the map. These can be distracting when driving, and if you accidentally double tap the advert rather than the button you want, it’s potentially dangerous too. To get around this problem, you can get rid of the ads using in-app purchases. These also give you the option to install extra functionality, such as safety cameras, parking and maps for individual countries.
On the road, the app works well. The spoken directions are very clear and precise, and it’s hard to fault the map’s display which is uncluttered and easy to read. Ultimately, we prefer Google Maps for its simple menus and multiple route integration, but Navfree is still a great free app to keep on your smartphone.