Best sat nav app for social integration
- User-generated content: maps, traffic updates and fuel prices
- Social integration with Waze users, Facebook and SMS
- Available for Windows Phone, iOS and Android
Even though Waze is now owned by Google, the maps are generated by users rather than a professional mapping company. This was a bit of an issue when the app first launched, as coverage in the countryside was severely lacking. However, more than five years of development, plus contributions of around 50 million users have helped solve this problem, and accuracy is much improved. It’s still not quite as good as paid apps, but that’s not too much of an issue.
Like other free apps, the maps are downloaded over the internet on the go, which can lead to problems when trying to get directions when you lack 3G signal. However, the benefit of live routing is that you get feedback from the community of drivers. That means other users not only alert you to traffic, but also to accidents, hazards, police and road closures. Users also help when it comes to rerouting as conditions change, and give you information on the cheapest place to buy fuel on your route.
However, the problem with all this information is that it’s not very well integrated. Whenever you’re driving, there’s a flurry of icons and notifications which can prove very distracting. Still, there’s an open search box to input your destination, and you’ll get three routes to choose from. Waze will also learn your preferred route over time. You can even send your estimated time of arrival to update those you’re meeting, and see your friends’ ETAs when driving to the same destination.
The app is free and available for Windows Phone, iPhone and Android devices. It’s just a shame it’s so cluttered and the features seem gimmicky, which detracts from the overall experience. Waze is also only good for in-car navigation, as it lacks pedestrian, cycle or public transport routes.