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.
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.
Score in detail