Of course, the theory behind Wayfinder sounds like a brilliant idea, but what’s it like in practice? Well, for basic point-to-point navigation it’s a pretty good solution. I particularly liked the voice instructions, which are repeated, then repeated again and repeated again for good measure as you approach each and every junction. It can get a little irritating for passengers, but it’s worth it for the driver, who’s unlikely to ever miss a turning because one of the kids in the back was having a tantrum.
The maps themselves are extremely clear in both 2D and 3D modes – even on the screen of a relatively small phone such as the Nokia N82 I used for testing. The route layout is clearly indicated with a thick red line and POIs, such as petrol stations, pop up as colourful, easy-to-spot callouts. Of course, you don’t get as much information thrown at you as with a dedicated device – there’s no ETA, distance remaining or even the name of the next street here – but the essential info is clear and doesn’t clutter the screen. A next turn icon is displayed in the top right corner (or left one depending on the phone) alongside the distance to that turning and an icon to indicate satellite signal strength. Beneath these you get an indication of the current road. Clearly a lot of thought has been put into design of the map display.
But there are weaknesses. The most obvious is that you can’t do multi-point routing. This was a failing I pointed out the last time I looked at Wayfinder, and it’s a serious problem that still needs to be rectified. This is a much more important feature than either Facebook or Google Earth tracking, so why it’s been implemented, I’m not entirely sure. Also missing – and another important one – is manual rerouting. Wayfinder will recalculate your route for you (and quickly) when you stray off track, but you can’t tell it to find the best route around a roadblock or traffic jam just ahead – you have to guess that getting off at the next right/left turn is the best way to go.
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